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What tricks does Tom Massela have up his sleeve today?
Okay, so Columbia and the rest of the Ivies don't start football for another two weeks... but all three of CU's non-Ivy opponents kick off today and that makes this a very busy day.
Let's start with week one opponent Fordham.
The Rams have released their two-deep for today's game at UConn that kicks off at noon, (and you can watch it on ESPN3).
That two-deep has some eye-opening figures.
First off, Head Coach Tom Masella does the annoying "either/or" thing with his depth chart at QB. The two-deep lists three possible starters, junior Ryan Higgins, sophomore Griffin Murphy, and freshman Peter Maetzold.
I really don't know who will really be the starter, of if maybe Masella will actually just approach this impossible to win game at UConn as a glorified practice session with the big boys.
But if I HAD to guess, I would go with the sophomore Murphy who is huge for an FCS QB at 6-2 and 235 pounds. He kind of reminds me of Ben Roethlisberger.
The Ram offensive line is HA-YUGE. All five of the starters are 300 lbs. or more. Two of the starters are sophomores, including Thomas Fisher at the crucial left tackle position.
But the real news in my book is at tight end, where Fordham is actually starting a freshman in Dan Light. Light is not aptly named, because he goes 6-4 and weighs 250 lbs.
Another freshman is starting at one of the WR slots; Sam Ajala from DeSoto, Texas. Junior Blake Wayne, who was Fordham's starting QB for most of last season, is another one of the starting receivers after switching positions in the spring.
On defense, the big news is I don't see last year's freshman sensation DL Justin Yancy on the two-deep at all. I assume he's injured, but we shall see. Don't be surprised if he gets into the game today.
Two sophomores snagged starting spots on the D, and you can see why with 6-2, 240 lbs. LB Jake Rodriguez.
The other soph starter is 5-10 cornerback Ian Williams. It will be interesting to see how much UConn tries to test him this afternoon.
Head Coach Bob Ford also is not naming who his starting QB will be in the Great Danes' two deep. He has the "either/or" designation for the guys who split the job last year, sophomore Buddy Leathley and senior Dan Di Lella. Leathley is more of the running QB and Di Lella the pure passer.
Junior Drew Smith, who led the Danes in rushing last season with 724 yards and seven TD's is the starting tailback again. Last year's leading WR, junior Ryan Kirchner is one of the starters at WR.
Two sophomores start on the offensive line. They are center Eric LaPorta and LT Kadeem Williams. Overall, Albany's O-line is not as big as Fordham's.
The defense is a very veteran squad, and they'll need all the experience they can get against Colgate's super running back Nate Eachus.
Kickoff for Albany tonight in Hamilton is 6pm.
The Pioneers kickoff at home tonight at 7pm against Marist.
The Sacred Heart two-deep does do us the courtesy of naming a definitive starting QB, and it's sophomore Luke Wischnowski. He's the lucky guy who will have to replace the graduated Dale Fink, who was a stellar QB for the Pioneers and some think one of the best in all of FCS football last year.
Wischnowski has never thrown a pass in collegiate football.
Behind him is starting the RB, sophomore Greg Ibe from my old hometown of Far Rockaway, NY and the soon-to-be-defunct Far Rockaway High School.
Ibe had a great freshman year last season with 459 yards rushing, a 5.7 yards per carry average, and two TD's. (It will be interesting to see if his family and friends from Far Rockaway take the A train all the way from Mott Avenue in Queens to 207th Street in Manhattan to see him play at Columbia on October 8th).
The offensive line seems to be extremely undersized on the right side with a 265 lb. right guard in sophomore Paul Link and a 230 lb. right tackle in red shirt junior Rakendrick Varnardo. (I have to think something is off on Varnado's reported weight, but there it is).
The starting fullback Tim McNeil had just three carries last season.
On defense, the Sacred Heart secondary is VERY young with two freshman and one sophomore starting alongside the sole upperclassman in senior CB Ahmad Covington.
The other CB is freshman J.D. Roussel. Sophomore Alex Aitkens is the starting free safety.
The Pioneers also have a freshman placekicker in Chris Rogers.
Enjoy the games today!!!
Top 100 Moments of 2010
#14: Brackett Forces One
The Lions took over at their own four yard line for their final possession of the first half in the week nine game at home vs. Cornell.
Trailing 10-3 with 2:23 left on the 2nd quarter clock, Columbia put together an impressive drive.
QB Sean Brackett made the first two plays count with a 14 yard completion to Nico Gutierrez and then an 11 yard pass play to Andrew Kennedy.
After an incomplete pass, Brackett ran it himself for 10 yards and another first down to the Columbia 39.
Two plays later, Brackett found Zack Kourouma for a 15 yard pass completion to the Big Red 46.
On the next play, Brackett ran it himself again for another 10 yards to the Cornell 36.
Three plays later, the Lions got a pass interference call that put them at the Big Red 13 with just 18 seconds left until the half.
On the next play, Brackett ran it himself for six yards and stopped the clock by getting out of bounds at the seven yard line.
But on the next play, Brackett would make his only mistake of the drive, throwing it into traffic in the end zone and getting intercepted by Ben Heller.
Brackett did redeem himself greatly by chasing Heller down and saving a TD with a tackle at the Columbia 28... but the feeling of disappointment throughout the stands was strong as the teams headed back to the locker room.