Thursday, September 30, 2010

More on Milford Academy

Yale will open its junior varsity schedule with a 1 p.m. game against Milford Academy at Clint Frank Field (next to Yale Field).

Milford Academy is coached by Ansonia native Bill Chaplick and is 4-1 with the only loss a 54-53 shootout against Army Prep. There are two players who the greater New Haven area on the squad. Receiver Anthony Giaimo of Milford had one catch for five yards in the season opener against Gattaca while linebacker Andrew Greene of New Haven has seven solo tackles and one assisted stop.

The quarterback is Pierre Narcisse of Windsor who threw for five touchdowns and ran for another against Army Prep.

For those looking for more info on the Yale varsity squad's opponent on Saturday, here's a line to the Troy Record blog on the Albany football team.

The Yale/Albany will start at noon.

McCarthy still out

I caught the last half hour or so of Yale's practice on Thursday and senior defensive end Tom McCarthy is still being held out because of a calf strain. It's likely that the Yale captain will miss his second straight game.

"Here is what my thinking is, instead of having him come back and play in a non-conference game - we could use him - but I’d rather get him another week of rest and get him ready for Dartmouth," Yale coach Tom Williams said. "If we had to play him, if this is Harvard, I think he’d play but we are going to err on the side of being smart with the season as opposed to just this game."

Also, running back Mordecai Cargill, slowed by a hip flexor and is questionable. If Cargill is held out, sophomore Javier Sosa would likely be the top backup to starting tailback Alex Thomas while promising freshman Elijah Thomas could also figure into the equation.

There's been no decision on whether Matt Battaglia, who has practiced all week, will get the call at defensive end. Battaglia started the opener before missing last week's Cornell game with a hamstring issue. Williams said Battaglia will be evaluated to see how he feels before making a final decision. If Battaglia doesn't start, sophomore Allen Davis figures to be in there after recording 2 sacks in just 20 defensive snaps against Cornell.

Williams said that Nathan Burow, a former starting offensive lineman, will not play again because of a torn labrum. Burow will follow the path of another former starting lineman Nate Blair by becoming a volunteer assistant coach/manager with the team.

Yale senior linebacker Jesse Reising is one of 28 Football Championship Subdivision and four Ivy League players named as semifinalists for the William V. Campbell Trophy, considered to college football's premier scholar-athlete award.

Players are nominated by their schools and must have at least a 3.2 grade point average, be a key contributor on the field and according to the release put out by the National Football Foundation "demonstrate strong leadership and citizenship."

Reising, a first-year starter, is second on the 2-0 Bulldogs with 12 tackles and has also broken up two passes. Reising is planning to enroll in Marine Corps Officer Candidate School after graduating from Yale. Reising has a 3.75 GPA in economics/political science.

Brown's Kyle Newhall-Caballero, Columbia's Alex Gross and Dartmouth's Tanner Scott are also among the candidates as is Albany's Chris Blais.

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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Blohm making an impact

The combination of nagging injuries and being behind productive tight ends like John Sheffield and A.J. Haase made it difficult for Chris Blohm to get involved in Yale's offense earlier in his career. Now Blohm is healthy and is a featured part of the Bulldogs' passing offense. Blohm, who had one varsity catch in his first three seasons, had eight in the first two games of the season. Blohm was one of the players in attendance at Tuesday's weekly Yale football press gathering at Mory's and I wrote on a story on Blohm which appeared in today's edition of the Register.


Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Battaglia back at practice

Yale got one of its starting defensive ends back when junior Matt Battaglia took part in practice on Tuesday morning. Yale captain and fellow starting defensive end Tom McCarthy was forced to miss practice again with a calf strain. McCarthy's status for Saturday's game against Albany will be determined by when McCarthy is able to return to practice but Battaglia should be good to go on Saturday.

"We didn't give him (Battaglia) a million reps but they were quality reps and he didn’t report any soreness," Yale coach Tom Williams said.

Sean Williams, who has been named among Yale's players of the game both against Georgetown and Cornell, and Allen Davis, who had 2 1/2 sacks in 20 snaps against Cornell, are making things interesting in the fight for playing time at defensive end.

"What we said to the injured players is you will never lose your starting position because of injury but if you can’t beat the guy out who took your place, that is just the way it goes," Williams said. "All the guys understand that but they also know we are going to play them all."

