Friday, October 31, 2008

Fodor out again

Senior quarterback Ryan Fodor will miss his second straight game with an ailing right shoulder. Sophomore Brook Hart will make his second career start when Yale hosts Columbia Saturday at 12:30 p.m.

Yale seems to be in pretty good shape health wise otherwise. Junior receiver Reid Lathan has been cleared after missing last week's game with a concussion.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Healing up

What a difference a week makes.

While attending Yale football practice last Wednesday, I was struck by the number of key Bulldogs who either couldn't practice or went through the drills sparingly.

However, at practice today Yale was significantly more healthy. The biggest surprise was seeing junior receiver Reid Lathan taking part in practice. Lathan missed Saturday's loss to Penn with a concussion and at Tuesday's media luncheon Yale coach Jack Siedlecki said Lathan's status was uncertain. Lathan looked fine although the spotlight was stolen by fellow receiver Jordan Forney who was impressive enough during passing drills that one teammate yelled out "it's the Jordan Forney show."

Senior quarterback Ryan Fodor, the other starter who missed Saturday's game, was in uniform indicating that his ailing right (throwing) shoulder must be feeling better. I didn't see Fodor throwing the ball but since he spent last Wednesday out of uniform, it would seem to be an encouraging sign to see him in uniform.

Gerald honored

Yale senior cornerback Casey Gerald has been named a National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame Scholar-Athlete and one of 15 finalists for the Draddy Trophy.

Here's the rest of the release I received from Yale.

Gerald, who is a Gates Scholar with a 3.68 GPA in political science, is applying for a Rhodes Scholarship (interested in philosophy and development studies) and has already been admitted to Harvard Business School (MBA). He received the 2008 Levi Jackson Scholarship for character, intellect, achievement and leadership. Gerald has eight solo tackles and 12 overall this fall.

Nominated by their schools, which are limited to one nominee each, candidates must be a senior or graduate student in their final year of eligibility, have a grade point average of at least 3.2 on a 4.0 scale, have outstanding football ability as a first team player and have demonstrated strong leadership and citizenship. Selected by the NFF Awards Committee, the 15 National Scholar-Athlete Award recipients will be honored at the 2008 NFF Annual Awards Dinner Dec. 9 at the Waldorf Astoria in New York City . The event will also include the induction of the 2008 College Football Hall of Fame and the presentation of several major awards.

"We set extremely high standards just to be considered as a member of the NFF National Scholar- Athlete class," said NFF Chairman Archie Manning , whose sons Peyton (Draddy winner) and Eli were NFF National Scholar-Athletes in 1997 and 2003, respectively. "These individuals far exceed even those high standards, defining well-rounded excellence throughout their college careers. They are true ambassadors of our mission and a testament to the positive influence of football's ability to build our nation's future leaders."

Each finalist will receive an $18,000 post-graduate scholarship, and one of the 15 will be announced as the recipient of the 2008 Draddy Trophy, presented by HealthSouth, which recognizes an individual as the absolute best scholar-athlete in the nation. Established to honor former NFF Chairman Vincent DePaul Draddy , a Manhattan College quarterback who developed the Izod and Lacoste brands, the award comes with a 24-inch, 25-pound bronze trophy and increases the winner's scholarship to $25,000. A total distribution of more than $275,000 in scholarships will be awarded that evening.

ANDREW BERRY - CB - Harvard University
RYAN BERRY - QB - South Dakota State University
CHASE DANIEL - QB - University of Missouri
BRIAN FREEMAN - OT - Carnegie Mellon University ( Pa. )
CASEY GERALD - CB - Yale University
GRAHAM HARRELL - QB - Texas Tech University
QUIN HARRIS - LB - Louisiana Tech University
JEFF HORINEK - LB - Colorado State University
RYAN KEES - DE - St. Cloud State University ( Minn. )
ALEX MACK - C - University of California ( Berkeley )
RYAN McDONALD - OL - University of Illinois
GREG MICHELI - QB - Mount Union College ( Ohio )
DARRYL RICHARD - DT - Georgia Tech
BRIAN ROBISKIE - WR - Ohio State University
LOUIE SAKODA - P/K - University of Utah

Also, a documentary highlighting the history of Ivy League football will air on NESN Saturday at 4 p.m. after the conclusion of the Harvard/Dartmouth game on the network. Former Yale running back Calvin Hill is among the former Ivy League stars who will be featured.

Monday, October 27, 2008

McLeod sets record

Lost in all the talk of Yale's offensive struggles in a 9-7 loss to Penn on Saturday was the fact that McLeod set an Ivy League record for most career carries.

