Columbia Football Week in Review, May 31, 2014
By Inside Lion
The brief respite from workouts is over and Columbia football players are starting to return to New York City for summer workouts. All of the Lions who will be on campus this summer will be back by the end of next week, and many of them have already started workouts at The Campbell Sports Center. The goal is to continue building on momentum created in the early months of the new offseason program that is very different from previous years.
As the seniors start to return for their final summer at Columbia, there’s a reality starting to sink in.
“Last year was tough,” senior Kal Prince noted. “Then you realize you only have one more year. You don’t want that to happen to you.”
Eighteen Lions are entering the final year of their careers at Columbia and they have noticed a change in the atmosphere surrounding the football program. From better team chemistry to positive changes on the field, the seniors believe the potential is there for a drastic improvement from last year.
“We want to get the ball rolling,” says senior defensive lineman Eric Stock. “We want to leave Columbia on an upward step, not leave it where it’s been.”
The biggest change the seniors noticed in this offseason regimen is the extra conditioning the team has been doing since January. They said it has been a significant amount more than in previous years.
That extra running has already shown some results. The Lions are in better shape at this point than they have been in previous off-seasons, and senior cornerback Malcolm Thaxton sees a big improvement in overall team speed.
But it may have also helped the Lions forge stronger bonds as teammates.
“The team as a whole has come together more than usual,” Stock said. “Every class. Everybody wants it more. Everybody’s working their tails off. Nobody’s giving up.”
The team got a small break from the daily conditioning workouts during spring practice and Thaxton noticed that his teammates were much more comfortable with each other on the field. In fact, he added, the team was having more fun during spring ball than he’s seen in the past, as they switched attention to football instead of conditioning. Prince also believes this senior class has taken on leadership roles better than in past years, and that has led to the underclassmen buying into the system, too. All these changes in the offseason have the rising seniors thinking they will be able to achieve their goal of leaving a lasting mark by starting to turn the program around.
“We want to win some games and change the culture that’s been around here for the last 50-something years,” Thaxton said. “We want to make sure that all the underclassmen can keep things going the way we want them to — in the right direction.”