Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Tuesday Quick Hits

Word of mouth about Nottingham is getting around 

-So put this in the “Encouraging News” file: a current student told me yesterday that not only are the football players excited about QB transfer Brett Nottingham coming to the Lions this fall, but so are the athletes from the other teams and so are many of the NON-athletes on campus! Does this mean we’ll see better attendance for the Columbia football games this fall? Well, it won’t hurt. I’ll predict right now that if Nottingham has a solid game or better in the season opener against Fordham and Columbia comes away with a win, we’ll see a decent turnout for the home opener in week 2 against Monmouth.

-Apparently, the athletes at Columbia are beginning to refer to the non-athletes on campus as "reggies," as in "regular student." So, can I now say that some of the "reggies" are excited about Brett Nottingham?

-Right now, CU Baseball’s Joey Falcone is getting some good exposure as a U.S. war veteran who is taking advantage of some of Columbia’s unique outreach and financial aid for vets. Hopefully, the football team will get one or two players with similar backgrounds very soon. I am hearing that another Ivy school might have a war veteran joining its football team this fall, but it’s not confirmed yet.

-Perhaps today’s weekly official update on football from the athletic department will give us a few more details on what to expect Saturday night for the end of spring practice. It does look like the weather will be nice and it should be a fun day of baseball morphing into a night of football.

-Is it just me or am I the only one who doesn’t understand why no member of our excellent baseball team is a finalist for the Maniatty Award?

Monday, April 29, 2013


Chiefs GM John Dorsey likes those Ivy Players

First off, you could say that this Satuday is going to be a HUGE day for Columbia sports.

The first game of the Ivy League Championship Baseball Series begins at noon at Satow Stadium.  Game two –which by definition will be an elimination game in the best of three series – will begin shortly after game one.

And after the baseball games, the football team will officially wrap up the spring football practice with a scrimmage. Head Coach Pete Mangurian says the scrimmage will begin at 6pm or 7pm depending on the time baseball ends.

Right now, the forecast is calling for a clear, but chilly day for early May with temps in the low 60’s.

Martin and the Chiefs

I think it’s safe to say that Kansas City Chiefs General Manager John Dorsey and new Head Coach Andy Reid have a healthy respect for Ivy League players. The Chiefs picked Princeton standout Mike Catapano in the 7th round and later signed Columbia All Ivy star Joshua Martin as a free agent. In fact, there’s a good chance Catapano and Martin will be in direct competition for the same spot on the roster at linebacker.

Dorsey was a star player for UConn when the Huskies were a Division I-AA team. So he knows the value of many of the diamonds in the rough at our level of football. That may be at the root of these choices, but oddly the Chiefs were often a fairly regular landing spot for a number of Ivy football players well before Dorsey joined the organization this year.

Hopefully, Martin will get a good chance to make the team and advance the fame of the Columbia program in areas of the country where we’re not known.

It was generally a good draft for the Ivies with three players taken. JC Tretter of Cornell went in the 4th round, as did Harvard’s H-back extraordinaire Kyle Juszczyk, (okay NFL announcers, he’s YOUR pronunciation challenge now!),  also going in the 4th round before Catapano.

I have to think it was Martin’s dominant game against Cornell in November, when he repeatedly pummeled and finally hurt QB Jeff Mathews, that sealed the deal for his NFL chances. If Mathews lives up to the expectations that he will soon play in the NFL as well, (he’s a rising senior this year), then maybe Martin will get a chance to sack him again!
Martin is the kind of Ivy player most likely to make a splash in the NFL. Since most of the guys likely to be drafted by the NFL are grabbed up by the BCS programs out of high school, it's late bloomers like Martin who often fall into the Ivy schools' lap while they're still under the radar. Give the University of Wyoming credit though, because recruiters there DID recognize Martin's potential and they did offer him a scholarship which he accepted... before changing his mind and coming to Columbia. 

The most successful former Columbian in the NFL in recent decades, Marcellus Wiley, followed a similar path. He came into the Ivies as a scrawny RB, got bigger and then made the switch to the D-line. After that, he was NFL draft material in a big way and the Bills took him in the 2nd round. 