McLeod's 18 rushing attempts gave him 964 in his four years at Yale, breaking the mark of 958 set by Harvard's Clifton Dawson from 2003-06. With 621 carries in Ivy League games, McLeod has a chance to top the record of 707 (in league games only) currently held by Cornell's Ed Marinaro. It should be noted that Marinaro's record came in three seasons as freshmen were not eligible to play during Marinaro's playing days.

Although the Ivy League rushing records are no longer within McLeod's grasp, he would become just the fifth player in league history to rush for 4,000 yards with 100 yards against Columbia Saturday. If McLeod has 59 all-purpose yards, he would become the fourth Ivy Leaguer with 5,000.

Speaking of moving up the charts, his eight tackles on Saturday allowed Bobby Abare to move by Ben Breunig, Jeff Rohrer and Kevin Skol on Yale's list for career tackles. With 249 stops, Abare is ranked 14th. He would need 39 tackles in the last four games to finish in the top 10.

Yale running backs coach Larry Ciotti, a former coach at Hand of Madison, is one of seven people being honored on Nov. 3 at the March of Dimes Elm City Legends event

Here's the basic info:
Omni New Haven Hotel at Yale from 5:30-8:30 p.m.
Tickets $85 and reserved tables of 10 are available for $750.
For more information, contact Devin Madden at 860-812-0080 x. 313 or

Being honored with Ciotti is local broadcasting legend George "The Coach" DeMaio, who broadcasts live at tailgate parties at Yale's home games, former Notre Dame (West Haven) athletic director and ex-University of New Haven assistant baseball coach Joe Tonelli, Hillhouse track and field coach Gary Moore, former Southern Connecticut State gymnastics coach Abie Grossfeld, Quinnipiac hockey coach Rand Pecknold and ESPN's Mike Golic.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Offensive explosion

The day after the Yale varsity team managed just 92 yards of total offense in a loss to Penn, the junior varsity had significantly more success in a 37-29 loss to Naval Prep on Sunday.

Freshman quarterbacks Bryan Farris (8 of 17, 99 yards) and Dawson Halliday (11 of 22, 147 yards) each had touchdown passes while freshmen running backs Alex Thomas (12 carries, 67 yards) and Jake McCrary had scoring runs of 5 and 1 yards respectively. Thomas also had a 75-yard kickoff return.

Farris hooked up with freshman Lars Knudsen for a 31-yard scoring play while Halliday threw a 60-yard TD pass to freshman Chris Morris. Morris (five catches, 113 yards) and classmate McConnell Smith (5 catches, 71 yards) led Yale in receiving as the Bulldogs had 402 yards of total offense. By my math, Naval Prep finished with 355 yards of offense.

Freshmen Bedford Booth and Matt Battaglia tied for the team lead with nine tackles each and Booth also had an interception. Carter Deutsch, also a freshman, had seven tackles while classmates Nick Schneider and Cliff Foreman had six tackles each.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Tough road for Bulldogs

As crazy as it sounds, it may be in the best interests of the Yale faithful to root for Penn in next week's first-place showdown in the Ivy League.

Brown and Penn are tied at 3-0, both two games ahead of Yale following the Bulldogs' 9-7 loss to the Quakers on Saturday.

Penn still has games remaining with Harvard, Princeton and Cornell. However, if Brown beats the Quakers, Yale would have to win out and hope either Columbia or Dartmouth beats Brown to give the Bulldogs a chance to earn a share of the title.

A few thoughts from the game, the 92 yards of total offense by Yale is hard to believe. Certainly Yale has had its share of offensive struggles but nothing like what transpired on Saturday.

Yale coach Jack Siedlecki believes the large senior class will provide enough leadership to keep the players from partaking in the blame game. However, if the play of the offensive line does not improve soon, finishing with a .500 record may be a challenge forget about staying in the Ivy League race.

Columbia is a much better team than its 1-5 record indicates and even with home field advantage again next week, Yale is not guaranteed to walk out of the Yale Bowl with a victory.

The biggest point of emphasis for Yale was not giving Penn short fields. Well, a sack and fumble gave the Quakers the ball at the Yale 13 leading to a field goal. A poor snap on a failed fake punt allowed Penn to get the ball at the Bulldogs' 33 which resulted in another Penn field goal.

I went on record in this blog that I believed running back Mike McLeod would have a strong game. Well, 18 carries for 28 yards including seven carries for five yards in the second half would not fall into the "strong game" category.

One regret I had was not taping the game. I was curious to see if the interference call on Larry Abare which negated a Yale fumble recovery on a muffed punt by Marcus Lawrence was the right call. Yale coaches argued that Abare was blocked into Lawrence which would kept the penalty from being enforced. Instead of Yale having the ball at the Penn 33, the Quakers got possession of the ball at their own 48. I sought out the opinion of a well-respected official I have known for quite some time and in a word he termed the call "questionable." That being said, the game was not decided on that call or non call.

