Monday, October 26, 2015

And now for the next step

Based on the way the Lions fought hard at Dartmouth Saturday, it certainly looks like Head Coach Al Bagnoli and his staff have succeeded in keeping this team motivated no matter what the circumstances or the odds.

The scrappiness Columbia showed clearly took its toll on the Big Green as a whopping ten personal foul penalties were called against them. Remember, this wasn't just the first close game Dartmouth had played against Columbia in three years, it was the first close game Dartmouth had played against anyone all year. A banged up and sickness-infected Big Green O-line played a role, but Dartmouth was clearly not emotionally prepared for the challenge. The good news for Buddy Teevens and company is there's no way they'll be this emotionally unready for the big game at Harvard Friday night. So if mental preparedness is really the biggest weakness for Dartmouth this year, that shouldn't be too much of a problem going forward.

Now it's time for Columbia's next step, and it might be tougher to achieve. 

That's the step where the coaches reach into that roster and find the one or two players who can make the difference and get Columbia another win or two before 2015 ends. 

It's clear to even casual fans that the Lions need to add a deep passing threat of some kind and soon. At least two key receivers on the roster are injured for the rest of the season, so the list of available names is shorter than it appears. It probably means that the coaches will have to take a chance on someone who in normal circumstances they would not be playing, let alone playing in crucial situations. 

Yale is a very banged up team right now and could be as emotionally vulnerable as Dartmouth was this past Saturday but without all the All Ivy players. But even with lots of players hurt, the Elis seem to score easily no matter what. That means the Lions are going to have to score more than 14 points to win.

So who will be the Columbia offensive player other than Cameron Molina who makes a difference? There are a lot of potential candidates.

Here are my Top 5 Candidates:

1) TE John Hunton

Hunton has made one or two big plays per game most weeks so far for the Lions, but I think he needs to be much more of a go-to guy to make the impact Columbia needs. He's the logical choice to lead this list however as he has shown actual flashes on the field so far.

2) FB Jackson Conway

Okay, I know the offensive side of the ball Conway twin has been a blocking back all season and has had his number called for passes maybe 2-3 times all year. But remember that the Conways had their Yale acceptances nixed by Eli Head Coach Tony Reno when he took over the program. I'd give Jackson the ball a number of times to get some mileage out of the anger I'm sure he deservedly feels against the Yale program. THEN, after that's established I'd fake one to him and see who's very open downfield. This might only work against the Elis, but why the heck not?

3) WR Tre Gabriel

Gabriel looked so fast and so sure handed in training camp that I have to think some other weird reason is why we haven't seen him line up on offense yet this season. If there's any time to give this kid a try, it seems like it would be now.

4) QB Anders Hill

Hill didn't play at all at Dartmouth, so I don't know the state of his health. But in addition to getting him to try some aggressive runs at the depleted Yale D-line, how about lining the 6-4 QB at WR on a play or two, send him in motion, and confuse the heck out of the Elis? 

5) RB Chris Schroer

Chris is a scrappy runner and something tells me he could be dangerous coming out of the backfield on screens. I'd line him up in a standard T-formation with Molina and when the defense relaxes because Molina doesn't have the ball, toss it to Schroer and see if he isn't as open as the Long Island Expressway at 3am. 

Okay, I admit some of my above ideas are stretches. But the coaches have been stretching things all year. And I'm certainly open to other suggestions. 


Robert Morrison said...

Alex Robin update

oldlion said...

Another cheap shot today at Columba in the sports page at the Daily Pennsylvanian, or whatever they call the student newspaper. Why do those guys obsess over Columbia?

DOC said...

Good call on Harvard-Princeton Jake !
Was 14-7 at the half and then Harvard shifted into a fifth gear and left the Tigers in the dust !
Dartmouth will have their hands full..

Coach said...

Any true freshman getting playing time at Columbia? One would think so.