Meanwhile, Sean Brackett is looking for a shot at playing in the Arena Football League or in Canada. He could also head to Europe and follow the path Alex Gross ’11 paved two years ago. I’d love to see Brackett in the AFL. It could be the perfect venue for his skills. 

Friday, April 26, 2013


Joey Falcone just made his old man proud!

Falcone the Hero!

Just a quick update on baseball where the Lions have just clinched at least a tie for the Gehrig Division title with a 3-2 win in game 1 of a twinbill vs. Penn.

Joey Falcone, who I wrote about last week, hit the walk-off 2-run homer to win it.

I was watching the game on SideLion Pass, something all CU sports fans should sign up for.

Game 2 starts at about 3:40pm and so you've got time to sign up!


Speaking of watching Ivy sports online, the league announced today that it's going to provide online access to all eight schools' sporting events from one site.

The announcement here explains it all.

I see this as a very good development and one that I hope will encourage more teams to broadcast their games.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

A Tale of Two Springs

The master at work

As spring practice continues, the biggest sports story on campus continues to be the impressive play of the baseball team which continues to hold 1st place in the Gehrig Division and the overall lead in the Ivy League.

The final weekend of regular season play is just ahead of us and Columbia will play a four game series vs. Penn with two games at home and two in Philadelphia. If the Lions can hold their divisional and league leads, they will host the Ivy League Championship series at home the following weekend.

I’ve written about Head Coach Brett Boretti many times before. It’s clear he’s the best coach in the Columbia sports program , but now I think it’s become clear he’s the best coach of any sport Columbia has seen in decades.

Make no mistake, in Boretti we are dealing with a Jack Rohan-level genius. And he has the potential to be a Lou Little-like figure if he sticks around.

Almost everything the other major sports teams at Columbia have not been able to do since the 1950’s, Boretti and the baseball team have done over the last eight years. Baseball is a consistent contender, doesn’t collapse when top players graduate, and sticks to the fundamentals to win.

One can only hope that Boretti is being given the opportunity to pass on his knowledge to the other coaches in the Columbia program.

Spring Endings

We’re 11 days away from the final spring practice session on May 4th. Clearly, there will be no “spring game” this year, but I still hope the final session will be open to the fans and we’ll get to see some situational scrimmages. We may get an update on that later today.

It will be hard for non-coaches to really learn much from whatever we get to see that day, but I will be looking out for who is obviously injured and hoping I don’t see any.

And it also will be a good idea to check out the stands as some of the incoming freshmen and even transfer QB Brett Nottingham may be among the spectators.

The added bonus is that May 4th date could also be the day that Columbia hosts games 1 and 2 of the Ivy League Baseball Championship if the Lions hold their division and league leads.

That would make May 4th a very special day indeed.

Stay tuned.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Stars & Stripes

For how many years have I been urging the football program and Columbia athletics in general to make a strong push for Iraq and Afghan war vets who excelled at a sport in high school?

I’ll answer that for you: it’s been at least five years.

So you know that I was overjoyed to see this piece this piece in the Columbia Spectator today about 26-year-old baseball sophomore star Joey Falcone.

In addition to the obvious quality of the piece in general, the highlights for me are the facts that Falcone is just the kind of veteran I have wanted to see in more abundance at CU in athletics or non-athletics for that matter.

To the CU administration’s credit, Columbia was a charter participant in a matching funds program that basically provides free tuition to all our veterans who attend GS. In the recruiting wars, Head Coach Pete Mangurian has said publicly that the big difference in the Ivies now is the financial aid competition between the schools. So I’d say the “free tuition no matter what” offer to veteran/athletes is hard to beat, no?

GS is also the key route since the College, Engineering and Barnard don’t accept freshman applicants who are over 21, (that’s a maddening STUPID policy by the way, but that’s grist for another blog post).

Admittedly, we’re not talking about a huge number of eligible football players who meet this criteria year after year. But that’s fine. Just one player like this every couple of years would make a great statement, provide a whole new source of team leadership, and oh yeah… help us WIN like the baseball team is currently doing.

