Yale Football Blog

Yale Football News Written By Former Bulldogs

Howard Preview

The Bulldogs host the Howard Bison this Saturday at the Bowl in the NAACP Harmony Classic. Kickoff is slated for noon and the game will be broadcast on ESPN+.

Howard enters the contest with a 1-3 record opening with 3 losses before a 31-0 win over Morehouse College last weekend. The Bison cannot be overlooked as they are a very athletic squad that was competitive for 3 quarters against FBS opponent USF.

Senior QB Quinton Williams (6’5”, 200 lbs.) has completed 68.5% of his passes this season averaging 236.5 yards per game with 6 touchdowns and 3 interceptions. Williams is a solid passer but will not be as much of a threat in the run game as Sluka or Wang. Howard’s top 3 rushers average over 4.3 yards per carry each. Junior RB Jarrett Hunter (5’10”, 205 lbs.) leads all rushers with 190 yards and 3 touchdowns over 4 games. The offensive line play has been inconsistent for the Bison paving the way for 130 rushing yards per game while allowing 9 sacks on the season. Senior Anim Dankwah (6’8”, 365 lbs.) will likely be the largest offensive lineman we will face all season and was a 2nd Team All-MEAC selection last season. Senior WR Antoine Murray (6’0”, 188 lbs.) is Williams’ favorite target in the passing game with 19 catches for 323 yards and 2 touchdowns. Sophomore WR Nah’shawn Hezekiah (6’3”, 210 lbs.) is another weapon averaging 14.0 yards per reception. This should be a great opportunity for our secondary and linebackers to improve against talented skill position players. Keeping Howard out of the redzone will be critical as they have scored on 75% of their trips inside of the 20.

The Bison defense has really clamped down on opponents on 3rd downs limiting them to a 26.2% success rate. 1st and 2nd downs have not been as favorable for Howard as opponents have averaged 6.2 yards per play overall. Junior S Kenny Gallop, Jr. (6’1”, 210 lbs.) leads all defenders with 26 tackles. Sophomore LB Terrance Hollon (6’1”, 220 lbs.) has been all over the field for the Bison with 25 tackles and 2 interceptions. Senior DL Darrian Brokenburr (6’4”, 260 lbs.) was a 2nd Team All-MEAC player a year ago and has racked up 13 tackles. Senior DL Jevin Jackson (6’1”, 265 lbs.) is another big-bodied defender that has been highly productive with 14 tackles. Opponents have had success through the air with 7.2 yards per attempt, but the Bison secondary members have great hands and have already intercepted 5 passes. Howard’s defense was dominating in its most recent performance limiting Morehouse to 218 yards of total offense while not allowing a point. Achieving the same offensive success as last week will be difficult against this experienced squad.

Senior P Richard Phillip is averaging 35.9 yard per punt, while Howard has played two different kickers that have gone 3 for 6 on the season on field goals. Our punt and kickoff teams will have to tackle well this week to keep Howard’s explosive returners from getting loose.

See you at the Bowl!

Cornell Notes

The Bulldogs evened their record to 1-1 on Saturday with an impressive 38-14 win over the Big Red. In a mirror image of the 14-38 loss to Holy Cross in Week 1, Yale displayed dominance over many facets of the game. Coach Reno and his staff had an impressive week of preparation to get this team on track in a hurry.

No one bounced back in a bigger fashion than Nolan Grooms. Grooms finished 12 of 17 for 187 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions. In the ground game, Grooms averaged 6.1 yards per carry over 9 attempts. Grooms looked poised in the pocket and delivered perfectly placed strike after strike. Tutas entered the contest midway through the 3rd quarter and put on an impressive display completing 4 of 5 passes for 85 yards. The rushing attack was led by freshman Joshua Pitsenberger who has looked exceptionally polished over his first two contests. Pitsenberger averaged just under 5.5 yards per carry as he rushed for 93 yards on 17 carries with two touchdowns. The talented first-year also hauled in a shuffle pass from Grooms on the opening drive. The running back stable of Peterson, Saffold, Denney and McElwain all got in the mix with Peterson adding a touchdown. The offensive line put together one of the most impressive performances we’ve seen since 2019. Large holes were opened for Pitsenberger and company while Cornell’s All-Ivy linebackers were neutralized. Grooms was only sacked once and the snapping issues appear to be resolved. Yates and Hawes were able to stretch the defense from their tight end positions. Hawes did have two critical drops, although one would have been canceled by a holding call on Gargiulo. Tipton and Pantelis were simply too much for the Cornell secondary to handle. Tipton just embarrassed defenders on a nifty catch and run that is surely the top highlight of the season thus far. Pantelis delivered in crucial moments hauling in a catch on 4th down before half and later catching a bomb from Tutas down to the 1-yard line.

