Wednesday, November 02, 2011

State of Play and Scouting Harvard

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For those of you having trouble following exactly where we are with the Columbia football situation, (and who can blame you?), here's the state of play:

1) A very highly placed source in the Columbia administration tells me the firing of Norries Wilson is a done deal.

2) BUT there is a serious concern about a very strong political attack against the firing that will be launched against President Lee Bollinger and perhaps Athletic Director Dianne Murphy. That concern is slowing down the process somewhat.

3) I have asked the readers here to email President Bollinger and A.D. Murphy to show them your support for the decision to relieve Wilson and promise to back them up when and if the attacks come against them. Their emails are: and

4) I have asked major Columbia donor and New England Patriots owner Bob Kraft to get involved in the process of finding a new coach or at least offer some guidance.

5) I have also urged the man who truly controls Columbia football, Board of Trustees Chair Bill Campbell, to make the bold move of hiring a major name/talent to be our next head coach. It's time to throw the long bomb again, just as he urged the Apple board to do when it debated paying for the iconic MacIntosh commercial in 1983.

6) A new issue has arisen over the lack of cold weather gear for the players at Saturday's game or the possibly deliberate decision not to use such gear by the coaching staff or some other authority. No one has publicly taken responsibility or blame for this as of this time. This is despite the fact that the stadium crew did an excellent job getting the field as playable as possible during the game.

7) Columbia hasn't won a football game in 12 months. The Lions have lost eight games in a row and 12 of the last 13. Coach Wilson's career record at Columbia is 16-41, 9-30 Ivy.

When you're Tim Murphy, you can get away with carrying the game plan in your pants

Scouting Harvard


This is a very, very good Crimson team.

Even by recent Harvard standards, it's making a good case to be one of the best Tim Murphy coached teams of all time.

As the only Ivy team without a conference loss, the Crimson are the only team controlling its own destiny.

And control it they have.

But with three games to go, Harvard's last two serious challenges - Penn and Yale - both lie beyond this weekend's game with the Lions.

That sets up the classic "trap game" scenario.

In fact, the Crimson haven't exactly played their best games against Columbia in most of the last five meetings, and I have to think that's because Harvard is looking ahead a bit to those crucial final two games each season.


What can you say? This might be the best offense Columbia has faced in years with great QB's, RB's, and everything else.

Both Collier Winters and Colton Chapple have torn up defense after defense from the quarterback position. Winters is back in the starting spot after being out with an injury, but all Chapple did in his place was throw for 12 TD's versus just two INT's.

Running backs Treavor Scales, a junior, and Zach Boden a freshman, are both lethal on the ground.

The wide receivers are solid if not spectacular, but the stats are deceiving because Winters and Chapple did such a good job spreading the ball around. Seniors Chris Lorditch, Adam Chrisis, and Alex Sirkisian are seniors who have had big games against Columbia in the past. Sirkisian is having the best year so far.

Sophomore tight end Cameron Brate can be a terror and he has six TD catches.

The offensive line has allowed just 12 sacks through seven games.


You weren't expecting a respite on this side of the ball were you?

The Crimson are allowing just 17 points per game, 19 points less per game than the Harvard offense is scoring. That's an amazing cushion in case you didn't notice.

The leader in the defensive fear factor is Josue Ortiz, who has a real chance of getting into the NFL. He has six sacks so far this season.

Another leader is senior captain LB Alex Gedeon. He has 66 tackles this year, a sack and two interceptions.

The secondary is giving up more passing yards per game than you'd expect from a Crimson squad, (244), but you test this unit at your peril. Matthew Hanson and Brian Owusu are the leaders on the third line and both are set for some postseason All Ivy honors.

Special Teams

No relief here either.

Kicker David Mothander is 33 of 34 on PAT's and has hit four of his five FG attempts including one from 42 yards out.

Punter Jacob Dombrowski is one of the best in the Ivies.

Freshman Seitu Smith is handling the punt and kickoff returns and he's doing a terrible job.

Just kidding.

Smith is averaging an incredible 31 yards per KO return and 13.3 yards per punt return. One of his KO returns was for a 91 yard TD.


Tim Murphy has built Harvard into the league's most consistent winning program.

Every successful season Murphy puts together sheds more light on just how erratic and underachieving his predecessor Joe Restic really was.

Unlike Restic, Murphy has parlayed Harvard's natural name recognition into an almost perfect recruiting advantage each and every year. The depth on this team, as evidenced by the Winters/Chapple performance at QB, is simply breathtaking.

That's Murphy's work on display.

Someone should learn from it.


At Thu Nov 03, 01:51:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would like to throw another name into the hat for new head coach:
Greg Gattuso.
Greg was a D-Lineman at Penn State.
He took over a cellar dwelling Duquesne team and was head coach there for 13 years. Under his leadership he turned them into perennial league champions and a NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP in early 2000's. He then became assistant head coach and D-Line coach at Pitt under Wannstedt. He was voted Big East recruiter of the year and was responsible for NY, NJ, PA and Ohio. The D-line at Pitt was the marquis position under his coaching and led the nation in sacks. After Wannstedt left Pitt, he was picked up by Randy Edsall and is the D-Line coach currently at Maryland. Thus, we have a program transforming head coach who has been successful at the FCS (head coach)and FBS level (as an assistant). I think he could do magic at Columbia.
I'm interested in everyone's thoughts.

At Thu Nov 03, 01:54:00 AM GMT+7, Blogger Jake said...

Gattuso seems great in many ways and if it were up to me, he'd get an interview for sure. Once again, he was a successful HEAD COACH, and that makes all the difference.

