Saturday, January 21, 2012

Stunning News & Mangurian Cracks Down

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Chuck Dibilio

We'll get back to all the news of the day and fun in a moment, but a stunning story from Princeton really requires everyone's attention right now.

The Ivy League's Rookie of the Year Chuck Dibilio has suffered a stroke.

That's not a misprint.

A 19-year-old superior athlete has suffered a stroke.

This is a terrible story, but the good news is Chuck is concious and starting to recover.

You can bet that whatever caused this problem is going to be looked at closely by the league.

It's a terrible deja vu for the Princeton program which was hit hard by the life-threatening anemia that struck Jordan Culbreath 2 1/2 years ago.

Like Dibilio, Culbreath was a 1,000 yard rusher in this age of hardly any 1,000 yard rushers in the Ivies.

We certainly hope Chuck recovers fully.

Adams Turns it Around!

3-Time 1st Team All Ivy OL Jeff Adams has improved in a big way as he prepares for today's East-West Shrine Game.

The same scouts who panned Jeff early this week had  this to say about him yesterday, including this:

"He was stoning defenders in the Wednesday practice and looked like a solid mid-round developmental prospect."

Good luck Jeff!

Back to Recruiting

I popped him in the comments section yesterday, but we do have confirmation on a 12th incoming freshman player.

He's Fort Hamilton High School's Oluwatoba Akinleye,  a 6-1, 215 pound DE who seems like he's the perfect size to play linebacker in the Ivies in the mold of our current rising senior Joshua Martin.

I'm sure Akinleye isn't really the first Fort Hamilton HS player to join the Columbia football program, but it's been at least 43 years since anyone from that school has come here. So Akinleye is a trailblazer
either way.

Here's his highlight reel: 

The stat that really stands out for Akinleye is total sacks from last season: 16!

He was also a 2nd Team All New York State Player at DE.

I've written for years just how important it is for Columbia to once again cultivate a local New York City star like it did in the days when schools like Stuyvesant pumped out Ivy-ready players.

I see Akinleye as a good gamble. He has great potential to get even better with a real football program and professional coaches.

The fact that he had offers from scholarship schools like Fordham and Stony Brook is another good sign.

So here is our list of 12 publicly known incoming freshmen for the class of 2016

1. Oluwatoba "Toba" Akinleye DE 6-1, 215 lbs. Fort Hamilton HS, Brooklyn. NY
2. Jacob Ardron LB 6-1, 230 lbs. Diamond Ranch HS, Pomona, CA
3.Chris Cicilioni G/DE 6-2, 225 lbs. Valley View HS, Scranton, PA
4. Mark Cieslak LB 5-11, 235 lbs. St. Joseph's HS, Montvale, NJ
5. Andrew Dobitsch, WR 5-11 180 lbs. Northern Valley HS Tappan, NJ
6. Michael Gerst, RB 5-10 190 lbs. Bergen Catholic Bergen County, NJ
7. Kevin McCarthy, S 6-1 200 lbs. Hingham, HS Hingham. MA
8. Cameron Molina, RB/LB 5-10, 185 lbs. Tuscarora HS, Leesburg, VA
9.. Daren Napier DT 6-4 275 lbs. St. John's HS Houston, TX
10. Logan Scott QB 6-2 180 lbs. Chaminade HS West Hills, CA
11. Austin Stock, C 6-3 270 lbs. Solon HS Solon, OH

12. Mike Zunica, FB 6-1 215 lbs. St. Rita HS, Chicago, IL

The Mangurian Way

Dalen Cuff's question to Coach Mangurian about getting a handle on the huge number of players in the program was an interesting part of the athletic department's newly posted interview with the new coach.

It's interesting because while I think Dalen was just using that as a throwaway question, I can now report that the situation he asked about is the #1 issue inside the program right now.

Mangurian is openly wondering if a 100+ player roster is manageable or even makes sense when 30 or so freshmen are coming in this summer.

The new number Mangurian is throwing around 60! In other words, he wants to have a total of 60, (okay maybe 65), non-freshmen on the roster going forward.