One other item of note, the junior varsity opener against Milford Academy is back to a 1 p.m. start on Sunday at Clint Frank Field.

They are experienced, they are big on both lines and they’ve got enough skill players. Their running back is a good player, they have a receiver (Hutchins), they have a couple of guys on the outside who can catch the ball. Thye are - to date - the most talented team that we play. Their record doesn’t indicate their talent level

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Saturday, September 25, 2010

Yale/Cornell live stream

While today's game against Cornell will not be televised, I've been getting alerts that it a live stream is available. I've never tried this particular service so can't vouch for its quality, I figured I would pass on the info to those who want to check out the game.

The one position for Yale I am most interested in checking out today is defensive end. At the mid-week practice I attended both starters Tom McCarthy and Matt Battaglia were held out. McCarthy has a lower left leg issue but apparently is not a reaggravation of his troublesome Achilles tendon injury which knocked him out of the season opener against Georgetown while Battaglia is bothered by a hamstring issue.

Yale football coach Tom Williams said he believes that defensive end is one of the Bulldogs' deepest position so if McCarthy and Battaglia can't go, players like Sean Williams (who had a strong effort against Georgetown), Austin Pulsipher and Cliff Foreman are among the players who can be plugged in.

Williams said he expects seven freshmen to travel for the first road game. Offensive tackle Wes Gavin is expected to make his first start, receivers Deon Randall (who will also play quarterback in the wildcat formation) and Cameron Sandquist, defensive back Nick Okano, either tight end/h-back Beau Palin or Keith Coty, quarterback John Whitelaw and linebacker Brian Leffler, who is a sophomore academically but missed all of last season with a knee injury so Williams considers him to be a freshman.

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Thursday, September 23, 2010

Austin recalls his time in Connecticut

There's a story in today's Register about Cornell coach Kent Austin remembering the time he lived in Woodbridge

Thanks to my colleague Dave Borges for filling in for me for a couple of days, writing a story on Yale junior defensive end Matt Battaglia as well as the story on Austin while I was up in New Hampshire tending to some family business.

Also, a story ran earlier in the week on the Staples High duo Chris Coyne and Pat Murray, who are expected to be two of approximately 14 recruits who are set to be admitted early and will get likely letters sent to them on Oct. 1.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Special teams a focal point

I've attended more than my share of Yale football practices both when Jack Siedlecki was in charge and now that Tom Williams is running the show but don't think I can recall ever seeing as much time spent on special teams work as I did today.

Smart move. The performance of the special teams in Saturday's 40-35 win over Georgetown left a lot to be desired. Both field goal attempts were blocked, there was one bad snap which kept the Bulldogs from attemping an extra point and another on a punt that Yale's Alex Barnes was fortunate to get off. Yale also gave 34.3 yards per kickoff return.

Williams said that the blocked field goals was not the fault of Barnes but a breakdown in protection.

"The field goal/PAT stuff was really one guy," Williams said. "The protection was good across the board except for one guy where unfortunately was where they found the hole. We've got to get that squared away which I think we did this week in practice, we had some live rushes against him so he understands what he is supposed to do. I feel pretty good about it right now."

There was time spent on kickoff and punt returns and coverage. Yale's punt coverage and situational punting was pretty solid as Barnes averaged 38.5 yards on his six punts with one touchdown and the only punt return by Georgetown was for no gain.

Williams has stressed tempo since the took over at Yale and his players learned the hard way that it is not just idle chatter. Late in practice he called the offense and defense together for some short-yardage work but did not appreciate what he considered to be the leisurely pace the groups got to the line of scrimmage. What followed were a series of sprints and Williams - as he usually does - got his point across.

"It was an attitude adjustment day," Williams said. "We have to make it a point to run on and off the field, just make sure our tempo is sharp. I thought it dragged a little bit. I gave them a warning. It picked up for a while and then it dragged again. What we said to our guys is that the way we practice should condition you to play the game. Our tempo is game tempo and if we are not going to practice that way, then we are going to condition them. We are not mad but that's just the way it's got to be and if they practice the way they are supposed to practice then they won't have to do sprints.

