Off and running
On Monday (the final afternoon practice as Yale shifts its practices to the morning), the running backs got the opportunity for atonement. They did not disappoint, ripping off a series of impressive runs against Yale's defensive unit.
"Personally, I came out with a chip on my shoulder," said Farrell, who ran for two touchdowns in Saturday's scrimmage. "I think the running backs did too because as a whole we got a bad rap on Saturday because a lot of little mistakes. All around, the running backs did well, we did our assignments, we had a couple of cuts that went the wrong way simply because it was wet.
"I think we wanted to get better as a unit and I think it started today. We were in the huddle today, getting on the linemen a little bit not so much in a hard way but just so they execute a good block. I know I took a screen pass and it was blocked out perfectly and there was nobody there for 20 yards so that is the type of thing where you come back to the huddle, give them a pat on the shoulder and I think it just revolves around momentum."
The running backs got a lift from the return of Rodney Reynolds. The starter coming out of the spring, he has been nicked up in the fall camp and was held out of Saturday's scrimmage. He joins Farrell, Alex Thomas, Brandon Scott, Ricky Galvez and some promising freshmen led by Mordecai Cargill to give the Bulldogs a multitude of options at tailback.
Monday's practice was the first since the coaching staff came up with a two-deep chart. While I was not privy to the depth chart, I do have two eyes and was able to see who was seeing the most action and who was lining up with players who are expected to be starters.
Free safety is a position I am curious to see who emerges as a starter to replace Steve Santoro. Bedford Booth and John Pagliaro saw plenty of time there as did Jesse Reising. It was interesting to see Yale secondary coach Rick Flanders put four freshmen out in the secondary at the same time with Kurt Stottlemyer and Russell Perkins at corner while former Hopkins star John Powers and Ryan Falbo manned the safety spots. Something tells me that you will be seeing those four out on the field this season either as defensive backs or on special teams.
With one exception where a missed assignment allowed Matt Battaglia to come unblocked up the middle, the play of the offensive line was rock solid during the scrimmage against the defense.
One of the most consistently effective pass rushers was junior Sean Williams while sophomore Carter Deutsch is working his way up the rotation on the defensive line, which may be the team's strongest position in 2009.
Brook Hart looked pretty good, throwing touchdowns to Reid Lathan and Peter Balsam while Patrick Witt also had his moments.
It will be interesting to see how things shake out in the next few days as Yale prepares for Saturday's scrimmage against Union College at the Yale Bowl.