I’d like to see one of the assistant coaches put in charge of trying to identify 3-4 armed forces veterans every year for football. What a credit to everyone involved in the football program it would be if CU suddenly established this kind of pipeline!

Let’s get this done. Baseball is doing it. So can football. 

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Getting it All

John Witkowski was a master, and yet he won only three games for CU

Make sure you “friend” the Columbia football page on Facebook so you can see a series of short videos from spring practice that are posted today. This is another great development to increase a connection with the fans.

I have to acknowledge that we did get some explanation from Head Coach Pete Mangurian about the weights of the players, especially the offensive linemen. It’s good that we’re hearing something about this burning question and it’s even better than it appears that the line will be significantly bigger than the current average O-line weight of 253 lbs.

I hate to make it sound like team weight is my, or anyone else’s, #1 concern. The real concern is overall team quality. As I have written many times, the schedule for 2013 is BRUTAL. Columbia will have to be a better team this year just to match last year’s 2012 record. There is much work to do and little time for a slow learning curve.

It may not seem fair to say it,  but much of the season rides on Brett Nottingham. The one area where Columbia truly has an excess in talent and drive is at the wide receiver position. Nottingham needs to tap into that talent and make the Lions on offense the kind of team Cornell was in 2011. If he can do that, Columbia has a top RB in Marcorus Garrett who would make the Lions O even better than that ’11 Big Red attack. And the 2013 Columbia defense should be better than the Cornell D from two years ago too.

I’d like to see two or more CU receivers flirt with 1,000 yard seasons. Connor Nelligan, Isaiah Gross and Chris Connors could all do it, but like I said, this WR corps is deep. Don’t forget about  Jake Wanamaker, Louis DiNovo and 2-3 of the promising incoming freshmen.

Columbia went down this road before during the QB John Witkowski era. His main targets were Bill Reggio and Don Lewis. Lewis had a 1,000 yard year in 1982, But the Lions had no defense to speak of back then and the team rarely won despite the record numbers for Witkowski and company. There’s no denying the overall program is much better now than 1981-83 and the team has enough talent to make the most of what could be a superior passing attack.

But will it happen?

I know I feel like Columbia wasted a golden opportunity with QB Sean Brackett at QB the last four years. His great speed and arm seemed like they were a deadly combination and he truly deserved better than just 10 wins in his career as a starter.

Now, the Lions look like they will have a top quality, BCS-level QB available for their next 20 games.  How many wins will he walk away with if he indeed wins the starting job and stays healthy for the next two years? 

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Mangurian Speaks and Final Incoming List

The athletic department released this update today with the names of the last official players in the incoming class.

Missing from the list were Michael Bigach and Colinn Early. I will keep an eye out to see if they resurface sometime later.

Today's release was the first official Columbia communication that put Stanford transfer QB Brett Nottingham's name in writing. This extensive writeup and embedded video came along with it.

A short video interview with Head Coach Pete Mangurian was also included in today's release. He addresses the questions we've had about player weight. It appears the current numbers will indeed change by training camp and several players are going to bulk up.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Top 10 Weather Disasters

The field at halftime, 10/29/2011

Spring practice is into its second week and the team has pretty much now experienced every kind of weather there is in the last 96 hours. There’s been 80 degree heat, 38 degree cold, high winds, clear skies, powerful rain, the whole shebang.

Head Coach Pete Mangurian even Tweeted his approval of all the extra weather experience the team is soaking in the last few days.

And that got me thinking of the most extreme weather games the Lions have faced over the last 25 years.

Here are my Top 10:

10) The New Haven Wind

October 28, 2000

Yale 41 Columbia 0

Almost everywhere else in the tri-state area, this was a pretty pleasant day. But inside the Yale Bowl for some reason, the wind was so powerful and unpredictable that it really messed with the game time after time. The Lions seemed to have no answers for the conditions and they appeared to pack it in early.

