Friday, September 15, 2006

some notes from earlier in the week

Injuries in ’05 bond Littleton, Henley

Kevin Littleton was in a hospital bed at Yale-New Haven Hospital in August 2005 when he got the call.
“They told me to make some space in my room,” Littleton said.
Wide receiver Chandler Henley had broken his collarbone, the day Littleton had surgery to repair his mangled right ankle.At the time, both were miserable. Their football seasons were finished before they had a chance to get started.
But the adversity strengthened their friendship and their desire to play the game.Yale (4-6, 4-3 Ivy League last season) opens its 134th season Saturday at noon at a restored Yale Bowl against San Diego (2-0).
“It’s hard to explain how excited I am for this game, and for the rest of the season, too,” said Henley, who led Yale with six touchdown catches in 2004.Said Littleton, “We’re both so excited to play. We’ve got a new energy this year as a team. The day I got hurt, the whole team came to visit us at the hospital, the coaches and (athletic director Tom) Beckett. That meant a lot.”
Littleton, who will start at cornerback this season, was hurt the first day of full contact in 2005.
Henley and Littleton each went to every game and they rehabbed together.
“As disappointing as it is to get hurt, we developed a close bond through it,” Henley said. “It also helped having all of the guys come in. At that point, everything feels so negative, but in the end, it pales in comparison to the adversity you’re going to go through in life.”
It’s advice they can now pass on to teammates who will miss this season, such as linebacker Lee Driftmier and safety Nick Solakian, both out for the year with shoulder injuries.
“You have to look toward the end.” Henley said. “This season it seems frustrating for them, but if they can feel like I feel right now, as excited as I am to play this week for the opener, it all becomes worth it.”
Beckett said “95 percent” of the work on Phase I of the Yale Bowl restoration project is complete.Only work on a few portals remains. The interior work, with a wider concourse around the Bowl, is complete.The rest should be done by Oct. 15. After Saturday, Yale plays three straight games on the road and returns to play host to Lehigh on Oct. 14.He said he hopes Phase II, which will include a new halftime room, entry plaza and video scoreboard, will start at the conclusion of this season.YOUTH DAYYale will hold its annual Youth Day Saturday. The event started 65 years ago, and will include youth football games beginning at 9 a.m., a youth clinic and free admission for children 14 and under.
Each year the captain is responsible for coming up with the slogan on the team T-shirt.Henley’s mom, Diane, gets the credit this year. She sent her son John C. Maxwell’s book “Teamwork makes the Dream Work,” which became Yale’s slogan.
San Diego, which is ranked No. 1 in the Sports Network I-AA Mid-Major poll, has won 10 straight games and 19 of its past 20. The 10-game winning streak is the longest current streak in I-AA.The Toreros will arrive Thursday night and practice at Yale Bowl Friday afternoon.
Sophomore tackle Darius Dale practiced Tuesday and took part in sprints at the conclusion. Dale has an infection in his leg and is not expected to start. Yale football coach Jack Siedlecki said if doctors clear Dale, he could play Saturday.
Yale’s games at Cornell (Sept. 23) and at Dartmouth (Oct. 7) will be on Sirius radio.


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