Spring Ball Preview

Offense

QB: Rawlings is already 8th all-time in completions and 9th all-time in touchdowns after just two seasons.  Most importantly, he is 2-0 versus Harvard.  Developing chemistry with wideouts will be crucial this spring with the graduation of Williams-Lopez, Graham, Drwal, and Siragusa.  Patrick Conte saw limited action last year as the backup and he and Jimmy Check will need all the practice reps they can get to master the offense.  In the event of an injury to Rawlings, Tre Moore might prove to be the most effective at running the offense.

RB: Zane Dudek was the Ivy League Rookie of the Year and led the Ivy League in rushing yards.  Salter will graduate, but Melvin Rouse and Michael Purvey have playing experience and both showed rare talent for freshmen.  The addition of Lamar next season should give Yale a number of explosive options in the backfield.

WR:  The receiving corps is filled with talent and experience, but none of them have been long term starters to date.  Shohfi will likely be the number one wideout with Rouse, Klubnik, Carrington, Marcinick, and Herring contributing.  Rouse and Carrington in particular must use the spring to establish themselves as legitimate receiving threats with the departure of Williams-Lopez.

TE: John Lager has the most experience in the group playing in eight contests last season.  He will face stiff competition for the starting job from Roman, Howland, Hoban and Dawson.  The tight end competition seems to be wide open this spring after the loss of Graham.

OL: Eiselen and Strother will be the veteran stalwarts along the offensive line.  Cameron Warfield filled in nicely last season at tackle when Bezney went down with an injury.  Jack Lee was a starter during spring ball last season, but an injury derailed his campaign in 2017.  Tribble, Sexton and Cepalia each started one game last season and each have the potential to be solid starters in 2018.  Hinish, Jost, Lemay, and Van de Grift all have in-game experience and could challenge for starting positions.

Defense

DL: The graduation of Copache Tyler, Earl Chism and John Herubin will put smiles on the faces of opposing Ivy League offensive line coaches.  Luckily, Yale has built tremendous depth along the defensive line over the past two seasons.  Kyle Mullen and Charles Callender dominated on the outside last season.  Matthaei started six games, while Keeler and Roman rotated in often.  Kissel and Sampleton should see increased playing time at defensive end.  Julian Fraser had a great freshman season and then was rarely utilized last season.  Look for him and Daniel James to make strides this spring.  Crowle is rumored to be coming back for a fifth year in the fall.

LB: Replacing Oplinger and Foye will be difficult challenges of the spring.  Micah Awodiran had a slow start to his career, but by the end of the season, he was one of the most explosive players on defense.  Look for Awodiran to make huge strides this spring and begin commanding the defense.  Herbert, Balter and Burke all have experience as starters, but need to develop consistency in tackling and pass coverage.  John Dean and Jordan Carey had solid freshman seasons and will have the chance to compete for a starting role.

DB: Alessi, Carlson, and Rymiszewski all depart in addition to Coach Rice.  Dixon, Alburg, Peggs and Henson have all started at corner at one point or another, but they are all finesse players that do not possess the tackling abilities of the departing defensive backs.  Some of these corners may transition to safety, yet as it stands now, the safety position is a huge liability.  Agbeyegbe, MacPhee, and Vissman will be given every opportunity to claim these open safety spots.  Yale needs to find a big hitter with great tackling skills to complement the cover corners.

Special Teams

The special teams units should be crisp this spring and into 2018 with the return of long snapper Hunter Simino, kicker/punter Alex Galland, and kickoff specialist Sam Tuckerman.

27 thoughts on “Spring Ball Preview”

  1. Guys after Rawlings were thin at qb and i mean thin .All three qb will get a chance to be the back up to Rawlings.Do not see the talent there to run the offense. Why not give Walker Lott a shot at qb He should be playing some where this year he has a lot of talent.Did a nice job running the offense at Choate. Also Nick Henkel and Griffin O Connor should be given a shot at qb.I hope Jimmy Check and Patrick Conte played summer ball some where to improve there skills.

