Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Three Bulldogs named All-New England

Senior defensive end Tom McCarthy, senior safety Adam Money and junior linebacker Jordan Haynes were named to the All-New England squad.

McCarthy had four sacks and forced three fumbles despite missing three games. Money had 37 tackles, three interceptions and seven passes defended while Haynes led the Bulldogs with 102 tackles and had two sacks, three fumble recoveries and two interceptions.

The All-New England squad consists of players from Football Championship Subdivision squads.

Here's the entire team

OL Mike Allison Central Conn. Sr.
OL Patrick Conroy Brown Sr.
OL Greg Niland Massachusetts Sr.
OL Mike McCabe Holy Cross Sr.
OL Ryan O’Neill Dartmouth Jr.
RB Jordan Brown Bryant So.
RB Gino Gordon Harvard Sr.
RB Nick Schwieger Dartmouth Jr.
QB Dale Fink Sacred Heart Sr.
WR Terrance Fox New Hampshire Sr.
WR Anthony Nelson Massachusetts Sr.
WR Alexander Tounkara Brown Sr.
TE Derek Buttles Maine Jr.

DL Victor Adesanya Rhode Island Sr.
DL Charles Bay Dartmouth Sr.
DL Tom McCarthy Yale Sr.
DL Brian McNally New Hampshire Jr.
DL Josue Ortiz Harvard Sr.
LB Matt Hansen Rhode Island Sr.
LB Jordan Haynes Yale Jr.
LB Tyler Holmes Massachusetts Jr.
LB Sean Lamkin Holy Cross Sr.
LB Jason Riffe Bryant Sr.
DB Adam Money Yale Sr.
DB Hugo Souza New Hampshire Sr.
DB Dino Vasso New Hampshire Sr.
DB Collin Zych Harvard Sr.

RS Shawn Abuhoff Dartmouth Jr.
PK Joe Izzo Central Conn. Sr.
P Nate Lovett Brown Jr.

Ivy League MVP finalists named

No Yale players made the cut as the Ivy League named the four finalists for the Asa Bushnell Cup given annually to the Ivy League Player of the Year.

The four finalists were running backs Gino Gordon of Harvard and Nick Schwieger of Dartmouth, quarterback Billy Ragone of Penn (and a former Cheshire High star) and receiver Trey Peacock of Princeton. The winner will be announced on Monday.

What I'm stuck by is that not one defensive player is on the list. In the games I saw this season, the opposing player who impressed me the most is Harvard defensive lineman Josue Ortiz. Alex Gross of Columbia had an outstanding year and I think that without Jordan Haynes, Yale could probably add at least two more losses to its season total.


Monday, November 29, 2010

Haynes to be honored by New Haven Gridiron Club

Yale junior linebacker Jordan Haynes will receive an award for being the top defensive player among the New Haven, Southern Connecticut State and Yale teams at the New Haven Gridiron Club annual awards night on Dec. 9 at the Cascade Banquet Facility in Hamden.

Stephen Shoemaker, a two-way starting lineman at Bronxville (N.Y.) High, was taken from the Carrier Dome in a stretcher during Sunday's New York Class C championship game.

Shoemaker, who had 1 1/2 sacks on defense and was part of an offensive line which allowed Bronxville to run for 266 yards in a 34-14 win over General Brown, injured his ankle but x-rays showed no significant damage according to a report in the Journal News.


Thursday, November 25, 2010

Three Yale recruits in Connecticut playoffs

With the regular season coming to a close today, the playoff field for the CIAC tournament has been set.

Three players on the list of Yale recruits applying early are among those in the field.

Staples defensive end Chris Coyne and linebacker Pat Murray, who have both received their likely letters, will be traveling to Glastonbury for a Class LL quarterfinal on Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. St. Joseph running back L.J. Hunt, who last I heard was still having his application looked over by the Yale admissions department, will get to play at home when the Cadets host Woodland in a Class S quarterfinals on Tuesday.

Going into Thursday's season finale against Greenwich, Murray and Coyne ranked third and fourth on the Wreckers with 88 and 85 tackles respectively. Murray has a team-high 11 sacks while Coyne has made seven sacks.

They have been used in the passing game on offense although it should be noted that throught nine games the Wreckers have run the ball 281 times while attempting 99 passes. Murray and Coyne had nine catches each, which ranks second on the squad. Murray had 165 receiving yards and three TDs while Coyne had 150 yards and a touchdown reception.

Hunt has nine catches for 60 yards and a TD on offense and has made 34 tackles on defense and has a team-leading 675 yards rushing (again these stats don't include the most recent game).

Across state lines, lineman Stephen Shoemaker leads undefeated Bronxville (N.Y.) against General Brown of Dexter, N.Y. in the New York Class C championship game Sunday at noon at the Carrier Dome in Syracuse. Shoemaker is a star of a Bronxville defense which has posted five shutouts in 12 games including four in a row to start the season. Shoemaker is second on the team with 76 tackles and has a team-best 11 sacks. On the offensive side of the ball, the 300-pounder has helped Bronxville run for more than 3,500 yards and average 11 yards per rush.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

A look back

With the All-Ivy League teams coming out on Tuesday, I thought it would be a good time to look back at the 2010 season.

It was a pretty intriguing year complete with dramatic finishes and it was a season of progress as the Bulldogs went into the season finale still in contention for the Ivy League title.

The Bulldogs return quarterback Patrick Witt, running back Alex Thomas and receiver Chris Smith, all three were second-team All-Ivy selections and having its top passer, rusher and receiver returning is a good foundation. Gio Christodoulou, who led the Bulldogs with 563 receiving yards, has said he plans to return for a fifth season of eligibility.

