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Recruiting Roundup

Ben Montgomery- Safety, 6’0″, 195 lbs., Taylor (Katy, TX)

Gerron Duhon- Cornerback, 5’10”, 170 lbs., Washington-Marlon (Lake Charles, LA)

John Harrington- Athlete, 6’1″, 165 lbs., Seven Lakes (Katy, TX)

Nolan Grooms- Quarterback, 6’2″, 180 lbs., The Taft School (Watertown, CT)

Jermaine Baker- Safety, 6’2″, 200 lbs, Nazareth Academy (La Grange Park, IL)

Hamilton Moore- Linebacker, 6’1″, 200 lbs., William G. Enloe (Raleigh, NC)

Ryan McCann- Tackle, 6′ 5”, 260 lbs., Rumson-Fair Haven (Rumson, NJ)

Michael Connor- Linebacker , 6′0″, 220 lbs., Ramapo (Franklin Lakes, NJ)

Jack Bosman- Kicker/Punter, 5’9″, 162 lbs., Santa Fe Christian (San Diego, CA)

Wande Owens- Running Back, 5’11”, 185 lbs., Glenelg (Glenelg, MD)

Archie B. Russ, III- Wide Receiver/ Cornerback , 6’1″, 180 lbs., Landon School (Bethesda, MD)

Brandon Babcock- Tackle, 6’6″, 275 lbs., Casteel (Queen Creek, AZ)

Jonathon Durand- Guard, 6’3″, 250 lbs., Basha (Chandler, AZ)

Tyler DiIenno- Safety, 6’1″, 205 lbs., Cheshire Academy/Don Bosco Prep (Ramsey, NJ)

Brayden Carey- Wide Receiver, 6’0″, 180 lbs., East Coweta (Sharpsburg, GA)

Joey Felton- Wide Receiver, 5’10”, 178 lbs., Linganore (Frederick, MD)

Josh McKenzie- Running Back, 5’10”, 180 lbs., Bergen Catholic (Oradell, NJ)

Clay Patterson- Defensive End, 6’3″, 230 lbs., Reedy (Frisco, TX)

Jack Twyford- Tackle, 6’6″, 270 lbs., Winter Haven Senior (Winter Haven, FL)

Trenton Johnson- Safety, 6’2″, 190 lbs., St. Mary’s (Albany, CA)

Josh Eboboko- Running Back, 5’11”, 180 lbs., Charlotte Christian (Charlotte, NC)

Aidan Maloney- Wide Receiver, 6’1″, 180 lbs., Liberty (Portland, OR)

2019 Schedule

September 21st- Holy Cross

September 28th- Cornell

October 5th- Fordham

October 12th- at Dartmouth

October 19th- at Richmond

October 26th- Penn

November 2nd- Columbia

November 9th- at Brown

November 16th- at Princeton

November 23rd- Harvard

Looking Ahead

The Bulldogs finished the 2018 campaign at 5-5 with a 3-4 Ivy League record.  After being picked to finish first in the preseason polls, the season certainly did not live up to expectations.  From the first contest versus Holy Cross, it was apparent that the defense did not have the same level of talent as the 2017 squad.  Dartmouth, Princeton and Harvard had their way with our defense, while an anemic offense cost us a victory against Columbia.  If we had played Holy Cross later in the season, we likely could have pulled off a victory and having Rawlings or O’Connor in the Columbia game would have reversed that outcome.

The good news for the 2019 campaign is that almost everyone is returning.  Crowle, Roman and Peggs graduate on defense, while role players such as Locke, Lager and Marcinick depart on offense.  Galland, Horn, and Simino will need to be replaced on special teams.  The offensive skill players are the most talented players on the roster.  Rawlings and O’Connor are both superb quarterbacks who haven’t even reached their full potential.  Lamar, Dudek and Alston form one of the best backfields in Yale history.  Klubnik and Shohfi cannot be contained by Ivy League defensive backs.  Howland and Roman could be 1st Team All-Ivy players by the time they graduate in two years.  The offensive line is the weakness on offense, although returning all five starters is critical to next season’s success.  Eiselen and Strother did not improve as much as we had hoped from 2017 to 2018, while the new starters of Warfield, Hinish and Cepalia did not play well consistently enough to dominate opposing defensive lines.  The offensive linemen need to hit the weight room harder than they ever have this offseason, continue to study film and improve communication.