As Siedlecki said when the subject turned to Yale losing its three games this season by a total of seven points, "we haven't deserved to win, we haven't made the plays that you need to make. We put ourselves in situations where we left ourselves vulnerable."

Friday, October 24, 2008

Good news on the injury front

As I watched practice on Wednesday, I counted seven starters who were either out or practiced on an extremely limited basis. This morning I received word that the only ones ruled out are quarterback Ryan Fodor (shoulder) and receiver Reid Lathan (concussion).

For the first time since the Cornell game kicked off, the Bulldogs should have full use of every defensive playmaker. Certainly a variety of bumps, bruises, sprains and tweaks will have some of those go-to players going at less than 100 percent. Still, barring any last-second setbacks, they should all be good to go.

In Fodor's absence, sophomore Brook Hart will get his first career start. Fodor and Hart were considered to be 1 and 1A in Yale's quarterback competition until Yale coach Jack Siedlecki went exclusively with Fodor following the Cornell loss. Hart has played in three games, completed 69 percent of his passes for 244 yards, 4 touchdowns and no interceptions. If he has a weakness, he occasionally holds onto the ball too long but that is more of a sign of his inexperience (he only started one year in high school) than anything else. Considering that Drew Goldsmith is the only Penn defensive lineman with a sack in the first five games, it will be interesting to see if the Quakers can apply pressure on Hart. If Mike McLeod makes an early impact, it will help keep the Quakers from blitzing too frequently and allow Hart time to get comfortable in the pocket.

Also, with just five sacks in five games and one sack from a defensive lineman this season, rushing the passer isn't the greatest strength for Penn's defense although Penn has made a ton of tackles behind the line of scrimmage against the run game.

A few weeks back Gio Christodoulou was moved from corner to receiver. With Lathan out of action, could this be the game where the speedy Christodoulou makes an impact?

It's just a hunch on my part, but I think this could be a week where the old Mike McLeod returns. The Bulldogs all-time leading rusher, who has run for 2,983 yards in the last two seasons, is on pace to have 932 yards as a senior. For some running backs, that is a nice season. But McLeod is not most running backs. He made a point of seeking out Siedlecki earlier in the week to tell him that his perpetually ailing left ankle feels better than it has in the last couple of weeks. Also, for the first time since he was injured in the season-opening win over Georgetown, backup tailback Ricky Galvez is set to go. Having a change of pace back like Galvez to spell McLeod should help open up the running game a bit.

Of course it should be noted McLeod, Galvez and the rest of the Bulldogs will be playing a Penn team ranked fourth in Football Championship Subdivision in total defense.

Just a piece of advice, if you enjoy a good, old-fashioned hit before you get hit, throwback type of game, the Yale Bowl is the place to be on Saturday. I don't know if it will be pretty but it should be extremely physical.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Best of the best

So many of the names are familiar to even the casual football fans - legends Jim Brown, Gale Sayers, Lawrence Taylor, Jerry Rice, Herschel Walker, Red Grange and Sammy Baugh are among 28 players highlighted in the soon to be released "The College Football Book" being published by Sports Illustrated.

A former Yale star is also among the 28 players featured. It is not Larry Kelley or Clint Frank, the Elis' back-to-back Heisman Trophy winners in 1937 and 1938 or first-round pro draft picks Fritz Barzilauskas or Calvin Hill, quarterback supreme Brian Dowling or Super Bowl winning players Chuck Mercein, Gary Fencik and Ken Hill.

Give up? It is Pudge Heffelfinger, a guard on Yale's 1888 and 1891 national championship teams.

The list came with the intriguing restriction that only one player per school could be named as a result you will not see the names of USC running backs Marcus Allen, O.J. Simpson or Charles White as guard Ron Yary is the Trojans' lone representative. Jack Ham is the linebacker from Penn State, dubbed "Linebacker U" and Heisman Trophy winning running back Ernie Davis did not make it because fellow Syracuse RB Jim Brown was an obvious pick.

Here's the complete list:

- Knute Rockne, Notre Dame, 1918-30
- Paul (Bear) Bryant, Alabama, 1958-82

- Charles Woodson: Defensive Back/Receiver, Michigan, 1995-97
- Jack Ham: Linebacker, Penn State, 1968-70
- Kenny Easley: Defensive Back, UCLA, 1977-80
- Bubba Smith: Defensive End, Michigan State, 1964-66
- Lee Roy Selmon: Defensive Tackle, Oklahoma, 1972-75
- Bronko Nagurski: Tackle/Back, Minnesota, 1927-29
- Hugh Green: Defensive End, Pittsburgh, 1977-80
- Tommy Nobis: Linebacker, Texas, 1963-65
- Deion Sanders: Defensive Back, Florida State, 1985-88
- Lawrence Taylor: Linebacker, North Carolina, 1977-80
- Jim Thorpe: Back, Carlisle, 1907-08, '11-12

