Monday, March 16, 2015

Lining it up Right


Why was Brackett under center in this game from 2012?



It's not always about recruiting.

It's certainly a huge part of the story, but Columbia football fans know very well that even during the brief periods where we've seen superior talent on the field, it hasn't always been used properly.

The basic problem seems to be that several of our most recent coaching staffs have either misdiagnosed our talent or they came into each season too closely married to a specific system no matter the player personnel.

We saw this in 2012, when Pete Mangurian decided to put speedy and resourceful QB Sean Brackett '13 into a pro set despite the fact that his talents and track record screamed for a read option strategy like the Pistol formation.

Before Magurian, Brackett wasn't exactly used 100% properly by Norries Wilson and his offensive coordinator Vinny Marino either. It was colossal example of waste as the best overall QB this program has seen in 25+ years was held back from doing the kind of damage he should have been able to do for four years.

Reason #215 why the hiring of Al Bagnoli is such a relief and a rallying point for some many of us long-suffering fans is this: the overwhelming lesson you get from Bagnoli's long successful career is that he is always ready to change his system based on who he has on the field.

We've seen Bagnoli win titles with running QB's like Billy Ragone. We've seen him do it with pro-style passers like Gavin Hoffman and Matt Rader, etc.

If there is one constant in Bagnoli's career it's that he always seems to sacrifice most everything else in order to have a strong defense and good offensive line. But that's not something that I can see ever being the wrong thing to do.

These last two years of Columbia football have made the job of assessing our best talent very hard. When you go 0-21 and lose every game by buckets of points, it's really impossible to feel confident about ratings our strengths and weaknesses. Everything just seems like a weakness.

But I'm quite sure Bagnoli and his staff will assess this team based on what it is, not what they think every team should be. And based on that, I do think we'll see an offense that calls for using a mobile QB a lot more often. And I do think that under Jon McClaughlin we'll build our O-line the old fashioned way, instead of slimming down our incoming freshmen and putting them well behind the 8-ball before they step foot on campus.

As Bagnoli and his staff fix things, I predict they're going to come to a realization that the previous staffs and the administration did not fail because they had bad luck despite good and honest best efforts.

They're going to find that Columbia football has failed in the past because of stubbornness in the face of failure, defiance in the face of fair criticism, and self-assurance that everything possible was being done in the face of better and more extensive efforts by everyone else around them.

The overall problem of making Columbia football a championship program won't be easy. But making it a lot better is something that's already on the way because a proven competent staff is in place.

And we're about to see how that staff starts to use the players the right way.




 

23 comments:

Coach said...

Jake: Bagnoli's success has been based on his ability to recruit and get players into school. I know that he is an excellent football coach, but so was Mangurian, Wilson, Shoop, Tellier, etc. Some coaches had personality issues, but they all could coach.
Bagnoli can coach and recruit - his success will be determined by his management of the administration, which he did so very well at Penn.

Columbia_Fan said...

Coach,
I know nothing about previous coaches except Pete, who's record speaks for itself.
Managing the administration at Columbia may be an impossible task even for the administration itself.
If coach B puts the right people on the field and wins a few this year. He will be better able to manage everything at CU in the future.

alswingman said...

QBs can and should be able to play in different systems. It is easy to say a system should be molded around a star player (could be any of the skill positions) but the bottom line is college football is transitory and you have to build players around your system. Could Mango and Wilson have done more with Brackett? Absolutely but bottom line is you will only be as good as the system you can teach any players as they flow in and out of the program.

I use Boise State as a model of consistency in these discussions. It does not hurt that the OC was promoted to head coach when Chris Peterson moved on to Washington. They have not missed a beat and in fact, are even more creative. Bryan Harsin is an offensive genius and can construct a game plan to score points against any team in the country bar none.

oldlion said...

Bags also answers his email. Classy guy. I wrote him an email wishing him well and got back a very warm email in return, thanking me for my support, inviting me to stop by, etc. A far cry from recent experience.

Columbia_Fan said...

