Monday, June 29, 2015

Some Preseason Honors



Niko Padilla


A relatively new outfit called the American Football Networks has named returning Lion seniors Niko Padilla, Cameron Molina, and Toba Akinleye to its preseason All America list.

It's a nice recognition for them and hopefully it will go a long way towards educating casual Columbia fans about the real talent the Lions have coming back to the defensive line.

Remember that in addition to Padilla and Akinleye, Chad Washington and Charles Melka are coming back to the team after not being on the roster last season. I'm also pretty high on sophomore Lord Hyeamang who could have a more noticeable breakout season after a solid freshman effort.

New Head Coach Al Bagnoli seems to have real respect for this D-line, as it was the first thing he mentioned when he was asked about what he saw as the "positives" on this team at his introductory news conference.

Molina is an interesting case. There's no doubt he was a major workhorse for the team last season as he ended up leading the Lions in rushing and receiving. I'm just not sure the new coaching regime will lean on him as much this coming season. On the other hand, he might even be MORE utilized if Columbia moves to an option offense with QB's Skyler Mornhinweg and Anders Hill.

I mention both QB's because Bagnoli had been using two QB's per game at Penn for many seasons before he got to us this year. He like to shuttle the QB's or at least give his primary guy a breather or two every game. If everyone stays healthy, I still fully expect to see one QB take about 80% of the snaps next season and another one get the other 20%.

Now to the key point: I'd say Mornhinweg is going to be the primary QB this season no matter what. More and more people who have either seen him play or have heard Bagnoli talking about him believe Mornhinweg can indeed make a difference for Columbia right now.

For those of you skeptics who legitimately bring up the Brett Nottingham comparison, I would just say that in retrospect we know that Nottingham was adept at a certain style of QB play that the existing Columbia team could not support. Mornhinweg may be much better suited to the strengths the Lions have now. But with Bagnoli and his assistants now at the helm, any player with any talent is likely to have a lot more success here than they would if they showed up a couple of years ago.

13 comments:

Coach said...

Which staff recruited these 3 excellent players? They will all be seniors?

oldlion said...

What about seeing Molina in the slot?

Jake said...

All 3 recruited by Norries' staff.

Coach said...

Columbia really pulled the plug on Norris Wilson too soon. He clearly did a fine job recruiting. What a mistake.

I remain, very truly yours, Richard Szathmary said...

Norries (who was a very nice man) unfortunately held inexplicably to an offensive coordinator who just couldn't dut it. Probably truly loved and respected by his players. but the word from players' parents to me about their sons' reactions to Vinnie Marino was quite the opposite.

alswingman said...

I think the Norries issue is old hat/dead horse subject matter on this blog. Something clearly changed in his approach his final season or 2. He started off pretty well though.

oldlion said...

Norries had his legs but out from under him by Dianne, starting with the infamous Penn game during his first season, when she made him publicly apologize. He was and no doubt still is a fine human being. I think two things happened, in addition to Dianne's trying to sabotage him: first, I think he should have canned his OC after he ruined Brackett's junior year; and second, unfortunately I think he stopped working hard (the latter insight comes from an administration insider who is very fond of Norries). But by hindsight, clearly we went from bad in Norries' last season to noncompetitve and then pathetic thereafter. But maybe things really had to get this bad in order to wake up the administration. PS, I am told that the one thing that surprised Al the most when he got here was the size of our players, that is, how light they were.

tiredofthespin15 said...

check your recruiting facts Jake.

Jake said...

Norries and even Marino were very good recruiters. In some ways, that damns them even more because they couldn't win with the best quality of players we've had in awhile. In what seemed like an effort to spite us, he was replaced with someone who couldn't recruit as well OR win.

Jake said...

"Tired"

I suppose it's possible the Mangurian staff closed the deal on Padilla, but he came over pretty darned early for me to think Pete had anything to do with it.

Akinelye and Molina are absolutely Norries' recruits.

DOC said...

Certainly would not count out Nottingham.
I'm sure he feel like he has something to prove
after the Mangurian debacle.

oldlion said...

If he gets protection, Nottingham is a deadly accurate passer. Of course, he needs receivers who can actually coach the ball, a commodity which was sorely lacking last year.

Chen1982 said...

I guess the QB choice is so intertwined with the nature and progress of the O-line. This may be where platooning could work....use the run option QB mostly but then insert Nottingham at key moments (and I don't mean third and long) to make the defence have to react on short notice.