Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Scouting Princeton

Kurt Holuba

I admit it. When it comes to preseason predictions, I have been just terrible at getting a handle on the Princeton Tigers. I usually underrate them, but have also overrated them at times too.

But now that we’ve seen Princeton play two games, even hopelessly Tiger-blind guys like me have an idea about what kind of team they are.


Former great Brown QB James Perry has been the OC at Princeton for six years now and he really knows what he’s doing. If you’re an opposing defense, you have to pick your poison with this offense that has so many weapons and looks that it’s really hard to keep track.

Right now, the more potent poison is the running game which is averaging a monstrous 276 yards per game. Three runners are doing the job led by DiAndre Atwater. Atwater has the most total yards, but Joe Rhattigan and Dre Nelson have really been just as lethal. When you have multiple RB’s doing this much damage it usually means you have a great offensive line, and the fact that Princeton has allowed zero sacks makes it official.

At QB, Chad Kanoff is mostly living up to expectations and seems like he might get better over time. But with Quinn Epperly gone to graduation, Perry has given sophomore John Lovett the chance to occasionally, throw, run, or catch the ball depending on the situation. Lovett already has one TD rushing and one TD passing.

Injured through much of 2014, WR Seth DeValve is looking good, but with that Tiger rushing attack he hasn’t had to rack up big yards just yet. He had 10 catches including a TD reception.


Princeton has been a bit better against the run than the pass, but the Tigers do have seven sacks and have only allowed two TD passes. On the darker side, Princeton is allowing opposing QB’s to complete 70% of their passes and allowing almost 300 passing yards per game.

Sophomore DL Kurt Holuba is starting to live up to the tremendous hype he received when he committed to Princeton from Bergen Catholic HS. He already has two sacks and a forced fumble. Safety Dorian Williams has upped his game from an impressive 2014 and is leading the team in tackles. He also has two forced fumbles and one recovery that he returned for 39 yards. Senior CB Anthony Gaffney is quietly leading the traditional pass defense and can be close to a shutdown corner.

Junior LB RJ Paige appears to be a breakout star this season and should be watched closely.

A surprise potential breakout player on the D has been DL Henry Schlossberg. He has two sacks and a pass breakup. My guess is he’s benefitting from the needed attention opposing lines have to give Holuba, but he’s getting the job done.

Special Teams

This is probably the best special teams unit in the Ivies. Kicker Nolan Bieck has been perfect on PAT’s and FG’s, including a 45-yarder. Punter Tyler Roth has only had to punt twice thanks to this offense, but he’s averaging more than 50 yards per boot. Kickoff returner Dre Nelson has taken over those duties from the lethal Gaffney and all he’s done is average 34 yards a return. Punt returner Max Lescano averages more than 11 yards per chance.  

Will They be Good in the Rain?

It looks like Friday night’s game at Princeton Stadium will be a major washout. That part of the forecast is easy. The harder part is trying to figure out which team that will help more. In recent years, bad weather games have helped Columbia narrow the gap against better teams but not get them over the hump. One would think that with all the fast moving and precise offensive looks, Princeton would be in bigger trouble during a windy mess of a game. But that offensive line could negate most of the bad effects from the weather. Either way, this seems like it’s going to be a fun game to watch… on TV at home.


oldlion said...

Jake, looking at the Princeton game notes Princeton seems to have a fairly light OL they have their very good LT back as a fifth year senior, but he is only 255. I think our DL will match up pretty well against their OL. On the other side of the ball, our OL has actually played pretty well in both games, despite one killer boneheaded holding penalty last week which cost us a TD. In our game notes, looks like we have made a change in one of the starting CB slots: I wonder if that blown coverage last Saturday might have had something to do with this.

Bob Barker said...

Can't believe you suggested that Jake ban me old lion. Because I voice my opinion on CU and you don't like it? Really shallow of you and a crybaby mentality. Everything I say is true, I haven't said anything critical of the team at all. Just cause I'm not here being a cheerleader and joining the "breakfast club" with the rest of you CU loyalist doesn't mean I can't speak my opinion.

InwoodTiger said...

Princeton is nearly always a mess in bad weather. Doesn't matter the year. I'm thinking this game will be close.

alswingman said...

What is the breakfast club? The 80's film?

Sorry to see Princeton is not slouching as of yet. This could be a tough one. Too much athleticism on the Tigers roster. We're not gelling yet. It could happen and history shows Columbia is Princeton's foil. It's going to be a difficult game if Princeton gets clicking.