Wednesday, August 31, 2011

And yet another reported Yale commitment

Maybe I'm imagining things but it seems as if either Yale is getting more early commitments this year or there is more reporting being done of these commitments. Regardless, here is another one.

Offensive lineman Luke Longinotti out of Serra High in San Mateo, Calif. has committed to Yale according to this report in the San Jose Mercury News.

This is the fifth player I have seen published reports on stating intentions to play at Yale in the fall. I am sure more are coming. Of course, each commit has to submit an application to be accepted at Yale and get the approval of the Yale admissions department but it's pretty rare for a player to be promised a spot in Yale's recruiting class and then fail to get the OK from the school.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Three former Yale players survive Tuesday's cuts

Former Yale tight end Nate Lawrie, fullback Shane Bannon and defensive end Tom McCarthy survived the latest round of NFL cuts as teams had to get their rosters down to 80.

Lawrie was not among the latest round of cuts announced by the San Francisco 49ers as San Francisco waived wide receivers Tyler Beiler and Kevin Jurovich, running back Seth Smith, offensive linemen Donovan Edwards and Nick Powell, linebacker Scott McKillop and punter Sam Paulescu.

Kansas City let seven players recently and then waived kicker Todd Carter and placed offensive tackle Ryan O'Callaghan on injured reserve meaning that Bannon, a seventh-round pick of the Chiefs, is still in contention for a roster spot.

The Atlanta Falcons signed center Brett Romberg, received an injury settlement with receiver Tim Buckley and cut receiver Doug Beaumont, defensive back Kirk Belgrave, running back Philip Sylvester and linebackers LaMarcus Thompson and LB Youri Yenga meaning that McCarthy is among the 80 players on Atlanta's roster.

Each NFL team has to be down to 53 players by Saturday. The good news is that even if Bannon and McCarthy are cut, they have a chance to be named to their respective team's eight-member practice squad. Had they been cut today, they would not have realistic practice squad candidates. I'll have to brush up on my practice-squad rules to see if Lawrie still has eligibility to be named to San Francisco's practice squad.

Thanks to an alert blog reader for pointing out that defensive lineman Tevin Hood is on the roster of the University of San Diego football squad.

Hood played in four games as a non-scholarship player at Duke last season and planned on enrolling at Yale. Hood actually was at Yale for a couple of days this summer before telling coaches that he had a change of heart. Playing at San Diego will allow Hood to play immediately since he would have needed to sit out a season if he went to a Bowl Championship Series program and he will be closer to his family in Arizona.

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Wozniacki partnership a win-win deal for Yale

Yale football players look on as Caroline Wozniacki greets her boyfriend Rory McIlroy after her semifinal match at the New Haven Open Friday night.
(Photo by the New Haven Register's Melanie Stengel)

When loading up the Yahoo page yesterday afternoon, the first photo to appear on my computer screen was of a group of beaming Yale football players watching Caroline Wozniacki, the world's top-ranked women's tennis player, kissing reigning U.S. Open golf champion Rory McIlroy.

Talk about your free publicity. Following Monday's practice, I asked Yale football coach Tom Williams about the benefits from similar photos appearing on website and newspapers from not only coast to coast but on various points around the world.

"Any time you get any type of exposure from a recruiting standpoint it helps you," Williams said. "We can be on ESPN (ESPN2 televised Wozniacki's New Haven Open semifinal match in which the Yale squad was in the stands cheering her on), you have the U.S. Open champion and you have the No. 1 tennis player in the world wearing your colors, wearing our jersey. It helps your team because it is a great bonding event to be able take an evening off, go to a world-class tennis match and rub elbows with two superior athletes."

The relationship began back in 2009 when Williams and Wozniacki took part in a WTA publicity stunt at the Yale Bowl. Williams asked Wozniacki, then ranked eighth, to come over and speak to his team about life as an elite professional athlete. Wozniacki also spoke with the team in 2010 and the Bulldogs reciprocated by attending one of her matches. After the match, the team surrounded Wozniacki on the court with television cameras rolling and countless newspapers snapping photos as well.

Wozniacki was originally scheduled to play in the New Haven Open final at 5 p.m. on Saturday and was planning to come over for Yale's intrasquad scrimmage. But those plans fell through when the women's singles final was moved to 1 p.m. because of the rain heading into the area.