That quartet were among 12 players who started on offense with eligibility remaining (not including center Jake Koury, who has not decided yet whether he will return for his fifth season of eligibility). Starting guards Gabe Fernandez and Colin Kruger and tackle Wes Gavin return after combining for 27 starts in 2010. Jeff Fell and Roy Collins also drew starts. The biggest hole to fill on offense is the h-back/tight end spot but it should be noted that freshman Keith Coty drew the start against Harvard. The blocking of graduating seniors Shane Bannon and Chris Blohm will not be easy to replace. Losing receiver Jordan Forney, who shared team MVP honors with junior linebacker Jordan Haynes, is a big blow since he made more than his share of clutch plays over the last three seasons but the emergence of sophomore Allen Harris (who started against Harvard) and freshmen Deon Randall and Cameron Sandquist as well as the expected return of Peter Balsam should make the receiving position a team strength once again.

Running back depth is another position of strength with Mordecai Cargill, Javier Sosa and Elijah Thomas all coming back as well as Alex Thomas.

On the defensive side of the ball, the defensive line will take a hit with the loss of starting defensive ends Tom McCarthy and Sean Williams and defensive tackle Joe Young. The good news is the Bulldogs rotated in so many players on the front four that Yale is in good shape with the return of tackles Jake Stoller, Chris Dooley and Reed Spiller and ends Matt Battaglia, Allen Davis and Austin Pulsipher. Former starter Pat Moran is expected to return. A starting front four of Battaglia, Dooley, Stoller and Moran could be rather imposing.

Linebackers Jordan Haynes (a team-best 102 tackles) and Will McHale (55 tackles) return to anchor what could be the Ivy's best LB corps next season. Jesse Reising still could come back for a fifth year of eligibility although his attention is obviously on recovering after a crushing collision with Harvard running back Gino Gordon. If Reising opts to graduate and head off to Marine Officer Candidate School, Wes Moyer and JV stars Brian Leffler and Ben Ashcraft would be able replacements.

In the secondary, cornerback Chris Stanley and Adam Money (62 tackles, four interceptions and three fumble recoveries between them) will need to be replaced. Kurt Stottlemyer, Russell Perkins and Dawson Halliday were vying for the starting cornerback position before Stanley emerged while special-teams star John Powers as well as talented freshmen like Nick Okano, Max Napolitano and Chris Brady figure to be in contention for more playing time. The good news is that cornerback Drew Baldwin and free safety Geoff Dunham will be among the best players in the Ivy League at their respective positions.

With kicker Philippe Panico and punter Greg Carlsen as well as star returners Smith, Christodoulou and Randall all coming back, there should be some stability on special teams.

I know this much, there was a different vibe at the season-ending banquet this year than there was a year ago even though both times it was the morning after the season-ending loss to Harvard.

"I think the energy is palpable," Yale football coach Tom Williams said on Sunday. "The guys understand now that we are back, we expect to stay back. The younger guys have an expectation now of where the program should be. I believe the guys are excited to get back going even more so than they were a year ago."

There were some issues which kept an impressive season from being a glorious one.

The two main flaws on this Yale team was red zone offense and special teams.

Both came back to bit the Bulldogs against Harvard as Yale failed to register a point on three of six red-zone appearances and gave up one touchdown on a kickoff return and a blocked punt set up another Crimson TD.

Breaking down the numbers, Yale scored touchdowns in 19 of 32 trips to and inside the opponents' 20 but the Bulldogs had nine empty trips which made the Georgetown and Fordham games closer than they needed to be and cost them the Harvard game.

The special teams numbers are even scarier. Yale gave up five return touchdowns, two on kickoffs, two on punts and one following a blocked punt. Yale also had three field goals, two extra points and two punts blocked and had punts of 4, 11 and 23 yards. For the season Yale was 6 of 18 on field goals and if you take away Panico's 5 for 5 effort in a three-game stretch against Penn, Columbia and Brown, the Bulldogs were 1 for 13 on field-goal tries. That doesn't even discount the number of times the Yale coaches passed on field goals and went for it on fourth down.

It's not a reach to say that if Yale had a kicker/punter the caliber of a Tom Mante, Yale may have been 10-0. Then again those who are of the glass is half empty train of thought might say that winning against Georgetown and Dartmouth on the last play of the game and winning four other games by a total of eight points, Yale's final record could have been closer to the 4-6 mark of the 2009 squad than the 7-3 one posted by the 2010 team.

The good news is most of the players on special teams are coming back so the Yale coaching staff has time to make sure the same issues don't flare up next season.

"As I looked at the team and did my review, we lost three games because we had kicking game gaffes," Williams said. "We know that and we talked about that all season. It is ironic that we had solid games on offense and defense and didn't have a solid kicking game (against Harvard). That will be a great lesson for our guys as they go forward. We have the bulk of the team coming back so we look to build on that."

Haynes, McCarthy, Money first team All-Ivy

Junior linebacker and leading tackler Jordan Haynes, senior defensive end and team captain Tom McCarthy and senior safety Adam Money were named to the All-Ivy League first team.

Haynes, elected the captain of the 2011 Yale team, had 102 tackles, two interceptions, three fumble recoveries and 10 tackles for losses. McCarthy had 31 tackles, four sacks and forced three fumbles despite missing three games while Money had 37 tackles and three interceptions.

