- 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.