Sunday, August 30, 2009

Depth chart coming soon

The intrasquad scrimmage was held yesterday and there certainly were some players who helped themselves.

According to my unofficial stats, junior Dan Walsh had a team-high five tackles. Classmate Chris Stanley, a defensive back, had a sack and dropped an interception. I was also impressed with sophomore linebacker Nick Schneider. Sophomore defensive tackle Jake Stoller, who I think is primed for a breakout season, had a pair of tackles behind the line of scrimmage. Junior Jesse Reising had four tackles and an interception

The freshmen defensive backs continue to earn praise from Yale coach Tom Williams with Kurt Stottlemyer, Collin Bibb, John Powers, Ryan Falbo (who always seems to be around the ball like graduated free safety Steve Santoro) are among those who could find themselves on the initial two-deep chart.

Offensively, it is still a work in progress. The quarterbacks fumbled seven times (losing two of them) and threw three interceptions. The four QBs (Brook Hart, Patrick Witt, Rich Scudellari and Bryan Farris were a combined 18 for 43 for 160 yards although there were at least a half dozen drops).

Freshman running back Mordecai Cargill had a nifty 16-yard run which was reminiscent of another Yale runner who wore No. 28 but the running backs managed just 53 yards on the other 20 carries. Bruising Jordan Farrell showed he can provide the short-yardage threat the team lacked last season when a shoulder injury forced him to miss the entire season. Farrell had two short TD runs and Cargill also had a scoring run. Sophomore Alex Thomas, who rewrote the Connecticut high school rushing record book during his days at Ansonia High, was the second tailback to see time after Farrell. He ran for 22 yards on five carries and also caught three passes. He was knocked out of the scrimmage after a devastating hit by junior safety John Pagliaro but looked to be fine.

Speaking of youth, sophomore Lars Knudsen and freshmen Chris Smith and Allen Harris are in the mix at receiver although junior Jordan Forney has been the top guy at receiver so far in the fall camp. I'd expect Gio Christodoulou to figure more into the offensive game plan in 2009. The potential of having Thomas and Christodoulou on the field at the same time would add some big-play potential to an offense was lacking in that department last season.

As I mentioned, the depth chart is currently being put together. Williams said the players would see it on Monday. I asked him when I would get a look at it and he played coy so I would expect I may not be privy to such info until shortly before the season opener against Georgetown. Yale will start having the starters and top reserves playing together now that the coaching staff will have a sense of who will be seeing the bulk of time.

The positions I am most curious about are:
1. Offensive line: One starter back from a unit that struggled last season
2. Quarterback: Should be an interesting competition with incumbent Brook Hart being pushed hard by Nebraska transfer Patrick Witt, senior Rich Scudellari who would love the chance to finally prove that he is more than just one of the Ivy League's most reliable holders and sophomore Bryan Farris who was running neck and neck with Hart in the spring.
3. Free safety (with Adam Money and Drew Baldwin the likely starters at corner and Larry Abare a lock to start at strong safety, there is one piece remaining in what could be a top-notch secondary). Other than possibly tailback, this is the position where I think there is the greatest probability of having a freshman in contention for a starting spot).
4. Linebacker: I never really considered either Brady Hart or Travis Henry to be defensive ends a year ago despite what the roster sheet said. The hard-hitting Henry will line up next to linebacker Paul Rice more often than not and it will be interesting to see who fills the other linebacking position.


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