Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Occupy the Win Column: Scouting Brown

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Kyle Newhall-Caballero


Love or hate Norries Wilson, love or hate the athletic department, there's no denying that the 2011 Columbia Lions players deserve the dignity of achieving at least one win this season.

It's come down to one last chance against one of the best teams in the Ivies, Brown. And after last week's upset loss to Dartmouth, you know the Bears will be more focused than ever in hopes of finishing their season with a win.

Nothing seems to come easy for Columbia football, especially this season where non-conference opponents like Sacred Heart who were set up as "easy" wins turned out to be a lot stronger than anyone thought.

At least with Brown, we all know we're taking on a serious powerhouse that can beat just about any team in FCS football.


You don't have to be a Brown fan to enjoy the thing of beauty that is the Bears scoring machine.

5th year senior QB Kyle Newhall-Caballero is having his best season with 15 TD passes and just four INT's. Pickoffs used to be his one downside, but he is just throwing one pick for every 82 passes thrown this season, (that has to be some kind of record).

"KNC" is spreading the wealth to a lot of receivers. Four different Bears already have more than 25 receptions this year and two have more than 40. (By contrast, only one CU WR has 40 or more catches).

The top target is senior Alex Tounkara-Kone, (yes, Brown also leads the league in hyphenated names), with 43 grabs for 539 yards and four TD's. Junior Tellef Lundevall is a close second with 41 receptions for 451 yards and four TD's, and then there's Jimmy Saros. Saros may be the most dangerous of them all even though he has only 39 catches for 407 yards and three TD's. Junior running back Mark Kachmer is also a frequent aerial target with 26 catches, two for TD's.

The running game has been spottier, but mainly because Brown likes to throw so much. Kachmer has 543 yards rushing and averages 4.7 yards per carry, but he only gets about 14 carries per game. Sophomore John Spooney has a 5.2 per carry average, but he only gets about 11 carries per contest.

The offensive line has allowed just 10 sacks despite all that passing. They're good.


The Brown defense is only mediocre against the run, allowing 135 yards on the ground per game. In both of their two losses this season, the opposing running games were the biggest reason why.

The passing defense is much stronger. The Bears allow fewer than 190 yards passing per game and have 12 interceptions.

They don't put too much pressure on QB's with just a modest 16 sacks so far this season.

But the key is the Bears just don't miss too many tackles, especially in the secondary led by junior AJ Cruz.

Special Teams

The best special teams weapon is Cruz, who averages more than 30 yards per kickoff return and has a TD return this season.

Primary punt returner junior Anthony Franciosi averages just four yards per return. Cruz averages just three yards per return when he handles punts.

Sophomore placekicker Alexander Norocea is 7 of 12 on field goals and he does not have a range much beyond 35 yards. He doesn't boom his kickoffs either.

Senior punter Nathan Lovett, on the other hand, is a booming punter who had seven punts of 50 yards or more and 20 boots inside the 20.

Senior Farewells (continued)

Kalasi Huggins

Kalasi burst onto the scene in week 2 of his freshman year when he won Ivy Rookie of the Week honors after a tough loss at Towson. Injuries marred much of the rest of his freshman and sophomore seasons, but he came back stronger this year and last. Fans will long remember his forced fumble and takeaway in the Penn game at Homecoming this year.

Kevin Lenehan

Another Lion QB who has shown his ultimate loyalty to the team by changing positions, in his case to tight end. Extremely well-liked hard worker who will be missed.

Raphael Lopez

We haven't really seen Raphael on the field in his four years here, but he made a great story when he first committed to Columbia when several Southern California newspapers featured his hard-working mom from the Los Angeles area. Truly, Lopez is a Columbia success story no matter how you slice it.

A.J. Maddox

An extremely talented and fast player, Maddox made an impact on day one and only injuries have slowed him down. Surely a career highlight will be his pick six to give the Lions an early lead at Princeton this season. I'm not sure if he's eligible or even considering doing a 5th year, but we'd love to keep him!