The defensive line was dealt a lethal blow before the season had even started with the loss of Mullen over alleged sexual misconduct.  Roman was the top pass rusher, so developing another speedy end with moves will be a priority.  Osorachukwu Ifesinachukwu or Reid Nickerson could potentially fill that void at end.  Matthaei and Keeler return at defensive tackles and they need to get more physical at the point of attack as well as improve their abilities to shed blocks.  Fraser, Goodyear and Raine could rotate in with them next season.   Callender battled through injuries and seemed to regress from 2017 to 2018, but we think he’ll bounce back to have a fantastic senior season.  Moore, Kissel and Sampleton all had their ups and downs throughout the year.  We need at least one of those players to step up and assert dominance over opposing offensive tackles.  Burke, Pope, Awodiran, Dean, Hill, and Carey all return at linebacker.  Pope is the best of the bunch and we’d like to see him take on a leadership role in 2019.  The linebackers across the board struggled with shedding blocks, tackling and covering running backs out of the backfield.  The secondary in 2018 can simply be described as a disaster.  Corners ran stride for stride with receivers and then refused to play the ball over and over again.  Safeties offered little run support and were out of position in the passing game.  Open field tackling in the secondary was non-existent as no one would take proper angles on ball carriers.  Simple ten yard runs turned into sixty yard touchdowns repeatedly.  Reno needs to find four trustworthy defensive backs through an extended open competition.  The combination of Alburg, Dixon, Thomas and Henson just doesn’t cut it.  Abraham, Granberry, Oldacre, Agbeyegbe, Dunham, Ellis and Hickey all need to be given every opportunity to claim a starting role as this unit is in dire need of a radical transformation.

 

Postseason Awards

Rookie of the Year- Griffin O’Connor

First Team All-Ivy- Alan Lamar, Reed Klubnik

Second Team All-Ivy- Dieter Eiselen, Sterling Strother, JP Shohfi, Spencer Matthaei

Honorable Mention- Kurt Rawlings, JJ Howland, Ryan Burke

 

Congratulations to JP Shohfi on being named as Yale’s next captain.

Yale 27 Harvard 45

Keys to Victory in The Game

  • Stop the run

After allowing 489 rushing yards to Princeton, Yale needs to bounce back this week to slow down Harvard’s talented running backs.  Murphy is likely devising a run-heavy scheme to pound the ball up the middle and chew up the clock.  The Bulldogs can’t simply stack the box with 8 men as leaving our secondary exposed will be equally troublesome.  The defensive line needs to have its best game of the season especially with possible injuries to starting linebackers.  The pressure is on McGowan to give our defenders the best chance to tackle Shampklin, Booker and Darrington before the damage is done.

  • Ease O’Connor into the passing game

O’Connor clearly suffered from nervousness on the opening drives in the Princeton contest.  We certainly can’t fault him for that as he was a freshman playing in the biggest game of his life to date.  His two early interceptions buried Yale as our defense couldn’t contain the potent Princeton offense.  O’Connor has the physical and mental tools to dominate the Crimson defense once he settles down and gets into a rhythm.  His first pass of the game can’t be to a receiver running a long out route blanketed by defenders.  Cahill has to utilize running plays to Lamar, short passes and screens to establish momentum and get the chains moving to give O’Connor a boost of confidence.

  • Avoid the distractions

The Elis must focus on the one task that matters: beating Harvard.  Forget about the Yale Daily News’ untimely article.  Disregard the grumbling parents and armchair experts.  Act like you’ve played at Fenway the last four seasons.  The Bulldogs need to have a laser focus on outplaying the Crimson for 60 straight minutes.  We have a whole offseason ahead to analyze and debate the topics related to the 2018 Yale football team, but the team needs to stay in the moment to leave everything they have on the gridiron.

Beat Harvard!

