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."


Anonymous Anonymous said...

One game in and we're talking tempo and sprints!!! If this team is walking on and off the field already, it is a clear sign they have tuned Williams out. I have. And he should'nt blame "one guy", "he" or "him". Anyone who saw the game knows who he is talking about. Edsall likes to throw his players to the dogs also.
One more thing--special teams??? What does he know about special teams?? And yes, I'm going to bring it up again--4th and 22!!!

10:09 PM 

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