At Thu Nov 03, 02:02:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Zach Boden is a freshman, not a junior.

At Thu Nov 03, 02:24:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't buy this political backlash issue. What is the backlash? That this program hasn't had enough of a chance? The fact is that the kids didn't quit last weekend, so Norries hasn't lost the team. But he just can't seem to close the deal, so to speak. I think our assistants are weak, especially on the offensive side of the ball. That adversely affects our defense because there are so many three and outs. But a good HC has to be able to hire good assistants, just like a good CEO needs to put a good management team in place. As far as Dianne, I think she should also go. She is clueless on football and takes no responsibility, not even for the parkas! And if I had my way, Bollinger has gotten too big for his breeches--when is the last time that anybody saw him at a football or basketball game? I suppose as a public intellectual and a citizen of the world our teams are beneath him, but he works for the university, not the other way around.

At Thu Nov 03, 02:26:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Treavor Scales is a junior.

At Thu Nov 03, 02:45:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Um - Maryland defense has been horrid this year. HORRID. Can't tackle or stop the run. Just hit "rock bottom."

And this with a team talented enough to go 9-4 last year.

At Thu Nov 03, 02:51:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Think outside the box; look on the West Coast for the next Kyle Smith; think in terms of charisma, recruiting contacts; Xs and Os. Think of a Ray Tellier type of football mind coupled with the recruiting saavy of a Kyle Smith. Think of somebody who will not tolerate failure, who will open up every position for competiton from QB on down, somebody who will remain in charge on Saturday afternoons, who will not be afraid to shake things up, and who will find and develop excellent assistants.

At Thu Nov 03, 03:02:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

FYI, President Bollinger was at the homecoming game this year- I saw him in the Director's Hospitality Tent, and numerous students sent in pictures of him at the game to BWOG. That being said, I don't think he attends as many football games as the President of Dartmouth - although his involvement does not seem to have helped their program much.

Ridiculous about the parkas, etc. I was there for the first half, and was extremely uncomfortable and undressed, so I can guess how the players were. I lost some faith in the team about 2 years ago when we lost games in the final minutes, or gave up huge leads in the 4th quarter. Unfortunately, that seems to have been an unhappy trend over the years. Have been following them for almost 20 years, and 1996 seems like a distant memory now. It seems since that 1996 year we have had some wins, but to see us slip back to the bad old days of the eighties, for this long time fan, it hurts.

Also breaks my heart to hear Jake outline what Harvard brings to the table, the depth of the Crimson, the outstanding play of this player and that player... what chance do we have at this point?

For any results driven person, there should be no mystery on why Coach Wilson is gone, but on the heels of the dean, who resigned I might add, there are those who would probably make some kind of political backlash statement about this. Unfortunate that this coach was trumpeted as the first black coach in the Ivies - so that complicates things.

A. Peck

At Thu Nov 03, 04:30:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Interesting two deep for Harvard; four freshmen OLs are on the two deep; Adams is not listed.

At Thu Nov 03, 05:32:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Adams out and so is Olinger. Yukevich moves from guard to tackle, Marquel Carter moves from DB to LB (he's a big hitter with decent size, 6.0, 215). Shake-up in O-line may prove to be good thing, who knows. Anybody know if Adams is hurt?

At Thu Nov 03, 05:32:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

12:24, this staff has four former college head coaches on it, including one from the big ten. Both coordinators had prior cordinator experience, and one was an HC. Staffs don't get much better or more experienced than that. And one of his assistant got the very prestigious HC job at Willliams, going undefeated in his rookie season. Wilson's hiring isn't the problem. In fact his ability to attract coaching talent is in his plus column. This is a staff that knows how to coach. As 12:45 suggests, sometimes teams (players, that is) simply don't perform the way they should.

At Thu Nov 03, 06:00:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here's my suggestion for Saturday. Our Lions are pretty banged up right now. It would be nice if the coaches used what's called "the element of surprise" this Saturday. Shawn Brackett has been banged up all year, this guy is one of the most courageous individuals I've seen play football, but this Saturday I would start Weiss and here's why; this kid is poised and has the talent to succeed if given the opportunity. I watched him in the Dartmouth game; his play faking was unreal,his passing accurate and his overall decision making to tuck and run is that of a seasoned QB; besides Harvard has never seen him play before. You know all week they've been studying film with Brackett at the helm. It could possibly take Harvard out of their defensive scheme for awhile because they prepared all week for Brackett. I would give Shawn some well deserved time off and let him get back to 100%, especially in lieu of our current record. The offense should have 15 scripted plays and go with a no huddle offense to start the game.

A lot of people on this blog seem to be very critical of the Lion's defense but when the offense is going 3 and out the majority of time the defense isn't getting the rest they need. I would also blitz the Harvey out of Harvard all day with all kinds of differnt stunts. Oh well that's my opinion and I'm sticking to it. Go Lions.

At Thu Nov 03, 06:11:00 AM GMT+7, Blogger cathar said...

Jake, if you didn't so often sound like a very minor league Zola writing his own version of "J'Accuse," you might be taken seriously by many more than the (understandably) disgruntled who gather here.

But your "open letter" to Kraft and so much more often smacks of the childish, the petulant. And your Koko-like little list of your preferred head coaching candidates was almost silly; I'm pretty sure it was certainly galling to CU's Athletics Department (and not least because it displayed no real knowledge of what economic issues may come into play re the hiring of a new coach and staff). There's something, well, callow about the tone of your writing the last month or so. (I still wonder if you ever even saw "1984" or understood its limited use before using it as the linchpin for yesterday;s post.)