"It wasn't lethargic, it just wasn't the way we want it to be. We set a goal, a high standard and we expect to have it every single day at practice. We aren't out here very long, our practices are two hours long so I expect full tilt (intensity) for two hours and weren't getting that today."

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Wild opener

The final of the 986 yards of total offense decided Saturday's Yale/Georgetown game.

Yale was setting up for the game-winning field goal when it gave Alex Thomas two carries in a span of three plays with time running down. When Thomas broke through on the last of his 23 carries for a 9-yard run to the 1, the Yale coaching staff had a change of heart.

Both of Alex Barnes' field goal attempts were blocked and there was a bad snap on both a punt and extra point effort so a field goal was hardly a sure thing. Quarterback Patrick Witt, whose 407 yards is the sixth highest single game total in Yale football history, got the call and powered over for the game-winning score on the final play of the game to give the Bulldogs a 40-35 win.

"I was a little shocked that he called the QB sneak at the end," Witt said. "It kind of freaked me out. I knew if I didn't get in it was the ball game but it was an incredible job of executing under pressure for the entire offense."

Obviously Witt was the headliner for the Bulldogs but he had plenty of help.

Yale's first touchdown came when junior linebacker Jordan Haynes picked up a fumble and ran in from 4 yards out after Chance Logan couldn't handle a pitch from quarterback Scott Darby and then failed to jump on the loose ball.

"He was reaching for the ball when it popped out so it was right place, right time," said Haynes, who led Yale with 11 tackles.

Georgetown was driving for a score which would have put the Hoyas up eight (pending a successful extra point) when sophomore linebacker Will McHale intercepted Darby's pass inside the 5. Yale drove 82 yards to the 1 on the ensuing drive but Thomas was stopped twice and then Witt missed an open Chris Blohm in the end zone. Barnes' 18-yard field goal attempt was blocked which at the time appeared as if would be the back breaker for the Bulldogs. Fortunately, Georgetown got conservative. After picking up one first down, Georgetown was stopped when three running plays netted nine yards, the Hoyas had to punt.

With 1:27 to play and 64 yards to cover, Witt was 4 for 6 for 46 yards with three of the completions going to Gio Christodoulou. Witt also shook off a Georgetown defender to avoid a costly sack during the drive.

Had the game ended 35-34 in Georgetown's favor, Williams' decision to not go for a game-tying two-point conversation following Thomas' 10-yard scoring run with 4:26 left in the third quarter would have gotten significantly more attention than it will now.

"What we decided to do was make sure we kept it close," Williams said. "Coaches panic sometimes and they do it too early and then when they don't get it, they are behind. Our philosophy is to keep the game where it is. Early in the third quarter there's no need to go for that. In the fourth quarter, if we need to we will go for that. We have a play designed, ready to go."

A few other observations.

The Yale secondary was rather vulnerable, giving up significant cushions to the Georgetown receivers and the field goal/long snapping issues will need to be resolved.

The offensive line had a solid game. Witt was not sacked and Yale averaged 3.9 yards on 35 carries. There were some changes on the line. Alex Golubiewski started over John Pedersen at one tackle and Jeff Fell was replaced by promising freshman Wes Gavin at the other tackle spot. The moves seemed to work. Thomas ran for two scores and scored another TD on a screen pass. On two other drives he was stopped at the 1. He ran for 90 yards and caught six passes for 71 yards and could be primed for a breakout season.

Yale did not go with its three wide receiver set as much as I thought as Chris Blohm got plenty of time. He caught one touchdown but also helped set up one of Georgetown's scores when he bobbled what should have been a routine catch with the ball landing in the hands of Georgetown's Jayah Kalsamba. Another Hoyas TD was a bad break when Drew Baldwin deflected Darby's pass only to see the ball land in Jamal Davis' hands for a 40-yard TD. Gio Christodoulou had nine catches for 124 yards and could have had more because he had one ball thrown to him in the end zone that whhile it would have been a difficult catch, I am sure Gio thinks he should have make the grab.

Williams did not think the injury to defensive end Tom McCarthy was serious. Williams believed the Yale captain reaggravated his troublesome left Achilles' tendon injury.

Georgetown's two Hillhouse graduates came up big. Lawrence led Georgetown with eight catches for 129 yards and had a TD run out of the Wildcat formation. Jeremy Moore returned the second-half kickoff 85 yards for a score, had seven tackles and broke up four passes.