Williams said that there's a chance that Wozniacki could return to Yale after the U.S. Open to speak to Yale students.

"We are kind of mascots and she supports us," Williams said. "She follows us on our twitter page. It is just great from a team building standpoint and we definitely can use it to our advantage."

There had been rumblings about Wozniacki's relationship with McIlroy. Obviously, the fact that he was in New Haven all week and sitting next to Wozniacki's father in Caroline's players' box made it clear that there was something to those rumors. When Wozniacki and McIlroy exchanged a kiss on Stadium Court after Wozniacki's win over Francesca Schiavone, there could be no questioning the nature of the relationship.

Williams joked with Wozniacki that there are a lot of broken hearts on his football team although there are obviously no hard feelings as Yale gave McIlroy a Yale No. 96 jersey to wear after the match.

"Now Rory is one of us," Williams said. "He put on a Yale football jersey so we said he is a bullpup right now. I told her when I talked to her on the court that there are a bunch of broken hearts out there. She laughed but she said 'Coach, I like him A LOT.' I said 'OK, as long as you both continue to support Yale football.' She said 'absolutely."


Monday, August 29, 2011

More on Yale recruiting

Bronxville, N.Y. brothers Christian and Jackson Conway have committed to Yale.

Last year Christian Conway rushed 147 times for 1,617 yards and 23 touchdowns. He also had 55 tackles and 3 sacks. Jackson Conway had 557 yards on 56 attempts. He also had 75 tackles and nine sacks.

Whitelaw running the show; Stars from scrimmage

There's plenty of stuff to report off Monday's practice (the last afternoon practice for quite some time).

First, I went over to get a sense of how the hurricane/tropical storm impacted Yale's practice schedule. Here is the story I filed for the paper.

In the time I was at practice, I noticed that John Whitelaw saw most of snaps at quarterback and starter Patrick Witt wasn't in there at all. Turns out the Witt strained a groin and with the field a little slick thanks to the large rainfall in the area over the week, the Yale coaching staff decided to play it safe.

"It wasn't anything bad but the grass was slick," Yale coach Tom Williams said. "He planted and his foot slid. It was mostly as a precaution. Johnny (was able to get) as many reps as he could stand. Pat got some reps but we didn't give him a lot. We didn't give him any pass reps. We gave him some handoffs so we didn't have to stretch his groin. We've give him tomorrow off and we are hoping Wednesday morning and be back to as close as 100 percent as he can be."

Whitelaw looked extremely sharp running the first-team offense. He is ahead of Witt in two noticeable areas - the screen game and the ability to make plays with his feet.

"It is not only beneficial to John to prove that he can do it but it is beneficial for the rest of the offense, the rest of the team to see John to be out there and be able to operation because now we know we are definitely two-deep at quarterback with John Whitelaw," Williams said. "The more reps he gets, the more comfortable he is going to get. We went through our two deep after the scrimmage on Saturday as a staff and we feel like we are two deep at every position and 2 1/2 deep at some and that has never been there before. It is exciting for us. He has a great feel for the screen and the other thing that he gives you that Pat can do but hasn't shown it is that John can scramble and get you 10-12 yards. About four or five times a game he can get you a first down which puts pressure on the defense. He is very similar to (former Cheshire and current Penn quarterback) Billy Ragone in that regard that if it breaks down, he can run and if you turn your back on him, he can go a long ways."

Williams referred to the scrimmage. Yale had originally planned to have an intrasquad scrimmage on Sunday but had a change of plans because of the unstable weather. So the team scrimmaged on Saturday.

Here are his thoughts on which players stood out.

"The guys were expected to be players for us did what they expected us to do. Some guys who showed up where (defensive lineman) Charles Holmes who has been out for a couple of years in injury, I thought he had a really good scrimmage. (Freshman running back) Kahlil Keys was a guy that we wanted to see how he would do against varsity defense. Practice is one thing but games are different. He showed up. (freshman linebacker) Will Vaughan, looks like he is a guy who can help us. (Defensive back) Charles Cook, another freshman who showed up. Offensive line wise, Ben Carbery and William Chism, those guys look like they will be able to help us this year. In the secondary, probably the emerging starter for us at corner is Dawson Halliday. It is a great competition with Collin Bibb. I think Dawson has proven in camp that he has been more consistent and Collin has been nicked up injury wise. That has given him the edge. Nick Okano is being pushed by John Powers. I think that thing is going to go down to the wire. By the time we play Dean (in a scrimmage on Sept. 10), I think we will have a better idea. (Linebacker) Wes Moyer has had a good camp. He is a guy who has been a backup linebacker for us but is pushing to be a starter."