The defense once again came out firing on all cylinders on the first drive before allowing a 36-yard passing touchdown from Wang on Cornell’s second drive. Any concerns of a high scoring shootout were quickly erased as the defensive line established dominance at the line of scrimmage to ease the pressure on the linebackers and secondary. Oso was explosive as he racked up 6 tackles and 2 sacks, while Patterson and Nickerson each notched a sack. Hamilton Moore was the most impressive linebacker who crushed backs in run support. Wang’s quickness on runs posed issues for Vaughn and others, but overall the tackling was much improved from the week prior. Outside of the long passing score early on, the secondary of Owens, Hickey, Ellis and Oldacre clamped down on the Big Red. Owens and Hickey were able to contain receivers and support from the safeties was much improved. The ability to continue to limit the big plays will be vital down the stretch.

Bosman nailed a 25-yard field goal in the 3rd quarter and was perfect on PATs. The snaps from Mann have been solid so far this season.

The Bulldogs return home to square off against the Howard Bison at the Bowl.

Cornell Preview

The Bulldogs travel to Ithaca this week to face the Cornell Big Red on Saturday at 2 PM ET. The game will be televised on ESPN+.

Cornell is coming off a dominating performance at VMI in which the Big Red raced out to a 28-2 lead before a late 20-point comeback in the 4th quarter by VMI tightened the final score to 28-22.

Sophomore Jameson Wang (6’1”, 197 lbs.) started at quarterback for the Big Red finishing 5 of 10 for 42 yards and 2 touchdowns in the passing game and added another 33 rushing yards on 9 attempts. Junior quarterback Luke Duby (6’3”, 222 lbs.) also played extensively completing 67% of his passes for 65 yards and an interception. Sophomore running back Eddy Tillman (5’8”, 168 lbs.) is a very shifty runner with tremendous balance. Freshman running back Gannon Carothers (5’10”, 192 lbs.) was the top rusher in the VMI contest with 57 yards. Carothers offers a solid mix of speed and power in the running game for the Big Red. Cornell utilized a three running back formation in the redzone against VMI and with VMI’s defense focused on stopping the backs, Cornell’s senior tight end William Enneking (6’3”, 258 lbs.) was able to slip past the secondary for an easy touchdown reception. Enneking finished with 2 touchdowns on only 2 receptions for a total of 6 yards, so he’s clearly a favorite target in the redzone and short-yardage situations. Junior wide receiver Nicholas Laboy (6’2”, 189 lbs.) led the receiving corps with 38 yards on 3 receptions. Senior WR Thomas Glover (5’11”, 178 lbs.) had a quiet afternoon at VMI but was a 1st Team All-Ivy selection a year ago. Freshman WR Davon Kiser (5’7”, 146 lbs.) and junior TE Matt Robbert (6’4”, 240 lbs.) are additional receiving threats that we will have to account for defensively. Cornell features a large offensive line averaging just under 304 lbs. across the board but is relatively young with 3 sophomores, a junior and a senior. The offensive line outperformed expectations versus VMI giving up only one sack and paving the way for 159 rushing yards.

Cornell’s front six (3-3-5 base formation) on defense could be the strength of the team. VMI finished with -2 net rushing yards on 25 attempts and their quarterbacks were sacked 6 times. Senior linebacker Jake Stebbins (6’0”, 228 lbs.) was a 1st Team All-Ivy selection in 2021 and led all Cornell defenders with 8 tackles at VMI. Junior linebackers Connor Henderson (6’2”, 228 lbs.) and Noah Labbe (6’3”, 243 lbs.) combined for another 14 tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss and a sack in the contest. Cornell’s starting defensive linemen senior Wallace Squib Jr. (6’4”, 277 lbs.), senior Max Lundeen (6’4”, 262 lbs.), and junior Connor Morgan (6’3”, 274 lbs.) are large, athletic linemen that posed problems for VMI’s offensive front. VMI did have success through the air with two quarterbacks combining for 358 passing yards and close to a 73% completion percentage. Yale’s aerial attack will need to improve by leaps and bounds from Week 1 to Week 2 to exploit Cornell’s secondary, especially in the wake of Alston’s injury.