- Glenn Davis: Back, Army, 1943-46
- Chuck Bednarik: Center/Linebacker, Penn, 1945-48
- Leon Hart: End, Notre Dame, 1946-49
- Orlando Pace: Tackle, Ohio State, 1994-96
- Jerry Rice: End, Mississippi Valley State, 1981-84
- Red Grange: Back, Illinois, 1923-25
- Jim Brown: Back, Syracuse, 1954-56
- Herschel Walker: Back, Georgia, 1980-82
- John Hannah: Guard/Tackle, Alabama, 1970-72
- Ron Yary: Tackle, USC, 1965-67
- Pudge Heffelfinger: Guard, Yale 1888-91

- Johnny Rodgers: Returns/Receivers, Nebraska, 1970-72
- Gale Sayers: Returns/Back, Kansas, 1962-64
- Doak Walker: Kicker/Back, SMU, 1945, '47-49
- Sammy Baugh: Punter/Back TCU, 1934-36

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Media luncheon update

Finally getting around to recapping the weekly luncheon.

Yale may be without injured safety Steve Santoro, which would be a huge loss for the Bulldogs. If Santoro can't go, don't be surprised to see Paul Rice shift from corner to safety and Adam Money move into the starting cornerback spot he figures to hold down next year.

Receiver Reid Lathan suffered a concussion last week and will have to pass the baseline test before he is able to return to the field. If he can't go, don't be surprised if converted defensive back Gio Christodoulou sees more snaps at receiver.

This could be the week that running back Ricky Galvez returns to the lineup. A hamstring injury has kept Galvez out of action since the season-opening win over Georgetown. The presence of Galvez would allow Yale to give Mike McLeod an occasional rest. Siedlecki has been dropping hints in recent weeks that time is approaching for freshman running back Alex Thomas to get a shot. Could this be the week? Not sure since I thought Thomas might get some work in the last Ivy League game against Dartmouth and he had just one carry.

Speaking of McLeod, he made it a point of seeking out Yale coach Jack Siedlecki and telling him that his injured ankle feels better this week than it has in the last couple of weeks. Let's see if it translates into a big game this week.

Senior cornerback Casey Gerald's hip is still bothering him but Siedlecki expects Gerald to go on Saturday.

Penn running backs Mike DiMaggio and Brad Blackmon and cornerback Tyson Maugle are all expected to play for the Quakers.

Siedlecki, senior defensive lineman Kyle Hawari and junior punter Tom Mante said that the response after the 12-10 loss to Fordham has been a positive one. With Yale already suffering a loss in the Ivy, the Bulldogs need to win to have any realistic chance of making a run at a league title so there is no time for the Bulldogs to keep sorry for themselves.

A little off topic, but happy to report that the two teams walking in honor of the late Bill Gonillo, the former voice of Yale football, raised nearly $5,000 in a American Diabetes Association walk Sunday in Fairfield. That number counts donations made online so when the checks which were turned in on Sunday are tabulated, that number figures to climb.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Abare honored

Yale senior linebacker Bobby Abare was named the Ivy League Defensive Player of the Week for the second time this season after recording 15 tackles, two sacks and returning a fumble 86 yards for the Bulldogs' only touchdown in a 12-10 loss at Fordham Saturday.

Abare leads the 3-2 Bulldogs with 48 tackles and is tied for the team lead with 5 1/2 tackles for losses and three interceptions.

Junior punter Tom Mante was named to the honor roll after averaging 45.4 yards per punt. Mante also had a 22-yard field goal and extra point. Mante is averaging 41.2 yards per punt with five punts of at least 50 yards and 14 of his 33 punts have landed inside the 20.

Updating an earlier report, I heard back from Mark Newton, the head football coach at The Menlo School. I had e-mailed Mark checking up on how serious the interest was of his star player Jerry Rice Jr., the son of the NFL's all-time leading receiver of the same name and he confirmed that Rice is still interested in Yale. It does appear as if Rice's intention is to play his college ball in the Pac-10 but he did make an unofficial visit to the Yale campus a couple weeks back.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Healing up

Most of the news on the injury front is promising.

Although junior running back will miss his fourth straight game with a hamstring injury. But it is looking like senior defensive end Brady Hart, who missed the last two games with a sprained knee and ankle, could be cleared to play. Senior receiver Jarrett Drake, who was held out of last week's Dartmouth game with a concussion, is also making progress and could be cleared. Senior defensive back and special teams star Brian Stephenson is back at practice and will play. That is key for the Bulldogs since Fordham is ranked in the top 15 in Football Championship Subdivision in punt returns and kickoff returns. Senior cornerback Casey Gerald has been bothered by a hip injury and he is questionable.