Harvard Preview

The Bulldogs travel to Fenway Park this Saturday to take on the Harvard Crimson at 12 PM EST.  If you won’t be in attendance, be sure to watch The Game on ESPN2.

Harvard enters the contest with an identical record to the Elis at 5-4 overall and 3-3 in Ivy League play.  Harvard lost to Rhode Island, Cornell, Princeton and Dartmouth although the largest margin of victory by an opponent was just 8 points.

Senior QB Tom Stewart leads the Crimson offense this season as Murphy elected to go with the veteran player over sophomore Jake Smith who started last season.  Stewart’s completion percentage of 50.9% isn’t stellar, yet he has only thrown one interception all year.  With Shelton-Mosley out of the lineup due to an injury, Harvard receivers Adam Scott, Henry Taylor, Tyler Adams and Jack Cook have picked up the slack and performed well.  Scott is a very fast wideout that our secondary will have to keep on eye on at all times.  Aaron Shampklin, Charlie Booker and Devin Darrington split carries at the running back position.  Shampklin is a 180 pound sophomore that has great vision and speed while being surprising hard to tackle despite his size.  Booker and Darrington are the classic Harvard backs with a combination of power and agility.  Senior Larry Allen is the most talented member of the Crimson’s offensive line that features three seniors, a junior and a sophomore.  Harvard has historically had playmakers at tight end, but the tight ends haven’t been much of a factor this season as the position was ravaged by injuries.

Harvard’s strength as a team lies in its defense.  Sophomore linebacker Jordan Hill has been making plays all over the field for the Crimson as he’s racked up 63 tackles, 24 more tackles than any other teammate.  Hill’s success is a testament to the stout defensive line that has kept blockers from reaching the second level.  Senior defensive tackle Richie Ryan leads the defensive line in tackles with 36 including 5 tackles for losses and 3.5 sacks.  Ryan’s fellow senior defensive tackle Stone Hart has 8 tackles for losses, 2.5 sacks and a forced fumble.  Senior safety Cole Thompson has been out of the lineup for the last two weeks, however, Harvard is very deep at safety and the secondary has not missed a beat thanks to the performances of Max Jones and Zach Miller.  Senior cornerback Wesley Ogsbury has picked off 6 passes this season, so an errant pass from O’Connor in Ogsbury’s direction could spell doom for the Elis.

Jake McIntyre has been an excellent kicker this season converting 12 of 14 attempts with a long of 42 yards.  He has been perfect on extra points as well.  Punter Jon Sot is averaging 41 yards per punt and boomed one for 75 yards.

Beat Harvard!

Notes on the Loss to Princeton

A disastrous first quarter that led to a 21 point deficit for the Bulldogs was ultimately too much to overcome against a powerful Princeton team in a 59-43 loss at the Bowl.  Yale dropped to 5-4 (3-3 Ivy) to set up a battle of 5-4 teams at Fenway for The Game.

On Princeton’s first play from scrimmage, running back Collin Eady raced 75 yards to put the Tigers up 7-0 just seconds into the contest.  On Yale’s second offensive play, O’Connor threw the ball directly to a Princeton defender who returned it inside of the red zone.  Eaddy made the score 14-0 as he knifed through Yale’s defense for a 17 yard score.  O’Connor’s luck did not improve on Yale’s second drive as his pass was tipped in the backfield and intercepted by a Princeton linebacker.  Princeton’s third string running back Ryan Quigly outran the Bulldogs on a 37 yard scoring play to put the Tigers up 21-0.  Yale was able to put together a touchdown drive to begin the second quarter to make it 21-7, but defensive woes allowed Princeton to go into halftime with a 42-14 lead.  Yale’s offense exploded in the second half, yet Princeton was able to add another 17 points to keep Yale at bay.

Freshman Griffin O’Connor threw for a record 465 yards with 3 touchdowns against a very stingy defense.  His 4 interceptions, however, were crippling as the Yale defense could not slow down Princeton until well into the second half.  The offensive line performed very well giving ample time for O’Connor to find open receivers and clearing the path for Lamar and Alston in the ground game.  Lamar finished with over 100 yards rushing, while Alston averaged a respectable 4.8 yards per attempt.  Klubnik was absolutely dominant with 8 catches for 234 yards.  Shohfi had two long catches for 79 yards, Rouse had 4 catches for 62 yards, Howland had 3 catches for 53 yards and Lamar had 3 catches for 38 yards.

