Monday, August 15, 2016

An even 10, Media Day, Schedule, and Training Camp Looms

Carson Powell

This will be a longer post to cover a number of developments that occurred during my short vacation:

While away on a short vacation, 6-0 190-pound DB Carson Powell committed to Columbia. Coach Justin Stovall identified him as a linebacker in one of his tweets, but I think based on his size he's going to be a safety.

Powell would be the second documented Cardinal Newman grad to come to Columbia, the first being Matt Swyers '93. 

Here's our updated list of 10 commits for the incoming 2017 freshmen class:

1) Josh Bean QB 6-2 200 lbs. Hinsdale HS Hinsdale, IL

2) Seth DeVary OL 6-4 275 lbs. Larue County HS Hodgenville, KY

3) Josh Kaminsky DL 6-4 280 lbs. Seton Hall Prep West Orange, NJ

4) Cameron Lipton-Martinez TE/DE 6-5 225 lbs. Montclair HS Montclair, NJ

5) Jake McCurry WR/DB 6-0 180 lbs. Solon HS Solon, OH

6) Jared Noble DB 5-10 185 lbs. St. Francis de Sales HS Columbus, OH

7) Carson Powell DB 6-0 190 lbs. Cardinal Newman HS Palm Beach, FL

8) Bailey Rotsky DB/WR Mayfield Heights HS Mayfield Heights, OH

9) Drew Schmid P 6-0 205 lbs. La Jolla Country Day La Jolla, CA  

10) Ashton Cooper Wilson DE/LB 6-3 230 lbs. Merritt Island HS Merritt Island, FL


It seems like the fans got no warning this year at all about the Ivy League Football media teleconference that took place last Tuesday. Not that it provides a massive amount of new info, but it's always been a welcome event in the midst of the information desert Ivy fans are stuck in for most of the 300+ day off season. 

Let's start with the headlines from Head Coach Al Bagnoli's comments and then go into some of the other real news from the other programs:

-Skyler Mornhinweg is healthy and is still the #1 QB, (not much "news" there, but important)

-Bagnoli called returning OL Charlie Flores the "best" offensive lineman. His general optimism about the offensive line makes sense as this is easily the best and most experienced O-line Columbia has fielded in maybe 20 years. Bagnoli talked about how the strength and weight program should also produce some better results up front. 

-Bagnoli was also extremely complimentary about starting corners Jared Katz and Cameron Roane. The only question is whether they can both stay healthy because there has to be some question about depth in the secondary overall. 

That was really about it from a "news' standpoint. Of course, Bagnoli correctly mentioned that the program is still trying to build itself up. And frankly, it still just feels great to hear Bagnoli's voice and know he's at the helm of this program. 

Now on to the news from the other teams:


Head Coach Phil Estes discussed some of the hard luck scenarios that hit the Bears last season. He also talked about how he's excited to have QB Kyle Moreno back. The big challenge is going to be at running back. Otherwise, there's a lot of talent in every part of the team especially at wide receiver. 


Head Coach David Archer emphasized how many more seniors and juniors are on his roster. But I consider that to be a red flag generally when you talk about overall team experience without naming enough individual star players. And considering that Archer named sophomore Dalton Banks over senior Robert Somborn as the presumptive starting QB, I think that point is justified. Of course, the loss of RB Luke Hagy is the biggest problem for the Big Red, and Archer didn't really name any one player who's emerged as a go-to ball carrier.  


Coming off its shared Ivy title season, Head Coach Buddy Teevens kept using the word "solid" to describe just about every player returning. As expected, he mentioned sophomore Bruce Dixon's name first when he talked about who will be the starting QB, but he made no official announcement. 

Head Coach Tim Murphy really emphasized all the losses to graduation more than usual this year. The long rumored to be great QB Joe Viviano is back for one last try to remain injury free and get the starting nod, but Murphy seems to really believe he's locked in a real competition for the job with sophomore Tom Stewart. 


