Update on Columbia Football
There will be an update on Columbia Football on gocolumbialions.com released every Tuesday evening in 2013. The features will include updates on the team's off-season workouts, dates to remember and other team information that will keep you in the know about the Columbia Football program!
We only have two more Tuesday Updates before the summer break. Stay tuned for updated rosters, two deeps and biographies! Have questions??? Tweet them @columbialionsfb and use the hashtag #TuesdayUpdate.
Talking About the Final Spring Practice
Coach Mangurian breaks down the final spring practice:
This weekend we finished phase three of our football calendar. The off-season started January 29 and ended Saturday Night (May 4). The players have done what we have asked them to do. I can honestly say that we got all they had to give. That’s how it should be. For the most part, they feel good about where they are, and I agree.
That being said, we still have a long way to go.
I thought we played solid Saturday. We were very basic in our calls. Obviously we have installed some new schemes into our defensive package with the addition of Chris Rippon to the staff. We went to great lengths to keep our terminology consistent for the sake of the players, but there was an adjustment. The last two weeks of spring practice I felt we became more comfortable with our responsibilities and started playing more physical. I thought we continued that Saturday night.
I was very pleased with the way our defensive line played. Wells Childress was disruptive and physical in both the running and passing game. His football awareness has improved. Nick Melka was productive and dependable. Nick has a high effort and disciplined playing style. Chad Washington has become much more consistent as a player. Chad has improved as a run defender and made more progress as a pass rusher.
Niko Padilla continues to improve his skills to match physical strength. Toba Akinleye played closer to his potential in the scrimmage. Toba can be a disruptive pass rusher, but has shown an ability to be a “3 down” player. Eric Stock, Roy Schwartz and Hunter Little are unselfish and dependable. When they are on the field, you are going to get all they have. JD Hurt started off well this spring but missed the last week. With three incoming freshmen joining this group and the return of Seyi Adebayo, we should feature a bigger and more athletic D-Line than a year ago.
Our linebackers are in transition. Losing Waller and Murphy is significant. Zach Olinger is the established veteran of the group; we won’t really know who is playing beside him until September. Brian East played significant snaps for us last year and we feel confident in his ability at outside linebacker. Brian had a good offseason and the new schemes fit his skill set. There will be a training camp battle at inside linebacker between Marc Cieslak, Ray Pesanello and Vinny Pugliese. John Brady has proven position flexibility at either inside position.
Max Keefe will also work at outside linebacker. Max made huge jumps in the weight room this off season, and continues to make the transition from safety in high school to outside linebacker for us. Jacob Ardron improved throughout the spring. We feel good about the four incoming freshmen. The linebackers will be younger, but bigger and stronger, with decidedly more depth.
Our secondary continues to evolve. Sophomore Travis Reim and senior Marquel Carter are two returning starters in the defensive backfield. Corner Malcolm Thaxton missed part of the spring but came back the last week and played well. Matt Cahal who played some as a freshman last year, improved throughout the spring.
The starting spot opposite Reim will be decided in training camp. Thaxton, Cahal and Bruce Grant will compete. Bruce moved over from offense in the offseason. He has great speed and range. He had a productive spring, and like Cahal and Thaxton, played a little “nicked up”. These guys all know what is at stake, if you miss time, someone will take your spot.
Carter, Mingo, Patmon and McCarthy took most of the work at safety. Right now, Patmon has the edge at the other starting safety position. Mingo had a strong spring after moving over from corner. We moved Kal Prince to safety at the end of spring. Kal is another guy with good speed and range.
Spring practice is the opportunity for upperclassmen to establish themselves before the freshmen show up. Mike Skalitzky got everyone’s attention this spring. He took advantage of every opportunity. Josh Foster continues to improve at corner. With five freshmen coming into the defensive backfield, training camp should be very competitive. Depth in the secondary and in the linebacking corps is critical. Most of our core special teams players will come from these two groups.
OFFENSE - A full offensive preview to follow tomorrow...