Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Ivy Power Rankings, Senior Profiles, & Gross Goes Pro!

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Alex Gross with two of his biggest fans

Alex Gross to Play Pro Ball in Europe

One of Columbia's all-time great linebackers, Alex Gross '11, has signed on with the Graz Giants and will play pro football in Austria beginning early next year. The season actually starts in March.

Alex tells me the level of American football in Austria is the best in Europe, and he opted for Austria over Canada because he wants to get a chance to live and experience European culture.

The Giants head coach is Rick Rhoades, who has an extensive coaching resume at the college level in the States. Alex spoke especially highly of him.

I don't think I have to remind any readers here how good a player Alex was for the Lions. He was the 2007 Ivy Rookie of the Year, 1st Team All-Ivy as a sophomore and a senior, and only a terrible injury in his junior year stopped him from making the All Ivy team that year as well. After that injury, Alex came back even stronger last season. He has been sorely missed this year.

I know we all wish Alex the best in Austria and hope that he replaces the "Sound of Music" with the sound of some bone crushing tackles!

Ivy Power Rankings Week 9

1. Harvard

After looking a bit vulnerable last week at Columbia, the Crimson make a big statement with an easy win over Penn. Harvard rushed for 204 yards and held Penn to just 24 net yards on the ground.

2. Brown

The Bears are still #2, but a more distant second to Harvard after a surprising 21-16 loss to Dartmouth at home Saturday.

3. Penn

The Quakers got surprisingly sloppy Saturday and blew a chance to three-peat. Will Penn fall back further next season?

4. Yale

Played Princeton a little too close for comfort, but the win over the Tigers last season was even closer.

5. Dartmouth

The win at Brown changes everything. A good showing this coming weekend against Princeton could really save Buddy Teevens' job.

6. Cornell

Jeff Mathews proves the next two seasons in Ithaca should be a lot of fun as he shreds the Big Red passing record book in the 62-41 win over Columbia. But there's still no running game or consistent defense.

7. Princeton

The Tigers really need a QB. I can't believe that senior Tommy Wornham is really the best they have. Either way, he's graduating soon and his last game is this Saturday.

8. Columbia

Expect big changes here in about six days...

Farewell Seniors

Over the next few days, I will do my best to offer a short tribute to each and every one of the outgoing seniors. Their final game is just five days from now and it must seem like it's ending so fast for them and their families.

Paul Havas (5th year)

A rare Canadian import, Havas came to Columbia as a speedy QB and made the switch to wide receiver last season. Has two TD catches this season, including a spectacular grab for a score at Princeton.

Because he's Canadian, (where they have an extra year of HS), did an extra year of prep school at St. Paul's, and because he's in his fifth year at CU, Havas is almost 24 years old. Staying in college and with this team for so long shows his serious commitment to football.

Mike Murphy (5th year)

Sadly, New York City high school players rarely make an appearance on Columbia football rosters anymore. But Staten Island's Murphy is an exception to that rule.

Murphy has made the most of this 5th year, contributing nicely on kickoff returns and in the secondary.

His INT in the Yale game this season was a snow-bound beauty.

Mike Stephens (5th Year)

Broke into the starting lineup as a wide receiver and punt returner his sophomore year and immediately had an impact. A tough and quick receiver, Stephens has absorbed some of the roughest hits I've ever seen in the Ivies.

It's not a stretch to say that Mike has sacrificed his body several times over for this program.

A two-time captain, my favorite memory for Mike was his TD catch that sealed the 38-0 win over Princeton in 2009.

He will really be missed.

Jeff Adams

I hope against hope that Adams will find some way to get into the game at least for a play or two this Saturday.

Adams remains a good bet to get to the NFL and has worked very hard to improve his stock as a potential pro player.

As soon as he broke into the starting lineup in 2009, the Columbia running attack improved greatly. It's rare that one player can make that kind of impact.

Jerry Bell

It's hard to think of any Lion who has been put into a tougher position over the years than Jerry.

As a backup to both M.A. Olawale and then Sean Brackett, the hard throwing Bell has had to replace two QB's who play the game much differently than his traditional passing style.

But he's never shied away from that tough emergency duty and his service will not be forgotten.

Sam Cecil

A rare West Virginia import to the Lions, Cecil has plugged a lot of holes in the Columbia offensive line over the years.

