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Falcons Draft Foye

The Atlanta Falcons drafted Foye Oluokun in the 6th Round at #200 overall.  The Falcons are familiar with Yale athletes as Tommy McCarthy played there during the preseason of the 2011 NFL season.  Matt Oplinger was picked up as an undrafted free agent by the Arizona Cardinals following the draft.

Foye was not the highest draft pick for the Ivy League as Penn’s Justin Watson was selected in the 5th round by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Yale Men’s Lacrosse defeated Harvard 16-8 on Saturday and remains the #1 ranked team in the nation.

Defense Dominates in Spring Game

It was a great day to be a Yale fan this past Saturday with fantastic weather, Ivy League Championship rings, a delicious BBQ, and a glimpse of Team 146.  There seemed to be a buzz around the Bowl that hadn’t been witnessed in years.

The defense showed that they are not rebuilding next season, but reloading with talent.  Reno has been able to build solid depth across the board with sustained stellar recruiting.  Several people commented on Tosan Agbeyegbe and Rodney Thomas’ play at safety, an area of particular concern given the graduation of All-Ivy caliber players at the two positions.  The defensive line should be the team’s strongest position despite the loss of Copache Tyler, Earl Chism and John Herubin.  We expect competition at linebacker to continue through the fall, but we were pleased with what we saw.

The offensive line seemed sluggish off the ball and had issues sustaining blocks.  Given the personnel changes and a new position coach, the growing pains are unavoidable.  Keep in mind that the defensive line has historically been more cohesive than the offensive line in Spring Ball over the years including last season.  We didn’t see much out of the top returning wideouts (several did not play), but their routes and timing with Rawlings will only improve over the summer and fall workouts.  Jimmy Check may have the potential to fill in for Rawlings in an emergency.  It would have been nice to see the Blue-White Game at the end of Spring Ball this year as it was evident that the offensive players still needed a few practices under their belt to go toe to toe with the defense.  On the other hand, the Bulldogs will have this week to clean up the mental mistakes and focus on an Ivy League repeat in the fall.

In other news, Yale Lacrosse defeated #2 Albany 14-6 yesterday.

Blue and White Game on Saturday

Head out to the Yale Bowl this weekend to catch a glimpse of the core of next season’s squad.  The game will begin at 1 PM and will last until roughly 3 PM or so.  After the game, be sure to stick around for the Ivy League Championship Ring Ceremony and a Yale football BBQ.  The weather looks like it will be mostly cloudy with a high of 53.

The celebration of Tom Beckett’s career will take place on April 24th.

Spring Updates

Former 49er, Al Netter, has become the next offensive line coach at Yale.  Netter started 52 games at Northwestern before entering the NFL and playing for 3 seasons under Coach Jim Harbaugh.  Netter followed Harbaugh to Michigan where he was a Graduate Assistant for the last two seasons.    As many have pointed out, Sterling Strother will be given a chance to move to left tackle with Cepalia getting snaps at center.

The Blue White Game is scheduled for April 21st at 1 PM.  There will be three additional practices after the Spring Game to allow the players to put the finishing touches on a successful offseason.

Oplinger dominated his Pro Day at Yale measuring 6’2″, 250 lbs, and running a 4.75 40 yard dash.  Seven NFL teams were in attendance and several scouts commented on his impressive work in the drills.  Foye Oluokun is reportedly drawing early interest from the Falcons, Broncos and 49ers after his eye-opening Pro Day performance.

Yale lacrosse is ranked #6 in the nation coming off a tough overtime loss to Bucknell over the weekend.

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.

Early Look at 2018 Schedule

9/15 at Holy Cross

9/22 at Cornell

9/29 vs. Maine

10/06 vs. Dartmouth

10/13 vs. Mercer

10/20 at Penn

10/27 at Columbia

11/03 vs. Brown

11/10 vs. Princeton

11/17 at Harvard (Fenway)

The mid-season stretch of Maine, Dartmouth, Mercer, Penn and Columbia appears to be brutal on paper.  Luckily, the Bulldogs will have three of these contests at home.  Mercer plays Auburn and Alabama on an annual basis and defeated two top 25 FCS teams last season.  The final two contests will determine who wins the Ivy League championship in 2018.  Princeton is seen as an early favorite by many with the return of Lovett, talented wideouts and several key defenders.  The Harvard game will present a unique challenge with the atmosphere at Fenway and a motivated Harvard team that has dropped two straight contests to the Elis.

Coaching Shuffle

Another member of the coaching staff has decided to leave New Haven as Chandler Henley accepted an NFL position with the Tennessee Titans.  Assistant Offensive Line Coach Matt Cerins was promoted to Tight Ends Coach.  Former Syracuse and Colgate assistant, Ben Olson, has been named the Defensive Line Coach and will be responsible for recruiting in western states.

Men’s Basketball was routed by Penn 80-57 on Saturday at the Palestra to end the Bulldogs season.  Men’s lacrosse beat Fairfield and is ranked the #7 team in the nation.

Winter Sports Update

Men’s Basketball had an exciting weekend with a buzzer beater to defeat Penn and an overtime victory over Princeton to destroy their hopes of entering the Ivy League Tournament.  Yale will have a rematch against Penn in the first round of the Ivy League Tournament on Saturday at 3 PM ET on ESPN 2.

Men’s Hockey dropped their final two games to Quinnipiac in the first round of the ECAC Hockey Tournament.

Men’s Lacrosse is 3-1 and currently ranked the #10 team in the nation.  Jason Alessi has two assists on the season so far.

Trautwein Leaves New Haven for Boston

After one of the briefest coaching stints in Yale history, Offensive Line Coach Phil Trautwein will head to Boston College (luckily not Harvard).  Reno will need to find a talented coach in a hurry to keep the recruits locked in and establish a solid base with the returning players prior to the beginning of Spring Ball.

Men’s Basketball has four crucial Ivy League games remaining to vie for a top four finish and a birth in the Ivy League Tournament.  Good luck Coach Jones and Go Bulldogs!

Vicky Chun to become next AD

Yale will announce this afternoon that Colgate’s Vicky Chun will be the next Director of Athletics at Yale University.  Vicky has enormous shoes to fill with the departure of Tom Beckett and she will soon learn that Yale fans demand a level of excellence that can’t be comprehended at a Patriot League institution.

Congratulations Vicky Chun and Go Bulldogs!

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