The game will be a reunion between the two coaches. When Fordham coach Tom Masella was a defensive back at Wagner in the early 80s, one of the team's assistant coaches was Jack Siedlecki.

"Tom was a great kid, he played corner for us,". "One of the toughest kids I have ever been around, just loved the game. Tommy became a New York City fireman after he graduated. Dennis Barrett took the King's Point job and hired Tommy as an assistant. He coached there a couple of years and kind of got the bug. Then Dennis hired him full time. He is a good friend. He and I played golf here two summers ago. He is a guy I have stayed in contact with, he has worked with some of my good friends over the years. he has done a great job every place he has been."

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Runk, McHale Yale-bound

The first two members of the Yale football Class of 2013 are - drum roll, please - John Runk and Will McHale.

Runk, a 6-foot-4 receiver out of Cincinnati's Anderson High, is officially the first since he received a "likely letter" from Yale meaning the Yale admissions department gave the thumbs up to Runk's enrollment application.

Runk received the letter on Friday and confirmed to the Register Tuesday night that he was bound for Yale.

"It was a great feeling knowing I will be able to realize my dream," said Runk, who picked Yale over Harvard, Brown, Northwestern and Miami (Ohio).

Runk leads 6-2 Anderson with 20 catches and 304 yards receiving yards. He is a highly-touted prospect expected to be a big-play receiver at the college level.

McHale is a 6-foot-2, 220-pound linebacker out of Greenwich High. Although a knee injury has sidelined McHale for his senior season, he was the leading tackler on the 2007 Class LL championship Greenwich squad which featured another linebacker by the name of Jonathan Meyers. Meyers was the most highly-touted defensive prospect in Connecticut in 2007. Although he held at least 20 scholarship offers from Bowl Championship Series teams including Florida and Michigan, Meyers decided to go to Princeton and will play football and lacrosse for the Tigers. Ironically, Meyers' freshman football season at Princeton was also shortened by injury.

McHale has yet to submit an application but let the Yale coaches know he was picking Yale over Princeton on Monday. He informed Greenwich coach Rich Albonizio of his intentions on Tuesday. Albonizio said McHale's rehabilitation process is proceeding well and he should be back to 100 percent by the spring.

My attempts to get in touch with the high school coach of Jerry Rice Jr., the son of the NFL all-time leading receiver of the same name, who made an unofficial visit to Yale two weeks ago, have so far been unsuccessful. But I did find a story on him on the The star receiver for the undefeated Menlo School in Atherton, Calif. didn't hide his desire to play in the Pac-10.

"I went out to Connecticut and visited Yale and had a really good time there," Rice said in the story post Friday on the website. “There are some other schools who’ve been requesting film that I’ve been talking to. Coach (Kevin) Daft at Cal, Coach (Ron) Lynn at Stanford and Coach (Reggie) Moore at UCLA have all been talking to me and they’re all really interested in me.
"I’m really hoping to play in the Pac-10, that’s what I’m focusing on. So my top three schools are Stanford, UCLA and Cal. I’d like to be able to play in the Pac-10 so I’m being patient."

Another tidbit about Meyers courtesy of Albonizio. He was one of five players named as High School Scholar-Athletes by the National Football Foundation. Yale freshman linebacker Jordan Haynes of Folsom, Calif., Meyers and the other three recipients will be honored at a luncheon at New York's historic Waldorf Astoria hotel on Dec. 9.

One last item, former Harvard running back Clifton Dawson was signed by the Indianapolis Colts on Wednesday. The Colts are suddenly shorthanded at running back with Joseph Addai expected to be out of action for 2-4 weeks. It seems ironic that on a weekend where Dawson may get into a pro game, Yale's Mike McLeod could break Dawson's Ivy League record for career rushing attempts in all games. McLeod needs 34 carries to break Dawson's mark of 958. is It has been a good week for Ivy Leaguers making NFL news as former Brown receiver Sean Morey had the blocked punt which was returned for a touchdown in Arizona's upset of the Dallas Cowboys last week.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Tuesday luncheon highlights

Finally getting around to recapping the weekly Tuesday luncheon at The Course at Yale.

It doesn't look good for starting defensive end Brady Hart to return against Fordham Saturday. Hart has missed the last two games after spraining his ankle and knee against Cornell. Running back Ricky Galvez (hamstring), receiver Jarrett Drake (concussion), defensive back and special teams star Brian Stephenson (neck) are also questionable and could miss their second straight games (it would be the fourth straight game that Galvez missed). The only player ruled out is reserve offensive lineman Jon Charest with a neck injury. Both Hart and Drake were left off the two-deep chart which is never a good sign. Ideally, Yale would love to have Hart - and the rest of the team's injured players - back for the Penn game a week from Saturday but it is too early to tell if that will be the case.