I followed up with Williams on Carbery and Chism to see if they are pushing for starting roles.

"Those freshmen offensive linemen were a pleasant surprise," Williams said. "I just wasn't sure if they were going to be up with the tempo. Athletically they can do it. Without a doubt. They are pushing guys who are up front right now. (They are) potential starters. I would say that they are both where Wes Gavin was a year ago which is 'we think he is good enough but we have to put him out there in the game and see.'"

Carbery is a tackle while Chism is making a push at center and guard.

Yale is taking Tuesday off because it is hectic day for students at Yale getting ready for the start of the fall semester. Yale will shift to morning practices beginning on Wednesday with the Bulldogs going 7:30-9:30 a.m. from now on with the exception of the scrimmage against Dean Junior College on Sept. 10.

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Saturday, August 27, 2011

Another reported Yale commitment

Rory McIlroy, wearing a Yale football jersey, greets his girlfriend Caroline Wozniacki after her semifinal match at the New Haven open as the Yale football team looks on. (Photo taken by Melanie Stengel of the New Haven Register).

Here is a link to a story stating that lineman Carl Kreitzberg has committed to Yale.

As I did when I mentioned the report of New Jersey receiver Matt Rubino committing to Yale, I will offer a disclaimed that there are steps that have to be taken before Kreitzberg is officially part of Yale's next incoming freshman class. Kreitzberg talks about that subject in this video

For the second straight year, the entire Yale football team was in attendance for a Caroline Wozniacki match at the New Haven Open.

With a previously-scheduled team bowling night scheduled on Tuesday night when the world's top-ranked women's tennis player had her first match and her quarterfinal match being held as Yale was in the middle of its practice on Thursday, the Bulldogs waited until Friday to make it over the the Connecticut Tennis Center.

Last year the ESPN cameras made a big deal of the Yale squad being in the stands but in the broadcast this year, the attention was focused on Wozniacki's boyfriend and U.S. Open golf champion Rory McIlroy. McIlroy was a good sport, coming onto the court wearing a 96 Yale jersey. Not sure if there was any significance to McIlroy wearing the number of senior defensive end Austin Pulsipher, who happens to be the only married player on the Yale squad. A couple of years ago Wozniacki requested the Yale No. 8 jersey because that was her ranking at the time that she was involved in a publicity stunt playing Flavia Pennetta at the Yale Bowl. If she maintains that transition, she may ask for No. 1 which is currently being shared by senior cornerback Drew Baldwin and freshman receiver Ty Hutchison.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Earthquake, what earthquake?

While the New Haven Open tennis tournament was brought to a halt by an earthquake shortly before 2 p.m., the Yale football team was across the street at the same time about the start its practice and felt nothing.

"I didn't feel it," said Yale senior cornerback Drew Baldwin. "It's pretty crazy, I didn't know we had an earthquake."

It wasn't until visitors at Yale's afternoon practice broke the news that the players and coaches realized that the area was impacted by the earthquake.

"(Former Yale star) Bob Blanchard came to practice and he said did you guys feel the earthquake," Yale coach Tom Williams said. "I said 'what earthquake?' It has been on the news that the epicenter is in Richmond, Virginia and they felt the vibrations as far as Connecticut.

"We heard the sirens going off (at the tennis tournament). We are oblivous out here, business as usual. We heard the sirens but nothing. We had the music going. Soon after that somebody else from the administration called and said to make sure we have our kids call home because the parents were calling to see if everything was OK."

As for practice, Yale was in full pads and had a strong showing. In the time I was over there, the most noteworthy play was a big hit by junior linebacker Will McHale on freshman running back Kahlil Keys.

Speaking of the freshmen, I asked Williams which of the first-year players have caught his eye. Keys, linebacker Will Vaughan, cornerbacks L.J. Hunt and Nick LaTesta, receiver Tyler Hutchison and offensive linemen Ben Carbery and William Chism were the freshmen opening eyes in the first week of practice.