I know it's hard to remember considering the struggles the Lion offensive line has had this season, but remember that 2009 and 2010 were strong seasons for that unit and Cecil was a real contributor to that.


At Tue Nov 15, 01:51:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anyone know how to get the cheapest airfare from NYC to Austria?

At Tue Nov 15, 02:14:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Inwood Tiger said...

As possibly the only Canadian who reads this blog, my two cents:

1) I'm surprised Havas had an extra year before university. The only place in Canada that does this now is Quebec, so I'm assuming he is from La Belle Province and went to what they call a CEGEP. (Ontario used to have "Grade 13" but it was phased out in the 90s.)

2) My pride is not hurt in the least by Alex Gross opting for Europe. The CFL is a much better game product, but even though we Canadians can find joy in playing November games in places like Winnipeg and Regina it's not for everyone off the field. The small cities adore their teams but are not places visiting Americans usually want to live, and the big cities ignore their teams once hockey season starts. The crowds are sizable by Columbia standards (typically 25,000-40,000 range) but it's not exactly the NFL in terms of pay or visibility. Europe will be much more fun for a year, after which the CFL will always be waiting should he want to continue his football career in North America. Good luck to him.

At Tue Nov 15, 02:17:00 AM GMT+7, Blogger Jake said...

Yes, Havas is from Montreal.

At Tue Nov 15, 02:45:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

well, there is another Canadian who reads this blog - that would be me! Born in Vancouver BC.

Like to follow our Columbia - Canadian players - such as Max Craig for hoops - and there have been several in football over the years. Tad Crawford is still playing in the CFL - now with Montreal. Grey Cup - the CFL championship game, is coming up.

Lion Fan

At Tue Nov 15, 03:09:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jake, do you think that we have already started inteerviewing for another HC and actually have soembody lined up?

At Tue Nov 15, 04:07:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Any of the following three head coaches in the Patriot League would probably make a great choice: (1) Tom Gilmore--Holy Cross; (2) Andy Coen--Lehigh; and (3) Kevin Kelly--Georgetown. I heard Glmore is interested in the Columbia position, but I'm not sure about Coen or Kelly. Gilmore and Coen have both been at Penn, the former as a star player, the latter as an assistant coach. Also, Gilmore and Coen have stronger overall won-lost records than Kelly.

At Tue Nov 15, 04:12:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would be very surprised if the Football Committee doesn't already have a very long list of names, including the three Patriot League coaches, and whomever else the Committee members know personally, or have expressed interest in coaching at Columbia over the years. One strong poosibility is that we be following Yale's lead in looking westward to Stanford or another California school for our next head coach.

At Tue Nov 15, 04:29:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gilmore has the resume to know what it takes to beat Harvard and Penn. I understand that some years ago he wasn't interested in the Columbia job because he was afraid that recruiting in the Ivies would be too difficult. A West Coast candidate is a gamble. I think Gilmore could be a real coup; a former Ivy great who is a proven winner as a HC.

At Tue Nov 15, 04:31:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Who is on the football committee? Will they be given the latitude to pay what it takes, not just for a good HC but for good assistants?

At Tue Nov 15, 05:04:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's almost never an either/or regarding Canada or Europe. European football is widely considered to be mid-range Division III quality. Gross will be a welcome addition there. Making a CFL roster would have been a much more difficult challenge. Good for him.

At Tue Nov 15, 05:09:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The way that politics and money dominate every part of the university, don't be surprised if NW coaches CU in 2012. Anyone who has been in and around the program (and the school too to be honest) knows that the smart and most logical thing almost never happens here

At Tue Nov 15, 05:13:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Football Committee? Are you kidding me? They have ZERO say in this. They smiply function in an advisory role to Diane. Another words, they do nothing except plan how many Hot Dogs should be at the golf outing. In all fairness, several Committee members did want Norries gone LAST YEAR, however, as I mentioned, the have NO POWER!

There is a SEPARATE committee that searches for the new coach. Most likely, Ray T. will be on it, along with an alumnus who contributes a lot of money (maybe Javier Loya or someone?), next year's team captain, and 1-2 members of the Football Committee. Basically, they will vet all of the applications and then present the vfinal 3 to Bill/Diane. After Bill reviews the candidates and he tell Diane his selection, then Diane will make her opinion. Such a shame that she can't form an independent opinion...