Speaking of the offensive line, senior Landon Hairgrove has been named the starter at right guard ahead of junior Cory Palmer who started the previous four games. Yale coach Jack Siedlecki said both would play and that Hairgrove is finally healthy after offseason foot surgery.

There was no phone hookup with the opposing coach which is the weekly custom which was unfortunate because Fordham coach Tom Masella is good friends with Siedlecki dating back to Masella's playing days at Wagner College where Siedlecki was an assistant coach. Masella is a former head coach at Fairfield University and Central Connecticut.

While I will provide the normal allotment of Yale coverage this week beginning with a feature on senior cornerback and Rhodes Scholar candidate Casey Gerald in Wednesday's Register, I will not be covering Saturday's game at Fordham. I am also the UConn women's basketball beat writer and need to be up at Gampel Pavilion for Thursday's media day, Friday's "First Night" festivities and Saturday's first official practice. Chris Hunn will be covering the Yale/Fordham game for us on Saturday. I will be covering the rest of Yale's games and will also have a recruiting update in Thursday's paper as well as an advance in Saturday's edition of the Register.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Strange story out of Worcester

More details should emerge but the story about one Holy Cross teammate being accused of stabbing another is rather bizarre to say the least.

Holy Cross was celebrating its win over Brown at Saturday when police reports say offensive lineman Mike McCabe of Watertown stabbed receiver Luke Chmielinski.

Chmielinski led Holy Cross with 75 yards on six receptions in the Crusaders' 31-28 overtime loss to Yale at the Yale Bowl on Oct. 4.

Speaking of the Brown/Holy Cross game, Brown quarterback Michael Doughtery was named Ivy League Offensive Player of the Week after throwing for an Ivy League record 526 yards in the loss to Holy Cross.

Yale senior running back Mike McLeod, who ran for 135 yards and a touchdown, and junior cornerback Paul Rice (6 tackles, two tackles for losses and an interception return for a touchdown) were named to the honor roll. I'm curious if Rice would have at least earned a share of the Ivy League Defensive Player of the Week if he was credited with the forced fumble in the win over Dartmouth. Television replays clearly showed tha it was Rice and not Larry Abare who jarred the ball loose from Dartmouth running back Milan Williams. Glenn Dorris of Harvard earned the Ivy's defensive award with 11 tackles, one tackle for loss and an interception in the Crimson's win over Cornell.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Haynes to be honored

Yale freshman linebacker Jordan Haynes will receive a 2008 High School Scholar-Athlete award at a National Football Foundation luncheon December 9 at the Waldorf Astoria in New York.

Haynes had a 4.6 grade point average at Jesuit High in Folsom, California and was a two-time football captain.

Haynes was one of seven freshmen to dress for Yale's 34-7 win at Dartmouth.

Moving up the charts

With 135 yards in Saturday's win at Dartmouth, Mike McLeod moved past former Cornell star Derrick Harmon and ex-Princeton great Judd Garrett and into sixth place on the career rushing list in Ivy League games. McLeod has 2,504 with five league games remaining in his brilliant Yale career. He would have to average 177.4 yards the rest of the way to catch the record holder, Cornell's Ed Marinaro who accomplished the feat in the days when freshmen were not eligible to play varsity football in the Ivy League.

McLeod did move into second place in the Ivy League record books with rushing attempts in all games. He trails Harvard's Clifton Dawson by 33. McLeod's TD run allowed him to move past Marinaro and into sole possession of third place on the rushing touchdown list (in all games). McLeod has 51 career rushing scores.

With six tackles, senior linebacker Bobby Abare moved into the top 20 on Yale's career list. Abare is 19th with 226 career stops. He also moved into a tie for 10th with his ninth career interception. Senior safety Steve Santoro appeared to intercept his 11th career pass but it was nullified because of a roughing the pass penalty.

Abare is currently fifth in the Football Championship Subdivision stats with an average of 0.75 interceptions a game, the highest ranking of any Yale player. Joe Hathaway should be fifth in sacks with four in four games but one of his three sacks in a season-opening win over Georgetown was incorrectly credited to another player. Although the error was corrected in the Yale statistics, the NCAA database has not made the change. As a result, he is 22nd with an average of 0.75 sacks a game.

While we are on the stat correction subject, look for the forced fumble on Saturday - originally credited to Larry Abare - to be given to Paul Rice. I watched a replay of the play and it was clearly Rice who put his helmet on the ball on a Milan Williams running play.