Yale junior quarterback Patrick Witt, whose 2,216 yards were the third highest single-season total in Yale history, junior running back Alex Thomas (710 rushing yards), senior tight end Chris Blohm (26 receptions) and sophomore receiver Chris Smith (team-best 46 catches) were second-team selections. Smith actually was a second-team pick both as a receiver and as a return specialist. Senior center Jake Koury, senior defensive end Sean Williams and junior cornerback Drew Baldwin were honorable mention selections.

Former Cheshire High star Billy Ragone was one of nine players to Ivy League champion Penn named to the first team. Ironically, the other first-team quarterback was fellow sophomore and Connecticut native Sean Brackett as the Columbia QB starred scholastically at Griswold High.

Princeton receiver Trey Peacock, Harvard defensive lineman Josue Ortiz, Harvard defensive back Collin Zych and Dartmouth return specialist Shawn Abuhoff were the only unanimous first-team selections while Cornell quarterback Jeff Mathews was the unanimous selection as the league's rookie of the year.

The Yale players I thought would have garnered at least honorable mention honors not on the list are junior guard Gabe Fernandez and sophomore linebacker Will McHale.

Here's the complete list
OL -- Patrick Conroy, Brown
OL -- Jeff Adams, Columbia
OL -- Ryan O’Neill, Dartmouth
OL -- Joe D’Orazio, Penn
OL -- Luis Ruffolo, Penn
OL -- Greg Van Roten, Penn
QB -- Sean Brackett, Columbia
QB -- Billy Ragone, Penn
RB -- Nick Schwieger, Dartmouth
RB -- Gino Gordon, Harvard
FB -- Luke DeLuca, Penn
WR -- Alexander Tounkara, Brown
WR -- Tim McManus, Dartmouth
WR -- Trey Peacock, Princeton*
TE -- Andrew Kennedy, Columbia

DL -- Charles Bay, Dartmouth
DL -- Josue Ortiz, Harvard*
DL -- Brandon Copeland, Penn
DL -- Tom McCarthy, Yale
LB -- Alex Gross, Columbia
LB -- Erik Rask, Penn
LB -- Zack Heller, Penn
LB -- Jordan Haynes, Yale
DB -- A.J. Cruz, Brown
DB -- Calvin Otis, Columbia
DB -- Shawn Abuhoff, Dartmouth
DB -- Collin Zych, Harvard*
DB -- Josh Powers, Penn
DB -- Adam Money, Yale

Special Teams
PK -- Patrick Jacob, Princeton
P -- Drew Alston, Cornell
RS -- Shawn Abuhoff, Dartmouth*

OL -- Brian Ellixson, Brown
OL -- Austen Fletcher, Dartmouth
OL -- Chris LeRoy, Harvard
OL -- Kevin Murphy, Harvard
OL -- Ben Osborne, Harvard
OL -- Drew Luango, Penn
QB -- Patrick Witt, Yale
RB -- Trevor Scales, Harvard
RB -- Brandon Colavita, Penn
RB -- Alex Thomas, Yale
WR -- Andrew Kerr, Princeton
WR -- Chris Smith, Yale
TE -- John Gallagher, Dartmouth
TE -- Chris Blohm, Yale

DL -- Jeremy Raducha, Brown
DL -- Josh Martin, Columbia
DL -- Chucks Obi, Harvard
DL -- Drew Goldsmith, Penn
LB -- Andrew Serrano, Brown
LB -- Alex Gedeon, Harvard
LB -- Nick Hasselberg, Harvard
LB -- Jon Olofsson, Princeton
DB -- Steve Peyton, Brown
DB -- Emani Fenton, Cornell
DB -- Matthew Hanson, Harvard
DB -- Matt Hamscher, Penn

Special Teams
PK -- Alexander Norocea, Brown
P -- Joe Cloud, Princeton
RS -- Chris Smith, Yale

OL -- Jack Geiger, Brown
OL -- Jared Mollenback, Penn
OL -- Jake Koury, Yale
RB -- Mark Kachmer, Brown
RB -- Jordan Culbreath, Princeton
HB -- Kyle Juszczyk, Harvard
WR -- Jimmy Saros, Brown
WR -- Nico Gutierrez, Columbia
WR -- Michael Reilly, Dartmouth
TE -- Nicolai Schwarzkopf, Harvard
TE -- Luke Nawrocki, Penn
DL -- Clay McGrath, Brown
DL -- Brian Wing, Penn
DL -- Mike Catapano, Princeton
DL -- Sean Williams, Yale
LB -- Chimoso Okoji, Brown
LB -- Zack Imhoff, Cornell
LB -- Luke Hussey, Dartmouth
LB -- Brian Levine, Penn
LB -- Andrew Starks, Princeton
DB -- Adam Mehrer, Columbia
DB -- Bradford Blackmon, Penn
DB -- Drew Baldwin, Yale
PK -- Foley Schmidt, Dartmouth
PK -- Andrew Samson, Penn
P -- Nate Lovett, Brown
P -- Scott Lopano, Penn
RS -- Bradford Blackmon, Penn

QB -- Jeff Mathews, Cornell*

*Unanimous Selection

Labels: , , , , , , , , ,

Reising set to be released

Yale senior linebacker Jesse Reising is set to be released from a Boston area hospital today after being injured making a tackle in Saturday's 28-21 loss to Harvard.

Reising, who laid motionless on the Harvard Stadium field after a collision with Harvard running back Gino Gordon, does not have spinal damage but has been kept in the hospital for a couple of extra days because of other medical issues.

Reising had his first public comments when he sent an e-mail to the Yale Sports Publicity Office.