So, instead, I get attacked for urging caution. How long, however, will the "boo birds" give a new coach? At the very least, Norries is a nice man personally, has not come with the character issues I associated with Garrett, Naso, Shoop and your apparent inexplicable personal favorite, McElready. All proved lousy coaches during their tenures. (And Donelli himself was increasingly irascible as his tenure wound down.)

Someone here recently compared the hiring of a football coach to the hiring last year of Kyle Smith. Yet Smith is often knocked for his "failure" to understand the importance of basketball as a city game. Even he, with his initial season resulting in a winning record, seems to fall victim to much of the rancor expressed daily on this site, based on conversations I've had and rants I've heard. (Personally, I admire what looks to be a sort of West Coast-style serenity he displayed last season, and he is a hell of a lot better game manager than Joe Jones was.)

It's interesting, even inspiring, that Columbia's football fans suddenly seem so vocal and concerned. And that they have this site with which to express their frustration.

But it's also getting irrational and awfully nasty here at times. (How much is there to say about those parkas?) And I still wonder how long a new coach will in fact be given to come up with a "winner" of a team. Even how the virtual lynch mob that sometimes gathers here will even define an authentic "winner," if it comes to that. Even as I too hope it will and does.

At Thu Nov 03, 06:21:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cathar- you are boring. Yet another exhaustive "Zola" reference. Seriously? Have you nothing else? We get it, you read one book. Now move on...

Cathar- "... Virtual lynch mob...". Really? Is that appropriate got a person of color who is a head coach? So you are a bigot as well... Think before you write please...

At Thu Nov 03, 06:32:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Adams is out with a sprained MCL.

At Thu Nov 03, 06:35:00 AM GMT+7, Blogger Jake said...

Confirmed on Adams... It should not come as a surprise to anyone who saw Jeff limp off the field just before the final CU TD last week.

At Thu Nov 03, 07:04:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Support the players for God sakes. All this bickering about coaching and lack of talent on the team is pure BS. This team by no means is lacking any talent, what their lacking is fan & student support. Does any one understand how these players must feel? I was there for all 4 quarters of the Yale game freezing my butt off but didn't complain because I knew the players had it much worse than I did. I pray to God that our Lions beat Harvard this Saturday not for us but for them. Lord knows they deserve it. Remember every time you point your finger three are pointing back towards you.

At Thu Nov 03, 07:42:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

4:00P.M. post has merit. Weiss is a real option if Brackett is still hurt.As a CU alum and long time Lion observer whose son played against Weiss in high school I've seen his game and what he showed a glmpse of at Dartmouth is real. Was a well recognized 3 sport athlete at perenial power Ramapo here in North Jersey. Extremely poised and accurate passer. Not sure where he's been in the QB mix till now but was pleasntly surprised to see him turn up. Anyone know was he hurt? No doubt a better game for the Lions if he was in from the start at Dartmouth based on the way it went when he was in. Good luck Lions!

At Thu Nov 03, 07:49:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Before I start I already loathe giving you the attention you crave.
But "irrational and nasty" in reference to the parkas?
Not using any parkas was irrational. The weather was nasty.
Didn't you post earlier that you slithered home to northern New Jersey way soon enough to see the end of the game on YES? I assume you came to the game dressed appropriately and couldn't come close to staying! How'd you like to be one of those players standing out there for the extended YES broadcast for 4 hours? Viewers were warmly tucked at home in a warm blanket and sipping cocoa watching on YES. The kids and a few of us stuck it out to the end.
Your referenced, "nice guy", NW was most likely the one who sent the players without proper gear to "toughen them up". Wasn't that sweet of him? He and his staff all seemed properly and fully attired. I also don't hear him standing up and accepting responsibility for the decision. Maybe you may want to look a little deeper into some of your opinions.

At Thu Nov 03, 07:59:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cathar,how much is there to say about those parkas? Plenty! Were you there? If so, did you have a warm coat,gloves a hat and the opportunity to go elsewhere to try to get warm? Better yet did you have a son on the field or sideline? If you did,you would know there is reason to question why there were no parkas and heaters!Parents of these young(and courageous) young men had to endure watching their kids freeze at that game.They have every right to be concerned, and for Gods sake mr.c. their safety should be the number one priority of the coaching staff and administration!

At Thu Nov 03, 08:47:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Flicker '87 said...

I posted elsewhere that some of you blame the coach and the AD too much and I am saying it again.

It is not a coincidence that we have never had a winning coach.

Lombardi wouldn't have made it here, Bellechick, Bryant, Knoll, Rockne, etc... This school strangles the optimism right out of them.

Until the powers that be decide they WANT a championship caliber program, we will be singing "fire the coach" every five years or so, into perpetuity.

When Penn decided back in the 80's they were ready to start being a power again, they hired a stud coach, gave him support and he turned it around quickly, Penn has been a beast ever since. When Harvard decided it was time to be a champion they hired a guy away from a top 20 program and they are a beast.

We have never done whatever it takes to hire the right guy. instead, our leadership interviews only those willing to take the job on our terms. Then they cross their fingers and hope that the new coach understands how to make it work within the CU landscape. We have never identified a coach and gone after him and I doubt we ever will.

