Friday, June 27, 2014

Some Good News

Former Columbia Head Coach Larry McElreavy has been named the new head coach of Newport H.S. Football in New Hampshire.

McElreavy's patient and persistent battle back to coaching has been a long one and one I've come to admire for many years.

I think the kids at Newport HS are lucky to get him.

Aussie Addition

Here's the good news: a 6-4, 208-pound rugby player has joined the Lions.

Here's the bad news: he's not a WR or a QB, he's a kicker.

Oh well, we're still happy to have a tough rugger like Matthew Panton getting onto the roster.

Monday, June 23, 2014

What Happened to Davis and Daoust???

CJ Davis

The Columbia official athletics web site announced today the names of the three players coming to the men's basketball team this fall.

They are Kyle Castlin, Nate Hickman, and Hasan Ismail.

Excuse me, but what about the much-ballyhooed C.J. Davis from local NYC powerhouse Archbishop Molloy?

What about 6-8 Noah Daoust?

Davis and Daoust were touted late last fall along with Castlin as the members of a killer incoming class for 2014.

If we lost Davis and Daoust, we need to find out why.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014


As much as every Columbia fan has good reason to be concerned about the Lion offensive line, the defensive line is also in Code Red territory.

The team roster shows just seven returning defensive linemen, making the loss of Chad Washington that much more serious.

 The good news is that Columbia’s best overall defensive player, Niko Padilla, returns for his junior season. The bad news is the rest of that unit is questionable to say the least.

Niko Padilla

Padilla was the only Lion in 2013 to gain any All Ivy recognition at all with an Honorable Mention. He had an impressive 41 tackles for a D-lineman and 9.5 tackles for a loss. But only one was a sack, since Padilla is mostly a weapon against the inside run. By contrast, the lost Washington had 70 total tackles but just two sacks. Columbia’s top sacker last season, Nick Melka with 3.5, has graduated.

The best two returning D-linemen not named Padilla are juniors JD Hurt and Toba Akinleye. Hurt started six games and had 35 tackles with a sack.  Hurt played better last year than I expected, but Akinyele was a bit of a disappointment for me as I had him pegged as a possible break out player. Akinyele wasn’t terrible, with 29 tackles and 2.5 sacks, but I still think he could do a lot more.

Sophomore William Carson, at 283 pounds, didn’t do as much as I’d hoped in his freshmen season. But he’s still the biggest guy on the team and should have a shot to make a difference this fall.   

The three returning seniors are Hunter Little, Eric Stock and Roy Schwartz. Of that group, Little was the biggest contributor last year but even he only started one game.

In other words, this is a position where CU needs a lot of help from the freshmen.

A total of six defensive linemen are in the class of 2018, but only one currently goes at over 275. That’s Collin Breckenridge at 280 lbs. The other five all go at about 245 pounds, which leads me to believe almost none of the freshmen will really be reading to play against Ivy offensive lines or the against the bigger guys from Fordham and Albany.

In short, this is not an encouraging picture. Without Washington, it’s just going to be too easy to double-team Padilla and neutralize the CU defense at the line.

Last year at this time, Padilla was Tweeting about winning the Ivy championship. He won't be doing that again. 

The biggest reason why Columbia is in deep trouble this fall is the offensive line, but the defensive line really isn’t much better.

Who’s ready for some football?

Not us. 

Friday, June 13, 2014

Brown Sex Assault Case

Two freshmen football players, (they were frosh in 2013 to be clear), stand accused of sexual assault by a female Providence College student. 

Both are off the team at least for now.

This is the kind of story that jeopardizes the sport for all the Ivy teams.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Shoop's Quest

Former CU Head Coach Bob Shoop, now an assistant at Penn State, is looking for another head coaching gig. discusses Shoop’s story today and includes some quotes about his time at Columbia.

Of course, it leaves out some very important facts.

