Sunday, August 31, 2014

POLL: How will Yale fare in 2014?

Varga healthy, ready to be the workhorse for Yale

NEW HAVEN >> Tyler Varga sprinted through a hole and weaved through defenders for a long gain before being tackled.
He popped right back up...
Read the rest of the story.

Friday, August 29, 2014

News and notes from Thursday

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Some notes and highlights from Thursday’s practice…

Collectively, the team really does look bigger, stronger and just better. Is this the year they turn the corner? We’ll see.

“This is the best camp here since I’ve been part of team,” said RB Tyler Varga, now a senior. “Faster than ever. More mature. Guys are really starting to come together. With everyone having one more year of experience, we’re just going to be more dangerous.”

Coming back from a foot injury, Varga seemed fine on Thursday. Look for a feature on him soon.

Moving over from right guard, Luke Longinotti seems to have a firm hold on the center position.

“Right now,” Reno said, “He’s solidified that position.”

Captain Deon Randall pointed out WR Myles Gaines, DB Foye Oluokun and LB Darius Manora are some of the players that have really improved coming into camp. He also said WR Mike Siragusa (6-3, 205) has come in as a freshman and has really been a presence on the outside.

RB Khalil Keys is another name that comes up among his teammates.

“He looks more confident and fluid,” Varga said.

And pretty much anyone at Yale camp has been impressed with the progression of Morgan Roberts, who, along with many of his teammates, are sporting a new-look mustache for camp. Randall says Roberts has a better understanding of the offense and looks comfortable.

“It’s the best I’ve ever seen him throw the ball,” Varga said. “He’s hitting everyone on their breaks. His timing is looking great with his receivers.”

Toward the end of practice, Roberts completed five straight passes on a drive, including three to WR Grant Wallace who made a great diving catch down the right sideline. Roberts said he loves Wallace and it has showed.

Again, Varga seemed fine bursting through holes and popping up quickly after getting hit.

Freshman QB Rafe Chapple also made some strong throws early on.

Freshman LB Matt Oplinger and DE Karl Marback looked good on the defensive side.

And for what it’s worth, DB Roger Kilgore and Michael West came up with INTs during Thursday’s practice.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Around the Ivy: PRINCETON

Around the Ivy: A look at Princeton

Coach: Bob Surace

Last year: 8-2 (6-1 Ivy)

Preseason prediction: No. 1

Opening game: Sept. 20 at San Diego 

About the Tigers: Princeton is coming off a share of the Ivy League title and is the Ivy League favorite this season. It all starts with QB Quinn Epperly, the reigning Ivy Player of the Year. He became the first player in conference history to finish with more than 40 TDs (25 passing, 18 rushing). Connor Michelsen also had success under center for the Tigers last season, so expect to see more multiple QB looks. The Lions do lose All-America selection Caraun Reid on the DL, which is perhaps the Tigers biggest concern. The Tigers return nine Ivy-League picks.

Local connections: FB Jonathan Esposito (West Hartford), LB R.J. Paige (West Hartford), OL Max Wardaki (Stamford), WR Seth DeValve (Manchester), WR James Frusciante (Westport) 

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Around the Ivy: PENN

Around the Ivy: A look at Penn

Coach: Al Bagnoli

Last year: 4-6 (3-4 Ivy)

Preseason prediction: No. 4

Opening game: Sept. 20 at Jacksonville 

About the Quakers: This will be Al Bagnoli’s final season as Penn’s head coach. He suffered just his second losing campaign in his 22 years last season. Bagnoli says he is cautiously optimistic. Alek Torgersen will likely be Penn’s new starter under center. The potential is there for Torgersen, but he has not gotten many snaps. Kyle Wilcox and Spencer Kulcsar will take some of the pressure off Torgersen in the ground game. The OL is a concern. Penn has depth and experience in its secondary, which includes Hamden native Evan Jackson. Bagnoli also like this year’s group of LBs.

Local connections: DB Evan Jackson (Hamden), TE Mitchell King (Essex)

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Yale camp update

The Bulldogs have officially returned to the field. Here are a few notes from the first week of preseason camp.  

Varga looking good

Of course, everyone’s top question is about Tyler Varga’s health. Varga missed most of last season with a foot injury and saw a handful of foot specialists throughout the offseason.

Tony Reno said he’s looked good so far.

“He looks like he hasn’t missed a beat,” one teammate said.

But the true test for Varga will come when the Bulldogs have their first practice with contact on Sunday.

Roberts impressing

As for the QB situation, Reno has been really impressed with Morgan Roberts, both as a quarterback and a leader. With a full year under his belt, he seems to really be coming into his own. It looks like the starting job is his to lose.

Freshmen Rafe Chapple, Stephen Barmore and Andrew Johnson have shown glimpses of promise.

