Thursday, June 9, 2016

Money Well Spent?

Every year, the 100 day before kickoff mark always seems important somehow

One of the things Head Coach Al Bagnoli demanded and received when he came to Columbia was higher salaries for the assistant coaches. He wanted to be able to lure and retain good new talent.

Most of the staff he brought in with him last season had worked with Bagnoli before, and it was good to be able to get them. And the same is true of new Tight Ends/Passing Game Coach John Audino, who worked with Bagnoli and then succeeded him as head coach at Union College.

But one of the most interesting developments this off season has been the hiring of new QB Coach Ricky Santos. Santos was not just lured to Columbia, but lured away from his Alma Mater at New Hampshire even as he was being named to the UNH Hall of Fame, (induction ceremonies for that are this Saturday). Santos was an incredible player who truly changed the course of the UNH program. So far as a coach, he's earned good marks and that's why Bagnoli wanted him. If Santos succeeds, it will provide immediate justification for the budget and salary boost so there's a lot riding on Columbia's quarterback play this season. With 2015 starter Skyler Mornhinweg missing the spring practice while recovering from a foot injury and Anders Hill still coming along, Santos has had plenty of mentoring to do right away.

A lot of Columbia's QB stats were skewed last year because of all the injuries and overall weakness at the wide receiver position. But with 5th year senior Scooter Hollis coming back, Cameron Dunn returning with more experience, and the emergence of TE John Hunton as a legitimate passing target, there's reason to believe the 2016 numbers will be better.

The good news is that there seem to be very few questions about the abilities of Mornhinweg and Hill. And the offensive line clearly improved as 2015 went along and the OL returns almost all its veterans this season. Santos won't have to work miracles to show big progress this fall, that's for sure.

But anything associated with a 5-5 season or better in 2016 for Columbia will be portrayed as a miracle anyway. Santos certainly was a miracle worker on the field for UNH 10 years ago, so I'm sure he's used to it.


RLB said...

Bagnoli has received what seems to be an unprecedented amount of financial support, from the salaries to the commitment to the bubble to the uograding th field.

Mornhinweg and Hill are still to be polished QBs. Mornhinweg has to stop throwing into obvious coverage, for instance.

alswingman said...

It will be interesting to follow the progress of not just QB play but the entire offense. The season goes by quick so development has to happen fast. Still looking for a signature game from either QB.