Junior kicker Jackson Kennedy (5’11”, 179 lbs.) did not attempt a field goal but was perfect on 4 PATs. Sophomore punter Ayden McCarter (5’10”, 180 lbs.) is a transfer from Coastal Carolina and averaged 37.5 yards per punt against VMI.

This could be a make-or-break game for Team 149’s hopes of an Ivy League Championship, so we’re excited to see how the team will bounce back from the crushing defeat in Worcester.

Go Bulldogs!

Holy Cross Notes

The Bulldogs fell to the Holy Cross Crusaders on Saturday 14-38 in a disappointing opener for Team 149. Yale started the game strongly with a perfect 19-yard pass from Grooms to Tipton while the defense forced Holy Cross to punt on its opening series. Mental mistakes, poor conditioning and lackluster play calling ultimately caught up with the Bulldogs as the Crusaders grew the lead to 38-7 before rotating in substitutes.

Alston’s absence at running back was a surprising development that proved to be a critical blow to Grooms’ success in the running game. Grooms averaged 4.1 yards per carry, but outside of a 22-yard run, was largely ineffective on the ground as the Crusaders had multiple defenders keying on him. McElwain earned the start at running back, yet freshman Josh Pitsenberger had the best outing with 50 rushing yards on 9 carries. The offensive line featuring Gargiulo at Center, Karhu and Schuller at guards, and Mendoza and Amegadijie at tackles had an up-and-down day. The line created some nice holes for Pitsenberger and Denney while occasionally providing a clean pocket. Snapping issues between Gargiulo and Grooms will need to be ironed out in a hurry. Grooms never seemed comfortable in the pocket often bailing prematurely to try to make a play with his feet. The receivers were not able to shine with Grooms staring down targets, forcing balls into double coverage and throwing errant passes. The tight ends will need to be utilized much more moving forward as Hawes did not record a catch and Yates hauled in one pass for 6 yards. The play calling never helped Grooms establish rhythm with series after series stalling out.

The performance on defense also left much to be desired. The vaunted defensive line of Patterson, Raine, Oso and Nickerson needed to dominate to give our defense a chance in this contest and fell short of expectations. The starting linebacker corps of Pope, Moore and Abraham struggled to fill holes in the running game and offered little support in the passing game. Cornerback Wande Owens had more tackles than all three starting linebackers combined. In fact, the top three tacklers were all defensive backs, a very troubling statistic on defense. Coverage lapses in the secondary were all too commonplace with Holy Cross’ receivers streaking past Yale defensive backs. Sluka finished the day with an 80% completion percentage and rarely faced much resistance from our secondary. Tackling was downright abysmal with arm tackles and poor angles allowing a small gain to turn into a backbreaker.

Bosman missed a 27-yard field goal but was decent in the punting game with an average of 43 yards.

One of the larger disappointments of the afternoon was Yale’s conditioning. Holy Cross clearly had the edge in this department simply from playing in two contests, yet it’s hard to recall a game in which our players appeared so physically unprepared. The lack of conditioning and early season injuries (in addition to several expected contributors disappearing from the roster) should force Reno to take a hard look at the strength and conditioning program.

The Bulldogs hit the road once again this weekend to face Cornell in Ithaca. Stay tuned for our preview to come.

Holy Cross Preview

The Bulldogs travel to Worcester, Massachusetts to face the Holy Cross Crusaders on Saturday at 2 PM ET. The game will be broadcast on ESPN+ and Spectrum News 1.

Holy Cross is a historically tough opponent for Yale in Week 1 and this Holy Cross squad might be the most talented that the Bulldogs have faced over the last decade. The Crusaders enter the contest with an unblemished 2-0 record following a 37-31 upset over FBS opponent Buffalo last week. Holy Cross’ improbable last-second hail mary to edge the Bulls was a top highlight on ESPN last weekend.

