Monday, September 19, 2011

Surprise, Surprise

Roar Lions Roar is brought to you by IvySport.

You can check out IvySport's Columbia products here.


The home opener is just five days away, so it's time, past time really, to buy your tickets NOW for the Columbia home games and BUY EXTRA! Get your friends and family to come and make it an outing.

DON'T FORGET that if you buy season tickets, you also get passes for the Athletic Director's pregame tent for ALL six home games!

AND you get a 10% discount coupon for the Lion Store which sets up shop in a great trailer right in front of the stadium each week.


You can do that by clicking here, and tell them Roar Lions Roar sent you!

Seriously, PLEASE do that by adding a note if you can if you send a snail mail donation or online in the comments section, (if there is one).

I don't get a commission, so this is a charitable request.

Monday Marching Orders

As a new week of practice begins for the home opener against Albany, it's time to address the biggest issues for Columbia after the 21-14 loss to Fordham:

1) Get Brackett Back in Sync

Whatever was going on with Brackett on Saturday needs to stop right now. For a guy who threw just six interceptions in 287 attempts last year to throw two very costly picks in game one is disturbing.

He also needs better protection that he got after taking five sacks on the Jack Coffey Stadium turf.

2) Get the Blocking Going

The offensive line just didn't pass protect well enough or get the holes open for the running game. I'm not sure if Nick Gerst had played that he would have done much better than Marcorus Garrett's 42 yards on 15 carries. But if Gerst is healthy and plays next week, that will almost surely help the ground game.

3) Let the Team Recharge

For a season opener, the Lions sure looked tired out there on Saturday. I know the coaches want to cram in all they can in the limited number of practices, but the skill players seemed gassed. If that means running fewer reps for the first team offensive guys, so be it.

4) Keep it in Perspective

Columbia, especially the offense, didn't look very good after the week one game against Fordham last year either. After that loss, the Lions embarked on a three game winning streak where the team hit on all cylinders.

Sure, Columbia ran into some reall trouble after that... but the essential offensive problems in that loss to Fordham did not re-emerge.

I'm also a believer in the idea that teams get their most improvement between weeks one and two.

Saturday Surprises

The personnel surprises for Columbia were numerous, so let me try to list all of them if I can:

-Owen Fraser played a lot more than I expected and he looked very good. He may not be at 2008 levels, but this is a very positive sign.

-Listed starter Wells Childress did not play much at all. Perhaps this was a bit of chess playing by the coaches but we shall see.

-Despite not being listed as a starter, Seyi Adebayo lived up to his billing of "most improved defensive player" in spring practice. He had three tackles for a loss including a vicious sack.

-When Head Coach Norries Wilson mentioned LB Mike Waller's name in the preseason teleconference, I honestly thought he was throwing out a decoy. I was wrong. Waller was all over the field with six tackles, one TFL, and a lot of hustle. This is great news for a Columbia defense that has gone to the 3-4 and thus needs more strong linebackers.

There's a little backstory here too. Mike's older brother Tim was committed to Columbia before pulling out and switching to Georgetown late in the game. The whole saga prompted a very kind comment on this blog years ago from Waller's father who explained the agonizing decision.

This is a quality family with two quality young men and I am very happy that Columbia got one of them in the end!

-Kalasi Huggins didn't crack the official two-deep but he played a lot and was effective. Another good sign.

-I expected great things from Zach Olinger, but maybe not this fast. He was directing the defense quite a bit out there on Saturday and finished as the leading tackler.

-Josh Martin's field goal block was a thing of beauty and it got me thinking... when was the last time Columbia blocked a kick of any kind? I know it can't be since 2007 when Eugene Edwards was blocking kicks in so many games... can it???

Stat Leaders

-It's worth noting that two wide receivers no one other than Columbia fans mentioned in preseason are now at #2 and #3 on the list of leading WR's by yards. Mike Stephens and Kurt Williams both had 100+ yard days and only a super night by Brown's Alex Tounkara outdid them.

-How's this for imbalance? After week one, Columbia stands at #1 in the Ivies in total defense and dead last in total offense.

-The Lions held Fordham to 77 yards rushing, and while it may seem like it's been 15 years since Columbia held an opponent under 100 yards rushing, but it was actually not that long ago. The Lions held Cornell to 74 net yards on the ground in the week 9 20-17 win last year.

Fan Atmosphere

I want to close the book on looking back at the Fordham game after today, but it sure felt great to be in such a strong Columbia fan section at Fordham on Saturday.

Sections 10 and 11 were not only filled with blue, but the fans were very loud and excited all game.

Columbia fans can feel superior in another way despite the loss after seeing what passed for a homecoming carnival on the Fordham campus. Hey, my daughters REALLY appreciated the bounce house and climbing wall, but it paled in comparison to the shindig Columbia puts together for our homecoming festivities.


At Tue Sep 20, 12:54:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

A tidbit: the Westchester (NY) had a short prelim piece on White Plains grad Grant, anticipating he may play vs. Fordham. He didn't.