Mike McLeod (100.25 rushing yards/game) and Ryan Fodor (143.0 passing efficiency) are ranked 20th and 25th respectively in the NCAA database.

In the NCAA team stats Yale is in the top 10 in seven defensive categories:
4th in scoring defense (14.8 points)
4th in red zone defense (7 scores allowed in 12 trips to the red zone)
6th in rushing defense (66 yards/game)
9th in turnover margin (12 turnovers forced/7 turnovers lost for average of 1.25/game)
9th in interceptions (10)
9th in passing efficiency defense (101.14)
10th in total defense (278 yards/game)

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Lineup changes for Big Green

Wholesale lineup changes for Dartmouth were just announced.

William Montgomery will replace Alex Rapp at left tackle, freshman Austen Fletcher will start at center, freshman Royce Egeolu will start at nose guard, Casey Frost - a backup at free safety - moves to outside linebacker to replace Zechariah Glaize, Spencer Hood will replace Joe Battaglia at the other outside linebacker while another freshman Shawn Abuhoff will start at corner.

No major surprises for Yale. Although Brady Hart was announced as a starter at defensive end, he is out as is receiver Jarrett Drake and running back Ricky Galvez are out.

Seven freshmen made the trip and are in uniform
Defensive backs Drew Baldwin and Geoff Dunham
Running back Alex Thomas
Linebacker Jordan Haynes
Defensive end Matt Battaglia, who ironically is a cousin of Dartmouth's injured Joe Battaglia
Offensive lineman Evan Ellis
Defensive lineman Jake Stoller

Friday, October 10, 2008

Injury update

Brady Hart and Ricky Galvez won't be suiting up against Dartmouth on Saturday.

Hart, a senior defensive end, made remarkable progress after spraining his knee and ankle against Cornell two weeks ago but isn't ready to go yet. The Yale staff is also planning to err on the side of caution with Galvez, the top backup to Yale starting tailback Mike McLeod. Galvez will miss his third straight game with a tender hamstring. Brandon Scott will again be McLeod's primary backup while freshman Alex Thomas of Ansonia may see his first varsity action on Saturday.

Senior reserve receiver Jarrett Drake is also out with concussion-like syndromes. Don't be surprised to see sophomore Gio Christodoulou, converted from defensive back to receiver this week, see some snaps at receiver.

Screening time

For anybody who is in the Philadelphia area on Oct. 24, one of the movies being screened as part of the United States Sports Film Festival is "Harvard Beats Yale 29-29" a documentary of the famous 1968 game between Harvard and Yale. The screening will take place at the Prince Music Theater (1412 Chestnut Ave., Philadelphia) at 9:30 p.m. on the 24th.

Another event worth mentioning is the charity walk in Fairfield on Oct. 19 which is being dedicated in the memory of Bill Gonillo, the former radio voice of Yale football. Gonillo, who battled diabetes for most of his adult life, passed away on Sept. 23 of last year. The event will begin at 10 a.m. at Penfield Pavilion in Fairfield. In the spirit of full disclosure, I will mention that I took part in the walk in 2007 in the memory of Bill, a good friend and will proudly be doing so again a week from Sunday.

I will blog later with some injury updates but I can say that anybody worried about Mike McLeod's status after he rolled an ankle in the fourth quarter of last week's win over Holy Cross can relax. McLeod was held out of practice on Wednesday but practiced without restriction on Thursday. McLeod's 3.3 yard per carry average could get healthy against a Dartmouth defense which is allowing 6 yards per carry in the first three games of the season. The 12:30 p.m. game on Saturday will be televised on NESN, the first of six televised games for the Bulldogs in the next seven weeks.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

What's in a name?

Imagine if you will, the following play by play coming from the public address system at the Yale Bowl - "pass complete for 15 yards from Brook Hart to Jerry Rice" or "touchdown reception by Jerry Rice."

It could actually happen.

The son of the sure-fire future NFL Hall of Famer took an unofficial visit to Yale last week. reports that Rice Jr. has a scholarship offer from Air Force and is also drawing interest from California, Stanford, UCLA and Yale. It is a situation which is worth monitoring.

Jerry Rice Jr. is a senior receiver at the Menlo School in Atherton, Calif. who has 22 catches in four games.

Now for some news from the weekly Yale football luncheon, it appears as if senior defensive end Brady Hart is a quick healer. A week ago Yale coach Jack Siedlecki said Hart was expected to be out 2-4 weeks with a sprained left knee and left ankle but now there is a chance Hart could play in Saturday's game against Dartmouth. Updates on the status of Hart and junior running back Ricky Galvez, who has missed the last two games with a hamstring injury, should be available later in the week.

Gio Christodoulou is being moved from defense to offense. The sophomore will provide some much-needed speed to the receiving position although he could be limited because of a shoulder injury suffered against Cornell two weeks ago.