“Right now, my nerves aren't firing to my right arm like they're supposed to," Reising said. "However, I still have too much swelling in my neck and shoulder for the doctors to reach any conclusions yet. Three weeks from now, I'll have more tests done to determine whether I tore some nerves, and possibly have them re-attached three months from now. However, I'm making rapid progress in regaining motor functions, and I expect a full recovery.”

Reising finished as Yale's third-leading tackler with 47 stops including four behind the line of scrimmage. He is also a decorated student-athlete who was a semifinalist for the Campbell Trophy or the academic Heisman.

Reising did not lose consciousness following the hit on Gordon in which Reising was penalized.

"I remembered breaking on the ball when Harvard's quarterback threw it," Reising said. "Once Gordon caught the ball, I knew that I had him lined up to deliver a big hit. I tried to put my helmet on the ball to knock the ball out, but apparently he lowered his head right before I hit him. I don't think I was ever unconscious but my nerves weren't quite responding like they were supposed to and I couldn't move. I asked the medical staff whether my arm looked like it was dislocated, whether it was a knock-back tackle and whether I got the ball out.”

With the game being televised on Versus, replays of the hit and Reising's injury was broadcast across the nation. There have been countless calls to Yale from people checking on Reising's status.

"I appreciate that the Yale community, football family and others have been very supportive of my efforts towards a full and speedy recovery," Reising said.


Sunday, November 21, 2010

Latest on Jesse Reising

Contrary to the info which came out following yesterday's Yale/Harvard game, Yale senior linebacker Jesse Reising did not check out of Beth Israel Medical Center. He was kept there overnight for precautionary reasons but at Yale's season-ending banquet, Bulldogs coach Tom Williams said the plan was for Reising to be on a flight back to him Decatur, Ill. home.

"Jesse is doing fine," Williams said. "He was in the hospital last night for precautionary reasons with his parents but the plan is for him to be on the plane at 6 o’clock and head home tonight. I think there was some swelling in his shoulder but he is going to be fine and his spirits are high."

Reising obviously was not at the banquet on Sunday morning and early afternoon but he received two standing ovations, one when he his name was read off along with the other Yale seniors and the second when he was named the recipient Chester J. Laroche Award which is given and I will quote this straight out of the Yale media guide "to the senior who, by his character, academic talents, and concerns for others, did the most for Yale.

"It is very tough situation," said fellow linebacker Jordan Haynes. "I tried to get a hold of him last night. I am sure he has had a million people sending him calls and texts. I wish he could be here. I will try to give him a call and see how he is doing.

"All of us were sitting out there saying our prayers and hoping he was OK and couldn’t think of anything better than him being OK so we are thankful for that."

Speaking of Haynes, he was named the Yale captain. It was hardly a surprise and that is not a knock on the other Bulldogs who will be seniors next fall but Haynes seemed to be the obvious choice.

"It would have been an upset if it hadn't been him" was how Williams worded it.

Haynes, who also shared team MVP honors with senior receiver Jordan Forney, becomes the fifth straight defensive player and third linebacker voted as team captain by his peers.

"It was a rush," said Haynes, who led Yale with 102 tackles, 10 tackles for losses and three fumble recoveries. "I am really excited about the opportunity, it is an amazing honor. It is going to be a tough act to follow as Coach way saying following guys like Tommy (McCarthy, Paul (Rice) and Bobby (Abare). I am just excited to try and fill those shoes."

Other items worth mentioning regarding the banquet are that Williams choked up as he spoke about outgoing captain Tom McCarthy, senior defensive tackle Matt Phelan calling his position coach Duane Brooks a cross between "Chris Rock and Fat Albert" and Adam Money using the word "finish" eight times in succession, reprising Williams' speech the night before the Brown game.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Reising appears to be OK

First of all, I apologize for the lack of blog posts on Saturday but internet at Harvard Stadium was a bit on the unpredictable side. I struggled enough posting updates on twitter, often times needing to hit the send button five or six times.

The biggest news was the injury to senior linebacker Jesse Reising after a vicious collision with Harvard running back Gino Gordon. Reising was taken from the field on a stretcher but was able to communicate with his teammates before being taken to a local hospital.

"My understanding is that he is fine," Yale coach Tom Williams said. "It is a precautionary measure to take him off the field on the stretcher. When he left the field, he had feeling in all of his extremeties so that is all I know at this point."

Reising was penalized for a head to head hit on Gordon on what proved to be the game-winning score in Harvard's 28-21 victory.

UPDATED AT 5:30: Just heard that Reising, who was taken to Beth Israel Medical Center, is about to be released after being checked out.

There will be more on The Game either tonight or tomorrow.

Labels: ,

Friday, November 19, 2010

Harvard JVs win 28-21

despite Elijah Thomas rushing 35 times for 183 yards and a touchdown, the Yale junior varsity team lost to Harvard 28-21 on Friday.

Other standouts for Yale were quarterback John Whitelaw (8 of 19 for 122 yards, one TD pass and a touchdown run), linebacker Brian Leffler (13 tackles, forced fumble), cornerback Russell Perkins (interception, fumble recovery) and linebacker Ben Ashcraft (seven tackles).

