Saturday, November 24, 2012

Report Cards; Defense

There's no denying the Columbia defense truly did improve in 2012. In fact, when one really looks at how much the offense did to contribute to opponent scores, the improvement is even more impressive.

First, there are the stats. The Lions allowed fewer points, fewer passing yards, fewer rushing yards, held opponents to a lower completion percentage, intercepted more passes and netted more sacks.

Second, there were also great individual performances especially from Zach Olinger, Josh Martin, and Mike Waller. 

The Lion D turned in herculean efforts in the wins over Marist and Cornell, and gave Columbia every chance to win the game against Fordham they eventually dropped. And in the losses to Penn and Dartmouth, the defense only faltered after more than 3 1/2 quarters of stellar play that should have been enough to give Columbia more comfortable leads.

Finally, in the debacle 69-0 loss against Harvard, the Crimson scored five touchdowns off turnovers.

I thought the hiring of Kevin Lempa as defensive coordinator was the best news of the 2011-2012 offseason and I stand by that assessment. If he stays on the staff, the improvement will continue.

Our very young linebackers coach Mike Cooke did a great job with that unit and may only get better with more experience.

But now, let's go position by position:

Defensive Line: B

After the first two games, this unit looked like it was in for an "A" season. But after Seyi Adebayo was lost for the season during the Fordham game, there was a clear dropoff in quality. Columbia still gave up too many rushing yards and was consistent enough in the pass rush. But the improvement in this group was clear compared to 2011, and there is a lot of returning talent coming back in 2013 if Adebayo takes a 5th year, Nick Melka recovers from the injury that sidelined him almost all season, and players like Niko Padilla, Chad Washington and Wells Childress continue to improve.And don't sleep on Brooklyn's Toba Akinleye, who started to make a decent impact towards the end of the season.

Linebackers: A

When the top three tacklers on your football team are your three starting linebackers, that says a lot. Olinger, Waller and Murphy each put in their best seasons of their respective careers. Olinger returns in 2013, but Waller and Murphy are graduating. Other than Brian East, there weren't a lot of backup LB's who stood out, but it was hard to get on the field considering the way the starters were playing.

Secondary: C-

Inconsistency really plagued this group. There were games were players like freshman Travis Reim starred, and games where he was burned in coverage. There were games were the safeties like junior Marquel Carter was making play after play, and games where tackles were missed. Lempa may have bitten off more than he could chew by overseeing this unit in addition to being the overall defensive coordinator.

Overall Grade: C

Last year's defense was basically an F, so this is a true improvement. But had this group been able to play B or even B- level football in 2012, we would have seen one or even two more wins.


Anonymous said...

Jake I am a bit surpised by the comment you made yesterday regarding the comparison of the 2 students. Not fair of you Jake, what about the 17 and 18 year old whose parents could not afford tutors for the SAT, and whose son had to study to get that high score (after maybe taking it 3 or 4 times. Whose son may have had to work the entire school year to pay for any extra curricular school activity and any social life he may have had, if any. Not a good comparison Jake and very unfair.

Anonymous said...

The Lions Defence had 10 interceptions & 14 fumble recoveries 8 of which were forced. My question is this: out of the 24 turnovers caused by the Lion defense how many of these 24 turnovers resulted in a score? TIA

oldlion said...

I agree with the statement that Jake is being unfair to those hardworking 17 and 18 year old College applicants whose parents couldn't afford SAT prep scores etc. I also think it is particularly unfair to our current players, a fair number of whom are receiving need based financial aid. And call me a dinosaur, but I believe that one sign of the excellence of an undergraduate school is difficulty of admission. If we start using GS to admit players who could not get into the College for the primary purpose of adding talent to our roster, this would make a mockery of the Ivy League banding system for athletic admissions. I think this regime can win without cutting corners on admissions.

Jake said...

The college does not allow people over 21 to apply. That's unfair and stupid considering the costs and the maturity of 99% of people under 21. It is to Columbia's great credit that it has GS and allows true adults to get a top education. Columbia will never and should never change the older age requirements for GS students. So we are talking about getting older players and military vets a chance to get a degree and to play college sports. This is something that would set Columbia apart in a GOOD way. Compare that to the Wharton deal Bagnoli uses at Penn, the pass/fail deal Brown uses to keep people eligible and the Ag and Hotel School entry paths at Cornell.

Anonymous said...

How does playing GS students who have higher AIs than the COLLEGE non-athlete diversity admits make a mockery of the banding system? How can anyone have a problem with a GS football player with a higher AI than the College diversity admits without having a problem with diversity? I may be a dinosaur but I know that (at least at Columbia) that train left the station a long time ago.

Include GS numbers in the AI. Admit 18-year-olds to GS. If they can meet the AI requirements and play football, put them in a uniform.

Anonymous said...

where can u find the future schedules?