At Tue Nov 15, 05:40:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you want a change, and if you are active in your class, then write to Bollinger and tell him to make a change. If enough people do so, he'll be more inclined to act than if all of us are silent. If Kraft and Campbell tell Bollinger that we need a change, does anybody doubt that a change will be coming? So if you know one or both of them, get in touch with them as well.

At Tue Nov 15, 08:11:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have an idea! Lets get one of you guys to be the head coach and then hire a few more of you to be the staff?

At Tue Nov 15, 08:18:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not a bad idea, I can confidently say if any of us were coaching we would be no worse than 0-9!

At Tue Nov 15, 08:58:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Seriously? How about one of the Bloggers coach? How in the world could we do any worse? A High School Coach could have won 4 games this year (hint, for Toal out of Bosco). So whatever coach left that message, I hope that you have your resume up to date, only 5 days left!

At Tue Nov 15, 09:19:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

CU basketball lost home opener tonight by four after leading Furman by 11 at half and by two with two minutes left. There's an unconfirmed rumor that Norries Wilson was coaching the Lion cagers tonight.
Silver lining: With starters Mark Cisco and Matt Johnson showing little in first two (losing) efforts,Smith turned to freshmen at end of game--Corey Kwiatkowski (spelling), 6-10 center, and Alex Rosenberg, 6-7 forward. Each scored seven, K had four blocks, Rosenberg a bunch of rebounds. Maybe they're the start of something good.

At Tue Nov 15, 09:50:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Best wishes to Coach Ed Argast and hope he gets well soon. I hope we see you feeling a lot better and out on the field on Saturday!! Best of health.
Go Lions!!

Art Eddy, parent

At Tue Nov 15, 10:01:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

For those who keep bringing up Gilmore -- the Holy Cross board offers a different perspective. To state the obvious...the Columbia job is not exactly attractive.


At Tue Nov 15, 10:19:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cisco got into early foul trouble which is why the freshman center, Cory Osetkowski, played so much. Actually, Matt Johnson has not started either game, but in any event the 6'7'' freshman swing man, Alex Rosenberg, has impressed in his first two college games. Unfortunately, the big news tonight was that Columbia superstar Noruwa Agho went down with what appeared to be a very serious leg injury.

At Tue Nov 15, 10:49:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...


When are they letting the staff go? Saturday after the game or Sunday?

Will they clean house or keep some around?

At Tue Nov 15, 06:18:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Actually i have a good coaching job already so no need to get my resume together wiseass!

At Tue Nov 15, 06:52:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

No wonder you are in coaching... "wiseass" is not one word; Einstein!

At Tue Nov 15, 08:59:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Osetkowski and Rosenberg are players. If Osetkowski goes up strong he will be hard to stop. Rosenberg will be a starter before the season is half way over. If Agho is down it will be a tough year.

At Tue Nov 15, 10:54:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Leon L. said...

From Merriam Webster online:

"Main Entry: wise·ass Pronunciation: \ˈwīz-ˌas\Function: nounDate: circa 1971
: smart aleck

— wiseass adjective"

Looks like you're living in a glass house, 3:52. Coach deserves an apology. And let's all stay away from such snarky personal insults. The demean us all and don't add to the conversation.

At Tue Nov 15, 11:04:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Leon L. said...

Brackett's analysis of Saturday from the Spec:

“The first half we were clicking, we were making plays,” Brackett continued. “Even when it wouldn’t work, someone just made a play. It was night and day from the first half to the second half. I missed some open people, had some drops. We just didn’t make the plays we were making in the first half. We scored 34 points in the first half, we scored seven in the second, I think that sums it up right there.”

At Wed Nov 16, 12:41:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If that is a coach, which i hardly believe, i would love to know where he is a coach and what his record is. Highly doubtful it's anywhere but a middle school football team

In other news, rumor has it that Jeff's draft stock is falling fast with this knee injury and missed games. Any truth there? Is he going to finish school or postpone it and train full time for the draft?

At Wed Nov 16, 02:01:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I doubt that. A sprain is not a significant injury. He has only missed a few games. Makes no sense for him to drop our of school and train full-time for the draft. Hopefully, he will be invited to play in a sanctioned game after the season ends.


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