Emotions were running high during the game and the poor officiating job (even by junior varsity standards) didn't help the cause. Fortunately, it seems as if both teams escaped without injury which is amazing considering how many times the official let running backs take unnecessary additional shots because of the lateness of blowing the whistle. There were a couple of blow to the head shots against receivers that went uncalled as well as one blatant hit against a defenseless receiver and more than a few late shots undetected by this crew. Can't say I was too impressed with the quality of the public-address announcing either. I'm assuming it was an active Harvard player who had the microphone and thinking my ears won't be recovering any time soon. I'm also convinced that if I attended an event at Harvard Stadium in the middle of July, I'd need a winter coat. I actually did see the sun once or twice but it wasn't until I attempted to navigate my way back to my hotel (very poorly, I will admit) did the sun make an appearance blinding me as I attempted to read street signs. Every time I've been to this field, it has been bitter cold. Two years ago at the varsity game, I was probably as cold as I have ever been.

As for Harvard, I was impressed with sophomore receiver Curtis Ross (5 catches, 79 yards and a touchdown and unlike most of the other Harvard receivers he did not short arm balls going over the middle of the field. Freshman defensive end Austin Taylor was in the backfield on a regular basis for the Crimson.

Looking ahead to next year, I can update the recruiting situation a bit. Likely letters have been sent out to five players so far
Staples defensive end Chris Coyne and linebacker Pat Murray, Union (N.J.) linebacker Everett Johnson and offensive linemen Ben Carbery from Oak Park in River Forest, Ill. and Steve Shoemaker from Bronxville, N.Y.

There could be a few more players getting likely letters in the next week or two meaning that their applications for early admission have been approved by Yale.

Updating a previous report on the three Yale seniors who are eligible to return for a fifth season because they lost a year - or at least most of it - due to injury, center Jake Koury said he has yet to make a decision.

"I am going to get through this game," Koury said. "I haven’t made any decisions yet. We’ll see what happens but I am going to finish this game out first."

Receiver Gio Christodoulou said he is planning to take advantage of the extra season while I have yet to bring up the topic with senior linebacker Jesse Reising. Yale is also expected to get back defensive end Pat Moran and receiver Peter Balsam, who took this year off.

Labels: , , , , , , ,

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Interesting road for Witt

Saturday will be a special day as Yale quarterback Patrick Witt's parents will be able to see one of their sons playing in The Game.

"What is kind of tough for my folks is he never got to play in the Harvard/Yale game. He was injured and didn’t get to play in that game. It was something my folks wanted for me."

It's been an interesting second season at Yale for Witt to say the least. He has a chance to finish with the third most passing yards of any Yale quarterback this season but he also has as many touchdown passes (12) as interceptions (12).

Witt is a go for broke player at quarterback which is going to lead to his share of interceptions.

"That is something I have been working on this entire year," Witt said. "Obviously they happen. There is no quarterback who has thrown the number of times that I have who hasn’t gotten picked off a few times. Some of them are flukes, those happen but the ones I can correct (with) the decision making are something I (criticize) myself about. I am in there watching as much film as I can trying not to be surprised by anything. I know with the success we have had through the air, a lot of teams are mixing up coverages. Despite all my preparation, I’ll go into the game and see something completely different. That is something Coach (Brian) Stark and I have worked on, expect the unexpected."

I have more on Witt in a story running in tomorrow's edition of the Register. Much of the focus will be on how he has fit in with his Yale teammates since he transferred from Nebraska. I have been struck by the number of e-mails and anonymous comments on this blog I get regarding Witt and they tend not to be of the positive variety.

I didn't have room to get Yale coach Tom Williams' thoughts about why Witt draws the reaction he does and how much has to do with the fact that those outside the program view him as not being an original Yalie. There's no question that the amount of hype he generated when it became known that he was coming to Yale could have drawn some resentment. He does seem to have matured a little bit from last year and has displayed toughness on the field playing through a variety of injuries.

"The biggest thing that has happened with Pat is being here for a full year and getting to know the guys better, spending time with them in the offseason and they got to see him work," Williams said. "When you come in from another program, they haven’t seen you work, sweat and that kind of stuff. When you have a year to show them what you are about, it makes a difference.

"I remember when Glyn Milburn transferred back to Stanford from Oklahoma (when Williams was a player at Stanford). Who is this guy? He shows up, a highly-touted guy. Everybody is jocking him, we don’t know anything about the guy. You can’t just walk into the locker room and be the best guy, the best player when nobody knows what you can do. There was some of that from players, we took some shots and tried to hit him to see what he was all about. At the end of the day, he was a great guy and it takes time for that to happen."

Labels: ,

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Another nailbiter

The 2010 Yale football team isn't about to steal Oakland Raiders owner Al Davis famous "Just win, Baby" slogan but that could be the perfect way to sum up Yale's season to date.

The last five games Yale has won, the scoring margin has been three points or less. It was certainly less on Saturday when Yale twice had to stop Princeton in the fourth quarter to escape with a 14-13 win and sole possession of second place in the Ivy League.

It was a typical Yale effort with some remarkable plays led by Jordan Haynes' interception in the end zone and forced fumble leading to Geoff Dunham's scoop and score 57-yard TD return. There were a couple of perfectly executed screens including one which Chris Blohm took 16 yards for a touchdown as well a clutch third down completion from Patrick Witt to Jordan Forney which pretty much ended the game.

There were also some forgettable moments including Witt lost fumble on a quarterback/center exchange, one of three lost fumbles. An illegal block on a punt which cost the Bulldogs 46 yards of field position which was followed a few plays later by a 4-yard punt.

Still, the Bulldogs improved to 7-2, 5-1 in the Ivy League with the win.

"The guys feed off of each other," Witt said. "When the defense needs to make a big play, they do, when the offense has needed to come through, we have. We know how to finish games, I think that is the most important thing. There is no panic on the sideline today when we are winning by one point, it is going down to the wire and they have a good field goal kicker. We understand what we have to do and there is certainly a lot of confidence winning those close games."