9) Super Sick Soaker

October 24, 2009

Dartmouth 28 Columbia 6

A continuous downpour washed out this Homecoming game for Dartmouth, and the incoming storm seemed to make a number of ailing Columbia team members feel actually worse as gametime drew closer. An already injured QB M.A. Olawale found his passes falling way short against the rain and wind, and star running back Ray Rangel was lost for the remainder of his career with a foot injury on the wet field.  

8) Fisher Field Fiasco

October 8, 2005

Lafayette 14 Columbia 7

Anyone who wonders why Lafayette decided to renovate its football field seven years ago didn’t go to this game in 2005. Water was not only pouring out from the sky, but it was coming out of the granite walls that ringed the old seating area. The field was so muddy, it was impossible to really know the yard lines for much of the game.

7) Homecoming Hell

October 21, 1995

Columbia 21 Yale 7

The forecast had been warning for days that the 1995 Homecoming game at Wien Stadium was going to be a major storm. It was. The rain was dripping right into the Homecoming hospitality tent all day and the play on the field was slippery too. Luckily, Columbia got a great running game going and the defense was stellar.

6) Providence Freeze

November 22, 2008

Brown 41 Columbia 10

The Lions finish every other season up north in Providence. And you would think that many of those year-enders are super cold. But luckily, that has almost never been the case. But the 2008 game was just brutally cold. I couldn’t stand to see my co-broadcaster Jerry Recco suffering pre-game, so I ran out and bought him a pair of gloves. In between plays, Jerry and I slid the press box window shut to get some degree of warmth. On the field, the Bears laughed at the cold as they clinched a share of the Ivy title. Nobody else was laughing. As big a game as it was for Brown, the stands were mostly empty.

5) Goal Post Panic

October 25, 2008

Columbia 28 Dartmouth 13

The Lions have faced games with heavy rain. The Lions have faced games with high winds. But rarely have they had to play when the rain AND the wind were both so strong at the same time. At many times during the game, it really looked like the goal posts would blow down. This was the game where M.A. Olawale came in in relief and pushed Columbia to a big win on national TV no less.

4) Monsoon on the Hudson

October 19, 1996

Columbia 3 Lafayette 0

A very steady rain and wind marred Homecoming for the second straight year, but the Lions found a way to win as they so often did in the first half of 1996. The weather was so bad, I even got a prime parking spot right next to the stadium even though it was Homecoming!

3) Towson Time Out

September 27, 2008

You knew 2008 was going to be a rough weather year when you even had historically bad weather games in September! A massive downpour in the Baltimore area began about an hour before game time and never really stopped. The refs actually stopped play late in the second quarter and sent the teams back to the locker rooms.

2) Big Red Washout

November 10, 1990

Cornell 41 Columbia 0

The 1990 Cornell team was the last Big Red squad to win any part of an Ivy title. They didn’t need any help to beat Columbia that day, but they got a big assist from an absolutely relentless rain storm. It was so bad that I remember simply walking up to the sideline and watching the game from there; none of the stadium security people were left around to stop me. I think I am still wet from that game.

1   1)   Snow Day

October 29, 2011

Yale 16 Columbia 13

Lots of people use the term, “freak storm,” a little too much. But the late October Halloween “Snow-Easter” of 2011 was truly unexpected and powerful. Columbia and Yale and the YES Network were all caught right in the middle of it. It was a brutal game to sit through as the wind and the snow just kept coming. The fact that the Lions came up just short made it even worse.  The only saving grace was that Columbia was giving out free fan hand towels that day, so people had something to hoard and use as a seat drier. 

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Quick Hit Wednesday

M.A. Olawale took some hard hits as a Lion

-Count me among the many Columbia fans who are no doubt very encouraged that a key player like Marcorus Garrett made the supreme effort to win the “strongest Lion” title in spring weight training. As the athletic department release rightly noted, Garrett could have rested on his laurels this off season but he clearly did not. And we got all this news a few hours AFTER I had named Garrett as the most important returning Lion for 2013.

-The release also looked to soothe our concerns about underweight O-linemen. So perhaps the current average weight of 253 lbs. from our O-line will increase by the time the season starts. I wasn’t sure if that was the plan, and I still can’t be sure, but the process is not over.