I think Norries may have reached the point of no return, too, but those of you who blame all of this on Norries are nuts. I arrived at Cu in 1983 and its been groundhog day ever since. This school has no interest in making a true commitment to a winning football program. Until that changes, it's going to be more and more of the same

At Thu Nov 03, 08:48:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have no desire to jump on Cathar but if he is indeed in the CU Admin, maybe the Athletic Dept, it's sad that he doesn't understand the misery CU alums have endured, some up to six decades.
He wants to start over after each miserable coach's tenure and say "OK we're back at Square One...tabula rasa." No we're not.
We're at the end of our ropes after 60 years of losing. Interesting you used the phrase "lynch mob." OK with me...I feel I'd like to see someone swinging from th end of a rope for this mess...NOT LITERALLY, of course, but very, very figuratively.
I'll be willing to chalk up the whole losing experience to bad mojo, bad voodoo, etc. IF, repeat IF the next coach is another dud only IF, repeat IF, that dud has been chosen by a genuinely nationwide, very serious, extensive, intensive search and examination of credentials with money NOT being an object and the only object being to hire the best coach we can get.

Just one more thing. Someone asked why would there be a "political" backlash for firing Wilson. I have to assume the backlash refers to his being an African-American. That would mean this nation has descended deeper into stupidity and insanity than already is obvious. CU hired the Ivy League's FIRST black head football coach, Norries Wilson. Are we required to lose forever after if he can't do the job?

At Thu Nov 03, 09:24:00 AM GMT+7, Blogger Jake said...


I hope you don't think we disagree. I too believe that Norries is mostly a symptom, and not the root problem. I wrote as much a few weeks ago when I stated our #1 problem is lowered expectations from the administration.

But symptoms have to be treated. And the sooner the better. Norries is a symptom of an administration that has continued to short-change athletics. That would be one thing if it weren't asking for and getting record amounts of donations. But since it is getting that support, all the excuses must end.

At Thu Nov 03, 10:19:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jake,in my opinion, the problem with the Campaign for Excellence in Columbia Athletics, is that it sets the goals, but not the strategies for achieving winning athletic teams at Columbia. You can raise millions of dollars for better facilities and coaches, which will, of course, to some extent, eventually attract and maintain better athletes. However, unless you actually devise a strategy for recruiting and keeping such athletes you are likely to be unsucessful. For instance, you can hire a great game coach, but if there is no strategy for recruiting better players, a great game coach is likely to lose to a not so great game coach with superior overall player talent. More specifically, Columbia Football has now and had for the last 50 +/- years some huge obvious institutional disadvantages in recruiting in comparison to the other seven Ivy League Schools. Certainly, some of those disadvantages will continue regardless of how much money is raised so something needs to be done about them if Columbia is serious about fielding winning teams. For example, I just do not see how we can be successful recruiting against the stronger academic schools in the Ivy League unless we have a strategy for doing so. If we want to recruit successfully against Harvard, Yale and Princeton, we need to have a well-thought out strategy why an outstanding high school football player will want to play for Columbia. Can we devise such strategy? Of course, but it involves, more than just talking about establishing excellence in athletics. You need specifics as well as generalities. As for competing against our other Ivy opponents, we need to recognize that they each have come up with a recruiting style or perhaps "edge" whether it be the glamour of an undergraduate business school, a state school,or an open do want you want curriculum. So what are the specifics that should be included in the Campaign for Excellence in Athletics? Well, certainly, we need to devise a specific recruiting strategy, and that could take tens of hours of discussion, but at the very least one would suggest some of the following methodologies: (1) establishing an undergraduate school of business to take advantage of Columbia's location in the business capital of the world; (2) promoting Columbia Football thru greater publicity at all levels, but certainly improved communications to the local community in the form of a daily or weekly sports newsletter; (3)reconstructing the gymnasium on campus into a world-class college recreational facility attractive to recruits in all sports; (4) setting up a practice field for football on or near campus; and (5) doing what it takes to reach out earlier to more of the academically qualified student athletes throughout the United States.

At Thu Nov 03, 12:03:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Believe it or not Columbia has had FIVE winning coaches in it's history. The last one just happened to be awile ago - Charles Crowley, who went to Notre Dame and played for Knute Rockne! He was 26-16-4 (so perhaps Columbia would have been OK if the Rock coached the light blue). 5 of Columbia's first 8 coaches had winning records. They were followed by Lou Little, who was 6 games under .500 in his career at Columbia. It's easy to forget that Columbia's early history was actually good - not great, but good.

After Lou Little it all fell apart.

Historically, Norries is a shade worse than the years when Columbia didn't have a coach.

At Thu Nov 03, 04:26:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is the kind of speech
the Lions need for Saturdays game

From Coach Flowers; Leland High School

"Today gentleman, I am honored to coach you, and I am more honored to take you onto the field of battle. There is another honor to be bestowed upon you. That is the answer that comes with that question. Who Am I?
Answer: I am a champion!

That’s right and I need you to remember that all throughout this game.

I will conquer what has never been conquered. Defeat will not be in my creed. I will believe where all those before me have doubted. I will always endeavor to uphold the prestige, honor and respect of my team. I have trained my mind and now my body will follow!

•WHO AM I? ….
I will acknowledge the fact that I am an elite warrior who arrives at the cutting edge of battle by any means at my disposal. I accept the fact that my team expects me to move further, faster and fight harder than our opponents. Never shall I fail my comrades. I will always keep myself mentally alert, physically strong and morally straight and I will shoulder more than my share of the task whatever it may be. One hundred percent and more

•WHO AM I? ….
Gallantly will I show the world that I am a specially selected and well trained warrior. My heart and my soul will be the fuel to carry my body when my limbs are to weary. I will never falter, I will never lose focus as long as there is hope in my mind and my heart still beats. I will never give in to the evil that is weakness and I will fight that evil with my dying breath.

•WHO AM I? ….
Energetically will I meet my enemies, no one will challenge me, none will stop me from my goal. I shall defeat them on the field of battle for I am better trained and will fight with all my might. Surrender is not a Champion’s word. I will never leave a fallen comrade to fall at the hands of my enemy and under no circumstances will I ever surrender.