I’ll address the uglier one first. When Shoop was first fired in 2005, he still had young kids and I refrained from publicly writing about the alleged affair he had with a female staffer in the CU administration. But that was a huge reason for his dismissal, especially since there were some public scenes, (including one at a practice), that embarrassed everyone.

The second issue was that then-newly hired Athletics Director Diane Murphy had not hired Shoop and she wanted her own person in the most prominent coaching position.   

Shoop’s personal failings coupled with the disastrous 2-8, (0-7 Ivy), 2005 season made it easy to dismiss him.

I still think firing Shoop was the right call, he was yet another wrong fit for the job here for many reasons.

But I also think he may turn out to be a great head coach if he gets another chance someday. He’s certainly paid his dues in the college ranks at many different levels.

If Shoop does succeed, he’ll be just about the only failed CU head coach to do so.

Every head coach CU has fired since Frank Navarro hasn’t done much afterwards. Some didn’t even try, and others like Larry McElreavy are still trying very hard and showing a great love for football by coaching and advising anywhere he can.

I admit I have really come to champion McElreavy’s cause ever since I really became educated about the nature of alcoholism and addiction and how hard people like him work to beat it.

But the bottom line is that Shoop is a great example of how Bill Campbell and the other powers that be in CU football are just unable to hire the right coach… ever. Good hiring is a real skill and we will continue to have poor hiring if we continue to rely on Campbell’s instincts and the poor research and vetting skills of his underlings in the department.

As much as I want Pete Mangurian out, we cannot expect a good result if Campbell, Ted Gregory, et al have anything to do with the search process once Mangurian is gone.  

Again, NO ONE is saying Campbell, Gregory and some of the others are bad guys. They just can't hire good coaches. It's as simple as that. 

We need a new coach and a new team to hire him and that's what this is all about. 

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Hall of Fame Shame

My longtime readers know I have a special place in my heart for the exciting and excellent 1996 Columbia Lions football team.

The team started the season 6-0, and many of the wins were incredible comebacks.

But an upset loss at home to Princeton and a drubbing at Dartmouth the following week foiled the Lions championship hopes. A nice rebound in the final two games led to an 8-2 season.

Compared to all the Columbia teams since our last title in 1961, surely the ’96 team was the best overall.

Is this some kind of joke?

Think about what this says to football fans at Columbia. It says that an 8-2 second place season isn’t just an excellent and rare finish for us, but it’s literally HALL OF FAME results!

Again, a SECOND PLACE team that lost to the eventual Ivy champs, FORTY TO NOTHING, is the best we lowly fans can expect to get… ever.

Wait, didn’t the baseball team, (which hadn’t won a title from 1976-2007), just win its THIRD CHAMPIONSHIP in six years just last month? Isn’t THAT the standard Hall of Fame-worthy excellence we should be honoring?

Soon, we’ll be enshrining football teams that went 4-6, and after that we’ll honor squads that had the courage to return to the field after halftime.

I’d like to personally invite every member of the 1996 Dartmouth team that kicked our ass and went 10-0 that year to attend the Hall of Fame ceremonies this fall. They should discuss how great that CU team was and how disappointed they were not to be able to beat us by 50-0.

Tell someone you work with today, without editorial comment, that Columbia is literally enshrining into its Hall of Fame an 8-2 team that lost 40-0 to the 1st place team in its league that season.

If anyone you tell DOESN’T laugh, please let us know here.

 In the past, we at least had decency to enshrine individual excellent players who stood out despite our usually woeful W-L records.

Now, we’re literally settling for second best and pretending it’s legendary.


Monday, June 9, 2014

Thought of the Day

Dartmouth's Buddy Teevens has stopped all full contact hitting in practice for the varsity in order to cut down on concussions and other injuries.

Of course that's nothing, because Columbia's Pete Mangurian has already eliminated all blocking and tackling in the actual games.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Everybody Sees It... but Us

The Massey Ratings service has simulated the upcoming Ivy football season and it predicts not only another 0-10 season,  but it sees the Lions losing every game once again by at least 10 points.