A few notes:
Sophomore running back Mordecai Cargill returned after missing the last four games with a knee injury.

Yale used the same starting lineup for the second week in a row.

Although Gio Christodoulou was one of 26 seniors honored before the game, he said he plans on returning for a fifth season of eligibility in the fall. Starting center Jake Koury and linebacker Jesse Reising are also eligible to get an additional season but they have yet to make a decision on whether they are going to come back or not.

Yale wins 14-13

It wasn't easy but Yale holds on 14-13 to move to 7-2, 5-1 in Ivy. Alex Thomas came on strong and defense rebounded from shaky first half to keep Yale in contention for Ivy title.

Yale up 14-10 at halftime

It was far from the best half of football Yale has played this season but Geoff Dunham returned a fumble 57 yards for a TD and Chris Blohm turned a Patrick Witt screen pass into a 16-yard TD to put Yale up 14-10 at halftime.

A 48-yard punt return by Gio Christodoulou gave the Bulldogs a chance to add to the lead. However, Witt missed a wide open Jordan Forney in the end zone and Philippe Panico missed a 40-yard field goal.

Yale has had two lost fumbles, one leading to Princeton's only touchdown and missed more than a dozen tackles in the first half against the last-place Tigers. Princeton has outgained Yale 272-167.

Former Yale running back Calvin Hill was just recognized for winning the Doak Walker Legends Award. Now the undefeated 1960 Yale football team is being honored. There was also a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new locker rooms named in honor of former Yale coach Carm Cozza.

Yale leads 7-0 end of 1st

Geoff Dunham returned Meko McCray fumble 57 yards for a TD to give Yale a 7-0 lead at the end of the first.

Mordecai Cargill is back and has carried twice, Chris Dooley got start at DT

Friday, November 12, 2010

White Out for Mandi is tonight

In honor of women's hockey player Mandi Schwartz's ongoing fight against leukemia, Yale will be hosting a "White Out for Mandi" event at Ingalls Rink tonight with fans coming to the women's hockey game against RPI being asked to either wear white or buy a "White Out for Mandi" t-shirt. There will be no admission charge but donations will be accepted. The game begins at 7 p.m.

There will also be items auctioned off at the game including:
Patrick Kane, Chicago Blackhawks, autographed jersey
Bobby Orr, Boston Bruins, autographed memorabilia
David Ortiz, Boston Red Sox, autographed jersey
Mark Recchi, Boston Bruins, autographed jersey
Jason Varitek, Boston Red Sox, autographed jersey
Boston Bruins tickets
New York Rangers tickets
Boston Red Sox tickets
Tour of Fenway Park

The RPI team also did some fundraising in Mandi's honor and will be presenting a check at tonight's game

For more info, check out the "White Out for Mandi" page on the Yale website

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Little recruiting info

One of the most popular questions I was asked a year ago was whether Yale was going to bring in some offensive linemen.

Well, those same people would likely be happy to know that of the four recruits who have been sent likely letters by Yale are offensive linemen.

I previously reported that lineman Willian Chism out of St. Andrews Episcopal in Ridgeland, Miss. was sent a likely letter meaning that his application has been approved by Yale's admission department. Now I can report that Bronxville (N.Y.) High lineman Steve Shoemaker has been sent a likely letter as has Everett Johnson, a running back/linebacker who projects as a defensive player, from Union (N.J.) HS.

Staples defensive end Chris Coyne was the first Yale commit to be sent a likely letter and it sounds as if it is a case of when and not if for Coyne's Staples teammate Patrick Murray, a linebacker, to be sent the likely letter.

Cargill, Sosa not back yet

Injured running backs Mordecai Cargill (knee) and Javi Sosa (ankle) are not back at practice yet. They have not been ruled out yet but will need to practice by Thursday to suit up on Saturday against Princeton.

"He is not quite ready yet," Yale coach Tom Williams said of Cargill. "I think he had some rehab jogging today and we will see by Thursday if he can do anything. If not, we feel we have enough depth with Deon (Randall) and Elijah (Thomas) that we can still make it through another week. Javi, it's the same situation."

Naturally Alex Thomas, coming off back to back 100-yard rushing games, will be Yale's featured back against a Princeton team which ranks 87th among 117 Football Championship Subdivision teams in rushing defense.

Williams also said that quarterback Patrick Witt's uncharacteristic series of underthrown balls in last week's win over Brown was not injury related.

"He just didn’t play well," Williams said. "There was nothing wrong with him physically, he just played his worst game of the year. Fortunately for us, we were able to overcome it with some special teams plays. The one to Chris Blohm (in the fourth quarter), he just didn’t set his feet. He tried to just throw it with his arm and it kind of died on him. He knows, he has been playing quarterback for a long time, that you set your feet and drive the football and he didn’t. He is a prideful guy, he saw the tape and knows he didn’t play well. He came out, (Yale offensive coordinator Brian) Stark and I talked about it, he is focused on being better."

Witt threw the ball with plenty of zip during practice on Tuesday.

Williams said that after looking at the tape, Yale was one block away from returning three consecutive kickoffs for touchdowns against Brown. As it was, sophomore Chris Smith became the first Ivy League player to return consecutive kickoffs for touchdowns. On the next kickoff, Alex Norocea was brought in and rather than kicking the ball in the air to the speedy Smith, he bounced the kick down to the 20. Williams said that one more executed block would have sprung Smith free again.

On Tuesday's Ivy League football coaches conference call, Princeton coach Bob Surace said he didn't expect tailback Jordan Culbreath, the 2008 Ivy League rushing leader who has had a well-documented return to the field after being sidelined with aplastic anemia, available on Saturday.