•WHO AM I? ….
Readily will I display the discipline and strength required to fight on to my objective and I will complete my mission. I will rise when I fallen. I will rip the heart from my enemy and leave it beating on the ground. My enemy need not fear me but he will respect me and if he does not. I will make him respect me with all that I have to give.

•WHO AM I? ….
History will remember my name and he will not have to be kind. For I will have denied his criticisms and put in my own praise, No one will define me, no one will tell me what I can achieve, none will say I have not given all I have to give and none will take my glory.

•WHO AM I? ….

At Thu Nov 03, 04:38:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Another Message for the Lions Vs Harvard this Saturday

The Underdog

Gentlemen, today we are the underdogs! The newspapers are predicting us to lose. The fans have their doubts. Some of you in this locker room have doubts about Saturday's game. But, I’m here to tell you that it doesn’t matter what everyone else thinks. What does matter is how well you play the game and who’s on top when the game ends!

Let me tell you the story of the ‘Miracle on Ice.” Some of you may be familiar with this story. Back in 1980 the US Olympic Men’s Hockey Team pulled off one of the biggest upsets in sports history. They were the underdogs and they captured the gold medals. They were a group of unknown college kids and amateurs who came together as one unit and upset a heavily favored team of Russian professionals.

Their coach, Herb Brooks, told them before the match that if they played the Russians ten times, they might lose nine out of ten, but they weren’t going to lose that one! He said “…One game. If we played 'em ten times, they might win nine. But not this game. Not tonight. Tonight, we skate with them. Tonight, we stay with them. And we shut them down because we can!...” That day’s game was going to be the one-in-ten that they win. Why? Because they can!

It has happened many times in history, ever since David defeated Goliath. The underdog can win! Why? Because they can! Nothing in life is guaranteed. They aren’t guaranteed a win Saturday. The favorite team doesn’t always win. When they relax, when they let their guard down, when they take you for granted, and when you out-play them – they will be defeated! Because they can!

In the infamous words of coach Herb Brooks, “This is your time! Now go out there and take it!”

At Thu Nov 03, 06:48:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

To the poster Wed Nov 02, 03:32:00 PM PDT that was a nice list of credentials, bur, just as an example the offensive play calling has been predicable and inept since Wilson came here. In any other program the OC would have been gone long ago. Don't put the failure of the one dimensional offensive all on the player execution. They haven't been perfect, but, when every team is playing for the most part one on one and loading the box every play you would think the OC would adjust to that. Not at Columbia. You can have the best coaches in the world, but, they will never succeed when they can’t adjust and are constantly predicable. 101 football reduce tendencies. No brainer there except at Columbia we are nothing but predicable tendencies. Last year’s DC was a prime example of this and to Wilson’s credit he made a change. The defense has issues this year, but, at least the DC is flexible enough to adjust. It would be interesting to see how the defense performed if they weren’t on the field 90% of the time. As the old say goes the best defense is a good offense.

I still think one of these games all the parts are going to come together and we will blow someone out. One more thing 42 did some really nice running last week. It would be nice to see some more of him this week. Who would think that a bigger power back would do better than a small back? What a concept. I guess you have to get the small ones hurt before they actually try something different.

At Thu Nov 03, 07:37:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great analysis 8:19 about the structural deficiencies and barriers at CU that make winning Ivy football games so difficult. But change is hard. Is CU ready to take the steps needed for future athletic success?

At Thu Nov 03, 07:46:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

YES commentators have been justifiably critical of our OC.

At Thu Nov 03, 08:12:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jake's comment at the end comes from a naive viewpoint. The assumption that Restic had the same leeway from his Crimson overlords that Murphy does is based on what, exactly?

Also - it conveniently leaves out the fact that Harvard's main (read: only) rival has a President who wishes to extinguish athletics, albeit slowly. Harvard saw an arbitrage opportunity to invest more in football at the same time that Yale was becoming more indifferent. Hence, Harvard's rise.

Same for hoops. Someone in Cambridge saw that there were diminishing returns for being better than average at NCAA ice hockey and that being the Ivy League's AQ in men's hoops is a better return on investment.

Harvard's ascendancy is not only Murphy's doing. As Deep Throat once said, "Follow the money."

At Thu Nov 03, 08:31:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Speeches are overrated and a sign of a team with no self worth if they need them. How about just telling them every kid on the Harvard squad thinks they're better then you and they have no respect for you or the program.That would be the truth fyi.This has trap game written all over it for Harvard-let's not forget a very mediocre Holy Cross squad beat them in the opener.

At Thu Nov 03, 08:50:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Folks - wake up! The commitment to winning is in place. Norries and his staff want for very little. There are few - if any- barriers to winning that have not been addressed since Ray's firing and Shoop's ouster. Sure, out-recruiting h,y,p remains a formidable challenge, but no reason we can't beat penn and brown for our share.

At Thu Nov 03, 09:58:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Mitch '68 said...

Wow, a lot of great stuff here! I happen to believe one of an earlier poster's suggestions would be a HUGE benefit to everyone involved with CU football: a practice field on or near the campus! I hope and expect many of my brothers here can remember taking bus (or subway) back from Baker Field, eating a hurried meal, and then getting started on Spinoza or JS Mill by about 8:30 at night.

Sure, it can be done. Many of us did it. But what is the purpose of keeping obstacles in place instead of removing them? It's just indifference, or perhaps latent malice, on the school's part.

Unfortunately, that practice field is a real longshot. But I'm glad we have the opportunity here to bring these things up. And the best point I've seen made several times is that, in the absence of real commitment, we will be here in five years griping about the next coach, regardless of who he might be.