Evan Miller

Being the younger brother of all-time Columbia sack leader Lou Miller can't be too easy. But Evan never rested on his brother's laurels and has worked hard all four years. He will always be remembered for that fateful night at Lafayette in 2009 when he was thrust onto the field after Alex Gross was suddenly injured. Miller ended up having a strong game and the following week against Penn he had 12 tackles.


At Thu Nov 17, 03:52:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have never posted on the blog before, but I figured what better way to start than to do it on a fresh page, free of venom and anger. This might be a bit of a ramble, but please bear with me.

I am pretty sure that everyone is frustrated with the state of Columbia football -- and to be honest, with Columbia athletics in general. From the president, to the athletic director, to alums, all the way down to the ticket sales people, losing is not fun. And an environment and culture of losing can create dissension amongst everyone involved.

To pin this just on Norries, Dianne or Bollinger, however, would be naive of any of us. This is not just a one-person problem.

In terms of the AD, I think Dianne has done a tremendous job in certain areas, with the upgraded facilities and the improvement in salaries and full-time employment opportunities that Columbia athletics offers.

No head of any organization is without faults, however, and I think Dianne's are starting to show.

Her hard-line approach is good for a department lacking discipline (which Columbia's absolutely was when she took over). But she doesn't empower anybody as a leader and is not very relationship savvy. These two things help take programs from mediocre (which is where a lot of them under her leadership are) to very good, in my opinion. I think this also would help her to relate to coaches, and to understand who a good hire and fit is at Columbia. The jury on Kyle Smith is still out, but Norries has obviously not been what she had hoped and Paul Nixon’s star is rapidly falling after the departure of Judie Lomax. Those are the three big sports (volleyball? Please.) and Columbia has failed to finish any higher than 3rd (women’s basketball in 2009-10, thanks in large part to Lomax) in any of them during Murphy’s tenure.

I firmly believe Murphy’s time is up at Columbia once this Campbell Sports Center is built, and she will ride into the sunset.

A few suggestions before I go, if I might. This is just off the top of my head, there are many other things that are contributing factors, but I wanted to touch on a few.

-Resource allocation needs to be altered. Far too much money/time is spent worrying about things that at the end of the day don't have one thing to do with winning. It's great to have a marketing and promotions staff that helps people become interested in the games, or a planning committee that helps Columbia host events such as the National Indoor Tennis Championship or the Honda Awards, but as we have seen throughout history -- everyone wants to be associated with a winner. Get back to basics, and figure out what core competencies the Columbia athletic department has over its competitors and exploit them.

-Accountability. This is a subject that I think needs to be taken a look at in more depth at every University around the country, in light of the Penn State happenings. But in terms of Columbia: Who is to be held accountable for the losing state of the football team (and in general every other team)? Is it University administration that doesn't give enough resources to the coaches to allow them to do their jobs efficiently? Is it athletics administration who hamstrings coaches ability to have the freedom to work as they please and worry about the things they need to worry about? Or is it the coaches themselves, who do not have plans in place that will attract highly-regarded high school prospects and allow these highly-motivated student-athletes to succeed?

To me, I don't know that you can come up with a definitive answer to any of those questions. I think there are a lot of people to blame, and at the end of the day I think Wilson -- for as good of a person as he is, and for as much as he is a staunch supporter of Columbia -- will ultimately fall on the sword. Rightfully so, I might add, after this season.

But he is absolutely not the only person to fault for this mess. And I’m not sure there’s a real answer out there, at least in my opinion.

At Thu Nov 17, 04:01:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Parents need to be vocal to Diane and express their displeasure with the Staff; especially Norries! They need to write, e-mail, call, whatever because we are potentially in jeopardy of retaining Norries. Act now or we are all in for another stressful and disappointing season!

