Friday, November 9, 2012

Senior Moments

Every year before the Senior Day game, I try to write a little something about each and every graduating player about to take the field at Wien Stadium for the final time.

This year, the process will be even more bittersweet because of how some of the seniors lost their spots on the depth chart as a result of the coaching change. It's especially important to me to make sure that they are not forgotten. 

The saddest thing about this annual exercise is that I always have to make the point that these players deserved better. Yes, they will most likely succeed wonderfully in life and in all the things that matter more than football, but I still say it's a shame that the class of 2013 didn't see more wins... A LOT more wins. 

And I also want to make my annual apology to the few seniors I will name below that I don't know enough about to truly give them their full due. Even my obsessive following of the team leaves gaps here and there and the equally-obsessive secrecy about many of players instituted by the athletic department and coaching staffs does not help. I ask those players' forgiveness.

Matt Bocci

The DB from Atherton, CA hasn't had the playing time to really make a crack on the stat sheets. And his 2010 injury didn't help. But he stuck with the program in the most difficult hours and looked like he was always at home despite being 3,000 from his West Coast roots.

Ian Cummins 

The last existing link to what was once a very healthy pipeline from the super HS Saint Xavier in Cincinnati. Cummins has switched to DB from WR this season but to me, the most memorable moment in his career HAS to be the diving catch he made on the winning drive against Cornell in 2010. If he doesn't make that catch, the Lions lose that game. 

Brian DeVeau

The ultimate team player who switched from DB to WR back to DB again for the sake of the program. Has had an up and down season, but he keeps getting into the games which shows just how much the coaches still rely on him. My favorite DeVeau moment is the nifty run after the catch for a TD that he made as a WR in the 2010 Princeton game. It turned out to be one of the Columbia record-tying 5 TD passes thrown by Sean Brackett that day.

Nick Gerst

Speedy runner from the NJ powerhouse Bergen Catholic was a fan favorite from day one. The best moment in his Lion career has to be the nice TD run he made against Towson in week two of 2010. You can watch it right here: 

Greg Guttas

Strong-legged kicker/punter who was thrown directly into the fire as a freshman in 2009 when the veteran Lion kickers left the team. Had some good punts, but my favorite Guttas memory was the 2009 Princeton game when he hit a short FG near the end of the first half. It was such a memorable kick because in the previous two games, it really looked like Columbia might never make a decent kick again! The Lions went on to win that game 38-0. 

Andrew Heinrich

This QB transfer from BU, (yes, BU!), had to have known he would probably never see the field with the varsity when he came to Columbia. But for love of the game he has stayed with the team. You gotta admire that.

Alec Kosminskas

Big tough Chicago-area O-lineman hasn't been allowed to really contribute this year. But he was a factor the previous two seasons and has a great future guaranteed. 

Devan Luster

One of many Boston-area players in this class, this LB is finally getting some playing time this year and had made some good tackles.

Dean Perfetti

When the kicking situation continued to suffer in 2009, Perfetti trotted on over from the soccer team to help the Lions on the gridiron. His successful FG kick in the Cornell game in Ithaca in 2009 was a key confidence booster in that thrilling 30-20 win.

Cameron Ross

Local, (Darien, CT), product who we really never got much of a chance to know at WR. Did grab one pass in his varsity career.

Robert Sigmon

Another WR who got a little lost in the shuffle over the years. But he's still here and that says loads about him.

Christopher Thomas

This DB didn't get much playing time over the years, but he did have one shining moment I'll never forget. In the 2011 Spring Game, he made a very nice play to pick off a  pass and return it for a pick six. It was actually the winning margin in the game.

Andrew Weiss

Nimble QB who finally got his chance to hit the field in the Dartmouth game last year and was the only bright spot in that contest for Columbia. Got passed over on the depth chart this year by the freshmen QB's.

Shad Sommers

Has saved his best for last, getting into the regular rotation along the defensive line. Another one of the Boston-area guys in the class, Sommers currently has a solid 15 tackles this season.

Will Patterson

A very rare South Carolina-to-Columbia product, this speedy DE broke onto the radar in the Cornell game in 2009 with a key sack. He was quiet in 2010 and 2011, but got back into the swing this year and currently has 27 tackles, eight for a loss and three sacks. Patterson's made a number of key tackles this season and one can only wonder what kept him off the field so much in his sophomore and junior years. 

Greg Lee

Big defensive tackle who is also saving his best for last. This year so far he has 26 tackles, including three and a half sacks. His best moment has to be the sack he made against Yale to end the game and seal the CU win two weeks ago.

Scott Ward

Two-time All Ivy awardee who most people say is the definitely the best O-lineman on the team. Hard worker who has battled through some injuries to stay on the field. 

Mike Waller

Quiet for his first two years, Waller burst into action last season and became one of the team leaders at LB. This year he has become a real star and played key roles in both Columbia wins so far in 2012. Mike really exemplifies everything we want in a Lion. I guess my best memory of Mike has to be the fumble he forced to give Columbia their miraculous chance to beat Yale two weeks ago. And they did win it thanks to him! 

Ryan Murphy

Extremely fast LB who is one of the best pass rushing specialists in Columbia history. He absolutely made the big comeback win over Brown last season possible with some big sacks on back to back Bear possessions. That's something no one should forget about Ryan. 

Josh Martin

Super-talented DE/LB who has made a great impact on the CU defense since his sophomore year. Who could forget how he dominated the line of scrimmage on down after down in the 2010 back to back wins over Towson and Princeton? He's been a bit quieter on the stat sheet this year than a lot of us expected, but he's still a force. 

Sean Brackett

On a late October day in 2009, Jerry Recco gave me a call to say that freshman Sean Brackett was going to get the start in the Yale game that Saturday. 

It was exciting news, and things got even more exciting when he took the field and his passing and quick running skills became evident right off the bat.

Columbia lost that game in crushing fashion, but Brackett ended up winning two of his four starts that freshman year. In 2010, he made a real assault on the record books early in the season and led an emotional win over Cornell in week 9 with an injured shoulder. 

His final two seasons have been more erratic, probably mostly because of injuries and the change in offensive strategies. But he's still a talented player that opposing teams fear. His best game this year was a brilliant performance against Yale that secured a win against his very first foe at last. 

Hopefully tomorrow, he'll reprise his winning performance against Cornell that was so thrilling in 2010. 

Are They Really Gone????

Two key seniors, injured earlier this year, may NOT be saying goodbye tomorrow.  Seyi Adebayo and Steven Grassa should be eligible for 5th year status if they so choose. They are both such talented players that I hope they do come back in 2013.  


Anonymous said...

Congrats, best wishes and thankyou to all the seniors. Lead your team on to victory tomorrow.
Go Lions

Anonymous said...

Great Victory today by our Columbia Lions!!!!!!!!!