At Thu Nov 03, 10:11:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Parkagate: what really happened. Warning - read this only if you really care what happened Saturday, rather than simply blaming Wilson. It might cause cognitive dissonance!

Columbia has parkas for football. They were purchased, not part of the Nike deal.. They are kept by the equipment managers at Baker Field. The soccer and cross-country teams borrowed them for use before Saturday. They did not return them. When it became apparent that the weather would be harsh on Saturday, the football equipment guys went to get them. They were not available. They went searching for them, and could not get them in time for the game. The football staff is furious that they were not made available to their players when needed. The coaches share your anger and are not at fault. You have to talk to the soccer and cross-country coaches and the AD equipment managers if you still want to play the blame game.
Jake, how come your "reliable sources" didn't clarify these facts earlier this week before people flew off the handle at Wilson based on false assumptions? Or does maintaining the narrative take precedence over truth and fairness? Or is this a Columbia football version of "fair and balanced"?
(the foregoing information was obtained directly from eye witness football staff at yesterday's practice, at which no player abuse was observed)
This calls into question the reliability of much of what has been said here about Wilson, his staff and the program. You guys ought to be ashamed of yourselves.

At Thu Nov 03, 10:21:00 PM GMT+7, Blogger Jake said...

11:00am poster:

I'm sorrym but you have to ger your facts straight:

I never accused Wilson of anything regarding the parkas. I publicly asked what happened. My only comments about the parkas are as follows, and I quote from this post:

"A new issue has arisen over the lack of cold weather gear for the players at Saturday's game or the possibly deliberate decision not to use such gear by the coaching staff or some other authority. No one has publicly taken responsibility or blame for this as of this time. This is despite the fact that the stadium crew did an excellent job getting the field as playable as possible during the game."

Anonymous commenters, just as anonymous as you by the way, blamed this on the football program and that is hardly shame-worthy since it is always the football program's ultimate responsibility to take care of its people.

I was once told that some people have trouble remembering what I write here as opposed to the readers comments. But it really isn't that hard.

I don't know how reliable your version of events is, but I publish just about any comment here that is not vulgar.

But your comments don't change anything: we STILL have not had any public explanation from anyone in the department.

At Thu Nov 03, 10:22:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Flicker '87 said...

Jake, thanks for clarifying. I know we are all pissed and frustrated but I just think too many people pile on the coach (and AD) when the real issues are at a much, much higher level. I just don't have any confidence that Bollinger cares enough about football to change our direction.

I am a fan of Norries and as much as I want him to succeed I think he might be burned out after this season - he is human after all. I think dealing with an apathetic administration that is not fully committed to football and/or is sadly fearful that a successful football program might hurt our academic reputation is by far the biggest challenge our coaches face at Columbia.


I respect your opinion but I disagree with most of what you say. If it is because of our facilities and the location of our athletic fields, why then do we have successful fencing, tennis, soccer, baseball, etc programs? Are the facilities any better or are these kids any less academic? It's all about winning, knowing that the school is committed to it, and making sure the recruits understand that when they visit.

Athletes want to play for winners and coaches want to coach at programs that give them the best chance to win. We don't do that and we never have, at least since about half way through Lou Little's career (thanks for the reminder, 10:03, actually makes me feel a little bit better about CU)

Also, Penn has been a dominant program since the early 80's and their campus and City (and I live in and love Philadelphia) do not hold a candle to ours.

We can get the recruits here just as long as the school demonstrates their commitment to success and doing things first class.

My guess is most of our kids looked across at the Yale sidelines on Saturday and thought, "gee, so that must be what it's like playing for a school that actually cares about the football team". Over time, all those subtle reminders from Columbia that football is not important and that football is second rate wears down on the players pride and confidence, too.

Sure, we will find a solid candidate who will do anything for their first shot at a head coaching gig but unless the President convincingly gets the word out that success in football is a priority and once and for all walks the walk, we are looking at another rebuilding period, a teaser year or two, followed by disappointment, followed by cries to replace the coach.

They talk about players being coach killers, well, CU has been a coach killer since the days of Lou Little.

I know I am rambling but that tiny window makes it hard to edit the whole post.

At Thu Nov 03, 10:22:00 PM GMT+7, Blogger Jake said...

(Fixing typos)

11:00am poster:

I'm sorry, but you have to get your facts straight:

I never accused Wilson of anything regarding the parkas. I publicly asked what happened. My only comments about the parkas are as follows, and I quote from this post:

"A new issue has arisen over the lack of cold weather gear for the players at Saturday's game or the possibly deliberate decision not to use such gear by the coaching staff or some other authority. No one has publicly taken responsibility or blame for this as of this time. This is despite the fact that the stadium crew did an excellent job getting the field as playable as possible during the game."

Anonymous commenters, just as anonymous as you by the way, blamed this on the football program and that is hardly shame-worthy since it is always the football program's ultimate responsibility to take care of its people.

I was once told that some people have trouble remembering what I write here as opposed to the readers comments. But it really isn't that hard.

I don't know how reliable your version of events is, but I publish just about any comment here that is not vulgar.

But your comments don't change anything: we STILL have not had any public explanation from anyone in the department.

