Thursday, October 08, 2009

Thursday's practice report

The first thing I noticed once Yale began the scrimmage portion of practice was Max Newton was in at linebacker and John Pagliaro playing safety. They got the call in place of starters Travis Henry and Larry Abare who were dealing with flu-like symptoms, were getting medical treatment and where not at practice. Yale coach Tom Williams said he expects both will be good to go on Saturday.

Jeff Marrs saw the bulk of time at left guard with Yale's top offensive line unit and appears primed to make his first start. Marrs saw time with the No. 1 line during the preseason but his inconsistent play led the coaching staff to take their time getting Marrs ready to start. He would be the third freshman to start on offense for Yale joining fullback Jordan Capellino and receiver Chris Smith.

As promised, quarterbacks Patrick Witt and Brook Hart split time in practice. Witt had his best practice of the ones I have witnessed. He showed off his arm with long touchdown passes to freshmen Smith and Allen Harris in consecutive series. His best throw, however, may have come on a deep sideline out even though he lost his footing. Hart also had a solid practice and scrambled for a first down as he continues to prove he can make plays with his feet. There are no questions about Hart's arm strength.

Williams is encouraged by not only the play of Hart and Witt but also the way they have handled the situation with no clear-cut starter for Saturday's noon game against Dartmouth.

"We think they are both playing pretty well and the competition is on," Williams said. "We really haven't talked about it. I'll sit down with (Brian Stark, Yale's offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach) and see what we are going to do.

"They have healthy demeanors. They are both team guys and both want to help the team and what's best for the program. They see the tape too, they can evaluate each other and have an understanding that it is really close, it is not a runaway by any stretch of the imagination. I think they both have earned the opportunity to play, we just have to figure out what the formula is going to be."

Freshman Dez Duron saw almost as much time but it was because he is the quarterback most similar to Dartmouth's Alex Jenny and Williams wanted Yale's defense to get to practice against a QB comfortable throwing on the run. Duron had his moments - both positively and negatively.

Fullback Josh Kozel is back at practice. Kozel injured his ankle in Yale's scrimmage against Union and returned to practice for the first time this week. Starting center Jake Koury was held out of practice as he is still bothered by a bruised calf. He practiced sparingly on Tuesday and Wednesday and his status is up in the air. If he can't go, Gabe Fernandez will start at center. Receiver Gio Christodoulou will miss his second straight game with an ankle and foot injury.

Williams said highly-touted freshman linebacker Brian Leffler will undergo knee surgery. Ironically. Leffler was practicing on Thursday and made an interception. With Leffler likely not to be at 100 percent, the decision was made to schedule the surgery to allow Leffler to return in the fall with four years of eligibility.

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Blogger YaleFan said...

Freshman WR Smith continues to impress. His kick returns against Lafayette were terrific.

11:53 AM 

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