Junior dual-threat QB Matthew Sluka (6’3”, 215 lbs.) is the centerpiece of Holy Cross’ offense. Sluka completed 13 of 21 passes for 238 yards, 3 touchdowns and 0 interceptions. In the running game, Sluka rushed 25 times for 146 yards or 5.8 yards per carry. Combining his passing and rushing totals for the Buffalo contest, Sluka accounted for roughly 84% of the total offensive yardage. Sophomore RB Jordan Fuller (6’0”, 229 lbs.) rushed 10 times for 51 yards or 5.1 yards per carry, while senior RB Peter Oliver (6’0”, 222 lbs.) added 18 yards on 8 carries last week. Fuller and Oliver are both large, physical backs that will test our early season tackling skills. Junior WR Jalen Coker (6’3”, 207 lbs.) is the star of the Crusaders’ receiving corps and gained national notoriety last week after hauling in the hail mary versus Buffalo. Coker could be one of the most dangerous receiving threats that we will face all season coming off a sophomore campaign in which he was named 2nd Team All-Patriot League and a Sophomore All-American. Holy Cross has tremendous depth at the wide receiver position with another two 2nd Team All-Patriot League honorees in sophomore Justin Shorter (5’11”, 174 lbs.) and senior Ayir Asante (6’0”, 174 lbs.). Senior TE Sean Morris (6’4”, 249 lbs.) is another 2nd Team All-Patriot League honoree and is a very skilled blocker who will occasionally get involved in the passing game. Holy Cross’ offensive line (301 lb. average) returns 4 starters from last season and is a very polished unit. Senior C Nick Olsofka (6’4”, 294 lbs.) and junior T Luke Newman (6’5”, 301 lbs.) were both 1st Team All-Patriot League honorees, while senior G CJ Hanson (6’6”, 305 lbs.) and senior T Pat McMurtrie (6’6”, 294 lbs.) were named to the 2nd Team All-Patriot League list. While our defensive line is the strength of our team, squaring off against a veteran unit with two games under their belt will be a challenge.

The Crusaders are just as loaded on defense as on offense. Reigning Patriot League Defensive Player of the Year, senior LB Jacob Dobbs (6’0”, 237 lbs.), is the heart of the Crusaders’ defense. Senior LB Liam Anderson (6’3”, 230 lbs.) is a returning 1st Team All-Patriot League member who has racked up 11 tackles over the first two contests. Holy Cross’ defensive line returns three veterans including senior DE Dan Kuznetsov (6’3”, 253 lbs.), a 1st Team All-Patriot League selection, and senior DT Jake Reichwein (6’3”, 255 lbs.), a 2nd Team All-Patriot League selection. Senior CB John Smith (6’0”, 191 lbs.) is a lockdown corner and two-time 1st Team All-Patriot League selection. Smith’s fellow senior CB Devin Haskins (6’3”, 209 lbs.) was a 2nd Team All-Patriot League member a year ago and broke up an eye-popping 5 passes last week versus Buffalo. Senior FS Walter Reynolds (6’0”, 190 lbs.) is a big-hitter out of the secondary with three years of starting experience under his belt.

Senior P Patrick Haughney (6’3”, 227 lbs.) is averaging 43.0 yards per punt this season with a long of 55 yards. Senior K Derek Ng (5’10”, 187 lbs.) is a two-time 1st Team All-Patriot League kicker who buried Yale with a 47-yard go-ahead field goal in last season’s contest.

Go Bulldogs!

Final Recruiting Impressions

Da’Quan Gonzales – DB, 5’11”, 185 lbs., Jensen Beach (East Stuart, FL)

Gonzales is a 3-star prospect who racked up a whopping 28 offers from big-time programs such as Arkansas and Boston College. He is physical corner who can disrupt receivers at the line of scrimmage. Gonzales is an absolute ballhawk with great hands and a natural ability to recognize routes. He’s a big hitter and not afraid to lend support against the rushing attack. As an added bonus, he’s very slippery as a punt returner.

Nico Brown – WR, 6’0”, 185 lbs., Edison (Huntington Beach, CA)

Brown is another 3-star prospect who had 13 offers mainly from FCS programs. He shows a superior ability to hang onto catches after contact and once in the open field, he is dynamic with great vision. Brown’s strong balance makes him very difficult to bring down after the catch. His ability to make tough grabs in traffic could be his greatest strength.

Joshua Tarver – WR, 6’3”, 205 lbs., IMG Academy (Richmond, TX)

Tarver is a large target at receiver who is deceptively fast with long strides. He is a true team player displaying the skills to block, run the ball as a wildcat QB, dominate on defense and impact the special teams. Opposing Ivy cornerbacks will have difficulty matching up with Tarver’s size and speed in years to come.

Aidan Stephens – WR, 6’1”, 185 lbs., Labrae (Braceville, OH)

Stephens is a tremendous all-around athlete who played QB and safety at the high school level. His transition to receiver should be a smooth one considering his solid speed, agility and moves in the open field. He’s surprisingly powerful with the ball in his hands effortlessly running through arm tackles.