At Tue Sep 20, 01:08:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It will be interesting to see how things work when they run the 3-4 most of the time. They had the nickel in most of the game.

I wouldn't expect much from Frasher. I have to disagree with Jake. He looked ok, but, for the few plays he was in he really wasn't that effective. The one sack he got came when the other tackle had 3 players tangled up which freed him up. That wasn't typical for the game. I am hoping with more game time that explosiveness he showed his first year resurfaces.

At Tue Sep 20, 02:52:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This proably should have been posted on Saturday but I was temporarily too discouraged. I don't get why we had fourth and so so short at about the Fordahm 38early in the second half and did not try to extend this drive. This seems exactly like the chance a team like Columbia needs to take if it is going to win games and the threat of many options coming from a versitile QB. By the way, intow plays, Fordahm moved beyond the point where even a failed attempt would have turned the ball over and the remainder of the drive completly flipped field position against us.

At Tue Sep 20, 05:03:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sure, it would be nice to have Gerst back this Saturday, but our sophomore tailback Marcorus Garrettt did some nice things against Fordham in his first full varsity game. He can run inside with authority, outside with speed and can catch the ball. My gut is that Garrett is going to develop into an outstanding tailback.

At Tue Sep 20, 05:09:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ollinger, Martin, Waller, Adebayo, Murphy and Fraser all looked outstanding on defense against Fordham. I'm not sure who blew the pass coverage on the freshman Ayala's 60 yard TD, but he has Texas, Baylor, Texas A&M speed so with the exception of the Yale receivers who are also very fast, I doubt we are going to see anyone that fast the rest of the season.

At Tue Sep 20, 05:12:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Adebayo had a very strong game on Saturday. Could he become another Marcellus Wiley?

At Tue Sep 20, 05:19:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Stephens and Williams are very good wide receivers. DiNovo has speed and nice moves. If DiNovo or someone else can become a solid third option for Brackett, we could have an outstanding passing game this season.

At Tue Sep 20, 05:25:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Contrary to what one observer noted, Fraser was outstanding when he was on the field early in the game. The Columbia defense dominated Fordham in the first half and Fraser was an important part of that domination. However, I don't remember how much playing time Fraser had in the second half.

At Tue Sep 20, 05:27:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Except for the onside kick, Guttas did not kick off or punt for the Lions. Is he injured?

At Tue Sep 20, 06:25:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fordham now has highlights of the game (their highlights)on their website. In reviewing the end-zone interception, you can see that what looked like a touchdown on a crossing pattern turned into a disaster because of the exceptional play by the linebacker Womack...would have been hard for any QB to see Womack, he read Brackett perfectly and had the speed to take it all the way.

At Tue Sep 20, 07:42:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Albany already has its game notes posted for the game with us this Saturday.

At Tue Sep 20, 10:24:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know this is football and guys get hurt in practice, but Jake you're right - I don't understand how the team can look so tired and beat up for the first game of the season.

We can debate what the right call is on 4th and goal from the 3 (coach goes for it and it results in a: 1) TD = the coach looking like a genius, 2) turnover on downs = coach looking like an idiot, 3) turnover that results in the defense scoring a TD = coach looking totally incompetent) but that's a relatively quick decision to gamble that at least has some probability of working out. However, if what Jake is suggesting, and it looked like it on the field, that the team is tired and beat up from over practicing then that's a long-term strategic coaching call that doesn't seem to have a whole lot of upside. Going for it on 4th down and coming up short is a bad gamble but over practicing is a total strategic flaw. How can a team effectively compete if it's not healthy and rested?

At Tue Sep 20, 09:59:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Columbia is known around the league for scrimmaging more than any other team. Most teams only scrimmage once a week once the season begins. We scrimmage twice. I think it is a mistake, that it causes injuries, that it wears guys out, but what do I know based upon laying high school football a 100 years ago.

At Tue Sep 20, 10:40:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

With the new IVY rules about full pad practices I don't think they will be doing 2 scrimmages a week anymore considering they can only be in pads 2 days a week.


At Tue Sep 20, 10:47:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

No knock on Garrett...But we need Gerst back when healthy...Anybody that has seen this kid on the field when healthy knows about his electric ablility and game changing impact...The big question is when healthy...If he needs more time save him for the Ivy schedule...I hear its a hamstring issue and time is the key...

At Tue Sep 20, 11:21:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am not sure why CU is not doing a bigger promotion to draw fans to the opening game at Baker Field (unless I have missed something). The weather promises to be nice. There is at least a notice on the athletics website giving very clear directions to the field--but simply knowing which train to take is hardly an incentive. Where is the free food, t-shirts, open BBQ, etc.? It is a trek to the field no matter how you sugar coat it, and CU needs to generate some excitement OTHER than football to attend the game. Half the students are barely cognizant of the football team in general. (I'm not sure why posters have to think of this stuff when we are not paid to do so).


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