Finally, recent Georgetown games have done little to prepare Yale for its Ivy League opener. Yale beat the Hoyas handily the last couple of years only to get upset by Cornell each time. A game at Cornell is waiting once again on Saturday and despite one heck of a memorable game, next week will give a solid measuring stick of what kind of time Yale is.

Hillhouse duo delivers

Georgetown moved into the lead thanks to touchdowns by Hillhouse graduates Jeremy Moore (85 yard kickoff return) and Keerome Lawrence (2 yard run) in the first 2:12 of the third quarter.

Yale up 13 at halftime

Led by Patrick Witt's 240 passing yards and Jordan Haynes return of a fumble for a touchdown, Yale is up 27-14 on Georgetown at halftime.

Alex Thomas took a screen pass from Witt 20 yards for a touchdown and added a 6-yard scoring run. Witt hooked up with tight end Chris Blohm for a 10-yard score with 37 seconds left in the first half.

Haynes also had a team-high six tackles according to the unofficial live stats.

Former Hillhouse products Keerome Lawrence (3 catches for 30 yards) and Jeremy Moore (six tackles) have made an impact for Georgetown although Lawrence was called for three first-half penalties.

The first Georgetown touchdown came when Yale's Drew Baldwin tipped Scott Darby's pass at the goal line and Jamal Davis snared the deflection for a 40-yard score. Philip Oladeji's 17 yard scoring run was aided when Jordan Haynes was whistled for a forearm to the helmet of after Lawrence grabbed a short pass. Rather than Georgetown being faced with 3rd and 17, it had a first down.

A couple of lineup changes for Yale. Defensive end Tom McCarthy was forced out early. I saw Yale's medical staff working on his lower left leg but not sure if it is a reaggravation of his injured Achilles. Also, Wes Gavin took over for Jeff Fell at right tackle. Since Fell remained Yale's long snapper, I'd have to say it was more an injury related move.

Some pre-game ramblings

Injured offensive lineman Nathan Burow, who was not expected to play, is definitely out.

Taking a quick glance around, everybody else who is supposed to be suiting up seems to be good to go.

Keeping my perfect track record alive of having a change in the starting offensive line whenever I write my advance on the O-line, Alex Golubiewski was taking pre-game snaps with the starting line instead of John Pedersen, who was working with the second team.

The starting defensive unit remains unchanged with Tom McCarthy and Matt Battaglia at defensive end, Joe Young and Jake Stoller at defensive tackle, Jordan Haynes flanked by Will McHale and Jesse Reising at linebacker, Drew Baldwin and Chris Stanley starting at cornerback with the safeties being Geoff Dunham and Adam Money.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Info on video streaming

Yale's games will be streamed live and be available on a pay per view basis. The cost is $8.95 per game, $39.95 for a season pass which will give you access to all the games done during the fall season.

You can go to for more info or this link should bring you to the registration and viewing screens

The Oct. 17 junior varsity game between Yale and Brown has been cancelled and has been replaced on the schedule by Army Prep. Kickoff is set for noon. Also, the start time of the Oct. 3 JV game against Milford Academy is now also scheduled for noon. Both games are at Clint Frank Field, right next to Yale Field as is the Oct. 31 noon game against Bridgton Academy. Yale's four-game JV schedule wraps up with a Nov. 19, 1 p.m. game at Harvard.

There are teams of walkers (one organized by me for this Sunday's walk in West Haven) who will be taking part and raising money for the Step Out Walk for Diabetes in honor of the late Bill Gonillo, the former voice of Yale football.

The first walk begins at 9 a.m. at the boardwalk on the West Haven beach (right next to Jimmie's of Savin Rock Restaurant) and here's a link to that walk . The team of walkers taking part to honor Gonillo is called "Walk for Bill"

The more established walk in Bill's honor will take place in New Canaan on Oct. 3 beginning at 9 at New Canaan High School. Bill's sister Christine has set up a team called "Billy's Family Team"

Sunday, September 12, 2010

McCarthy, 2 RBs back at practice

Headed over to catch the final hour of Yale's practice this afternoon and the most noteworthy bit of info to pass on is that captain Tom McCarthy was back playing football for the first time since suffering a minor Achilles' tendon injury during Yale's intrasquad scrimmage on Aug. 28.

