Saturday, August 28, 2010

Defense dominates scrimmage

Just call it retribution after the offense not only took it to the defense during Yale's spring game, but also dominated a red-zone drill during Thursday's practice.

At Saturday's scrimmage at Clint Frank Field, the defense clearly had the upper hand.

Counting sacks, there were 14 running plays for either no gain or negative yardage and by math, Yale's quarterbacks were just 15 for 41 passing.

"It was quite the opposite of the spring game," said Yale senior defensive end and captain Tom McCarthy. "In the spring game, the first team offense took it to the defense and today it is a role reversal. Coach (Tom) Williams is saying there are ebbs and flows in football. Some days the offense will outplay the defense and vice versa. Now it is up to the offense to respond and I am confident they will do that."

The irony is that McCarthy had to sit out both the spring game and the scrimmage. He had to take the spring semester off so he could return in the fall for a fifth season of eligibility. McCarthy was feeling some discomfort in his left Achilles tendon during the 7-on-7 portion of the scrimmage and had to watch when the offense began squaring off with the defense in the full-contact portion of the event (with the exception of tackling the quarterbacks).

"I was doing the 7 on 7s taking a pass drop as we were doing a zone blitz and I just felt a little twinge of my Achilles," McCarthy said. "Hopefully it is nothing too serious, I'll have it checked out.

"Not being able to go today is kind of frustrating. it's been sore the last few days but today I think I reaggravated it."

Fellow defensive end Matt Battaglia stole the show with two tackles, a tackle for a loss, a pass batted down at the line of scrimmage and team-high six tackles.

Battaglia was challenged by Williams and his position coach Doug Semones to make an impact after a poor performance in the spring game.

"I felt good," Battaglia said. "Coach Semones told me to be ready to go and put the best I had on tape. He has always said that and today I felt like I did that especially early on. I was pretty satisfied with how I played in the first half."

Freshmen defensive backs Chris Brady and Nick Okano each had interceptions while sophomore receiver Allen Harris led the offense with 4 catches for 42 yards.

The only touchdown came in the red-zone drills when Patrick Witt hooked up with Chris Smith on a 25-yard score. The best catch of the day came courtesy of freshman Deon Randall, making an impressive catch of a pass over the middle that was a little low and behind him.

The Yale team was addressed by former Bulldog stars Chuck Mercein (a member of the Green Bay Packers team which won Super Bowl II), Gary Fencik (a hard-hitting safety on the Chicago Bears' team which won Super Bowl XX), Mike McLeod (Yale's all-time leading rusher) and John Pagliaro, a two-time Ivy League MVP and father of the Yale senior linebacker of the same name.

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