Saturday, August 22, 2009

Bulldogs "on schedule"

Unfortunately, I was unable to make it out to Yale's first practice yesterday so I caught the last hour of today's practice.

Here are my impressions, the freshmen running backs look pretty good in the 7-on-7 drills as Taylor Stib, Javi Sosa and Mordecai Cargill impressed me. Stib's patience following his blockers and darting through tacklers on one run caught my eye since freshmen running backs usually tend to be in a hurry. Stib also bested his teammates in a wind sprint at the end of practice. It's hard to read too much into what I saw today because it was a no-pad, minimal contact setting in the 7-on-7 (likely a few of the runs would have been stopped for short gains in a full-contact setting) but talent is still talent and judging by what I saw today, this is a pretty talented freshman class who will be given every opportunity to earn playing time.

The 7-on-7 started with the quarterbacks misfiring on the first five passes but when sophomore Chris Morris made a nice sliding catch on a pass from Nebraska transfer Patrick Witt, it started a run of eight straight completions. The most impressive hook ups were senior Reid Lathan making a diving catch on a deep post route to haul in a 40-yard pass from Brook Hart. Freshman Dez Duron displayed his arm strength with a deep out to Shane Bannon, one of the toughest throws to make. Duron was victimized by classmate Brian Leffler, whose interception was the only turnover in the 7-on-7 drills.

It's too early to read too much about who is lining up with the first team but it did catch my eye that former Hopkins star John Powers was out there at safety with Larry Abare, Paul Rice, Tom McCarthy, Adam Money and Drew Baldwin during part of the 7-on-7 drills so he must be doing something right. Collin Bibb, Powers and Ryan Falbo are the first-year players who had pass breakups down the field according to my very unofficial stats. Freshman Allen Davis broke up one pass at the line of scrimmage when the offense was starting to get rolling in the drills.

It was weird seeing a running back (Cargill) wearing Mike McLeod's old No. 28 and a linebacker (Leffler) with the No. 44 worn by Bobby Abare for the last four years.

The team won't start practicing in pads until Tuesday and that point until the the intrasquad scrimmage on Aug. 29 (from 12:30-2:30 p.m.) will be a pivotal time for the coaching staff to come up with the nucleus of the 2009 team.

"It's typical, the defense is a little ahead of the offense because the defense is reactive and the offense is trying to figure out the execution," Yale coach Tom Williams said. "I am not surprised at all with where we are.
"Yesterday we executed better offensively but we didn't have as much in so it was very singular and they could focus. Today, we added a lot more. You could tell a lot of guys are still thinking, we are still playing fast. But on day two, I don't mind that at all. If that is going on the week we play Georgetown, we have problems so I'd say we are on schedule."

Defensive tackle Matt Kelleher sat out with a sore knee and a hamstring limited fellow defensive lineman Patrick Moran but other than that, Yale looks to be in pretty good shape health wise.

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