There was a scout from the New York Jets at practice who spoke with senior quarterback Patrick Witt. A representative from the Giants is scheduled to be at practice on Wednesday with a New England Patriots scout also expected to make it to a Yale practice soon. While Witt is drawing plenty of attention, he is not the only Yale senior on the radar of NFL teams. Defensive linemen Pat Moran, Jake Stoller and Reed Spiller along with linebacker Jordan Haynes and safety Geoff Dunham are other players the NFL people are inquiring about.

Yale headed out to the Milford Lanes tonight for a team bowling event. If Caroline Wozniacki gets to the semifinals of the New Haven Open, the Yale team is planning to be in attendance at her match continuing the three-year mutual admiration society between Wozniacki and the Bulldogs.

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Friday, August 19, 2011

Yale loses two offensive linemen

When Yale held its first practice of the summer/fall today, among those not taking part where offensive linemen Jeff Fell and Justin Hymes as well as defensive end Austin Pulsipher.

Pulsipher, expected to compete for a starting position at defensive end, had a pretty solid excuse as he was recently married and he is en route to New Haven after his honeymoon. Pulsipher is expected to be at practice on Saturday. The same is not the case for Fell and Hymes, who quit the team.

Fell is a veteran who got starts at both tackle and center as well as seeing time as a long snapper. He was expected to compete with John Oppenhemier for the starting center position.

"They decided to not be with us," Yale coach Tom Williams said. "They will finish (school), we will wish them well and shake their hands when we see them but have decided they don't want (to continue to play)."

Obviously it leaves an opening on the two-deep chart at center. Williams said that Jeff Marrs and starting guard Gabe Fernandez have experience playing center so they can provide depth at that position.

Some of the freshmen, including running back Kahlil Keys and tight end Ryan Stanney, had NCAA clearinghouse issues and could not practice. Williams said the approval to let Keys practice came towards the end of practice. It doesn't look like any of the issues will be long-term ones.

As always, my eyes on the first day of practice are drawn to the positions where a starter graduated. Today was no different.

Colin Bibb was working with the first time at cornerback, Brian Leffler at linebacker, Nick Okano at strong safety and Cliff Foreman at defensive end. On the offensive side of the ball, Oppenheimer is the first-team center and Roy Collins was in there at right tackle while fullback Elijah Thomas and tight end Kyle Wittenauer where not only in there with the first team but looked extremely comfortable out there especially in the passing drills.

There was a rep from the Carolina Panthers there to check out senior quarterback Patrick Witt and the Giants and Jets are expected to have scouts at Yale's practices in the coming days for the same reason. Defensive tackle Pat Moran (who has bulked up to 290 pounds) caught the eyes of the Carolina scout. Also at practice was Ansonia head football coach Tom Brockett as well as assistant coach and former Ansonia All-Stater Steve Coughlin.

Williams was thrilled with the tempo of the opening practice and with so many returning players, Williams and his staff were able to spend more time running drills.

Yale is planning to hold two scrimmages. The first one will be on Sep. 10 at 1 p.m. against Dean College at the Yale Bowl. The following day, all the players who didn't get into the varsity scrimmage, will take part in a JV scrimmage against visiting Hamilton College.

Yale has a roster with updated heights and weights on its website. The only thing missing is uniform numbers for the freshmen.

New date, opponent for scrimmage

Yale will host Dean College in a scrimmage on September 10 at 1 p.m. at the Yale Bowl.

Yale had originally planned on facing Union College in a scrimmage on September 3 but Union had a conflict and had to cancel.

Dean College is a top junior college program from Franklin, Mass. coming off a 9-1 season.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Yale opens practice on Friday

Yale will hold its first practice on Friday from 2-4 p.m. at Clint Frank Field. The Bulldogs will have afternoon practices until classes start on Aug. 31 when practices shift to the morning.

Naturally, the focus of my coverage figures to center on the positions where Yale has hit hard by graduation.

On offense, the Bulldogs lost veterans at fullback/h-back and tight end with a strong group of sophomores expected to push for starting positions. Replacements at center (with the graduation of Jake Koury) and right tackle (since starter Wes Gavin moved to left tackle).

Defensively, Matt Battaglia will hold down one defensive end spot but finding the starter at the other DE will be a priority as will replacing linebacker Jesse Reising, cornerback Chris Stanley and strong safety Adam Money.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Yale receiving votes in FCS preseason poll

Yale received 15 points in the Sports Network/ Football Championship Subdivision Preseason Top 25 Poll.