At Thu Nov 17, 04:21:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

We need to start with the Trustees and Bollinger. The Trustees have never set athletic success as a priority. Nor has Bollinger. He goes to one football game a year and looks miserable doing it. I have never seen him at a basketball game, for example. I find it astonishing that there are still no plans for a state of the art field house/gym on campus, despite the fact that we are undertaking a major investment in Manhattanville. Then go to Dianne. She will not even take responsibility for the fact that our football team doesn't have parkas. She has tolerated mediocrity in the football staff for as long as she has been in office. She is all glitter and no substance. She must go. As far as Norries goes, he has been outcoached in close games for at least the last three years. Lou Holtz says that the first five minutes of the third quarter is when good coaching shows. And what does that tell us? We come out for the third quarter and either give up a score after a long drive or go three and out. Every week. Ray Tellier didn't have Wilson's recruits or Wilson's resources, but Ray would have been 500 or better with Wilson's players for the last three years.

At Thu Nov 17, 05:34:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If, I repeat, if they retain Norries, I hope that nobody will contribute a dime to the football, or athletics! That will be our statement and the following year TWO changes must be made!!!

At Thu Nov 17, 05:42:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If the administration/University decide to retain Norries, I would HOPE that the Football Committee would resign immediately in protest. If they don't, then they are a bunch of idiots! Most of those guys wanted Norries gone last year. If the University doesn't fire him after the fiasco this year, then how can you look yourselves in the mirror? Screw Bill Cambell and stop being afraid of a guy that doesn't even know your name, or could care less about your opinion (as is evident with Norries being hired initially). Grow up and (forgive my crassness), grow a pair!

At Thu Nov 17, 07:51:00 AM GMT+7, Blogger cathar said...

If no one contributes either specifically to football or CU athletics in general, programs would be seriously hurt. Really, some posts here are just supremely dumb.

Unfortunately, however, such posts don't just write themselves. There are actually disgruntled sorts out there who regularly post such nonsense. (And who likely will never quite be so embarassed as to never post again.)

At Thu Nov 17, 08:19:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cathar...finally a voice of reason, very good response i agree with you 100%. Here's a few inside tips since i worked at Columbia for 3 years. Great alumni support, terrible faculty-athlete relations, terrible support from campus, fighting an AI battle, administrative changes that affect football. Dont talk to me abot parkagate, been watching film the last 4 weeks of teams that played in it and havent found one yet that was wearing parkas...cop out statement.

At Thu Nov 17, 08:21:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

almost forgot...i was there when columbia handed it to Brown. The Brown coaches and players were all lauging it up walking down the ramp till Brackett gave them something to pause about. The pick before the half crushed them. So hoping the Lions can get this thing done.

At Thu Nov 17, 08:25:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Univeresity had a 25% return on their endowment, they will have the funds to fill any budget void. However, if the fundraising gap is great, questions and accountability will come to the forefront. I believe that is what the previous post was referring to. I, for one, will will not contribute to either CU Football, or Athletics if Norries is retained. Why contribute to an administration that rewards incompetence?

Who else is with me in boycotting contributions?

Honestly Cathar, why do people constantly have to explain things to you?

At Thu Nov 17, 08:28:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I believe that it would be hypocritical to contribute to football/athletics, and then complain about how things are being run. I will not contribute until their is a coaching/administration change.

At Thu Nov 17, 09:04:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Coach, maybe there was too much snow for you to see clearly, but Yale had parkas. Oh, and just because we didn't have parkas, doesn't mean tthey were needed. Several playerssuffered from hypothermia - fact, not opinion.

Again, WHY do you and others complain about things that we don't have and carry a "woe-is-me" attitude? Re: He AI... Harvard, Yale, and PU don't complain! The rest of your points are just cop outs! How about complain about what is really troubling this team, your peers! This staff is an embarrassment to the team, the University, and the League

At Thu Nov 17, 09:18:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

How are we to be assured as parents that if we write Dr Murphy that our comments will be held in confidence? What if Wilson stays- does he get punished the rest of his college years?

