Thursday, July 28, 2011

Bannon signs with Chiefs

Former Yale fullback/h-back Shane Bannon signed with the Kansas City Chiefs on Wednesday. Here is the story posted on the Chiefs' official site.

The Chiefs selected Bannon in the seventh round in April's NFL draft as he became the first Yale player drafted since Nate Lawrie in 2004.

The Chiefs open training camp on Friday.


Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Details of Yale on YES deal

As I reported last week, Yale on YES will return got the fourth straight year.

YES will televise Yale's games at Columbia on Oct. 29, at home against Brown on Nov. 5 and Nov. 12 game at Princeton.
All three games will start at noon.

Hart picks up first win

Around the time his former Yale football teammate Tom McCarthy was arriving in Atlanta to start his pro football career, Brook Hart was getting his first professional baseball win.

Hart's outing in the Casper Ghosts' 13-7 win over the Helena Brewers on Tuesday was far from his best. He came in with a runner on first and two outs in the sixth inning in a 7-6 game. Hart threw two consecutive wild pitches and then gave up a game-tying triple to Max Walla before getting Kyle Dhanani to ground out to end the inning. Although he did not come back out to pitch the seventh, he became the pitcher of record when Will Swanner homered in the top of the seventh to put Casper up 8-7.

Hart was a 23rd-round pick of the Colorado Rockies and assigned to Casper where he has been a solid member of the pitching staff, posting a 3.72 ERA in seven appearances. Hart started one game, finished two others and has a save.


Tuesday, July 26, 2011

McCarthy signs with Falcons

Former Yale defensive end Tom McCarthy is on his way down to Atlanta tonight to embark on the start of his pro career.

McCarthy was signed by the Atlanta Falcons as an undrafted rookie free agent.

"I am very excited and that is an understatement," McCarthy said. "This has been a long time coming."

The Falcons were among the teams who had McCarthy on the radar either as a late-round draft pick or as a free agent.

"I hadn't heard from them during the lockout but when I didn't get drafted, they were one of the teams I spoke to so it wasn't a huge surprise," McCarthy said.

According to his twitter account, former Yale fullback/h-back Shane Bannon flew down to Kansas City on Tuesday. Bannon was taken in the seventh round by the Chiefs. Tight end Chris Blohm has not signed been signed yet according to an e-mail I received from his agent.


Sunday, July 24, 2011

My take on Ivy League's proactive stance on concussions

I have read the report regarding the Ivy League's review of concussions suffered in football games and practices.

While I applaud the initiative, I see the limitations of full-contact drills to be much ado about nothing.

Let's take the new guidelines and requirements.

1) Limiting full-contact drills in practice during the season to two days.
I can't speak for the other Ivy League schools, but at Yale Sunday is normally reserved for film study while Monday is an off day. Friday tends to be little more than a glorified walk through, allowing final preparations to be put into play. That leaves three days when full-contact drills could transpire. I don't make it to every practice but the ones I go attend, I rarely see full-contract drills. Sure the offensive and defensive linemen will go at it but you will not see a linebacker coming up to light up a running back. I don't believe there will be any less intensity at Yale's Tuesday-Thursday practices in the upcoming season than I have witnessed in the last couple of years.

2) Reductions by one the number of allowable full-contact practices during the spring
The story is pretty much the same as Yale stresses execution and intensity in practice over brute strength so the Bulldogs should be able to get as much accomplished under the new guidelines as they did in the past.

3) In the preseason, teams will be limited to one practice in full pads during two a day sessions.
This is the one rule that could have the most impact but in the long run, league coaches should be able to deal with these new restrictions.

4) Greater time and attention devoted to the teaching and emphasis on proper techniques for avoiding hits to the helmets
I'm not sure that a committee needs to be formed to come up a teaching point of not having as many hits to the head. I also know that the most prominent helmet to helmet hit of the 2010 season was the one between Yale's Jesse Reising and Harvard's Gino Gordon. No amount of legislation can figure in the instinctive moves that occur on the football field including those by both Reising and Gordon leading to the crushing hit which knocked both players out of the football game.

5) Continued adjustment to practice plans when depth at a given position is low to reduce the number of hits experienced by a particular player
This one actually made me laugh. Obviously if a team has been hit by injuries at a particular position, the last thing they are going to do is put healthy players at that position in harm's way.

