Monday, April 13, 2015

Spring Practice Takeaways #1

Anders Hill on a read option

Due to the generous and warm open policy Al Bagnoli and his staff have extended to Lions fans during this spring practice period, my usual number of reporters and sources has multiplied nicely. And I plan to visit a practice myself in the coming days and I'm looking forward to it.

But even though the number of my reporters has shot up, the reports I'm getting are not varied at all. There is pretty much universal agreement that the information and impressions below are the undisputed truth:

1) The Offense is Ahead of the Defense

Based on our roster and the usual way of things, I would have thought the defense would be dominating so far at spring practice.

Not so much.

The new read option offense is working pretty well and it's opening up the passing game in a way we just haven't seen since Sean Brackett '13 used to roll out and do his damage.

Rising sophomore Anders Hill seems to be handling this new offense better than the other QB's. I know I'm biased because I have favored this kind of offense for Columbia and all the Ivies for that matter for a long time. But this is working better, period.

There's been good enthusiasm on both sides of the ball, but the biggest exclamation point of practice so far may be the impressive run and beating RB Chris Schroer put on on LB Gianmarco Rea on Saturday. Schroer ran him over like a truck. That's great news for all of us who worried that Schroer's ankle injury last season may have taken some air out of very noticeably high octane play. And it's good news because Rea is still one of our best linebackers and he'll learn from this experience for sure.

2) Players are Coming Back

I'm not sure when we're going to see a truly updated roster, but when it is fully refreshed we should see some familiar names back on it.

I expect Nicholas Annabi, Brendan Blackshear, Isaiah Gross and even Brett Nottingham to be back in the fold officially. I don't know if any of them will really get on the field on game days, but I like the fact that the new coaching regime is rekindling their desire.

3) More Position Changes this Year than Usual

We already know about Tyler Kwiatkowski switching from LB to FB, but we'll see more news of this nature in the coming weeks.

I wouldn't call it a position change exactly, but for now OL Marshall Markham is the starting center.

Much of the other shuffling will be in the front seven on defense between the D-line and the linebackers and there's been some shuffling of the depth charts there as well.

Some of the backups have been acting a little, err... testy among themselves during practice. It's possible this is an attempt to get noticed. The coaches are aware.

Truth is, I like the emotion and even a touch of the desperation. We want guys who want to win and get on the field to make it happen. Within reason, they should be almost reckless in their pursuit of this.


oldlion said...

Nottingham? Didn't he burn too many bridges with his teammates?

Coach said...

Jake: who has Bagnoli brought back that quit under Mangurian ? You mentioned some possibilities a few months back.

Anonymous said...

If Nottingham is there, good for him. He probably wants to finish his career off the right way. Though, as far as fit for the position, it seems to be Hill's to lose. I'm not a fan of read option because it leaves your QB exposed to take big hits. Though with Hill's speed, it could be the best means to keep defenses guessing.