The number of players leaving the team is now up to five, (I reported four yesterday), and they all left after a particularly rough workout at 5am yesterday.

Mangurian is doing three-time a week sessions right now and that should do the trick as far as roster dwindling is concerned.

Toughness will be the norm in practice this spring and during training camp.

"Brutal" might be the better word.

But I have also learned that Mangurian has decided to ease the hitting in practices during the actual season.

Meanwhile, the weight lifting and conditioning program WILL change, probably radically, under Mangurian... but just how it will change is yet to be determined.

That would be a welcome change for the most part as it seems like in-season injuries really hit Columbia more than our Ivy opponents in the Norries Wilson era.

But the changes will certainly not stop there. Mangurian is taking the revamping of the program seriously and will look at the entire training regimen and get some outside consulting help in the evaluation process.

This will be a developing story over the coming months, but hopefully we'll get some solid idea of where Mangurian will go with this before the spring game in April.

I just want to warn Columbia fans that they should not necessarily panic when and if they see the roster start to shrink in the coming weeks and months.

Once again, the comparisons with former Head Coach Jim Garrett come to mind.

Garrett wanted to work with a smaller roster of the best players and expect only excellence all the way.
It was actually easier mathematically for Garrett because freshmen could not play in his day and he was already dealing with just about 55 or 60 returning varsity players anyway.

But because we didn't have spring practice back then, Garrett was forced to do his "paring" during the season. The result was the worst of the 0-10 seasons during The Streak.

Thankfully, Mangurian has a good seven months until training camp and another eight months before the actual season to get the roster where he wants it to be. It would be really nice if he is able to get the players he wants out without singling out punters or calling anyone a "drug addicted loser."

As fans, I think we should be excited about this new commitment to excellence.

So the question is: when all this goes down, will the adminstration be able to handle it?

Let's hope so, because the Sovern-Cole regime of the 1980's couldn't handle Garrett and his commitment to excellence. The only people who could were the top players on that team like Matt Sodl '88.

They still tell me how Garrett had the program on the right track.

The low attrition rate under the Wilson regime was generally a good thing, but obviously it didn't produce any winning seasons.

Mangurian is taking a gamble, going with a leaner and meaner team is definitely not something Columbia has INTENTIONALLY done before.

But not taking anything as a given and being willing to shake it all up is something Mangurian promised us and he's following through already.


RLB said...

Wasn't Garrett fired because of his comment that the Lions were addicted to losing as a user is to drugs?

WOF said...

Just to clarify, Coach Garrett said that the team was addicted to losing, much like a drug addict or alcoholic reaches for their vice when adversity strikes. At least that is what he told us. He was also frustrated with Murph because he wanted him to be more vocal, Murph was a very talented athlete and QB but he was very quiet and demur.

Old Lion said...

Things got so bad under Garrett that Al Paul had to attend practices toward the end of the season. Had we held onto our 17 point lead over Harvard in his first game, the fate of the season and Columbia football would have been different. Much different. But there are two sides to the Garrett story. Some people really questioned his stability.

WOF said...

I agree about the Harvard loss, had we not fallen apart, and we really fell apart, Garrett would have retired here and we'd have won multiple championships. Coach Garrett was indeed a little off his rocker but he knew football, he knew how to recruit and he knew how to motivate.

RedTiger61 said...

Cornell lost tonite to the Columbia basketball team .... I took a look at the Cornell roster and was surprised at the background of one of their players ... Drew Ferry .... I went on the Cornell site to see if he was related to Danny Ferry, ex-Duke player .... he wasn't !!! .... however I was surprised at how he got to the Big Red .... he started off at Valpariso (IN), then played his sophmore year at Palm Beach State .... THEN he transferred to Cornell and enrolled in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences .... and we have to compete against this kind of recruiting !!!

Old Lion said...

Cornell recruiting has been the dirty little secret of Ivy football and basketball for years. There are only two Ivy schools at Cornell, arts and sciences and engineering. The rest of Cornell is a state school, and almost all of their football and basketball players are shunted there.