Cameron Price – WR, 5’9”, 195 lbs., St. Thomas (Houston, TX)

Price is a technician who does all the little things right at receiver. He has great awareness to catch a pass and tap his feet before going out of bounds. His superb body control and power allows him to run over larger defenders. Price was extremely productive at the high school level and offers a huge upside as a slot receiver for the Bulldogs.

Nick Conforti – K/P, 5’9”, 180 lbs., Seton Hall (Livingston, NJ)

Yale seems to favor specialists with balanced kicking and punting skills and Conforti fits this mold. In the kicking game, Conforti displays clean footwork and fundamentals on field goals and good power on kickoffs. In the punting game, Conforti’s high arcing punts help to negate opponent’s punt return abilities. He’s also not afraid to make a game-saving tackle if need be.

Wilhelm Daal – RB, 6’1”, 215 lbs., Taft (Amityville, NY)

Daal is a bruising back who accelerates through defenders on contact. He can be patient waiting for blocks to develop in the open field before turning on the jets. Daal is also a threat out of the backfield on passing plays with good hands and awareness. He could be a great complement to McElwain when Yale decides to utilize a power back as a change of pace to Alston.

Joshua Pitsenberger – RB, 6’0”, 205 lbs., The Avalon School (Bethesda, MD)

Pitsenberger is an all-purpose back with good speed, great cutback abilities, and the versatility to line up at RB or as a slot receiver. He constantly drags defenders for additional yards and is difficult to bring down one-on-one. In the open field, Pitsenberger is as elusive as any member of this class.

Melik Williams – LB, 6’2”, 210 lbs., Lincoln (Ypsilanti, MI)

Williams is an outside linebacker with a knack for blowing up plays in the backfield. He has quick and powerful hands to shed blockers and relentlessly pursues ball carriers. Williams can establish solid edge containment to force rushers into the meat of the defense.

Andre Thomas – LB, 6’1”, 215 lbs., Peach County (Fort Valley, GA)

Thomas played outside linebacker at the high school level and would occasionally have his hand down as a defensive end. He’s quick enough to simply blow by would-be blockers and when he is engaged, his long arms keep offensive linemen at bay. Thomas does not over pursue plays as he stays in position to wreck counters, reverses, and play-action passes.

Micaiah Shaber – DL, 6’6”, 265 lbs., Starr’s Mill (Peachtree, GA)

Shaber has a massive frame that makes defensive line coaches salivate. He’s stout at the point of attack in the run game and utilizes a deadly swim move when rushing the passer. Shaber played both ways in high school and was equally as impressive as an offensive lineman mauling smaller defenders.

Ejiroghene Egodogbare – DL, 6’3”, 260 lbs., Roxbury Latin (Milton, MA)

Egodogbare has one of the most impressive tapes of any recruit on defense in this class. He has a very quick first step allowing him to punch a hole in the line of scrimmage and disrupt plays in the backfield. Ejiro is fast enough to run down backs and delivers a crushing blow on contact.

Leo Bluhm – OL, 6’4”, 275 lbs., St. Thomas (St. Paul, MN)

Bluhm’s tape is very entertaining to analyze as he launches defenders when pulling from his tackle position.  He displays great leg drive on run blocks and loves to pancake defenders. In pass protection, Bloom is quick to set-up with a powerful punch to keep opponents off balance.

Cameron Charron – OL, 6’3”, 295 lbs., Noble and Greenough (Wellesley, MA)

Charron offers the versatility to play guard or tackle and most importantly, has a nasty streak when run blocking. He plays through whistle and prefers to bury defenders. Charron showcases solid footwork when making adjustments in pass protection to keep defenders in front of him.

Lucas Prichard – OL, 6’5”, 275 lbs., Bath (Lima, OH)

Prichard could be the most athletic offensive lineman in this recruiting class. He’s a physical lineman that can bully defenders both at the line of scrimmage and downfield. Prichard played both ways in high school and was dominant as a defensive end.

Michael Bennett – OL, 6’5”, 265 lbs., Holy Innocents (Atlanta, GA)

Bennett plays with an extremely low center of gravity which makes him deadly on down blocks. He’s a great athlete that locks onto defenders downfield to spring big plays. Bennett is yet another recruit with a prototypical development frame.

Scott Truninger – TE, 6’6”, 240 lbs., Corona Del Mar (Newport Beach, CA)

Truninger is another steal at tight end for Reno. He’s the complete package with the size, hands, route running and blocking abilities to excel at the next level. Truninger could develop into the next Jaeden Graham for Yale.