-The accompanying video of the weight competition highlights was fun to watch and yet another example of a new window into the program opening up for fans. I remember being impressed a few years ago when Dartmouth released a weight lifting video to the public,  complete with loud rock music too!

-The first two days of spring practice have been positively summer-like, but without the humidity and extreme heat. Things will cool off tomorrow and we have rain coming too, but it’s been a great start for the guys weather-wise.

-One added note on my top returning player for Dartmouth, Dalyn Williams. As Big Green Alert blogger Bruce Wood reminds us today, Williams is slated to share the QB duties with Alex Park again this season. Williams just had to start a couple games at the end of 2012 because Park was injured.

Would I shuttle these two QB’s if it were my decision? It’s a tough question, because when Williams comes in to a game defenses automatically assume he may run, even though his arm is great and he throws plenty. Would he be even more effective if he played all the time? I think he will be, but there’s good reason I suppose to use Park while Williams is still growing into the job.  And using Williams less is one good way to cut down on the chances of injury, that are so much higher with running QB’s.

Columbia QB Millicent Olawale ‘10 was a lot like Dalyn Williams and one can only wonder how great Olawale could have been had he stayed injury free or if he had been allowed to truly shuttle with the pure passing Craig Hormann ’08 during the one season when they overlapped at Wien Stadium.

Buddy Teevens has some tough decisions to make and I think he will have Olawale’s career as one guide to help him consider all the options. 

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

The Best Returnees

Caraun Reid looks like he's been studying... studying for PAIN

As we get a good look at the returning rosters for all eight Ivy teams, it’s a good time to hone in on the one player from each team who is really the most key player coming back for 2013:


QB Patrick Donnelly

Because he missed just about all of 2011 to injury, the talented but quiet Donnelly is coming back this fall for a 5th year. This guy may not be as great as some of the Bear QB’s that came before him, but he is very, very good and Phil Estes isn’t going to change his pass-heavy attack. Donnelly is a master of the completion, finding his receivers more than 61% of the time last year despite the fact that Brown throws it short and long.

Lots of ink will be spilled this summer gushing about the return of Jeff Mathews at Cornell and Billy Ragone at Penn, but Donnelly should not be overlooked.


RB Marcorus Garrett

Garrett’s breakout year for the Lions in 2012 was more valuable than many realize. He should help keep Columbia in a number of games as the program transitions to a new starting QB and incorporates more of Mangurian’s changes. He has a chance to become just the second 1,000-yard rusher in Columbia history.


QB Jeff Mathews

Yeah, he’s still the big man on campus and the best Ivy NFL prospect at QB in a long time.

He’s so good that his 2012 season, where he averaged more than 350 passing yards per game, was considered a step DOWN from the level he achieved as a sophomore in 2011.

Many will question Mathews’ ability to maintain his blistering pace now that many of his top WR’s have graduated, but I don’t. I think most of their success was due to Mathews and not vice versa.

When Columbia found a way to neutralize Mathews last season, it was just a matter of time before the Lions were able to pull away for a 34-17. That’s how important Mathews is; you beat him, you not only beat the Big Red, you pound them.


 QB Dalyn Williams

On most other teams, the returning star RB Dominick Pierre would be the most important returning player. But the Big Green under Buddy Teevens need Dalyn Williams to continue where he left off in 2012 more than anything else. The one thing Teevens has never been able to establish in his second tenure in Hanover is a real star at QB. He got one last year in the Ivy Rookie of the Year Williams. Pierre’s return to full strength at RB after a banged up 2012 is crucial too, but Dartmouth has had a dominant RB recently in Nick Schwieger and he couldn’t make them into contenders like a solid running and passing Williams can.


DE Zach Hodges

I’m going a little outside of the box here and choosing rising junior Zach Hodges as the Crimson’s most crucial returnee for 2013. Hodges burst onto the scene as a rare sophomore starter on the DL and an even rarer 1st Team All Ivy as a sophomore lineman. I don’t think Harvard will go begging for a decent QB or even RB this fall, but if Hodges raises his game this fall Tim Murphy’s club will be very hard to beat regardless.