Princeton’s Bob Surace must have seen holes in Yale’s rush defense and decided to exploit the weaknesses as Princeton rushed for 489 yards.  Second string running back Eaddy had 266 yards with 3 touchdowns, while third stringer Quigley added 113 yards with 2 touchdowns.  If that wasn’t bad enough, Lovett tacked on another 110 rushing yards and 2 touchdowns.  The Yale defensive line was not getting enough penetration or pushing back offensive linemen.  Linebackers and safeties were not filling the gaps or getting off of blocks.  When we did have defenders in position to make a play, we missed way too many tackles.  Pass defense was much improved and corners were finally turning their heads to play the passes.  Horsted’s long touchdown reception was an embarrassment though as he effortlessly ran through Bulldogs on his way to a 52 yard touchdown.

Penalties were cleaned up as Yale was cited for just one penalty for 10 yards.  Galland was perfect on extra points and was only forced to punt once in the contest.  Reno did a great job keeping the players motivated in the second half to claw back within 16 points.

Beat Harvard!

Yale 43 Princeton 59

Keys to Victory

  • Slow down the trio of Lovett, Horsted and Carlson

The Bulldogs must find a way to slow down Princeton’s quarterback John Lovett and wide receivers Jesper Horsted and Stephen Carlson on Saturday.  Lovett is the Ivy League’s version of Tim Tebow as he is a bruising runner who also possesses the passing skills to make collegiate secondaries look foolish.  Horsted and Carlson are both 6’4″ targets that are nearly impossible to jam at the line of scrimmage.  They have excellent leaping abilities to grab passes at the highest points.  Dartmouth had success stopping Lovett’s rushes as he averaged just 2.4 yards per attempt, but he still managed to score two rushing touchdowns and was a very efficient passer despite one interception.  Carlson had a quiet day versus the Big Green, yet Horsted exploded for 9 catches for 88 yards.  Princeton has so many weapons on offense that a defense can’t shut down all of the threats.  Yale must create penetration with the defensive line to give the linebackers clean shots on Lovett when he opts to run the ball.  Once Lovett gets past the linebacking corps, it will be very difficult for our smaller defensive backs to tackle him.  Defensive backs have to stay over the top of Carlson and Horsted as well as turn their heads to play the ball.  Horsted catches the ball every time a defender tries to face guard him.

  • Clean up the penalties

Yale was cited for 12 penalties for 131 yards last week versus Brown.  In the loss to Holy Cross, the Bulldogs were called for 11 penalties for 77 yards.  Yale had 6 more penalties than Dartmouth in the loss to the Big Green, two of which wiped away touchdowns.  In each of Yale’s losses this season, we have had more penalties than the opponent.  Princeton will capitalize on penalties and make us pay dearly for these mental mistakes.  College football is a game of momentum and nothing deflates a team like having a touchdown erased for a holding penalty.  Scoring opportunities against Princeton will be few and far between, so we cannot squander any chances.

  • Convert on third downs

Dartmouth was only able to convert on 3 of 12 third downs, while Harvard converted on just 8 of 17 attempts.  You have to wonder what these contests would have looked like if these offenses had been able to convert on third downs more often to keep the Princeton offense off of the field for an extra possession or two.  Princeton’s defense is not going to give up yards easily and Surace will likely look to bring heat against our first year quarterback with blitzers such as Fossati.  The Bulldogs need to utilize passing plays that develop quickly, so that O’Connor can find Shohfi, Klubnik, Howland and others before the pressure reaches him.  If Princeton opts to play conservatively on defense, Lamar and Alston will have chances to scamper downfield as Harvard and Dartmouth’s top running backs each averaged 5 yards or more per carry.  The priority this week is to keep Lovett, Horsted and Carlson off of the field entirely with long Bulldog drives.

 

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