Head Coach Ray Priore made an interesting statement about how the tweaked Penn coaching staff took some time to get used to their new jobs last year. That seemed to be an explanation for Penn's slow start last year and extremely impressive finish. 

Priore singled out RB Tre Solomon, who I get the feeling might end up being featured a bit more as opposed to being just part of a running attack by committee like he was last year. 

Finally, Priore mentioned all the freshmen who contributed to the defense last season and how they're likely to be more experienced starters this year.


Head Coach Bob Surace talked about first about the returning experience and talent on his D-line and in the linebackers corps. Then he singled out junior QB John Lovett, who had a huge year in 2015 before missing the final month of the season with an injury. Surace also talked about sophomore RB Charles Volker, who sounds like he could be the fastest back in the league. DB Dorian Williams was another player Surace really singled out. 


Head Coach Tony Reno seemed to be playing it unusually close to the vest, especially regarding the big mystery at QB. He did mention junior Rafe Chapple's name first, but it didn't seem like he was doing that to indicate that Chapple has the inside track. But Reno did remind everyone that he has great returning talent in WR Bo Hines and RB Candler Rich. Other than that, Reno didn't sound much like a coach who has to be on the hot seat this season as Yale continues to be unable to beat Harvard.   

Bottom line, Columbia fans need to realize that the Ivy League as a whole will be much improved this season. I think every team is likely to be better than it was, with the possible exceptions of Dartmouth and Cornell. Dartmouth will still be a potentially good team, however. The Lions, even an improved Lion team, will almost surely be facing better opposition than they did in 2015 when they play Brown, Princeton, Yale, and probably even Penn. 


The athletic department has now released the official game times and TV coverage information for the 2016 schedule. 

Of course, the highlights are the two nationally-broadcast games. Both will be at home, the first being the Ivy opener against Princeton at noon on October 1st on Fox College Sports. The second will be a Friday night game on NBC Sports Network against Yale at 7pm. 

Homecoming against Dartmouth on October 22nd is a 1:30 kickoff time, as opposed to the slightly later start times Columbia has had for a number of Homecoming games in recent years. 
One other new game time to note is the Penn game which will be at 3pm at Franklin Field on October 15th. 

And don't forget the preseason scrimmage at Coach Bagnoli's old stomping grounds at Union College against Cornell on September 3rd. It's good to see a preseason scrimmage against an Ivy team once again. I have always seen the avoidance of such Ivy scrimmages to be a sign the program is serious trouble. 


Columbia's players will be reporting to campus this coming Saturday and they'll get on the field for the first practices of summer training camp a couple days later. A number of player currently on the roster won't be joining them as probably somewhere about 10-12 players will be cut not only to adhere to the Ivy League's 110 player rule for training camp, but also to improve overall team quality. 

In other words, this is it. The season, for the players at least, is really starting now. And that includes the players on the most positively reviewed incoming freshmen recruiting class in many years for Columbia's program. I expect at least one of those freshmen to grab a significant starting spot, especially at wide receiver. 

So stay tuned.  


alawicius said...

Jake, looks like your post got cut off.

RLB said...


oldlion said...

Al is going to play it very close to the vest, as he should, but I would be surprised if he doesn't expect to really close out some tough games and pull off at least one major upset. He thinks a healthy Mornhinweg and a good OL is going to put a lot of points on the board.

Anonymous said...

Didn't hear the call but really, Coach Estes probably felt more relief than anything that he did not have to wince at Marcus Fuller's lukewarm/cold performances. It's a tough thing to do, to groom a guy to be #1 QB, give him all the confidence behind him and he can't get the job done. Brown lost a lot of games because of bad offense. Just flat out out bad. So, they are a wildcard once again with a new QB.

I like Columbia's chances to level the playing field. If they truly fix the defense and negate some big plays - run and pass, they have a shot to stay in games. They have to stop teams as much as they need to extend drives and finish those drives with points. Let's hope their special teams is also fixed since all of that matters quite a bit when you are a team that needs every break you can get. I think they have the potential to go to toe with more conference teams now thanks to Coach Bags and the great job he and his staff are doing.