Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Chasing The Back In Black

TigerBlog was watching "Jeopardy" the other day when one of the answers asked what cabinet department Bruce Babbit headed up in the Clinton administration. For some reason, TB knew that it was the Interior.

How did TB remember that? Why? He has no idea.

It's useless information, the kind that just floats around in his head, bouncing around song lyrics, movie lines, historical dates - and of course Princeton athletic records.

There are some records here that TB is reasonably sure of, and there are others that are fuzzier.

The other day, TB was talking about the time he went to Nova Scotia to see Princeton play Ohio in men's basketball, back on the day after Thanksgiving of 1999. He was positive that Chris Young set the school record blocked shots in a game that day, and he was sure it was either nine or 10. As it turned out, it was 10.

There are some numbers, though, that are just seared into TB's brain, and they are unable to be forgotten.

Numbers like 2,503.
Or 11.
Or 40-13.
Or 43-41.
Or 53 and 163.
Or 41 seconds.
Or 20 and 12.

Or many others.

For those who are curious, those numbers correspond to: the number of points Bill Bradley scored in his career, the number of 40 point games Bradley had at Princeton (nobody else has ever had one), the largest deficit Princeton faced against Penn in the 1999 comeback game at the Palestra, the final score of the Princeton-UCLA game, the number of goals Jesse Hubbard scored in a season and career, the time remaining in the first overtime when B.J. Prager scored against Syracuse in the 2001 NCAA final and the number of goals and assists Esmeralda Negron had while leading Princeton to the 2004 NCAA Final Four.

Another number that's impossible to forget is 4,208, the number of career rushing yards Keith Elias had at Princeton.

His total is 1,099 more than the second-best total of Judd Garrett. Cameron Atkinson ranks third all-time at Princeton with 2,449 rushing yards, which means that no player who was eligible to play four varsity seasons ever came closer than 1,759 yards away from Elias, who could only play for three varsity seasons.

TigerBlog has been around Princeton athletes for nearly three decades, and some of his all-time favorite people played sports at Princeton.

When it comes to sheer charisma, there is only one athlete who has ever rivaled Elias, and that's men's lacrosse player Ryan Boyle.

If you didn't know Elias or never saw him play, this is all you need to know: All conversation always stopped the second he entered the room.

Dressed always in all black, usually with sunglasses, Elias would stroll into the media room at the time - the lounge in the Caldwell Field House - and talk with such confidence and self-assuredness that it seemed absurd to even remotely question anything that came out his mouth.

Anyway, current freshman Chuck Dibilio is leading Princeton in rushing with 536 yards, 300 more than the next highest total on the team and already the highest single-season rushing total by a freshman in school history.

Dibilio has exploded onto the Princeton football scene, especially at a position where such an explosion is so noticeable.

The question is, what does the future hold for Dibilio?

Can he catch Elias?

Well, at his current average of 89.3 yards per game, Dibilio would finish his career with 3,215 yards, or just under 1,000 away from Elias.

At his current rate, Dibilio would finish his freshman year with just about 900 yards. That would leave him needing to average 110 yards per game for 30 more games to equal Elias.

Can he do it? Of course, he has to stay healthy, though Elias did essentially miss one game of his career due to injury.

He'd also have to have some monster games along the way, like Elias did, like the seven times he went over 200 yards.

It's too early to think of Dibilio in terms of history, not with his career still in its infancy.

One thing that Dibilio does have is a bit of a "wow" factor, the thought that anytime he touches the ball he's about do to something special. Elias had that to an extraordinary degree.

It's hard to describe just how exciting a player Elias was if you didn't see him. He was also a winning player - Princeton went 8-2 each of his three varsity seasons.

Princeton football isn't on that level right now. A player like Dibilio is a great foundation for the rebuilding process - whether he finishes with 4,209 yards or doesn't approach Elias.


Anonymous said...

Let's worry about winning some games versus individual stats. 2-15 under the current coaching staff? That's a record not to be proud of.

Anonymous said...

It was a very tough game to watch today. Our win-loss record under the Surace coaching staff now stands at 2-17. It's hard to imagine what our players are going through, especially our Seniors. They have worked very hard with little to no results in the win column over the last two seasons. I know winning isn't everything but you can only learn so much from losing week after week after week.

Anonymous said...

2-15 not 2-17

Anonymous said...

probably 2-18 by the end of this season

Anonymous said...

2-16 under Surace. This is starting to get embarassing.

Anonymous said...

your embarrasing showing us the record after each loss.read the comments under the article in fourteen hundred and ninety two.everything broken with this team is in its last year without naming names.who is dropping balls,who is getting burnt in coverage,who is tipping balls to the other team.did the last coaching staff recruit any talent?

Anonymous said...

1-8, 2-17 under the current coaching staff? You are correct, it is embarassing. Coaching changes need to be considered at the end of the season.