McCarthy was eased into practice but saw a decent amount of time at left defensive end when I was there.

Also, injured running backs Javi Sosa and Elijah Thomas were also back in action. Sosa was hurt in late in the Union scrimmage while Thomas was nicked up during the week leading into the scrimmage against Union.

There have been no major changes to Yale's starting lineup since the 50-0 win over Union on Sept. 4. The biggest jump might have been made by former starter Alex Golubiewski, who is now pushing Jeff Fell for the starting left tackle spot. Also, Alex Barnes has won the placekicking and punting jobs although the kickoff duties are still being contested.

Here is the tentative two-deep chart as of Sunday
QB: Patrick Witt; Brook Hart
TB: Alex Thomas; Mordecai Cargill
WR: Gio Christodoulou; Deon Randall
WR: Jordan Forney; Allen Harris
WR: Chris Smith; Cameron Sandquist
TE/H-BACK: Chris Blohm; Shane Bannon or Caleb Smith
OT: John Pedersen; Wes Gavin
OG: Colin Kruger; Mike McInerney
C: Jake Koury; Evan Ellis (although Jeff Fell would most likely spell Koury)
OG: Gabe Fernandez; Alex Birks
OT: Jeff Fell; Alex Golubiewski
K: Alex Barnes

DE: Tom McCarthy; Allen Davis
DT: Jake Stoller; Reid Spiller
DT: Joe Young; Chris Dooley
DE: Matt Battaglia; Sean Williams
LB: Jesse Reising; John Pagliaro
LB: Jordan Haynes; Dan Walsh
LB: Will McHale; Wes Moyer
CB: Drew Baldwin; Collin Bibb
CB: Chris Stanley; Kurt Stottlemyer
FS: Geoff Dunham; Marcus Wallace
SS: Adam Money; John Powers
P: Alex Barnes

For those scoring at home, six of the 11 starters on offense are juniors while there are five seniors and five juniors slated at start on defense. Chris Smith and Will McHale the only sophomores listed as starters while the only freshmen on the two-deep are receivers Deon Randall and Cameron Sandquist and offensive tackle Wes Gavin.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Georgetown improves to 2-0

If the results of its first two games are an indication, it appears as if Yale will face a much improved Georgetown team in the Sept. 18 season opener.

Georgetown improved to 2-0 by rallying from a 14-point deficit for a 28-24 win over Lafayette on Saturday.

Former Hillhouse stars Keerome Lawrence and Jeremy Moore played major roles in the victory. Lawrence caught six passes for 54 yards including a 6-yard touchdowns while Moore had nine tackles for the Hoyas, who won despite being outgained 509-265 and only having the ball for 19:47 in the game.

The Hoyas, who lost to Lafayette 28-3 in 2009 to head into Yale with an 0-2 record, opened the 2010 season with a 20-10 victory over Davidson to snap a 12-game losing streak.

Georgetown will travel to the Yale Bowl for a noon game on Sept. 18. Besides Lawrence and Moore, Georgetown has another connection to the New Haven area as former University of New Haven football coach Dave Patenaude was named the Hoyas' offensive coordinator in April. Patenaude was the head coach of the Chargers in 2002 and 2003 before the program folded (only to be restarted last season). He had three-year stints at Holy Cross and Hofstra before coming to Georgetown.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

A few items of note

I've fallen behind a little bit on getting info on the couple of items but figured that it's better late than never.

First, streaming of Yale's games will be available again at the cost of $8.95 per game or $39.95 for the entire season.

Go to to register and/or order.

There is good news to report on the Mandi Schwartz front as the Yale women's hockey standout's leukemia is back in remission which enables her to receive a stem cell transplant. Mandi's family is working with doctors at Seattle Cancer Care Alliance's Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.

Finally, time to plug an event I am involved with. I formed a team of walkers for the Sept. 19 Step Out Walk for Diabetes in honor of Bill Gonillo, the former voice of the Yale football program. The walk begins at 9 a.m. at the boardwalk at the West Haven beach (right next to Jimmie's of Savin Rock restaurant).