6) Adherence to recommended guidelines for in-season, full-pad, contact practice sessions
Considering that every Ivy League school was represented by either football coaches or medical personnel on this committee, obviously it is an issue being taken seriously by each and every school. I fully expect all the coaches to adhere to the guidelines and continue to look out for the best interest of their players.

I do not want anybody to think I am taking this issue lightly because nothing could be further from the truth but I just don't see where the committee did anything but ask the Ivy League football coaches to continue the practices they have be utilizing in year's past.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Yale on YES will be returning

The YES network will be televising some Yale football games as part of its Yale on YES promotion for the fourth straight year.

YES is not ready to go public with the games it will be televising although the Yale schedule indicates that the Nov. 12 game at Princeton will be carried by YES. In the last three years, three consecutive Yale games were televised as part of the Yale on YES deal. If they stay true to that formula, YES could show the games against Columbia, Brown and Princeton.

Look for an official announcement in a couple of weeks.

VERSUS is already contracted to televise Yale's games against Cornell, Penn and Harvard.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Lawrie signs with UFL's Sacramento Mountain Lions

Former Yale tight end Nate Lawrie was re-signed by the Sacramento Mountain Lions of the United Football League.

Lawrie was as a sixth-round pick of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the 2004 NFL draft and was the last Yale player taken in the NFL before before fullback/h-back Shane Bannon was taken in the seventh round of April's draft.

He played in 26 NFL games with stints with the Buccaneers, New Orleans Saints and Cincinnati Bengals from 2004-08.

He returns for his third season in the UFL, catching 13 passes in both the 2009 and 2010 seasons.

Lawrie will return to Connecticut when the Mountain Lions face the Hartford Colonials on Aug. 27 at Rentschler Field.


Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Addition of Hicks completes recruiting class

Yale's incoming freshman class is now complete with the addition of Canton, Michigan's Victor Hicks.

Hicks was one of two prospects who had either standardized tests or transcripts looked at by the Yale admissions department. While the other player will stick with the school he had previously committed to (and no number of e-mails or blog posts will lead me to reveal his name as I will keep my promise to only mention the player if he is headed to Yale), Hicks got the OK from Yale a couple of days ago.

The 5-foot-9, 175-pound Hicks is a dynamic athlete who played quarterback, running back, receiver, defensive back and had a 46-yard punt return for a touchdown in the Michigan Division I championship game. He projects to play offense at Yale and could be utilized a bit like Deon Randall was last season, playing some receiver, running back and working in as a quarterback in the Wildcat formation.

Counting Hicks and running back Wynston Bouknight, who was recently added to the official list of Yale recruits, there will be 31 freshmen in the class. Bouknight ran 69 times for 539 yards and six touchdowns as a senior at the Landon School in Bethesda, Md.

Word I am hearing is that the recently-completed Yale camp was a major success. There were three portions of the camp, 40 players took part in the kicking/punting portion of the event, about 400 invited prospects for the individualized segment of the camp and about 25-30 players impressed the Yale staff enough to either receive recruiting offers or at least be placed extremely high on the Bulldogs' wish list. Finally, Amity, Ansonia, Fairfield Ludlowe, Fairfield Prep, Hand and West Haven took part in the team camp.

Speaking of recruiting, the academic index which Yale abides by in slotting players into three recruiting bands, has been adjusted and dropped by a couple of points. What that means is that a handful of prospects who couldn't have gotten the OK from the Yale admissions department in the past could make the cut in the upcoming class.

Saturday, July 02, 2011

Some ink for Brook Hart

Former Yale quarterback Brook Hart is off to a strong start in his professional baseball career with an 1.50 ERA, three strikeouts and two walks in six innings of work in two games. The Casper (Wyoming) Star-Tribune caught up with and did a story which ran in Saturday's paper.

Former Staples High stars Chris Coyne and Pat Murray, part of Yale's incoming freshman class, were expected to play in the Hall of Fame Classic which is being played on Friday at West Haven High.

However, when the revised rosters were sent out yesterday, I could not find either Coyne or Murray on the Fairfield County roster. I reached out to one of the game's organizers who said they had decided not to play.