Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Happy Reports

Coach Poppe Tweeted this pic of George Mahoney speaking to the team

Yesterday the reports from training camp went from happy impressions of the better attitude to actual concrete positive assessments about player talent and effort.

I’m not going to single out any player by name, especially not before the first real scrimmage in eight days, but here’s what I’ll say:

1)      Look for a new source of strength coming out of the backfield with the kind of player Ivy defenders have historically not been able to tackle very well.
2)      A new WR is already giving the defense fits
3)      Another new player is displaying a lethal combo of blistering speed and extremely smooth hands
4)      Team size is much better across the aboard and appropriate for college football
5)      Camp is being catered better than some NFL facilities, (yum).

I have to add that the reports I had yesterday are the best I’ve heard coming out of a Columbia training camp since 2009 when we last had a truly competitive team.

It did get a little hotter on the field yesterday than the forecasts led us to believe, but today we're assured it will be cooler and even less humid. 

Motivational Speech

After practice, George Mahoney ’00 spoke to the team about perseverance. I don’t know any of the other details about the speech, but I do know a little something about Mahoney and how he stepped up for a another Lion he never played with years ago. Mahoney came to Columbia from Staten Island’s St. Joseph by the Sea just in time to be a freshmen member of the best Lion team in many decades. By his senior season in 1999, he was a team leader on the field and also off the field as a leader of the players’ Christian prayer group.

In the spring of 1999, the Columbia family was shocked by the story of Mike Sardo ’93, a star WR for the Lions in his playing days who had been hit with spinal cancer. Mahoney helped organize some of his teammates and worked with some coaches and other campus advisers to help set up a fund for Sardo and his new wife, former Lion basketball player Kathleen Johnson.

Again, I have no idea yet if Mahoney used Sardo’s story as part of his speech on perseverance last night. But he certainly could have because Sardo remains a very inspiring story. He lives today in Northern Virginia and is fighting the good fight for himself and others who have to go through everyday life in a wheelchair.

Mahoney is now an executive at Merck. 


alawicius said...

Great report, Jake, thanks! I remember Mike Sardo well, didn't know about his illness, he'll be in my daily prayers. Can't wait to hear all your "secret" revelations about the Lions!


Chen1982 said...

As I am in New York this week installing my son back at NYU, I am reading the blog with even closer interest. It sounds over and over again that Columbia is sparing no expense on the program to treat the kids well and give them great coaching. I remember seeing some of the faces of the players back in the spring at the press conference when Al was announced....they looked hesitant as to be expected....but it has to be dawning on them that they are in much much better hands now.

Keep the reports coming Jake.