Others looking strong early...

Others who have been impressive early? WRs Myles Gaines and Robert Clemons have been pleasant surprises. DEs Victor Egu and Marty Moesta are bigger and stronger, and that has translated onto the field. DBs Foye Oluokun and Spencer Rymiszewski are also looking stronger and have been more consistent with their technique.


Some freshmen that have caught the eye of Reno early are OL Jon Bezney, WRs Jake Dehart, Ross Drwal, Mike Siragusa and Chris Williams-Lopez, along with TE Conor Furey and LB Matt Oplinger.

Lewis update

Some have asked about Avery Lewis. The promising WR has suffered another set back (leg injury) and will be out indefinitely. He has played in the Bulldogs season opener in 2012, but has yet to get on the field again.

Reno talking about preseason camp
Reno on the first week: “We’re off to a good start. They had a good summer and it carried over. The older guys are doing a nice job of leading and setting an example. And the young talent in competing for positions, and that makes for a nice mix. There’s a lot of competition at each position. That increases the level of performance and hopefully gives us some depth. We’re still a work in progress, but I’m definitely encouraged by the progress.”

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Around the Ivy: HARVARD

Around the Ivy: A look at Harvard

Coach: Tim Murphy

Last year: 9-1 (6-1 Ivy)

Preseason prediction: No. 2

Opening game: Sept. 19 vs. Holy Cross 

About the Crimson: Harvard shared the Ivy League title with Princeton last year. Murphy says the offense will need to set the pace. QB Conner Hempel and RB Paul Stanton return. The Crimson has a pair of talented TEs in Tyler Hamblin and Ben Braunecker, who will both pose as threats for opposing defenses. Murphy also says this group of OL is one of the best he’s had. Harvard needs to find a way to replace three starters in the secondary quickly. DE Zach Hodges is one of the best in the Ivy.

Local connections: WR John Van Allen (Hartford), DB Eric Ryan (Newington)

Yale takes part in ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

The entire Yale football team recently took part in the viral ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.

The Bulldogs were nominated by retired U.S. Army General Stanley McChrystal.

Check out the video below...

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Roman headed to Yale

New London DE Hunter Roman will play at Yale next season, pending his acceptance.

Roman, a 6-foot-5, 205-pound senior was a Register All-State honorable mention pick last season.

Roman was receiving interest from Boston College, UConn and Central Connecticut State, along with others, according to the New London Day.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Upcoming Yale practice schedule

Wednesday: 2:15-5 p.m.

Thursday: 9-11:45 a.m.

Friday: 9–11:45 a.m.

Saturday: 2:15-5 p.m.

Sunday: 9-11:45 a.m.

Monday: 9-11:45 a.m.

Tuesday: 4–6 p.m.

Aug. 27: 4–6 p.m.

Aug. 28: 4–6 p.m.

Aug. 29: 4–6 p.m.

Around the Ivy: DARTMOUTH

Around the Ivy: A look at Dartmouth

Coach: Buddy Teevens

Last year: 6-4 (5-2 Ivy)

Preseason prediction: No. 3

Opening game: Sept. 20 vs. Central Connecticut State 

About the Big Green: Dalyn Williams is one of the top dual threat QBs in the league. He continues to grow and improve. Dartmouth will need to replace RB Dominick Pierre, the program’s second all-time rushing. Kyle Bramble and Brian Grove will compete for the starting job behind an OL that returns four starters. The Big Green will welcome back WR Ryan McManus, who missed most of last season with an injury. Dartmouth has a talented group of LBs returning in Eric Wickham, Zach Slafsky, Will McNamara and Folarin Orimolade. It’s also worth noting, the Big Green have a challenging non-conference schedule with Central, New Hampshire and Holy Cross.

Local connections: S Kyran McKinney-Crudden (Glastonbury), DL Jeff Winthrop (Roxbury), LB Jimmy Knight (Greenwich)

Monday, August 18, 2014

Around the Ivy: CORNELL

Around the Ivy: A look at Cornell

Coach: Dave Archer

Last year: 3-7 (2-5 Ivy)

Preseason prediction: No. 7

Opening game: Sept. 20 at Colgate 

About the Big Red: Cornell had the worst rushing offense in the FCS last season. Expect that to change. It will be a much different look offensively for the Big Red, now that standout QB Jeff Mathews is gone. Under new OC Roy Istvan, Cornell will run the ball a lot with Jr. Luke Hagy. He is superb in all facets: running, catching and pass protection. FS Rush Imhotep and DE Justin Harris are playmakers on a defense that struggled last season. Cornell gave up 35 points per game last year.