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Staples duo talk about Yale

Chris Coyne and Pat Murray, stars on a Staples High of Westport team which recorded five shutouts in 2009, were offered spots in the Yale football program within a week after they attended Yale's football camp in April. They both committed to Yale in recent weeks and with Staples scrimmaging at Cheshire on Monday morning, I took the chance to head out to Cheshire's Maclary Complex to talk to the two future Bulldogs.

"It was a great choice for me, great academics, great football," said Murray, a tight end and linebacker who had 52 tackles and nine sacks as a junior while catching 18 passes for 211 yards and a touchdown on offense. "You can't go wrong with Yale."

Coyne, a defensive end who also lines up as a tight end or receiver on offense, had 71 tackles and 16 tackles on defense while adding 12 catches for 157 yards and a touchdown on offense in 2009 in helping Staples reach the Class LL championship game.

"Just getting the opportunity to play there, getting a chance like that it is a once in a lifetime chance and you have to take it," Coyne said.

Coyne was at the Yale Bowl when Yale defeated Union 50-0 in a scrimmage on Saturday and came away impressed with what he saw.

"It's (going) uphill. Coach (Tom) Williams is a great coach," Coyne said. "They were doing so well. I thought their offense was moving the ball, the defense was making plays. It is definitely on the upswing."

Assuming their applications are approved as they are expected to be, Murray and Coyne could receive likely letters early next month.

"Coach (Williams) meets with admissions this week but we can get a likely letter in October and that pretty much means we are officially (committed)," Murray said.

Speaking of the Union scrimmage, here are links to the two video packages I put together off the scrimmage. The first one focused on the offense while the second showcasing the effort of the defense

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Saturday, September 04, 2010

Yale dominates Union in scrimmage

Yale's tune-up for the regular season couldn't have gone much better as the offense, defense and special teams were all impressive against Union.

Of course, I would be remiss if I didn't mention that it was a Division III opponent the Bulldogs dismantled 50-0 at the Yale Bowl on Saturday but I have seen Yale face Division III foes before in scrimmages and not look as sharp as this group did.

Offensively, six quarterbacks combined to go 27 for 40 for 316 yards, five touchdowns and one interception. Patrick Witt got the start and was 7 of 9 for 87 yards including TD throws of 20 yards to Gio Christodoulou and 5 yards to Cameron Sandquist. Brook Hart threw a 14-yard scoring strike to Caleb Smith, freshmen John Whitelaw and Sandquist teamed up for a 5-yard scoring play and Derek Russell threw a 10-yard scoring pass to Trevor Peterson.

Freshmen combined for 17 catches, 226 yards and three touchdowns led by Sandquist (4 catches, 26 yards), Deon Randall (3-57), Keith Coty (3-36) and Brandis Yarrington (2-59).

"It’s great, we have a lot of young guys coming in and making plays, working hard. I think the hardest thing is to learn the plays because until you do that, you can’t really play to your full potential," said sophomore Chris Smith, who was in the same position of Sandquist, Randall and Yarrington at this point last year. "They are studying hard and working hard on the field and it is obviously showing out there. Cam had a huge catch, Brandis had a big catch and Deon had some big plays too. It is definitely great for our offense when we have guys who can come in and it doesn’t drop off from the 1’s (starters) to the 2’s (reserves), it is great."

Sophomore Javier Sosa led the running game with 12 carries for 49 yards before leaving with what Yale football coach Tom Williams believes is a bruised Achilles.

Speaking of Achilles injury, captain and defensive end Tom McCarthy did not play because of a strained left Achilles. Still, the defense flexed their muscles with six sacks and interceptions by John Powers and Brian Leffler. Starting defensive tackles Jake Stoller and Joe Young were too much for Union to handle at the line of scrimmage.

Chris Stanley blocked a punt which Cliff Foreman attempted to pounce on for a touchdown but was unable to do so. Still, it resulted in a safety and Smith returned the ensuing kickoff 72 yards for a score.

Kickers Alex Barnes and Phillipe Panico had 36 and 32-yard field goals and were a perfect 6 for 6 on extra points and Christodoulou had a nifty punt return.

The only real negative were the three 15-yard penalties the Bulldogs were called for and a mediocre effort running the ball. If you take away Sosa's 27-yard scamper and Russell's 21-yard scramble, Yale ran the ball 28 times for 72 yards.