Yale was one of four Ivy League teams to receive votes. Penn, with 456, just missed cracking the top 25 while Harvard finished with 54 points and Brown had eight.

Eastern Washington topped the poll with 3,377 points and 90-first place votes followed by Appalachian State, William & Mary, Georgia Southern and Delaware.

Lehigh, which will host Yale on Oct. 1, is ranked 13th.

Yale players will report for the start of practice on Thursday and the first practice will be on Friday from approximately from 2-4 p.m. at Clint Frank Field.

The team will practice in the afternoon until classes start on Aug. 31 when practices shift to 7:30 a.m.-9:30 a.m.

Updating a previous entry, there is a conflict with Union College so Yale is in the process of securing another opponent for its preseason scrimmage. The plan is to have a varisty scrimmage on Sep. 3 and a JV scrimmage against Hamilton College on Sep. 11.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Lawrie signed by 49ers

While a door closes for one former Yale tight end, one opens for another.

Three days after Chris Blohm was cut by the San Francisco 49ers, Nate Lawrie was picked up by the team.

Lawrie, originally drafted in the sixth round of the 2004 NFL draft by Tampa Bay, appeared in 25 NFL games with the Buccaneers, New Orleans Saints and Cincinnati Bengals. He has four NFL catches, two coming in the 2008 season with the Bengals.

Lawrie has played in the UFL with the Sacramento Mountain Lions and took part in some drills at Yale's pro day with the hopes of getting another shot at the NFL.

Blohm was signed by the 49ers as an undrafted rookie free agent on Aug. 8 but was cut three days later.

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Saturday, August 13, 2011

Bannon, McCarthy make NFL debuts

Shane Bannon had two carries, including the first one of the game, for two yards and was the starting fullback in the Kansas City Chiefs' 25-0 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Friday.

Bannon was not the only member of last year's Yale team to make his NFL debut on Friday as defensive end Tom McCarthy had one solo tackle in the Atlanta Falcons' 28-23 loss to the Miami Dolphins.

A third member of the 2010 Bulldogs wasn't as fortunate as tight end Chris Blohm was cut by the San Francisco 49ers on Thursday, three days after he was signed as an undrafted free agent. At the time that he was signed by San Francisco, his agents told me in an e-mail that he was planning to work out for the St. Louis Rams so it will be interesting to see if the Rams show any interest in Blohm.

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Thursday, August 11, 2011

TV time for three former Bulldogs

The NFL debuts for Shane Bannon, Chris Blohm and Tom McCarthy can be seen on the NFL Network on a tape-delayed basis between Saturday and Monday.

McCarthy is up first as the rookie defensive end will suit up for the Atlanta Falcons against the Miami Dolphins. The game, which will kick off at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, will air on Saturday at 1 p.m.

Blohm is a tight end recently signed by the San Francisco 49ers and the 49ers play New Orleans in the preseason opener. The game, set for Friday at 8 p.m., will be shown on NFL Network on Saturday at 10:30 p.m.

Bannon, a fullback drafted by the Kansas City Chiefs in the seventh round in April's NFL draft, will play in his first NFL game when the Chiefs face the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Friday at 8 p.m. but it won't be shown on the NFL Network until 4 a.m. on Monday.

For those who want to look for the three former Yale teammates, Bannon wears No. 40, Blohm No. 47 and McCarthy No. 70.

Yale will be scrimmaging Division III Union once again. The scrimmage will be played on September 3. There will be a twist this year. Rather than trying to get all the players into the scrimmage, Yale has scheduled a junior varsity scrimmage against Hamilton College for September 11 so that all 113 players have a chance to play in a scrimmage setting.

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Tuesday, August 09, 2011

New Haven college football coaches remember Dave Solomon

The third annual "Chalk Talk" event at the Wicked Wolf Tavern in downtown New Haven began with a moment of silence for late, great Register sports columnist Dave Solomon.

Shortly after the panel discussion ended, I had football coaches Rich Cavanaugh from Southern Connecticut State, Pete Rossomando from New Haven and Tom Williams of Yale to reflect on the news of Solomon's death in a car accident on Saturday night as well as the legacy he created in his 35 years at the paper.

"I was floored," Cavanaugh said. "I just couldn't believe that it happened. I started coaching around the same time he started working for the newspaper. We both kind of grew together. He was just a great guy and he did a super job.

