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."

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