At Thu Nov 17, 09:41:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank goodness that embarrassment of a marching band has been banned from appearing at the Brown game. I would like to specify when I contribute to the College that none of my funds will be used for financial aid for band members. What a bunch of immature jerks, embarrassing our players after an ugly loss.

At Thu Nov 17, 09:41:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with the initial poster (12:52)... there is not one person to blame for the season ... the problem is bigger that one person, though ultimately one (or at most 2) people will become "accountable for the season

I looked at Ivy League records since the league formed .... from 1956 thru 2010, there is only one team that has not finished in 4th place or above more than 50% of the time .... Columbia ... Columbia has only finished in 4th place or above only 7 times in 55 years (13% of the time)!!! ... 87% of the past 55 seasons we have been in the bottom half of the league ... the team that has the next worst record is Brown at 29 times (53% of the time) .... Harvard has performed the best finishing 4th or higher 71% of the time (39 of 55) .... over the course of the past 20 years, things have marginally improved .... we have finished 4th or higher 20% of the time (still the worst) .... the next closest team is Dartmouth, having finished 4th or higher 8 out of 20 seasons

This speaks to an institutional problem ... the City IS the problem, NO for every kid or parent who are scared off, another is intrigued .... having a field 100 blocks away IS the problem, NO other Columbia teams are competive (M/W soccer, baseball), and hell, the golf team practices indoors !!! .... a facility near school would be great (something I favor), but I don't believe that there is one "magic bullet" that will solve all

The Administration needs to sit down and figure out what we are going to do to get things turned around, what the program does well, what needs to be done better, what we need to stop doing, and wht we need to start doing, and how are we going to get there .... it's not an easy job, but I do believe Bill C wants us to be a winner, he's put his money on the bar (most of us just talk) .... we need to get this right, and we need to do it soon ....

At Thu Nov 17, 10:16:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The best post in the history of this blog is the ex-employee who has been watching film and found no other teams with parkas. Yale had them! You know Yale, right? That's the guys we were playing. Fantastic insight, please keep them coming!

At Thu Nov 17, 02:32:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Jake,

As a heads up, the Columbia Band has been banned by Athletics from the last home game of the season. Check out the story here. Might be worth a comment on the blog? Especially with the angry, failed coaching staff bringing this on.

At Thu Nov 17, 02:58:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The thing with continuing to contribute money is this--I want to keep supporting the student athletes, the sports programs, and
Alma Mater. On the other hand, how long do you keep contributing to something that never wins? How do you make some kind of statement? With these e-mails? I'm sure Bollinger is quaking in his boots as he reads them (if he ever does). More likely he's laughing.

At Thu Nov 17, 06:40:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wrote a long, thoughtful and restrained email to Bollinger. I am a loyal alumnus who has been one of the 5 or 10 class leaders in terms of my gifts over the years. I expressed my concern over our football program. I have not yet received my response. I am not holding my breath waiting for it. Next I will write to Murphy. I can already anticipate her response. As far as the anxious parents, you need not worry. The one thing even Dianne is not dumb enough to do is to go to Wilson with an enemies list.

At Thu Nov 17, 07:03:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Class Leader, THANK YOU for writing Bollinger and (eventually) Diane! I wrote them both last night as well. I will advise the overall tone of what I hear back when from them.

I agree that Diane is not that stupid and will not keep a McCarthiasm type of list of disgruntled parents. If she did, that would be cause for IMMEDIATE dismissal. She will, however, take into consideration how serious the matter is based on the volume of responses. However, she will only do so if parents, alums, and fans REACT!!! Please write/call/e-mail both Diane and Bollinger so that there are no misgivings about our concern. Please emphasize that our that our concern is for the kids, not some elusive Ivy Title.