"He wrote good articles. He wrote what you said. He didn't twist it or turn it. You knew if you were sitting down with Dave, you were sitting down with a professional who was there to get a great story and do a great job."

Rossomando got to know Dave both during his time as an assistant coach with the Chargers and especially after he was given the responsibility of reviving the once dormant UNH program.

"Dave turned out to be a good friend and an advocate for us. The great thing about Dave is he always told the truth. We didn't like it sometimes but we respected him because what he wrote was the truth and he always said it so eloquently. We are going to miss him at the University of New Haven and me personally very, very much.

"He was a passionate guy. When he followed something, he put his heart into it, his soul. It is really sad. He passed coming back from a football practice and we didn't have an opportunity to say goodbye to him."

Williams was the last of the trio to cross paths with Dave. It was at the press conference announcing Williams as Yale's new football coach in January of 2009. But he was the last of the three to speak with Dave.

"I just spoke to him two weeks ago just before I went on my vacation," Williams said. "We laughed and shared a joke about Caroline Wozniacki and her new boyfriend Rory McIlroy. He said 'Tom, have a great summer and I look forward to seeing you in the fall.' That was the last time I talked to him. It just serves as a reminder of how fragile life is."

Even a couple of days after hearing of Dave's death at the age of 59, Williams admits he is having a hard time believing he is really gone.

"I got a text from (Yale sports information director) Steve Conn and he said 'I want to make sure you knew about Dave Solomon.' I was in shock. I just read that text message over and over again before it registered. Then I went online to try to find out whatever I could.

"Dave's legendary in the community. Now, I probably know more about him than I did before he died about what he did. He was involved in charities but to lose somebody of that weight, that caliber is devastating and New Haven will miss him."

Cavanaugh had the line of the night in reflecting on Solomon.

"I always used to kid him that when he would show up 'wow, this must be something important because you are here,'" Cavanaugh said. "Whether he was coming in for an interview or for a game, I would say 'wow, this is a big one because you are here with us.'"

Dave's funeral is Wednesday morning at 10:30 a.m. at B.C Bailey Funeral Home in Wallingford. Here are details on the service

Yale picked to finished third in Ivy preseason poll

Two-time defending champion Penn was picked to win the Ivy League title in a balloting of the media representives.

The Quakers, who received 12 of the 17 first-place votes, have won 15 straight Ivy games since a 24-21 loss to Harvard on Nov. 15, 2008.

Harvard, which finished in a three-way tie for second in the 2010 Ivy League standings with Brown and Yale, was picked to finish second and had two first-place votes followed by Yale, Brown and Dartmouth.

Yale returns 40 of its 58 letterwinners including leading tackler and first-team All-Ivy selection Jordan Haynes, quarterback Patrick Witt,who led the Ivy League in passing yards as well as Yale’s leading rusher (Alex Thomas), leader in receptions (Chris Smith) and receiving yards (Gio Christodoulou).

Yale received one first-place vote while Brown picked up the other top No. 1 votes.

Monday, August 08, 2011

Yale game is on Army's 2014 schedule

Talk of Yale and Army meeting in a 2014 game in the Yale Bowl has been going on for a few years. Now it is more than just talk as Army included a Sept. 27, 2014 game at Yale on the future schedules it released today.

Five of the 10 largest crowds for a Yale game at the Bowl featured Army from 1923-30, but the teams have not played since Army won 39-13 at Yale on Oct. 5, 1996.
Yale and Army had orally agreed to play in New Haven in 2014 as a way to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Yale Bowl.

Army was interested in coming to New Haven as a signature game during the historic 2014 season, but there was concern whether the game would count towards making the Cadets bowl eligible since Yale plays at the Football Championship Subdivision level.
Yale director of athletics Tom Beckett said no waiver has been signed, but Army is planning to honor the contract regardless of whether or not the game counts towards being bowl eligible.

Beckett said the NCAA doesn’t normally review waiver requests until 1½ years before the game is played, which means that would not happen until the winter of 2013.

“We’re hoping we are viewed as a countable opponent and will go through the waiver process,” Beckett said. “They have agreed to come and we are honored they are coming to New Haven.”

Funeral services for Dave Solomon

The funeral for Register sports columnist Dave Solomon, who died in a one-car crash on Saturday, will be held on Wednesday at 10:30 a.m. at B.C. Bailey Funeral Home (294 South Elm Street, Wallingford).