Local connections: OL Ian Melvin (Bethel)

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Around the Ivy: COLUMBIA

Around the Ivy: A look at Columbia

Coach: Pete Mangurian

Last year: 0-10 (0-7 Ivy)

Preseason prediction: No. 8

Opening game: Sept. 20 vs. Fordham 

About the Lions: Columbia was one of three teams in the FCS to go winless last season. The Lions will continue to rebuild under Mangurian. DT Niko Padilla was an All-Ivy pick last season and leads the defense. Mangurian likes aggressiveness and depth of the secondary. Both the DL and the OL will continue to be areas where Columbia will struggle. Stanford transfer QB Brett Nottingham was injured in the season opener and missed the rest of the season. He’s bounced back with a strong spring and has a better understanding of the offense. He has a strong group of WRs highlighted by Ryan Flannery and Connor Nelligan. This group of WRs may be the team’s biggest strength. Cam Molina will lead the rushing attack. Mangurian says he sees the field well and has improved ball security.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Around the Ivy: BROWN

Over the next week or so, Portal 31 will take a look at each Ivy League team as the 2014 season approaches...

Around the Ivy: A look at Brown

Coach: Phil Estes

Last year: 6-4 (3-4 Ivy)

Preseason prediction: No. 6

Opening game: Sept. 20 at Georgetown,

About the Bears: Brown has to replace 18 starters (11 offense, seven defense). That will be a challenge. Sr. Marcus Fuller, a Johnny Manziel-like QB according to Estes, and Jr. Seth Rosenbauer, a big, physical QB, will compete for the starting job. Alex Jette and Troy Doles both will stretch the field with their speed and be a part of the return game. Andrew Coke and Brian Strachan, who moved from WR to RB, are both physical, downhill runners. They will look to replace John Spooney, the Ivy's top rusher last season. Defensively, the team’s strength will be at ILB with Xavier Russo and Dan Giovacchini. Chad Berry will move from ILB to DE, which should be a better fit on the edge. The Bears will also need to replace standout kicker Alex Norocea.

Local connections: DE Chad Berry (East Lyme), FB Jeff Biestek (Walllingford), ILB James Connelly (Stonington), QB T.J. Linta (Branford), L B James Martino (Woodbridge), OL Christian Montano (Orange), DL Ludovic Richardson (Killingworth), OLB Max Tylki (Wethersfield), DL Jake Whalen (Durham)

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Chism featured on

William Chism

Will Chism is a two-year starter and has been a key cog on the Bulldogs OL.

Check out this feature on Chism.

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

Ivy League media day and Chalk Talk

The Ivy League preseason media poll was released on Tuesday (see previous post for complete poll). Yale was picked fifth.

In addition to the release of the poll, the Ivy League held its media day teleconference with all eight coaches. Then Tuesday night, Tony Reno took part in the Greater New Haven Chamber of Commerce Sports Council’s annual Chalk Talk event.

The event features area college football coaches including, Reno, New Haven’s Chris Pincince and Southern Connecticut State’s Tom Godek, and it’s moderated by News 8/My TV 9 sports director Noah Finz.

Here are two clips from Reno speaking at the event.

 Also, here is a link to a notebook off of Tuesday’s news and some additional notes below.

Reno on captain Deon Randall: “Deon has the ability to be a TB, a slot WR in our offense and generate a lot of touches and put pressure on defenses. Whether it’s running zone schemes, catching balls on the perimeter or down field. He gets in and out of breaks well. He’s not the tallest, but he’s pretty stout. He can get off tackles well, he gets yards after the catch and after contact. We can plug him in roles and accomplish a lot, and it creates interesting issues for the defense. We can use him in a lot of different areas. But we need to give him help. It can’t just be the Deon Randall show.”

Reno added he does not plan on using Randall in the secondary this season, unless necessary.

Reno on the 100th anniversary of the Yale Bowl and playing Army: “It’s really an unbelievable opportunity. Think of the history of it. During my time in the league, there hasn’t been an Ivy League school that’s played a BCS program. We’re the first to play a BCS program in a while. It shows the importance of football at Yale and the rich tradition Yale has.”

Reno on Varga: “He’s still in Canada. As of right now, he’s progressing. We just don’t know to what point.”

On the defensive side, Reno expects to start eight sophomores. Some, he said, that have a shot to really emerge this season: Victor Egu, Marty Moesta, Foye Oluokun, Spencer Rymiszewski, Dale Harris and Cole Champion. He said all had impressive summers.

Ivy League preseason poll

Princeton has been selected No. 1 in the Ivy League preseason media poll for the first time since 1992. 
The Tigers, led by Sr. QB Quinn Epperly who became the first player in conference history with 40 TDs in one season (25 passing, 18 rushing), finished 8-2 overall and 6-1 in the Ivy last season. 

Yale was voted fifth.

1.Princeton (9)128
2.Harvard (8)127