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.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Are freshmen allowed to spend the summer in New Haven working out with their teammates to-be?

7:21 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What is the significance of the presence at practice of the two Ansonia coaches and former Ansonia All-Stater?

12:32 AM 
Blogger Jim Fuller said...

Freshmen aren't allowed into dorm rooms until mid to late August.

11:16 AM 
Blogger Jim Fuller said...

Don't know what the "significance" of Tom Brockett and Steve Coughlin being at practice.

Yale's starting tailback Alex Thomas played for Brockett at Ansonia while Steve Coughlin's brother is on the Yale staff.

It's not that unusual for high school football coaches to show up at Yale practices and can't hurt Yale to build a relationship with them.

11:19 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm a little put off by Yale football players who accept a position as a "slotted" player but don't fulfill their implied commitment to play for the team. In many cases there are good reasons (e.g. injury). Others seem to leverage their high school records to get into one of the best schools in the country. That said there may be a reasonable and unspoken reasons as to why these players quit.

6:14 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To anonymous above: they aren't slaves. They were accepted by Yale, supposedly using something resembling the same criteria other students get. Are you equally upset by flute players who decide not to play in the orchestra? Yale didn't condition their acceptance on playing, because they can't. All you can do is try and select people who like playing football. And someone who doesn't take a slot in year X essentially opens up a slot in year X+1.

10:20 AM 

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