In lieu of flowers, his family has requested that donations be made either to the Fresh Air Fund through the Register by sending checks to the New Haven Register, 40 Sargent Drive, New Haven, CT, 06511 care of Jack Kramer or to the Beth Israel Synagogue (22 N. Orchard St., Wallingford, CT, 06492). More information is available through Dave's obituary.

Sunday, August 07, 2011

Chris Blohm signed by 49ers

Former Yale tight end Chris Blohm was signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the San Francisco 49ers according to his agent Bryan Perez.

Blohm, who caught 26 passes for 255 yards as a senior, had planned to work out for the St. Louis Rams today before the 49ers offered the San Francisco native a contract.

He is the third member of the 2010 Yale football team to make it into a training camp as fullback/h-back Shane Bannon was a seventh-round pick of the Kansas City Chiefs while defensive end and 2010 captain Tom McCarthy was signed as an undrafted rookie by Atlanta.

When Tom Williams, a former NFL assistant coach took over, Blohm was one of the first players he mentioned as having potential to play in the NFL even though he had one career varsity catch at the time.

Blohm opened some eyes with an impressive showing at Yale's pro day including 30 reps of the 225-pound bench press.


Cochran commits to UConn

Masuk rising senior quarterback Casey Cochran, who was one of the stars at the recent Yale football camp and met with the Yale coaching staff, committed to UConn.

Here is the story written by my colleague Mike Pucci about Casey's decision

RIP to a great journalist and a better man

The phone call lasted barely over a minute but the sense of sorrow figures to linger for a lifetime.

My boss called me yesterday evening while I was working on a story at the women's national softball tournament being played in Stratford and said he needed to talk to me so when I got home around 10:15, I called him back. He had a hard time getting the words out when he finally said "there's been a car accident involving Dave Solomon and he did not survive." All I could say was "oh, my God."

Stories, blog posts and comments on facebook and twitter will say that Dave was a great columnist and wonderful man and every single word written will be true. He was also a good friend.

I first met Dave when I was a college kid back in 1986, earning some money answering phone calls at the Register. It was quite the eye-opening experience. The Register's sports staff featured a lineup of icons. Now Dave joins George Wadley, Bob Casey and Tom McCormack as icons taken from us and leaving a hole in the New Haven sports scene never to be filled. Over the last 25 years, I have been proud to call Dave a colleague but most of all a friend.

My relationship with Dave has changed over the years. It wasn't until I started covering UConn back in 1999 that I really got to know Dave. We've traveled together, shared hotel rooms, had dinner together and spent countless hours in media rooms. It was during those road trips that I saw a different side of Dave, I saw the family man who beamed with pride over the accomplishments of his daughters, who was blessed with a loving and supporting wife. It was fitting that the background photo on the laptop computer Dave used to craft his brilliant stories was not over a member of his beloved New York Mets or of one of the many sporting legends he has crossed paths with, but of his daughters.

If I had to come up with the best journalists I've ever known, Dave Solomon and Bob Casey would be the first two names to pop into my head. As good as a columnist Dave was and man, was he something special, he was an absolute bulldog when it came time to get the facts right on a big story. Whether it was deciphering fact from fiction when the New Haven pro tennis tournament lost the men's tournament (twice) or went to a combined event, the hiring of Tom Williams as Yale's new football coach or more recently, the situation with UConn athletic director Jeff Hathaway, Solomon's work was something to behold. When Dave wrote something, it was gospel. He was not one of these people who just threw stuff up against the wall and hoped it was right. He did not have to. He was so well connected and well respected that when he wrote something, you could take it to the bank.

A columnist can be a beat writer's best friend or worst enemy. Fortunately for me, he was always the former. He would always come up with an interesting take on things when he came up to a UConn women's game, Yale football game or day after day of covering the tennis tournament. That was one of his many rare gifts. He could write the big-picture columns without relying on tired, old cliches and he was a guy you just had to read when he offered his take on a subject.

When I am sitting in the media room at the Connecticut Tennis Center later this month covering the New Haven Open, am at Gampel or the XL Center for a must-see UConn game or at the Yale-Harvard football game, I will be waiting for Dave to make his appearance complete with a witty barb launched my way. Unfortunately, all I'll have are the memories of the playful banter we had in and out of the office, the string of elegantly written stories he crafted in his 35 years at the Register and the way he went about his business as one of the true greats in the world of Connecticut sports.