I donate a few thousand dollars sprinkled through athletics (whenever I receive a gift card in the mail), and I even threw some money to the BC center in honor of everything that he has cone for athletics and the University. However, I agee with previous posters that our only way to make the administration hear us (beyond occupying Baker/Kraft Field), is to strike a nerve in their wallets. I will not be contributing anything to football, or athletics, until I hear what they are doing after this Friday.

At Thu Nov 17, 07:18:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I for one can't understand why anyone would want to retain NW another year.

1 His record speaks for itself,
how many of us would still be
able to keep a job after ONE
year if we haven't performed,
let alone 6 years.

2 There is a problem with his c.
with coaches/players. He has
had no control OR he just
doesn't care.

3. The money, donations and sup-
port will stop.That will only
hurt the players.

4. Recruiting????Who will come??

5.Current players are going to quit
For those of you that want to continue on this loosing path, ask yourselves,do the positives outweigh the negatives?Has the team gone from good to bad? OR bad to worse?
Bring in a NEW coach,give these players a chance to shine. Geez, think about them and what will make them want to play football again,have some fun,gain confidence,take pride in their school. Stop thinking aboutyourselves.

At Thu Nov 17, 07:19:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wasnt referring to IVY teams that didnt have parkas. Seems like teams in the NEC and CAA didnt either, maybe the IVY teams are soft that they needed them? Seems like some perennial powerhouses (UNH, JMU, DELAWARE, MAINE) didnt have parkas either that day? hmmm maybe they are just tougher? Besides Yale's a bunch of snobs.

At Thu Nov 17, 09:33:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The utter STUPIDITY of that coach and his park comment astounds me. How can he breathe and walk upright at the same time? Hypothermia is hypothermia! Actually, comments like that Coach made (who claimed to be on Norries' staff) speaks VOLUMES of what we have been dealing with over the years. Norries actually hired a guy like that...

At Thu Nov 17, 09:46:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Seems like some perennial powerhouses (UNH, JMU, DELAWARE, MAINE) didnt have parkas either that day?" What is their endowment and the return on their endowment over the past few years? Since you worked at Columbia for 3 years you now are an expert on finding peer institutions to Columbia that are state schools. No wonder you work there no longer.

At Thu Nov 17, 09:56:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

These endless posts on the coaches are really boring. It is going to happen. Move on. Posting on a replacement is also getting old and considering these posts won't be a factor in the process just move on.

Someone said the parents should get involved. That was really stupid. That could only cause problems for their son and no one is that stupid.

At Thu Nov 17, 09:59:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don't schools pay coaches to find competive advantages to beat their opponents? I guess the former coach on this board can't think of any reason why there could be a competitive advantage keeping our quarterback's arm warm in between series. I'm guessing that having our players expend energy keeping warm instead of using it to push around our opponents is vastly outweighed by the opponents thinking that we're tougher than them for not having jackets. Just like the old Guiness commercial - Brilliant!

Maybe the coach should advise the NFL on these advantages since all 32 teams own coats. I'm sure a couple of teams on the playoff bubble could use this advantage down the stretch in December!

At Thu Nov 17, 10:14:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What if: Brackett hadn't hurt himself at the end of the first half of the Fordham game and hadn't thrown the pick on the next play? My guess is that we would have easily beaten Fordham, Princeton and SHU, probably beaten Penn, possibly beaten Yale, and might have even upset Harvard. We would not have bombed in Hanover and would have gone into the Cornell game on a high. So that is the argument which will be raised by those who want to retain the coach and his staff. I don't buy it, because results still matter irrespective of the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune.

At Thu Nov 17, 10:55:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

An injury to one player, no matter how good that player is, is no excuse for an 0-9 season.

At Thu Nov 17, 10:59:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've said it once and i will say it again, this team lost all faith in the coaches after the Penn game last year. A lot of our guys were beaten up badly in that game, and all the coaches did was berate them... and they made it personal. They humiliated Brackett who was growing into a team leader.