  2. You can bet incoming RB Trenton Charles has been promised some touches so there are a lot of backs with talent who will want to see the ball. Don’t be surprised if we see some modifications to the spread offense to get two backs on the field more often to take advantage of the talent. At least I hope that is under consideration.

    The defensive backfield is a glaring weakness on paper right now and has a new coach. There are two top freshmen inbound but development of this unit is the biggest issue on the team, followed closely keeping Rawlings healthy all year.

    Development and cohesion of the new staff members is going to be a
    big factor making spring ball very important.

  3. gentlemen; good assessment of unknowns in the defensive backfield. it will be difficult to replace mr. carlson who made many game saving tackles. there was a rumor afloat mr bezny was returning for a fifth year. the signal caller position appears to lack depth and hopefully will be a priority in spring practice.

  4. Neagli is a very big body. He will probably get another year to develop based on the numbers in front of him. Just a guess. I do not believe Bezney is coming back since he got knicked before the Harvard game, played hurt and has other opportunities. IE. smartest guy on the team.

    1. L et V,

      I WOULD LIKE TO. HOWEVER, I FRACTURED MY LEFT UPPER ARM RECENTLY AND UNABLE TO DRIVE. ALSO, I AM WORKING MOST MORNINGS FROM HOME. HOPEFULLY, I WILL BE ABLE TO ATTEND A FEW OF THE LATER PRACTICES.
      IT WILL BE INTERESTING TO ASCERTAIN WHO THE PLAYERS WILL BE TO FILL THE THREE OPEN OL POSITIONS. MY PICKS ARE FROM AMONG TYLER JOST, LUCAS TRIBBLE, TATE GOODYEAR, AND NICHOLAS SLIGH .WHO ARE YOUR PICKS?

  5. RAY:
    You’ve had a run of rotten luck. Here’s hoping you catch a break. Immediately.
    Thankfully, we’re pretty well stocked with OLs. If, as I heard, Lee was slated to start last year, I pencil him in now, assuming he’s healthy. A four way fight among Tribble, Sexton, Jost, and Neagli for the two remaining slots with Sligh cracking the lineup by midseason (Strother’s natural position being tackle).
    Also, I’ve wondered whether a couple of our more nasty OLs might be switched to the D Line.

  6. Heard that Sterling is getting reps at L Tackle. Warfield and Sexton splitting reps at right. Capallia at Center. The OLine Coach is still waiting for Yale to approve him so he isn’t allowed to coach yet. Lee, Warfield and Sexton will be battling for the open Guard and Tackle positions would be my guess.

  7. Sterling not quick enough to play left tackle . Leave him at center.Give Jack Lee a shot .I know he has not played to much due to a injury so lets see what he can do now.

  8. gentlemen; just my two cents here I agree mr strother should remain at center as more than three quarters of mr capilla’s snaps in the tiger clash were either high, low or off center.

  9. Mr. Strother learned the dark arts of the center position last summer, and I bet Mr Cepalia can do likewise this summer. Before switching his focus to football, Mr. Strother was an accomplished basketball player. He does not lack for quickness or agility.

  10. I expect Trenton Charles will get significant playing time in the backfield and possibly kick or punt return. Especially on away games when artificial turf is used. The Yale Bowl swamp mud is not a friend to the speed game.

  11. Trenton Charles will run on turf at the Bowl this fall, and I hope our turf is Yale blue, the better to render us invisible to our foes, it being obvious we will know where our teammates are.

  12. Would love to see Roman D. Major at WR big target good speed legitimate threat to take it all the way.

  13. BTW…Ole blue….Cepalia said he will work hard on the accuracy of his snaps, but only if you learn to spell his last name correctly…LOL

  14. Gentlemen; my deepest apology to mr cepalia for my misspelling of his name. I applaud the young lad’s spirit and enthusiasm toward improvement and look forward to his participation with our blue squad offensive line.

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