At Thu Nov 03, 10:40:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

RE the parkas: I wrote MDM and asked for an explanation. Her response was that equipment is a coach's decision. She ddi not elaborate on whether we actually had parkas and declined to make them available. I inferred from her response that the coaches decide what equipment they need before the season and that the athletic department goes out and buys it. I dreew the further inference that the coaches did not ask for parkas and thus that they were not purchased. As far as the administration, Lee Bollinger will only respond if there is pressure placed upon him. In addition to writing to Lee, we should also write to those trustees who are graduates of the College and put the direct onus on them to insist to Lee that we make a major commitment to football. We have trustees who went elsewhere to college, and my guess is that most of them couldn't care less about football. So let's concentrate on those trustees who are most likely to care about the College, because they are more likely to respond to an appeal on football. In my own way I have done everything that I can. I have been in the top 5 or 10 members of my Class year in and year out in giving to the College. I intend to make clear in my letters after the season that my continued support will be dependent upon a renewed commitment to fixing our football program. If Bollinger had his way he would combine the College with GS, abolish football or go to D III, cheapen the prestige of a Columbia College diploma, and turn us into the University of Chicago. He needs to be stopped.

At Thu Nov 03, 10:50:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sure, Murphy is a steop up. But in Restic's defense, he did as well as Yovicsin, and a lot better than several other of their predecessors.

At Thu Nov 03, 11:19:00 PM GMT+7, Blogger Jake said...


Thanks for your respectful debate that you bring here.

I really wish more people could just agree to disagree about the merits of the argument pro and con for Wilson and leave it at that.

I also think I owe you an explanation as to why I have written kind articles about Coach Mac.

Simply put, I focus on the man he is today. I admire his recovery from alcohol and the responsibility he takes for his own demise at Columbia.

Not once in my extended conversations with him over the years has he ever even mentioned another person's name in regards to blame for anything that happened while he was at CU.

I'm not saying he is a saint, and he never would either, but I've known too many people who never came to terms with their addictions and certainly never straightened themselves out.

At Thu Nov 03, 11:23:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If -- and it's still an "if" -- the soccer/cross-country explanation for the lack of parkas on Saturday is true, I hope that some of the posters here would stop for a moment to ask why so many quickly and eagerly embraced the idea that Wilson was trying to toughen the players by forcing them to stand in the cold without outerwear?

Perhaps it's possible that it broke Wilson's heart to see his boys standing there freezing, but he is too professional and has too much class to publicly defend himself by throwing the soccer and cross-country programs under the bus. I don't know the truth of course; I'm just saying it's possible. On the other hand, even if the soccer/cross-country teams took SOME of the parkas, I expect that several dozen would still have been available. The soccer/cross-country explanation sounds like a partial excuse at best.

Whatever the specifics, I am troubled by how easily many posters seized upon the opportunity to make Wilson into some kind of Captain Queeg cariacature. (See? I read books, too.)

Look, Wilson's win-loss record speaks for itself. If he is in reality abusing players, that of course must be investigated. But it was shameful the way so many posters almost WANTED Wilson to be abusing players, just so we could satisfy ourselves that he is some kind of arch-villian who needs to be excised.

The man is only a football coach, not that skilled at his defeating his on-field opponents. Let's not make him into something else that he's not.

At Thu Nov 03, 11:28:00 PM GMT+7, Blogger Jake said...


Fair enough, but there have also been too many people willing to testify to what a GREAT guy Norries may or may not be who also really don't know the situation.

I say we keep it to won-loss record and individual PUBLIC decisions that have been made.

On this, I think we should all agree...

At Thu Nov 03, 11:58:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Flicker '87 said...


I love that everyone has their own point of view and I agree there is no need to disrespect anyone because their opinions differ.

Thanks for your explanation about Mac, too. Good for him that he is a changed man, he had a lot of changing to do.

In fairness, we ('87) were Seniors his first season here and many coaches in a rebuilding mode prefer to focus on players who will be around for at least another year.

However, he could have easily been honest and treated us with respect.
Instead, he used and hurt people and made it worse by lying about it. I and many others are here for him when is ready to make amends.

If I can just ask you to hold off from giving him any further credit for breaking the streak because he is most responsible for extending the streak long enough to break the record.

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

Jake, I suppose we can disagree concerning your obligation to clarify factual matters you post on your blog, whether they come from you or the rest of us. Perhaps it might be a service, not an obligation. You appar to have sources others don't, and when they make assumptions that begin to be taken as facts, perhaps we can impose on you to make a call and find out. Blogging, after all, is a form of journalism and done well should incorporate some elements of journalistic ethics - even when it is just creating a forum for quasi-public posts.
I would not be surprised if the accusations of abuse and coaching deficencies turn out to hold as little water as the ones about the parkas. Certainly the one about poor hiring of assistants does on its face. This staff may be the most highly qualified CU has ever had, whether or not you disagree with the offensive play-calling.

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

Coats aside, there is no reason heaters couldn't have been brought in. There are enough construction companies in the area that I am pretty sure they could have gotten them from. That is something that could have been done on Friday. Snow or not they knew then to expect 20-30 mph winds, 100% chance of rain and temperatures in the lower 40s.

Oh yah. I don’t buy for a minute the toughness BS going around. If the equipment was available I am 100% the coaches would have used it. Coats at the last minute I can understand although I it is poor judgment not buying them in the first place. Heaters are easy and I put that one squarely on the AD.

At Fri Nov 04, 12:11:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous John Alex '89 said...

Thanks again, Flicker. Being of the same era, I find your comments reflect my own almost exactly so saving me lots of time.

On parkas, pantyhose, and practice fields, success is it's own and powerful motivation. I think most would happily stand in the cold whilst stomping an opponent or skip to a bus every day in pursuit of a league title.

Finally and for the final time, I am embarrased of and for anyone who makes an accusation or promotes a course of action that may affect another's career or family in a public forum without the courage to put their name on it.

At Fri Nov 04, 12:11:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous John Alex '89 said...

Thanks again, Flicker. Being of the same era, I find your comments reflect my own almost exactly so saving me lots of time.