Joseph Nash – DL, 6’2”, 285 lbs., Taft (Dallas, TX)

Nash is a powerful defensive tackle with ideal size. He seems to have a natural ability to recognize plays before they develop. Nash never gives up on a play as he chases down opponents far beyond the typical range for a defensive tackle.

Dylan Yang – DL, 6’3”, 250 lbs., Suffern (Airmont, NY)

Yang is a twitchy defensive end that is very fast off the edge. He constantly disrupts throwing lanes with his long arms. Yang can shed blockers with ease and uses his superior speed to chase down ball carriers from the backside of a play.

Preseason Positional Rankings

  1. Defensive Line
    • With Patterson, Oso, Nickerson and Raine all returning this season, the defensive line should be the deepest and most talented positional group. The inexperienced linebacking corps and inconsistent secondary will need all the help that they can get from the defensive line this season, but these big-bodied men will be up to the task. This could be the top defensive line that Reno has fielded to date.
  2. Wide Receivers
    • Tipton is the star of the receiving corps and should benefit greatly from working with Grooms on timing and rhythm this offseason. Tipton had a relatively slow start to the 2021 season, yet it’s hard to argue that any skill player was more explosive than him by the end of the season. Beyond Tipton, there is a stable of experienced and talented receivers such as Sandifer, Pantelis, Nenad, Felton and Lindley in addition to a slew of underclassmen that could get into the mix such as Mason Shipp. The two transfers, Brunelle and Biggs, are the icing on the cake to a stellar positional group.
  3. Running Backs
    • While the 1-2 punch of Dudek and Alston was derailed in 2021, Alston continued to improve each week and played very well against Harvard. McElwain returns as a solid option as a power runner. Peterson and Eboboko impressed in limited time in 2021 and should be primed for breakout seasons. With McKenzie off the roster, Denney and Saffold should get into the mix as well.
  4. Quarterback
    • Grooms had an up and down season in 2021 but has a very high upside given his physical tools. Grooms’ performance in 2022 will boil down to the play of the offensive line and his decision making in the pocket. Grooms completed under 54% of his passes in 2021 and will need to improve this metric closer to 65% while limiting the interceptions (8 in 2021). The departure of O’Connor has created depth concerns at the quarterback position and Tutas would likely be the successor despite throwing just 2 passes in his career
  5. Tight Ends
    • Hawes’ performance in 2021 was one of the positive surprises of the season as he became interchangeable with Howland, a current NFL practice squad player. The further development of the Grooms-Hawes connection could be a nightmare for opposing defenses with linebackers simply being outmatched in size and speed. The quality of the depth beyond Hawes remains a question mark although Reno has recruited very well at this position in recent years.
  6. Offensive Line
    • The offensive line has the greatest potential to move up or down this list depending on injuries. Gargiulo hasn’t played a full season since 2019 and another injury to him would be devasting to the team. The only returning starter who played a full season in 2021 is Amegadjie. On the bright side, Mendoza could establish himself as a top-tier tackle in the Ivy League and Reno should be able to piece together an improved offensive line given the experience of Sullivan, Durand, Anderson, Schuller, Nauert and others.  
  7. Specialists
    • Bosman returns as punter and kicker this season. He was exceptional in punting last season averaging over 40 yards per punt, but his field goal completion percentage below 64% last season will need to be remedied to give Yale a shot in close contests. There is no designated long snapper listed on the roster and the depth beyond Bosman is cause for concern given the kicking struggles seen in the Spring Game.
  8. Defensive Backs
    • The secondary has the experience on paper to be a solid unit but the painful memories of years past persist. The projected starters of Owens, Hickey, Oldacre and Ellis are all seniors who’ve yet to be consistent in their play to date. Between the poor coaching techniques in the secondary, mental mistakes and missed tackles, the secondary has been a comedy of errors directly leading to defeats. If our secondary refuses to turn and play the ball in the air, it will be a long season.
  9. Linebackers
    • The low ranking of the linebacking corps is based more on a fear of the unknown than inherent weaknesses at the position. Pope returns with starting experience, while Moore, Vaughan, Abraham, Campbell, Frommer and Shaffer have all seen snaps over their careers. Reno could utilize the freshmen trio of Larry, Williams and Thomas if upperclassmen struggle. We’ve been blessed with battle-hardened veterans returning at the linebacker positions year-in and year-out, so it’s unsettling to enter the season without that critical leadership component in-place.