Culbreath injured his right knee in Saturday's loss to Penn and Surace speculated after the game that it could be a season-ending injury. While Culbreath has not officially been ruled out for the year, Surace was not optimistic about having him on the field against the Bulldogs.

"He will not be available," Surace said. "He's getting x-rays, hopefully we will know today. Hopefully we get good news but I am not counting on that."

Labels: , , , , ,

Monday, November 08, 2010

Smith honored by Ivy League

It should hardly come as a surprise that Yale sophomore Chris Smith was named the Ivy League Special Teams Player of the Week after returning consecutive kickoffs 79 and 83 yards for touchdowns in the Bulldogs' 27-24 win at Brown on Saturday. Smith became the first Yale player to return two kickoffs for touchdowns in the same game and his 178 yards on three kickoff returns was one shy of the school record set by David Knox in a 2002 game against Penn. Smith also led Yale with six catches and 45 receiving yards.

Smith was also named the Football Championship Subdivision National Special Teams Player of the Week by The Sports Network.

Former Cheshire High star Billy Ragone, a sophomore quarterback at Penn, was named the offensive player of the week as he was 11 for 16 passing for a career-high 182 yards and also ran for 75 yards in the Quakers' 52-10 win over Princeton.

Labels: ,

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Yale JVs beat Army JVs

The Yale and Army teams will play in the Yale Bowl in 2014 as part of a 100th anniversary of the opening of the Yale Bowl.

The school's junior varsity teams squared off today at Clint Frank Field with Yale's six quarterbacks combined to throw for 360 yards and four touchdowns with Yale winning 35-28.

Freshman Cameron Sandquist, who had two TD catches in the varsity game against Coolumbia, had six catches for 170 yards and three touchdowns from three different quarterbacks. John Whitelaw (16 of 22, 212 yards and 2 touchdowns) hooked up with Sandquist from 18 yards out. Dez Duron (4 of 6 for 78 yards) threw a 41-yard TD pass to Sandquist with the freshman receiver making a nifty series of moves on sideline at about the 20 yard line. He somehow escaped the clutched of three Army defenders and ran out of his left shoe in the process. Then Sandquist hauled in a 35-yard score from Henry Furman for the winning score with 2:28 to play. Jackson Liguouri caught an 8-yard TD from Whitelaw while Whitelaw had a 1-yard scoring run.

John Runk (5 catches for 64 yards) and McConnell Smith (5-33) were other top receivers for the Bulldogs.

Defensively, Brian Leffler and Ryan Falbo had seven tackles each, Ben Ashcraft had six tackles and a fumble recovery, Chris Brady had five tackles and an interception and Scott Williams had five tackles. John Oppenheimer forced a fumble, Dylan Drake had a fumble recovery, Max Napolitano had a late interception while Matt Messer ended the game with a sack.

Army tipped two punts and blocked another and scored touchdowns each time but its aggressiveness going after Yale punter Alex Flanders was costly when a roughing the punter penalty extended Yale's drive late in the fourth quarter. Four plays later Furman found Sandquist for the winning score.

There were crunching hits by Brady and Leffler, the latter knocking the more effective of the two Army quarterbacks out of the game.

Labels: , , , , ,

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Yale wins thriller in Providence

I just realized that I tweeted up a storm about Yale's 27-24 win over Brown but neglected my blog. Of course not having working internet in either the media room or press box at Brown Stadium following the game added to the delay.

It was quite an interesting affair with the headliner having to be sophomore Chris Smith and his two kickoff returns for touchdowns. He fell one yard short of the Yale single-game record for kickoff return yards in a game. David Knox had 179 yards against Penn in 2002. Just a hunch that he may be Ivy League Special Teams Player of the Week.

Yale sophomore kicker Philippe Panico kicked two 36-yard field goals including the game winner with 9:30 to play and was 3 for 3 on extra points. He also handled the kickoffs exclusively for the first time this season.

Yale forced Brown to punt twice after retaking the lead. The play by Jordan Haynes (who ought to be in the equation for Ivy League Player of the Year) and Chris Dooley, who made his first career start, in stuff Brown's Zach Tronti on a 3rd and 1 at the Brown 16 was the defensive play of the game. Tronti is not an easy guy to bring down and throwing him for a 1-yard loss in that situation was a spectacular play.

"We had a few third downs throughout the day, it is something we drill during practice 3rd and 1, 3rd and 2," sauid Haynes, who led the Bulldogs with seven tackles. "It just seems like everything is coming together right now, it is a good feeling."

Following Brown's final punt, Yale took the ball and literally ran out the clock as Alex Thomas picked up 24 of his 121 yards on the first five carries of Yale's final drive.

"That whole fourth quarter we were moving the ball on the ground," Thomas said. "We knew there were four minutes on the clock and it was a matter of running it down. We practice the 4-minute drill, keep getting first downs. The O-line was doing their jobs. You can't say enough about how well they were blocking. Shane Bannon was doing his job. We ran like 10 powers in a row and we kept going full speed."

Those were the positive aspects of the game for Yale.

Now for the other side. Patrick Witt struggled more than his pedestrian (18 for 38 for 129 yards) line would indicate. He was short on a bunch of throws, none more glaring than when he missed a wide open Chris Blohm inside the 5 yard line on the drive in which Panico booted the second of his 36-yard field goals.

Yale's pass defense in the second quarter was downright horrible as Joe Springer threw for 207 yards in the quarter after missing on his only pass attempt in the first quarter.