The following week, they came out flat vs. Dartmouth. And that was HOMECOMING!

Since Penn, we're 1-14.

At Thu Nov 17, 11:08:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Besides Yale's a bunch of snobs."

Thanks for that pertinent insight. In that case, CU doesn't need professors, a library, or classes like Yale, either.

At Thu Nov 17, 11:17:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Someone said:

"I've said it once and i will say it again, this team lost all faith in the coaches after the Penn game last year."

The team even today has never lost faith. That would be the fans and posters. They never have had much liking for OC, but, always give 100% to each game. A coaching change is probably going to happen, but, statements like that are belittling to the players.

At Thu Nov 17, 11:17:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

1 train is not running this week.

At Thu Nov 17, 11:21:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The injury to Brackett seems like a lame excuse to me for an 0-9 record. During the last two seasons the starting quarterbacks at Brown, Harvard, Penn and Yale were all injured and yet all those schools did just fine. Indeed, our coaching staff's inability to develop a back-up at quarterback is another sore spot.

At Fri Nov 18, 12:12:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Losing faith in each other is one thing. Losing faith in the coaching staff is another. One has happened. One has not.

At Fri Nov 18, 12:22:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Injury to one player is no excuse for 0-9? Did you ever hear of the Indianapolis Colts and Peyton Manning?

Did you see the Jets offensive line dissolve into a totally hapless mess when Mangold was out against the Ravens?

The loss of one player can make a huge difference in a season. If fact, last season CU opened up strong. Then three year starter, Ian Quirk (RG) was injured at the end of the Lafayette game. The offensive line was never the same again. (The first game he missed was Penn.) Quirk had been playing at a all ivy level. His loss probably cost the team two or three wins last year.

At Fri Nov 18, 01:04:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I want Norries gone as bad as anyone, but the focus now through Saturday should be on how we can best support the departing seniors and give them the best chance at avoiding a winless season. Thats what matters right now.

At Fri Nov 18, 01:16:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Leon L. said...

It's hasn't been just the injury to Brackett. Several linemen were not dressing at the beginning of the season - a 4th string guard was starting. Both of the top two running backs were playing hurt almost from the start, and both are sidelined now. Starting receivers have been out. The defensive backfield has had a spate of injuries. Adams is out. And the list goes on. This hasn't been a normal year for injuries, whether it's happenstance or strength & training. And some of the repllacement talent hadn't matued yet, especially on the line.
Of course, we've learned there have been other material issues as well. I suppose for a program on the rise, as CU was until this year, to fall so flat you need a perfect storm. Someone with full access will have to sift through the wreckage to distinguish major and minor causes. Once they have a studied diagnosis, they'll know what the best treatment will be.
So now I'm a doctor. My mother would be proud.
And thanks, Flickr, for the kind words. Back at you.

At Fri Nov 18, 03:04:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well those state schools do happen to play a better brand of football than the IVY's (JMU, UNH, etc.) You asked what their endowment is? WHO KNOWS! I do know however, how many national playoffs they have been to,....a lot more than Columbia. So don't tell me about parkas, your all softies, spoon-fed since birth and part of a national problem in this country where "little johnny" is entitled to everything.

At Fri Nov 18, 03:25:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My "little johnny" has worked his butt off to go to this school, that includes pay for it!!!!!!!! Understand this...not one parent including you if you have been blessed as we have ,does not want their kid to get hypothermia or frostbite! You are one heartless man and you need to rethink your nastiness.

At Fri Nov 18, 04:20:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Coach "I" (Idiot) - I think that you meant "Ivies", the pural; not the posessive "Ivy's". Unfortunately, your playoff point is moot (that means a point of no practical value or meaning... sorry for the use big words), but even when a couple of Ivies (note, plural) were ranked in the Top 10, we are not allowed to go to the playoffs. That is an Ivy Presidential mandate. i could explain more, but I'm pretty sure you wouldn't understand.


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