QB Billy Ragone

I still don’t get why Ragone, who gutted out win after win for the champion Quakers last season, wasn’t named the league MVP last season. But I do expect him to be even better in 2013. Don’t pay too much attention to this guy’s stats, when the game is on the line he gets it done with either his feet or his arm and that’s that. This guy worries me.


DT Caraun Reid

When the 5th year senior Reid announced he was coming back for a 5th year at Princeton, it was the best news the Tiger program has seen in years. Reid is a legit NFL draft prospect and a game-changer. He’s also probably going to be the best player in the entire league next season.  Yeah, he’s that good.


RB Tyler Varga

It’s another no-brainer to say that Yale’s chances ride heavily on Varga. He carried the team last year and there’s no reason to think that will change too much this fall.  He reminds me of Schwieger actually and that’s bad news for everyone else in the Ivies.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Updates on the Updates

-Based on the incoming freshmen for 2013 that we already officially know about, I have updated my extensive list of Columbia football feeder schools that includes the high school information for every Lion football player, (give or take), for almost the last 100 years.

Is your high school on the list? You'll have to visit that web page to find out!

I will update the list further when the other incoming players are officially announced.

-The roster stats have been updated to show new weights. I have the changes listed below, with changes in weight from the end of last season in parentheses:

Seyi Adebayo 247 lbs.(+5 lbs.)

Toba Akinleye 226 lbs. (+16)

Joey Andrada 187 lbs. (-13)

Jacob Ardron 209 lbs. (-18)

Trevor Bell 176 lbs. (+6)

Augie Braddock 208 lbs. (+8)

John Brady 223 lbs. (+9)

Matthew Cahal 180 lbs. (-2)

Tom Callahan 250 lbs. (-8)

Marquel Carter 190 lbs. (-4)

Wells Childress 249 lbs. (no change)

Mark Cieslak 222 lbs. (-3)

Chris Connors 207 lbs. (+12)

Paul Delaney 197 lbs. (+5)

Garrett DeMuth 226 lbs. (+4)

Louis DiNovo 181 lbs. (-4)

Andrew Dobitsch 175 lbs. (+5)

Nick Durham 223 lbs. (+13)

Brian East 213 lbs. (+9)

Luke Eddy 203 lbs. (no change)

Tyler Feely 175 lbs. (+10)

Alec Fisher 195 lbs. (+5)

Ryan Flannery 189 lbs. (+3)

Joshua Foster 172 lbs. (+7)

Hamilton Garner 242 lbs. (+8)

Marcorus Garrett 202 lbs. (+7)

Joe Ghergurovich 256 lbs. (-4)

Bruce Grant 187 lbs. (-3)

Isaiah Gross 183 lbs. (+8)

Scooter Hollis 170 lbs. (+15)

JD Hurt 252 lbs. (-10)

John Keefe 204 lbs. (+11)

Eric Kuklinski 255 lbs. (-10)

Billy Lawrence 251 lbs. (+9)

Dylan Leonard 239 lbs. (-6)

Hunter Little 242 lbs. (+17)

Griffin Lowry 206 lbs. (+8)

Marshall Markham 256 lbs. (-49)

Kevin McCarthy 182 lbs. (-8)

Trevor McDonaugh 201 lbs. (-1)

Zack McKown 216 lbs. (+1)

Nick Melka 225 lbs. (+9)

Jeremy Mingo 203 lbs. (-2)

Cameron Molina 195 lbs. (no change)

Connor Nelligan 202 lbs. (+4)

Zach Olinger 224 lbs. (+9)

Niko Padilla 266 lbs. (+1)

Carey Parker 256 lbs. (-4)

Darin Patmon 180 lbs. (-4)

Ray Pesanello 221 lbs. (-4)

Kal Prince 204 lbs. (+9)

Vinny Pugliese 223 lbs. (+3)

Keith Ramljak 259 lbs. (-11)

Travis Reim 193 lbs. (+4)