The result of Saturday's games means that Yale has to beat Princeton while rooting for (gasp) Harvard to beat Penn setting up Yale for a chance to gain a share of the Ivy League title by ending the season with wins over Princeton and Harvard.

Yale's JV team will host Army JV tomorrow at noon at Clint Frank Field (next to Yale Field).

Labels: , , , ,

Springing into action

Senior Joe Springer, knocked out of last week's game against Penn, took part in pre-game drills and looks like he will start at quarterback for Brown. All-Ivy QB Kyle Newhall-Caballero is out for the year with a wrist injury and Springer has done a solid job filling those rather large shoes. Sophomore Patrick Donnelly is the better runner of the top healthy QBs so if Springer does indeed start, Yale may not be as concerned about scrambles by the Bears' QB.

For Yale, receiver Chris Smith was out there and looks fine. Smith suffered a shoulder injury against Columbia and was limited in practice in the early part of the week.

Friday, November 05, 2010

Koury, Reising Academic All-District selections

Yale senior center Jake Koury and senior linebacker Jesse Reising were among 13 Ivy Leaguers named to the District 1 first team in the university division of the CoSIDA Academic All-American team.

Koury, an economics major with a 3.65 grade point average, and Reising, a political science/economics major with a 3.75 GPA, will be placed on the national ballot for the CoSIDA Academic All-American team which will be announced on Nov. 23.

Here's the complete list of honorees

Labels: ,

Thursday, November 04, 2010

No history lesson needed

Two years ago Brown was on the cusp of clinching the Ivy League title when a Yale team which had lost two of its previous three games went up to Providence and came away with a 13-3 victory.

After practice this morning I asked Yale defensive end and team captain Tom McCarthy if the Bulldogs will have any more confidence having won at Brown Stadium in their last trip. McCarthy didn't think that would necessarily be the case.

"Brown had a great team that year," McCarthy said. "Everybody thought they were going to beat us that day. For whatever reason in the Yale/Brown series, the road team has a big advantage (winning 10 of the last 14 games). Every year is a different year and this team is different from the team two years ago so we don't really think about what happened two years ago as much as it pertains to this year's game."

A few tidbits from practice.

Sophomore receiver Chris Smith, who injured his shoulder in the first half of last week's win over Columbia and sat out the second half, was back at practice.

"He shadowed yesterday, we haven't (had Smith) run a lot of live routes but he ran routes behind the line of scrimmage to get the timing stuff but today he did practice and he is ready to go."

Williams said senior Matt Phelan could start again at defensive tackle.

"He might," Williams said. "He is playing his tail off. He is a bull in there and I think people have a hard time moving him. Coach (Duane) Brooks came and we talked about his practice and we told the other guys 'look, he is playing better than you right now.' We are going to reward him with a start and based on what I've seen this week, there is no reason to change it."

Labels: , , ,

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Clarification on Sunday's JV opponent

I made an incorrect assumption that Yale's junior varsity game was against Army Prep when in fact it is against Army's JV team. The game will kickoff at noon. Yale's only other remaining JV game is on Nov. 19 at 1 p.m. on the road against Harvard's JV game.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Moran on winning side

Pat Moran, who would have been a senior defensive lineman on the current Yale team, opted to take the year off so he could help in his father Jim Moran's reelection campaign in Virginia.

It looks like Jim Moran, who has represented Virginia's 8th congressional district since 1991, appears to be running away with things

Pat Moran has another year of eligibility and the last time I spoke to Yale football coach Tom Williams about Moran and receiver Peter Balsam, who also took the year off, are still planning to return to Yale next year.

Labels: , ,

Powers shifts to running back

With Mordecai Cargill out for at least one more game as he recovers from knee surgery and Javi Sosa suffering a high ankle sprain in Sunday's junior varsity game against Bridgton Academy, depth at tailback is a major concern. So sophomore reserve safety John Powers, who was a run-first quarterback at Hopkins, has moved to running back.

"He has done that in high school as a quarterback so he has done that a lot," Yale coach Tom Williams said. "We feel like we have some depth in the secondary so we feel like it was a move we felt we could do and we felt he was proactive about going and wanting to help us on that side of the ball."

Alex Thomas, coming off a season-high 137 yards against Columbia, is the main guy at tailback backed up by freshman Elijah Thomas (no relation). Deon Randall ran out of the backfield against Columbia, something he figures to be again against Brown and Powers will be an insurance policy.

Although Army Prep no longer lists Sunday's game against the Yale JV squad on its schedule, Williams said he has not heard anything about Army Prep backing out of the game.

There's not too much to report on the recruiting front. I have been able to confirm that likely letters have been sent Staples defensive end Chris Coyne and St. Andrews Episcopal of Ridgeland, Miss. offensive lineman William Chism meaning that they have been given the OK by Yale's admissions department.

Labels: ,

Monday, November 01, 2010

More running back injuries

Sophomore Javi Sosa was injured in the Yale junior varsity team's 21-6 loss to Bridgton Academy on Sunday as was Tate Harshbarger and Brandis Yarrington.

With the possibility of Mordecai Cargill having to miss at least one more game as he recovers from knee surgery, Yale is getting pretty thin at running back. Alex Thomas and Elijah Thomas (no relation) saw the bulk of work in Saturday's 31-28 win over Columbia while receiver Deon Randall also carried the ball out of the tailback position against the Lions.

Freshman Max Napolitano had two interceptions and John Whitelaw threw a 12-yard TD pass to Beau Palin for Yale's only score.

Labels: , , , , ,