It agrees with my assessment that the week nine game at home against Cornell is our best chance to record a victory, but it only puts the probability of that at 23%

This is just the latest example of an important point I’m trying to make and have been trying to make since November: even with Columbia Football’s dismal last 50 years of history as a marker, this is the worst the CU football program has ever been.

This is not just a rough patch or a particularly lean period. This is a program off the rails being run by a completely clueless coach and staff. And it’s particularly dismaying to see so many people from the administration on down to long-time fans deluding themselves about the truth here.

Columbia will not be remotely competitive in even one game this season. This is not a “wait and see” moment. We have worse than a JV roster with worse than JV experience going up against an ever-improving league. It’s not a prediction, it’s simply putting two and two together.

Many more than the normal number of players will be injured.

Attendance will fall much lower than it already is.

The program will find it harder and harder to survive.

This isn’t a joke. I have nothing to gain financially or in any other way from ousting a coach or an administrator. I’m trying to tell you the house, as shabby as it’s been since 1961, is burning down. And shamefully, a good many of you are telling me to be quiet about it.

Another argument I hear from people who are not A.D. shills or deluded is this: “there’s nothing you can do about it, so just let it go.”

That argument may be right, but I care too much about the program to let it die without a fight. And die it will. Don’t fool yourselves into thinking that the administration wouldn't love to find ways to eliminate football and still somehow remain a part of the Ivy League. Who’s to say the rest of the Ivy presidents won’t one day accommodate that “dream?”

Stick your heads in the sand if you must, but it appears our demand for a more competitive team during the Norries Wilson years was answered by giving us a much worse coaching regime just to put us in our place. That’ll teach us not to demand or even hope for a championship in our lifetimes. That’ll teach us not to speak up. That’ll teach us to do anything but donate more money. 

So the next time anyone sees Head Coach Pete Mangurian, these are the ONLY things anyone should be saying to him and they're all questions:

1)      Cut the “we want to win every game” crap... tell us which game or games in 2014 we’re going to win.

2)      Will the team be better this season and why or why not?

3)      Why is team discipline still so bad, from bad grades to public brawling, to continued social media outrages? Aren’t you supposed to be some kind of tough disciplinarian? You never see this kind of behavior from the baseball or basketball teams.  What would you say if we decided to re-post every one of the stupid and offensive Tweets your players keep putting out there every day?

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Help Wanted

Here are the top personnel want ads for Columbia football right now:

1)      Offensive Line Coach

Columbia University in the City of New York is looking for a competent football offensive line coach with at least 5 years coaching experience and 3 years coaching that position. The candidate must be willing to convince the head coach that the team needs bigger linemen with at least two years of training before they play for the varsity. Understanding that putting green players in crucial positions like Left Tackle is a recipe for disaster is REQUIRED. Willingness to build and coach a JV team also required.  Access to a straightjacket to help restrain the head coach a plus. Salary commensurate with how many QB’s and other skill players keep all their limbs intact for the entire season.

2)      Offensive Coordinator

Columbia University in the City of New York is looking for an offensive coordinator with at least 5 years coaching experience at the coordinator level who understands the standard formula for running a competent and competitive offense in the modern Ivy League. Allowing QB’s to run when necessary and even seeing a running QB as a potent weapon a plus. Ability to help disabuse the head coach of his delusion that a pocket passing offense can be established without a decent offensive line a must. Propensity to recruit wide receivers who like to catch the ball a plus. Experience coaching and playing varsity tennis not required.

3)      Recruiting Coordinator

Columbia University in the City of New York is looking for a football recruiter coordinator who can find players with the athletic talent and academic ability to positively represent the school on and off the field. Ability to effectively warn recruits about the dangers of social media a must. Ability to identify players who can at least get C’s in freshmen year easy classes a must. Ability to be able to find the New England prep schools on a map or GPS a must. Ability to say, “hey, there’s a reason why none of the other Ivy schools are recruiting you,” a must. Salary commensurate with how many players don’t quit by the end of freshmen year.