Updating a report in Sunday's Register, Yale and Holy Cross will indeed play in the future. The teams have met 13 times in the last 17 years but were taken off the schedule so Yale could negotiate a series with Army. A four-game series between 2010-14 was planned between Yale and Army before Army had second thoughts because games against Ivy League schools do not count towards bowl eligibility. A Yale official told me that the 2014 game between Yale and Army at the Yale Bowl is still on the schedule and Holy Cross will be added to the schedule again beginning in 2016.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Abare honored

Yale senior linebacker Bobby Abare was named Ivy League Defensive Player of the Week after intercepting two passes, one which he returned 32 yards for a touchdown and making 10 tackles in a 31-28 double overtime win over Holy Cross.

Abare leads 2-1 Yale with 27 tackles and is tied with defensive backs Steve Santoro and Adam Money for the team lead with two interceptions.

Also, Yale's junior varsity team lost to Brown 17-0 Sunday. Former Ansonia High star Alex Thomas led Yale with 87 yards rushing while Bedford Booth had one of Yale's three interceptions and also forced a fumble.

Drew Baldwin becomes the first freshman to crack Yale's two-deep chart this season as he is listed as the backup to Casey Gerald at cornerback for Yale's game against Dartmouth on Saturday. Sophomore Gio Christodoulou had been listed as the No. 2 corner behind Gerald for the first three games. Christodoulou is still the Bulldogs' primary punt returner and is the top kickoff returner along with Santoro. There were no other changes in the two-deep. Brady Hart is not listed and Ricky Galvez is still there as tailback Mike McLeod's primary backup despite missing the last two games with a hamstring injury. Look for updates on Hart and Galvez later in the week.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Close shave

Yale will take the win and begin preparations for next week's game at Dartmouth but the reality was that there was more drama in the Bulldogs' 31-28 win over Holy Cross than necessary.

Aided by a pair of Bobby Abare interceptions, a fumble recovery by Paul Rice and a methodical 17-play scoring drive, Yale took a 21-7 lead into halftime.

Despite four second-half drives into Holy Cross territory, the Bulldogs failed to score in the third and fourth quarters.

Holy Cross quarterback Dominic Randolph engineered 91 and 90-yard scoring drives in the fourth quarter to send the game into overtime. Yale escaped when Matt Partain missed a 37-yard field goal in the second overtime.

A few thoughts:
Abare was absolutely brilliant with 10 tackles, one interception in the end zone and another which he returned 32 yards for a score. Fellow senior linebacker Jay Pilkerton was also extremely active.

Running room was hard to come by again for Mike McLeod but with 39 carries, he did manage to record his first 100-yard game of the season with 131 yards. McLeod went down late in the fourth quarter with a ankle injury but he returned in overtime. Center Ty Davis also was injured but returned. Other than that, Yale appeared to come out of the game in good shape physically.

The two-quarterback experiment appears to be over as senior Ryan Fodor played the entire game and was 17 of 23 for 142 yards and 2 TD passes.

Tom Mante's brilliant season punting the ball continues. His average of 36.6 yards on nine punts may not seem that impressive but six of the punts landed inside the 20, a seventh was placed perfectly and was nearly downed inside the five and Holy Cross' dangerous punt-return game accounted for six yards on five returns.

Travis Henry, starting for injured starter Brady Hart at defensive end, had six tackles and a crucial pass breakup to force Holy Cross to attempt a field goal in the second overtime. When the kick fluttered wide left, Yale celebrated a three-point win.

Yale's JV team will be back in action Sunday when Brown comes to Clint Frank Field at noon.

Galvez out

Backup tailback Ricky Galvez will miss his second straight game because of a tender hamstring. Galvez ran for 86 yards on 10 carries in last year's 38-17 win over Holy Cross. Brandon Scott is expected to be the primary backup to Mike McLeod.

Travis Henry is listed as the starter at left defensive end for an injured Brady Hart with sophomore Sean Williams backing up Henry.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Meyers out for season

Former Greenwich High star Jonathan Meyers, who passed on the chance to play major college football to get an Ivy League education and play football and lacrosse at Princeton, will miss the rest of the football season with a fracture in his right foot according to a report in Thursday's Trenton Times. Meyers, a two-time Register All-State linebacker, was pressed into duty as a backup running back and carried the ball once for three yards for the 1-1 Tigers.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Gerald a Draddy semifinalist

Yale senior cornerback Casey Gerald is one of 164 semifinals for the Draddy Award.

Gerald has started the last 22 games at corner for the Bulldogs. UConn senior quarterback Tyler Lorenzen also made the cut for the award given to a football player in their final season of eligibility and with a mininum grade point average of 3.2.

Here's the complete list