Saturday, April 25, 2009

Spring game recap

Well the annual Blue-White spring game is history and there are new faces in positions of prominence both among the players and coaches, there was a certain sense of status quo surrounding what I witnessed at the Yale Bowl today.

Tom Williams cleaned house, keeping only defensive line coach Duane Brooks and Rick Flanders (who he removed from his position of defensive coordinator and shifted him from linebackers to secondary coach) but a few things remain constant:

1. Yale's defense is stifling and aggressive
2. Yale can not run the ball
3. Gio Christodoulou is a threat to break it every time he fields a punt or kickoff.

The defense, led by junior defensive tackle Tom McCarthy (two sacks), sophomore defensive linemen Joe Young and Pat Moran and junior linebacker Travis Henry (two bone-jarring tackles) was outstanding.

If you add in the negative 17 yards on four sacks of quarterback Brook Hart, Yale ran the ball 28 times for 41 yards. The good news is that running back Alex Thomas had a sweet 38-yard touchdown reception off a screen pass and fellow tailback Jordan Farrell rumbled 29 yards on another screen pass as Yale had four pass plays of at least 20 yards.

Perhaps the most noteworthy part of the game - with the exception of them not keeping score - was the role played by freshmen and sophomores.

Not only did Thomas, a freshman from Ansonia, had the longest of the three scoring plays, but freshman quarterback Bryan Farris also threw a touchdown and although his stats (4 of 8 for 61 yards, 1 touchdown, 1 interception) weren't as impressive as either Brook Hart (4 of 6 for 51 yards and a TD pass) or Rich Scudellari (8 of 11 for 58 yards), he looked the most comfortable of the three. As previously mentioned, Hart was sacked four times and his lack of mobility hurt Yale at times last year. Farris offers the threat of the run from the QB position which neither Hart nor Scudellari possess. Farris is making a real run for the starting QB position although all of that could change if former Nebraska quarterback Patrick Witt transfers to Yale.

Sophomore tight end Caleb Smith caught two passes in the 7-on-8 drills preceding the scrimmage and then tied for the team high with three receptions and had 34 yards receiving. Ten of the 16 receptions went to either freshmen or sophomores. Four of the five starting offensive linemen were either freshmen or sophomores while five defensive starters were either first or second-year players.

That didn't include sophomore linebacker/safety Jesse Reising who had a team-high five tackles (by my unofficial tally) or freshman Nick Schneider, whose game-ending interception was the only turnover in the game.

Among those held out of the scrimmage because of injury were freshman defensive tackle Jake Stoller who, if his surgically-repaired shoulder holds up, could make a run at All-Ivy honors as a sophomore and sophomore tight end Chris Blohm. The only injury I saw in the scrimmage was an apparent right knee injury suffered by starting freshman center Jeff Fell. He was walking without the aid of crutches after the game.

As I mentioned, the totals of the running backs were not pretty. I missed the ball carrier on one play but by my unofficial tabulation this is what I had:
Rodney Reynolds 9 rushes, 13 yards, 1 TD
Brandon Scott 3-10
Jordan Farrell 3-7
Alex Thomas 6-21
Ricky Galvez 4-4

The tailbacks did combine for four catches and they figure to be more involved in the passing game this season.

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