Roy Schwartz 224 lbs. (no change)

Steven Silvio 218 lbs. (+12)

Mike Skalitzky 181 lbs. (+5)

Dan Slivka 206 lbs. (+6)

Eric Stock 236 lbs. (+9)

Malcom Thaxton 189 lbs. (+1)

Ryan Thomas 247 lbs. (+1)

Hank Trumbull 204 lbs. (+8)

Jake Wanamaker 188 lbs. (-3)

Chad Washington 242 lbs. (+8)

Jimmy Yukevich 257 lbs. (+4)

Total returning players: 65

Players gaining weight: 40

Players losing weight: 21

Players with no change: 4

Number of players with changes of 10 pounds or more: 14

Biggest Change: 49 pound loss (Marshall Markham)

Average weight by position:

DB- 188 lbs.

DL-241 lbs.

K/P-192 lbs.

LB-219 lbs.

OL-253 lbs.

QB-203 lbs.

RB-197 lbs.

TE-227 lbs.


-Obviously, the Lions will remain the lightest team in the Ivies this year. Those fans who thought the extremely light offensive line last season was some kind of quirk better think again. The average weight of 253 pounds as of now for our O-linemen is obviously by design. This is a planned experiment and we all hope it works, 

And one last note: former Columbia football player-turned star pitcher on the CU Lions baseball team Roy Altman '05 has written a very intelligent but accessible op-ed in the Wall Street Journal today. Be sure to check it out and see just how scholarly our athletes really are!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Official Class of 2017 List is Out!

Check out the official announcement here. announcement here.

Names I did not have on my unofficial list:

Justin Aimonetti

Names that were on my list, but are not on the list yet, (they could be added later this week)

Michael Bigach

Colinn Early

Parker Tobia

Richard Wolff

*Brett Nottingham (transfer from Stanford; it may be a awhile before he can officially announced). 


The Real Deal

Mangurian gives us some very straight talk

As we wait for the official list of incoming freshmen to be published today by the athletic department, (And again, kudos to them for getting this out so very early. No other Ivy will even come close to publishing this info at this date), I thought I'd do a quick look at Head Coach Pete Mangurian's also much-appreciated assessments of the returning players on the roster:

-First off, it was gratifying to see how similar the coach's grading of the players was to my own. That's not because I need the recognition, it's because I'd like to be sure that I'm not completely crazy. What I and many of you saw on the field last year was indeed reality.

-The highest praise Mangurian hands out to any player is the phrase, "I trust him." And when you think about it, that really is very serious and valuable praise from a coach at any level. So special recognition goes out to the players Mangurian specifically said he trusted: TE Hamilton Garner, P Paul Delaney and KR Alec Fisher.

Okay, they were the only ones who got that highest praise, but there was still a lot of love for guys like Zach Olinger, Marcorus Garrett, and Connor Nelligan. Many other players were the recipients of important accolades, but always with key caveats. That's the way it should be for a young team that went 3-7 last year. 

-I like the challenges Mangurian laid down for certain players to improve, making it clear that the entire team's fortune's rested on their success. Players who got that challenge include just about the whole offensive line, and a few others.

-I was interested in the way Mangurian is looking at the secondary. I thought the starters and the key players there were more set than what you might think based on the coach's comments. He said a number of offensive players will get a look playing at the DB position.  

-I am assuming the only reason why 5th year senior Seyi Adebayo is the only player without any coach's comments is because he's not officially cleared for a 5th year or something clerical like that. I hope we get that fixed up very soon because I think what Mangurian will say about #91 will be great.

Overall, the comments surprised me in just one area: they were actually more forthcoming than I expected. Sure, there was plenty of the necessary coach's lingo that can sometimes sound empty. But most of it appeared to be very genuine. 

I mean, we even learned about some of the players' struggles with grades and other issues. That was unexpected and illuminating. And I liked that they made the players more human than ever.

I've been reading assessments of Columbia players in media guides and on the web for three decades, and I don't think I've ever seen less B.S. than I see right now on our roster page. 

This is an extremely positive development that I hope become a real Columbia tradition.