On parkas, pantyhose, and practice fields, success is it's own and powerful motivation. I think most would happily stand in the cold whilst stomping an opponent or skip to a bus every day in pursuit of a league title.

Finally and for the final time, I am embarrased of and for anyone who makes an accusation or promotes a course of action that may affect another's career or family in a public forum without the courage to put their name on it.

At Fri Nov 04, 12:13:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Mitch '68 said...

Just a quick thought. The fact that CU may be successful in archery or baseball despite commutes or whatever is interesting but of limited use. There is a basic difference between being part of a football team and any other sports experience. With the possible exception of wrestling -- which practices on campus -- football is MUCH more demanding, physically, emotionally, and time-wise.

Again, I'm not saying the commute makes it impossible to field successful teams or recruit great players. It has been done at CU, albeit rarely. I'm just saying that a practice field within walking distance of the campus would be hugely positive. But since there's almost no chance of this happening, it's probably not even worth talking about. How many angels can dance on the head of a pin?

At Fri Nov 04, 12:48:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great story on the parkas. Cross Country team borrowed the football team's parkas? really? think about it...Anyway, no chance we owned parkas for that game and honestly if you think they would have made one bit of difference in whether we would have won that game....I don't. Posters-a lot of all great suggestions. A winning program takes a few things but the no 1 is a plethora of good skill position players in the pipeline. Give me a stud RB ala Jonathan Reese, a good TE, a good QB , some speed at wideout, a good kicker and a beast MLB and you can compete every year for the IVY title.Look at Penn's formula-always have the best running game and cold weather D. We've had very few of these( Brackett, Kennedy) over the last 5 years....

At Fri Nov 04, 12:59:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Flicker '87 said...


Thanks, we all mostly felt the same way back then, didn't we?

Mitch, I agree a practice field near campus would be nice but as you said it is not a necessity or excuse for recruiting or winning.

I want to add that I have got to believe the model of the Campbell Center is not doing justice to what it will ultimately look like, and regardless I am sure the interior will be quite impressive.

If it does wind up looking as strange as the pictures I have seen, perhaps it will gain some renown and notoriety, sort of like what the blue turf has done for Boise state.

gotta find a positive spin.

At Fri Nov 04, 01:42:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think the heaters would have helped keep hands/feet functional.

At Fri Nov 04, 02:09:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mitch, I agree with you that having a practice field within walking distance from campus would eliminate all of the commuting issues, real or perceived. You noted that getting a practice field campus near campus was a long shot, but from what I have heard that is not the case and it only needs the stamp of approval of President Bollinger and the Board of Trustees for it to happen within the next couple of years. Keep in mind that we are not talking about a football stadium, but only a practice field of 100 yards or less. For the life of me I cannot understand why this hasn't happened sooner. Along with the Campbell Athletic Center, a practice field near or on campus would help turnaround Columbia Football overnight. Jake, what do you think about this?

At Fri Nov 04, 03:37:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a former player, and you can ask any other former players from the recent past, the bus ride is no issue. It's nice to have that 20 minute ride to clear your head, and get ready to go to work on the field.

At Fri Nov 04, 03:48:00 AM GMT+7, Blogger cathar said...

A practice field (not at all in the new campus plans as far as I can see) also calls for locker rooms and offices. (At least a few equivalents to Nissen huts.) Is even half-dreaming of this sort of thing worth the trouble?

I've always found "the field is too far away" argument a bit of a red herring. At many other campuses I've visited, often at very big schools indeed, "the field" is often a good ways away. (Fordham is a nice exception which comes right to mind. So is Lafayette. But Rutgers plays in a different town altogether than where the main campus is located, for goodness' sake.))

I would like an honest, realistic recap of what hiring a new coach and assistants will actually cost. That is truly important information.

And I also expect Jake, if Norries is in fact fired, to lean on his sources for detailed info on how and with whom Columbia conducts its search for a new coach. And thus to keep us updated ASAP.

But the parkas issue os getting a bit drawn-out and boring. Had we won, after all, there might even be jeering here that Yale's own parkas hadn't helped much. And we came awfully close to doing just that.

On to Saturday, and also to basketball season.

At Fri Nov 04, 03:50:00 AM GMT+7, Blogger cathar said...

Also, since this is the Ivy League, there may be great, seething faculty resentment if a new coach in any sport is in fact paid significantly more than tenured, "star" professors." This isn't Alabama, Clemson or LSU where alumni have different priorities and the faculty knows its place, after all.

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

i can't believe that I just read all the bullshit on this blog.
You all need to get a life!!

At Sat Nov 05, 01:02:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Inwood Tiger said...

re: a closer practice field. Would it make sense to bus over to Randall's Island and the many fields there (or even Icahn Stadium)? Baker is close by subway or car, but not by bus and not by any mode at rush hour. Maybe shooting east onto the Triboro and then Randall's would be more manageable?

At Sat Nov 05, 06:05:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jake did u ever play football?

At Sat Nov 05, 09:20:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don Brown former UMass HC (FCS national champion runner ups), NU HC (turned a loser into Atlantic 10 champs in 3 years), previous DC at Maryland and current DC at UConn would win an IVY championship within 3 years - down side is Brown looking for FBS HC spot so need to lock him up contractually as once turnaround done would be looking to climb the HC ladder...

At Mon Nov 07, 01:10:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don Brown former UMass HC (FCS national champion runner ups), NU HC (turned a loser into Atlantic 10 champs in 3 years), previous DC at Maryland and current DC at UConn would win an IVY championship within 3 years - down side is Brown looking for FBS HC spot so need to lock him up contractually as once turnaround done would be looking to climb the HC ladder...


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