Al,
As usual I totally disagree with your 1 size fits all theory. A great blocking OL can make it easy for a pocket passer, but won't help a scrambler.
You're a W Coast guy with some mileage.
Tell me that Kenny Stabler could have functioned as well as he did with a porous front line. Or Fran Tarkington would have been a great pocket passer.
The sign or a great coach in any sport is his adaptability, based on the available talent.
If you were the Yankee manager Babe Ruth would have stayed a pitcher.

WOF said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
alswingman said...

CF, i could care less about your opinions since they are irrelevant.

oldlion said...

Vinnie Marino ruined two great QBs by treating them like RBs, MA Olawole and Sean Brackett. Anybody care to recall the running play that Vinnie called at Fordham toward the end of the first half which led to Brackett busting up his shoulder?

oldlion said...

I have an email address for Bags that was given to me by an administrator. I don't want to sound like a 1 per center but I am not comfortable giving it out. Sorry.

Chick said...

Agree completely Columbia Fan, and Sorry Al, you are WRONG on this one. If all your RBs are 250 pound Marion Motley Sherman tanks, are you going to make them run twinkle toe toutes defsigned for Reggie Bush?

Teams thatcan stick to one system are the powerhouses that can recruit for that one system and their coaches don't'r have to adapt to their talent. Columbia scrambles for its talent and the coaches have to
adapt to that. More crest ivory, more unpredictablility.


,

Chick said...

Boy, this Apple is crap. Creativity comes out create ivory. Now they have a wristwatch computer. I gave up wearing a wristwatch because the iphone gives you the time. now you;re supposed to read the type on a screen an inch wide.

Must have been designed by a committee of ex-Columbia coaches. Wait, it was! Bill Campbell.

alswingman said...

Chick, that was not was I was insinuating. What coach doesn't design plays around personnel? The entire offensive system can't be built around specific players. Every coach knows that. You lose guys to injury and other factors. I can guarantee you Yale ran the same plays for their other RBs that they did with Varga when he was unable to go. And anyway, every playbook has lots of different options. It is up to the OC to figure out what they can get to work.

Columbia_Fan said...

Al,
As are yours, and most of the opinions on this blog.

Chick said...

No harm,no foul, Al. I think we agree that every coach has to work with what he's got, or the best he can grab. CU can't often find all the pieces to fit a coach's pet style, like a pro-style passing game behind a strong OL or a power running game. It can happen, but a lot better recruiting plus coaching will be needed.
We wasted Garrett's final season and almost maimed Nottingham via combined deficiencies in recruiting and coaching.

My hope is that Bagnoli and staff are good enough to correct this.

Tony Brinson said...

Oldlion, Marino did not ruin either qb, they were teboesque running qb's whos best attributes dictated an option scheme. Remember Fordham and dartmouth when they could not tackle olawale? Cornell when bracket single handedly marched down the field at the end of the game, ran qb sneak dove over the pile for the win?

alawicius said...

I agree with Tony. Brackett was ruined when he was instructed to run by Coach M.

Tony Brinson said...

alawicius I OBJECTED When It Was Said Marino Ruined bracket. The offense run played into both olawale and brackets strengths.

alawicius said...

Make that "NOT to run" in my post above.

alawicius said...

Sorry, Tony, please see my correction of my earlier typo here.

Chick said...

There are too many typos and misspellings above to unravel anything.
Good passers should pass, but shouldn't be statues.
Good runners should run, but have to be able to hit receivers too, on the run or from the pocket.
If this coaching staff can't get it right, no one will. I'm happy to sit back and let them show us.

Coincidentally because Tony mentioned Tim Tebow, Tebow just got another NFL tryout with the Eagles. Great college qb. Too bad he can't transfer back to the NCAA.

Tony Brinson said...

Chips got a knack with QB's chick. Coached against him for 4 years.

Tony Brinson said...

Thanks alawicius didn't understand you the first time. AND I assume by coach M u mean mango.

Chick said...

Love Tebow's character and charisma. Deserves another shot, but nothing yet from Eagles. Hope Kelly or someone tajes him to camp.