Wednesday, September 22, 2010

2010 Ivy League Football Preview: Columbia

Editor's Note: After a long delay, we're back looking at the Ivy League teams before the start of conference play this week for several teams. Members of the WHRB staff are writing up previews of each team, looking at the positives and negatives for all of the teams, and giving an overall impression if where the team was picked in the Ivy League football media day was correct. Our series last looked at Princeton; today, we look at Columbia.

Columbia Football Preview:
by Chris Lee

After a disastrous 2008, the Lions started the rebuilding process on the right foot in 2009. Will 2010 be the year Columbia is finally ready to compete? We take a look at some good news and bad news for the Lions, after the jump.

The good news: Columbia has the opportunity to start rebuilding behind some powerful returning weapons. Although Columbia's defense was nothing to write home about last year, finishing fifth in the Ivy League in total defense, the Lions do have some stellar defensive talent returning to the field this season. Defensive back Adam Mehrer, who was fourth in the League in tackles last season, will return this year as a staple in the Lions secondary. Lineman Josh Smith will be back for his senior season to try and continue where graduate (and sack machine) Lou Miller left off, providing consistent defensive pressure.

The bad news: The Lions took steps in the right direction last year, finishing the season with a 4-6 (3-4 in conference) record. Unfortunately for them this year, point-scoring dynamo M.A. Olawale will not return after graduating last spring. After leading the team in both rushing and passing yards and finishing the season third in the Ivy League in total offense, Olawale is going to be dearly missed by this rebuilding Columbia team.

The verdict: Expect this year to be another rebuilding year under Coach Wilson for the Lions. Columbia is starting to move the necessary pieces into place to be a real contender in years to come, but this year doesn't look too promising. Expect Columbia to have something close to a modest 4-6 rebuilding year.

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