Anonymous said...

The admissions standards for athletes were a mockery once CU and Penn were given some slack to either get their athletic programs in order or pick academia...penn went one way and CU another, but CU. Still got a lower index level if memory serves me correctly.
Cornell is like a state school and perhaps we shouldn't hold ourselves to such low levels, but that is our competition.
If a kid is smart and meets the standards why shouldn't he/she be given the opportunity? My nephew served and he came back and is 21 and is going to school; you would deny him the opportunity? Seriously, these are the guys you want and btw they defended you in a war. Oh, but he would be GS and that is just a no no for the UNIVERSITY. During the world wars lots of kids came back and played sports, you think Fordhams teams during those days were only 18 year olds that were all smart?

#1 Lion said...

Simply put, Mangurrian needs all the help that he can get, and this is LEGAL!!! The only way Mangurrian would reject these guys is if their body mass index was not up to his standards... Let's just get 3-4 guys per year. Again, it doesn't go against our CC "ask". Why the heck not?

Anonymous said...

Defensive Leaders in causing turnovers:

1. Columbia 24
2. Cornell 19
3. Harvard 18
Princeton 18
5. Brown 17
6. Penn 16
7. Dartmouth 15
8. Yale 13

Offensive Turnovers

1. Yale 27 -14
2. Columbia 20 +4
3. Cornell 20 -1
4. Princeton 19 -1
5. Brown 18 -1
6. Penn 15 +1
7. Harvard 14 +4
1. Dartmouth 10 +5

I give our overall defense an A-, with the DL A-, Defensive Backs B+, and Linebackers an A based on the above statistics only.

Anonymous said...

Columbia Players that ended up in the Top 10 of all Ivy League Players in Total Defensive Statistics:

Ivy League Top 10

Total Tackles: Ollinger / Waller
Total Sacks: Martin /Patterson
Tackles for loss: Martin/Patterson
Passes Defended: Waller
Interceptions: Ollinger / Waller
Forced Fumbles: Waller

Anonymous said...

Sorry, I forgot to add the fumble recovery category for the top 10 in Ivy League denfensive statistics. So we can now add 2 more Lions to that category:

East / Murphy
Very impressive.

Anonymous said...

Here's the current Columbia Roster Numbers.

Freshman: 28
Sophs: 22
Juniors: 20
Graduating Seniors: 23

oldlion said...

Interesting tweet by Coach M on how, after watching and listening all weekend he is convinced we are heading I the right direction. Any Delphic oracle out there who can figure out the reference?

#1 Lion said...

Anonymous - Giving the Defense an "A-"? Grading he DBs a "B+"??? You either are on a great deal of medication, or need to be medicated! are you serious with the post? Jake please filter moronic, nonsensical posts like that. Did you see ANY of he games his year?

OldLion... Cannot begin to comprehend what he was saying??? At least Norries was honest about all of the shortcomings! Mangurrian just doesn't get it???

Anonymous said...

Hey #1Lion Mangurian does get it and you don't. On average it takes 3 years for a new coach & system to turn a program around. Mangurian knows what he's doing and you'll be eating those words sooner than you think. Just ask Coach Brian Kelly from ND.

Anonymous said...

people want to play football at notre dame, it is easy to recruit there, and oh by the way the senior class at ND, which is leading the charge, was recruited by weiss not kelly. being able to win with other players is a good coach, being able to recruit and win is a great coach. i would hold off on hoisting Mangurian above your shoulders until we see some better results Anonymous.
i also didnt see the text book which states 3 years is the time it takes to turn a program around, can somebody forward that to me at

oldlion said...

What I don't understand is why the people who blog here, all of whom presumably want the program to succeed under ampere, are not more supportive of his efforts to date. When I saw the Princeton game I saw a talent gap. By the time I saw this team play against Penn, Dartmouth, Yale and Cornell I thought we,had begun to make strides with the talent we had. The biggest weakness we had, on the OL, could not be masked against Harvard and Brown. So Pete has done a pretty good job winning three games with at least one profound weakness.

oldlion said...

Pardon the spell check typo. Somehow Mangurian turned out to be ampere.

Anonymous said...

Almost his whole starting defense was comprised of 7 seniors, Martin,Murphy,Adebayo,Sommers,
Waller,Deveau,& Lee then when Adebayo got injured he was replaced by Patterson another senior. This tells me that if Mangurian felt you were the best player for that position you got the start and it didn't matter what year you were in. Mangurian is creating an environment of competition amongst his players and that's a good start. Competition is good for the soul and makes those who want to play work harder. Mangurian will make Columbia a winning program and change the culture from doubters to believers. Watch and see in the years that follow.

oldlion said...

Outstanding new blog by Pete on Wordpress. It is well worth reading.

WOF said...

Yes it is! it also seems to answer a lot of the questions we all were asking during the season.