Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Mysteries of the Ivy League

After two games, some would say the real season begins this Saturday with the annual Ivy League opener against Princeton.

As much as we've learned about Columbia and all the other Ivy teams in the last two weeks, the real lessons don't kick in until everyone's faced an Ivy opponent.

Consider what we thought we knew about Harvard last week before they played Brown. They looked like they were underachieving and listless after a comeback win over an over-matched U. San Diego team.

Now we know the Crimson are as powerful as predicted in preseason, and maybe even more.

Last week, we thought Cornell's defense was not at all improved and maybe even worse after the Big Red fell to Fordham in a shootout in the Bronx.

Now we know Cornell really has what it takes to crush lesser Ivy opponents like Yale after that 45-6 thrashing of the Elis.

Right now for Columbia, it sure looks like the Lions are not a good red zone offense, and thus can't expect a much improved defense to help them win too many more games than the one they already have under their belts.

Princeton looks like it has a mostly punchless offense with a good overall defense that also can't be expected to overcome the hole the offense will put it in week after week.

But looks can be deceiving.

We know Columbia has some emerging and dangerous offensive weapons like RB Marcorus Garrett and WR Isaiah Garrett. We know there's a lot better and consistent QB play just dying to get out of Sean Brackett.

We also know some top players like WR Jake Wanamaker and DL Nick Melka have been injured and are set to return this week.

But the whole point is we DON'T KNOW about Ivy teams until they play each other. This weekend really is a reboot on the whole season, and luckily for Columbia the Lions already have a win in their pockets and they know they have what it takes to win.

Ivy Honor Roll

As the athletic department often points out, the Ivy honor roll is kind of a rubber stamp of the names each school submits to the League. (The winners of the weekly awards have to undergo a more arduous process).

But it was great to see Zach Olinger and Garrett get mentioned for their super games against Fordham.

One added note about each of them: 1) Olinger got right back up after what looked like a really tough hit late in the game and made a few more tackles.  2) Garrett wasn't one of the players who Head Coach Pete Mangurian ordered to lose lots of weight, but his conditioning is certainly impressive. He's run an identical 30 times in both games and he looks just as energetic in the fourth quarter as he does in the first.

Coach's Take

Be sure to get a look at Coach Mangurian's analysis of the Fordham game which he has thankfully made public to all. In the past, these kinds of recaps were confined to a private list.

Weather Issue?

It's really too early to get worried, but right now rain is forecast for New York City this Saturday. But I don't really take these weekend reports seriously until Thursday when they tend to change.


Anonymous said...

Is it realistic to think Garrett can sustain a 30 carries per game workload? And is it realistic to think Brackett can get back to his 2010 passing level after 12 games of sub-50% accuracy?

DOC said...

I think it would be hard for Garrett to run 30 times a game for an entire season. Great if it happened because that would mean Columbia was having a lot of success running the ball! On the other hand I believe we will see better things out of Brackett as he develops more familiarity with his receivers, and as they learn how to adjust to blitzes and scrambles.

Anonymous said...

Of course, we do not need to worry about executing in the red zone if our guys all did what Lou DiNovo accomplished last week, namely running thru the red zone into the end zone. Seems likely that with all our weapons, we should be able to score more points this Saturday.

Anonymous said...

It's difficult for any running back to sustain a streak of 30 carries per game, but Garrett certainly appears to have the strength and skills level to do that. that scapability. However, I would assume that isn't going to happen, because the Lions are likely to get some major contributions from the other running backs.

oldlion said...

Garrett is much more accurate when he throws on the run and from the option. The coaches will figure it out.

Anonymous said...

Did you mean Brackett?

oldlion said...

Yes. Thanks.