Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Abare, McLeod join select company

Yale senior linebacker Bobby Abare and senior running back Mike McLeod joined current Buffalo Bills head coach Dick Jauron as the only Yale players named first team All-Ivy three times.

Abare led Yale with 86 tackles and tied for the team lead with four interceptions. He finished his career as Yale's leader with four defensive touchdowns and his 10 interceptions are the most by a Yale linebacker.

McLeod ran for 842 yards to become the first player in Yale history to lead the rushing four consecutive years. He finished as Yale's all-time leader with 4,514 rushing yards, 54 rushing touchdowns, 55 overall touchdowns, 22 100-yard rushing games and three 200-yard rushing games.

Senior defensive tackle Kyle Hawari, who led Yale with eight sacks and four forced fumbles, and senior offensive tackle Darius Dale also earned first team honors.

Senior nose guard Joe Hathaway (team-high 13 tackles for losses), junior punter Tom Mante and senior safeties Larry Abare (73 tackles) and Steve Santoro (57 tackles, three interceptions) were named to the second team. Center Ty Davis, cornerbacks Casey Gerald and Paul Rice, linebacker Jay Pilkerton and defensive end Brady Hart were honorable mention All-Ivy selections. Mante was also an honorable mention selection as a kicker.

Harvard senior quarterback Chris Pizzotti was named the Bushnell Cup winner as Ivy League MVP while Harvard defensive back Matthew Hanson was selected as the league's freshman of the year.

Now that the information portion of my duties are complete, now it is time for some observations.

Princeton running back Jordan Culbreath and Brown tight end Colin Cloherty were the only unanimous selections to the first team. That means that at least one coach did not vote for Bobby Abare as one of the four best linebackers in the Ivy League. Huh? I would love to hear that argument of the four linebackers in the league better than Abare. Pretty much every coach who called into the weekly Yale football luncheons said that any mention of Yale's sensational defense had to start with Abare and yet he was left off at least one ballot? And I thought I had to deal with some wacky ballots when I was in charge of the Register's weekly high school football poll.

A few other Yale-related rants from the voting. Yale led the nation in scoring defense and also led the Ivy League in pass efficiency defense and not one member of Yale's secondary earned first-team All Ivy?

Also, John Sheffield led all Ivy League tight ends with 43 receptions and yet he didn't warrant a spot either on the first, second or honorable mention teams?

Then you have no Princeton offensive linemen on first team. Excuse me, but didn't the Tigers lead the league in rushing offense. I would love to see the number of times that a team with the league's leading rusher didn't get at least one offensive lineman on the first team in any league. If the coaches really believe there were no Princeton linemen worthy of first team recognition, shouldn't Culbreath have been named the MVP of the league since they are saying he basically did it on his own.

Last but not least, perhaps it was just plugged in wrong on the Ivy League site, but Pilkerton was listed as a defensive back and Hart as a linebacker on the honorable mention list. OK, Hart does play off the line of scrimmage more than he does on it so I can buy listing him as a linebacker even if Yale considers him to be a defensive end. But I can not recall one time this season when Pilkerton lined up anywhere but linebacker.

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