There was a lot that went wrong for Columbia football in its 37-14 loss to Monmouth on Saturday, and head coach Pete Mangurian was clearly disappointed in the team’s performance.
“Got seniors jumping offsides. Got starting receivers not catching the ball. Got protections that you’ve worked on forever that we just don’t execute,” he said after the game on Saturday.
“I can sit here and deflect and all that stuff, but the bottom line is everybody has got to do their job,” Mangurian added. “And we’ve got to count on our seniors to make plays when they’re called on to make plays. That’s not always happening.”
Though senior running back and co-captain Marcorus Garrett finished the game with 152 yards on 16 carries and two touchdowns, the majority of those yards came on big runs during the two scoring drives. For the rest of the game, the offense was largely anemic. The unit went three-and-out a stunning nine times and had just 10 first downs. Additionally, Columbia went 0-12 on third down and allowed six sacks.
For comparison’s sake, Monmouth had 29 first downs and went 6-18 on third down. The Hawks gave up three sacks but nearly doubled the Lions’ time of possession at 38:33 to 19:29.
With all of that, Mangurian hinted that personnel changes could be coming at certain positions.
“We can play guys with experience—or what’s perceived to be experience—and not execute, or we can play the young guys that are going to make mistakes and play as hard as they can,” Mangurian said. “We’re going to put 11 guys out on the field every single time that do what they’re asked to do and execute.”
Part of putting younger players on the field comes from the head coach’s desire to improve the Lions’ chances in the future.
“I’m not going to sacrifice long-term growth and foundation and development for short-term gains that won’t sustain themselves,” he said. “It’s one that has clearly worked with a lot of our younger players—Travis Reim. There’s some guys out there that a year ago were in the same boat.”
Reim, a sophomore cornerback, was one of the few bright spots for the Lions on Saturday, as he performed well against wide receiver Neal Sterling, one of Monmouth’s top receivers. He had nine tackles and two pass breakups, and he also made an impact on special teams with a 47-yard kick return.
As for young guys who have already seen playing time, offensive tackle Kendall Pace and defensive back Brock Kenyon, both first-years, were on the field for much of Saturday’s contest. Pace started at left tackle, and Kenyon had a key pass breakup on a pass to the end zone. Mangurian said he likes that attitude of both players, who, among others, have shown an ability to fight and compete when “things go bad.”
“They’re fighting to be good,” Mangurian said. “They’re not getting pulled down and falling into the malaise. I’m just not going to let that happen.”
And Mangurian emphasized that shaping the attitude of the team begins at the top.
“It starts with me,” he said. “But it takes everybody on a football team to be successful. I don’t think I’m doing anybody any favors if I keep patting them on the back and telling them it’s OK and it’ll be OK tomorrow. We’re not doing that anymore.”
“It’s not OK. We’re going to fix it,” Mangurian added. “We’ve got eight games left, and seven of them are for all the marbles. And that’s the way I’m looking at it. That’s the way we’re going to come to work. That’s the way we’re going to prepare.”