The only new starter for Yale was left guard Colin Kruger, who replaced Mike McInerney in the starting lineup. Williams said he'll know more after breaking down the game film, but he liked what he saw from Kruger who is one of Yale's strongest players.

A couple of other notes. I asked Witt about his decision to change from No. 10 to 11.

"It was my old high school number," Witt said. "I haven’t worn it since then but I went home this summer watching my old high school numbers and I got a little nostalgic. I asked Coach if I could change and he said I had earned the opportunity to do that."

Former Yale tight end Nate Lawrie, who was cut by the NFL's Philadelphia Eagles, was at the scrimmage and he said he is hopeful another team will come calling.

"I’ll still play. Hopefully something will come up with the NFL over the next week or so, if not I have the opportunity to play in the UFL (with Sacramento)," Lawrie said. "That is the thought process for now, stay in shape over this week, see what happens and see where the chips fall with the NFL. If not, I will play in the UFL and have a good time with that."

Thursday, September 02, 2010

McCarthy out for Saturday's scrimmage

Senior defensive end and team captain Tom McCarthy will not be suiting up for Saturday's scrimmage against Union (noon, Yale Bowl) after straining his left Achilles tendon.

The news is not all bad for McCarthy. He was a bit concerned about the severity of the injury he suffered during the 7-on-7 drills at last week's intrasquad scrimmage especially since it was a non-contact injury. But he had an ultrasound conducted on Tuesday which showed it was just a strain.

"It was a huge sigh of relief," McCarthy said. "They said 2-4 weeks but it happened a week ago so I should be back real soon. I am rehabbing already and it is feeling better already. I’ll be ready for (the Sept. 18 season opener against) Georgetown."

Allen Davis started in McCarthy's absence in the 11 on 11 portion of the intrasquad scrimmage and is expected to get the call against Union on Saturday.

There have not been any major changes among the starting unit in the first two weeks of camp. The most intriguing battle for a starting spot may be at left guard when junior Mike McInerney is being pushed by classmate Colin Kruger.

The scrimmage will be a minimum of three quarters with the top units of both teams battling it out in the first and second quarters. In the third quarter, it will be more of a showcase for younger players trying to move up the depth chart.

Offensive linemen Justin Hymes and Alex Golubiewski, who missed the intrasquad scrimmage, are expected to be back although defensive lineman Charles Holmes (a standout during spring drills) is dealing with a torn meniscus and will not play. However, he is not expected to need surgery which gives the former Choate star a chance to play this season.

It will be a chance for Yale fans to see the freshmen for the first time against somebody other than an intrasquad scrimmage. Receivers Deon Randall and Brandis Yarrington, tight end/h-back Beau Palin, offensive lineman Wes Gavin and defensive backs Nick Okama, Max Napolitano and Chris Brady are among the freshman pushing for playing time.

The scrimmage is open to the public.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

MacLaren passes away

Jim MacLaren, a former Yale football player who became a well-known motivational speaker, passed away on Monday at the age of 47.

MacLaren, a 1985 Yale graduate and three-time letterwinner with the Bulldogs, had his left leg amputated after the motorcycle he was riding was struck by a a New York City bus back in 1985.

According to his official website, MacLaren was originally declared "dead on arrival" when he was taken to Bellevue Hospital. Doctors were able to save his life but in the process had to amputate his left leg from the knee down. Rather than bemoan his fate, MacLaren resumed his studies at the Yale School of Drama and began training for a triathlon. He would become a world record holder for amputees and competed at grueling events like the New York City marathon and Ironman Triathlon.

Then in 1993 came another defining moment in his life. Here's the story as told on his official website

"He was in Mission Viejo, California, racing another triathlon. Two miles into the bike leg, on a closed course, a traffic marshal misjudged MacLaren's speed approaching an intersection. The marshal directed a van to cross the street, and the van and MacLaren collided. Hurled into a signpost, MacLaren broke his neck at the C5 vertebrae, paralyzing him."

MacLaren founded the Choose Living Foundation in 2005. He began a motivational speaker and in 2005 he was one of the recipients of the Arthur Ashe Courage Award.

Former Yale offensive lineman Ken Tullo, who graduated from Yale in 1988, asked if I would post a video of MacLaren being honored with the Arthur Ashe Courage award at the 2005 ESPYs.