RIP Dave, you will be missed.

Friday, August 05, 2011

McCarthy playing right DE for Falcons

According to an entry on the Atlanta Journal Constitution blog, former Yale defensive end and captain Tom McCarthy is playing right defensive end. The blog included an unofficial depth chart and lists McCarthy as the fourth-string guy behind All-Pro John Abraham, Chauncey Davis and Lawrence Sidbury heading into tonight's scrimmage at Norcross High School.

It should be noted that when McCarthy was signed, some sites listed him as a long snapper but he is not listed on the depth chart at that position.

Another item of note is that another undrafted rookie free agent with Connecticut ties is on the move as former Masuk High star Paul Fenaroli has gone from center to left guard according to the depth chart.


Thursday, August 04, 2011

Yale recruiting target offered by UConn

Masuk rising senior quarterback Casey Cochran has been offered a scholarship by UConn.

Cochran is very much on Yale's recruiting radar. He was a standout at the recent Yale football camp and both Casey and his father Jack, a highly-successful high school football coach at Bloomfield, New Britain and New London, have met with the Yale coaching staff.

With Patrick Witt graduating, obviously recruiting a quarterback or quarterbacks will be a major priority especially since the only QB Yale is bringing in this year (Ty Hutchison) is projected to play receiver. I believe sophomore to be John Whitelaw has a chance to be an outstanding college quarterback and during spring drills he was pushed by fellow rising sophomore Henry Furman for the No. 2 QB spot so the cupboard won't be bare when Witt graduates.

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

A new fullback for Kansas City

Before this afternoon, former Yale fullback/h-back Shane Bannon's only competition at fullback for the Kansas City Chiefs was Mike Cox, who had four receptions and no rushing attempts in seven games last season. However, that changed when Kansas City signed former Baltimore Ravens fullback La'Ron McClain.

McClain rushed for 902 yards during the 2008 season but was not a featured part of the Baltimore rushing offense in the last two years, carrying the ball 74 times in his last 31 games. He did have 21 receptions in each of the last two seasons and becomes the frontrunner to start at fullback.

It will be interesting to see how this impacts Bannon's role or place on the team. Kansas City is well under the 90-player maximum so no cuts will need to be made.

This is the second time a member of the 2010 Yale team saw a potential starter added at the position they play as Ray Edwards was signed as a free agent by the Atlanta Falcons. One of the defensive ends trying to make the Falcons is undrafted rookie free agent Tom McCarthy.

Yale football coach Tom Williams will be on the panel along with Southern Connecticut's Rich Cavanaugh and Peter Rossomando at the third annual "Chalk Talk" at the Wicked Wolf Tavern (144 Temple Street) on Tuesday from 5:30-7:30 p.m. It will be a day of Williams answering questions about the 2011 Yale squad since the annual Ivy League football coaches teleconference will be held earlier in the day.

Tickets are $10 for Greater New Haven Chamber of Commerce members and $20 for non-members. If you are interested in purchasing tickets, click on this link.

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Monday, August 01, 2011

Balsam not returning

Receiver Peter Balsam, the second-leading receiver on the 2009 Yale squad, was expected to suit up for his senior season after taking a year off. However, Balsam is not on the updated roster. I was able to confirm that Balsam is planning to enroll at Yale but will not be playing football.

Balsam had 45 catches for 520 yards and three touchdowns in 18 career varsity games.

Let's be honest, receiver might be Yale's deepest position in 2011 with the return of Chris Smith, who had a team-best 46 catches in 2010 and Gio Christodoulou, who led the Bulldogs with 563 receiving yards last season. Add in Allen Harris, one of the most impressive players during spring drills, highly-touted rising sophomore Deon Randall as well as talented youngsters Cameron Sandquist and Brandis Yarrington and Yale quarterback Patrick Witt won't lack of talented receivers to throw to. However, other than the 6-1 Harris the Yale receiving corps is on the smallish side. A player like the 6-foot-3, 210-pound Balsam could have added a different dimension to the Yale squad.

There are no other players missing from the roster although there is a new incoming freshman. Andrew Sutphin is a linebacker/defensive end from Indianapolis who played last season at Deerfield Academy. That brings the incoming freshman class to 32.