Notes from Lehigh Game

The Bulldogs are sitting at 1-0 after cruising to a 56-28 win over Lehigh on Saturday.  QB Kurt Rawlings looked fantastic throwing the ball in tight windows and finding open receivers all day.  The RB trio of Salter, Dudek, and Grinde exceeded all expectations after it was announced last week that Lamar was out for the season.  The WR corps is as dominant as ever and Melvin Rouse had a breakout performance.  The front seven on defense is a formidable group with depth and talent.  DT Copache Tyler and DE Charles Callender wreaked havoc on Lehigh’s offensive line.  Areas of concern are still the offensive line and the secondary.  The offensive line held up for most of the game, but did not seem as crisp in the second half.  As others noted, Lucas Tribble was playing guard in place of Dieter Eiselen.  The secondary has improved from last year, yet there were still lapses in communications that left Lehigh receivers streaking downfield without a white jersey in sight.  Reno has no hesitation playing freshmen as Dudek, Grinde, Rouse, Carrington, and Dean saw their first action of their careers.

Get ready for the Big Red this week!

 

 

Reactions to Depth Chart

A depth chart surfaced yesterday showcasing Yale’s two-deep for the Lehigh game.  The defensive line will feature Chism and Mullen at the defensive end spots and Herubin and Crowle at the defensive tackle positions.  Several former players were shocked that Copache Tyler is not starting and there was also no mention of  the disruptive Julian Fraser.  Oplinger, Burke and Oluokun will be the starting linebackers with Jordan Carey, Blake Hill and Quintin Herbert backing them up.  Hopefully Foye has learned from his mistakes at linebacker early last season before he was switched back to safety.  No reference of Awodiran, but Hill and Carey performed well in camp to earn the back-up spots.  Rymiszewski and Marquise Peggs will hold down the corner spots with Alessi and Carlson as safeties.  Freshman Deonte Henson will back up Peggs at corner and could be thrown into the fire early with any injuries.

The offensive line had no surprises in personnel, but perhaps in position choices with Bezney at right tackle, Huizenga at right guard, Strother at center, Eiselen at left guard, and Marback at left tackle.  We were expecting to see Marback at center and Strother at tackle.  Rawlings will start at quarterback with Salter joining him in the backfield as the starting runningback.  Dudek and Grinde will relieve Salter.  Jaeden Graham earned the starting nod at tight end after a solid camp.  The starting receiving corps had one surprise with Drwal as the third wideout.  Williams-Lopez and Siragusa will be the top two receivers, but expect talented players such as Klubnik, Shohfi and Locke to rotate in regularly.

Keys to Defeating Lehigh

  • Limit Brad Mayes

In last year’s contest, Mayes threw for over 500 yards and 6 touchdowns in back-up duty.  Now as the full time starter this season, Mayes has thrown for over 300 yards in both contests.  Keeping Mayes under 300 yards passing will be a tall task for Rymiszewski and company.  The defense will have to employ a bend, but not break mentality.  We can give up the short passes and let them burn the clock, but if Lehigh’s receivers beat our corners and safeties over the top, it will be a grueling day for the Bulldogs.

  • Slow down Bragalone

Bragalone is a strong, patient runner that keeps defenses off balance.  Yale will not be able to stack the box to stop Bragalone as this will leave the secondary exposed.  We will have to rely on determined play from our defensive line and linebackers to fill the running lanes.

  • Establish a rhythm offensively

This will be Lehigh’s third contest of the season and we can expect their offense to be crisp.  We will experience some early mental mistakes by the Bulldogs in their first contest, but if Rawlings can get in rhythm with talented wideouts like Williams-Lopez, we can put up points on Lehigh’s leaky defense.  The best defense is a good offense and we need to focus on methodical drives to keep the ball away from Lehigh.  If Lamar is still out with an injury, Salter and Dudek will have to step up to keep our offense from becoming one dimensional.  Many have compared Dudek to Lehigh’s Bragalone due to their high school roots, so it will be interesting to see how they compare on the same field of play.

  • Execute on the offensive line

Yale has the most talented receiving corps in the Ivy League, but if we can’t protect Rawlings, there will be no hope of stretching plays downfield.  The team that can win in the trenches will win this game.  Diagnosing blitzes and communicating along the line can give Rawlings enough time to pick apart Lehigh’s secondary.

 

5 Days to Lehigh

The Bulldogs will travel to Bethlehem, PA this weekend to take on the 0-2 Lehigh Mountain Hawks.  Lehigh played two very tough opponents over the last few weeks in Villanova and Monmouth, so don’t count them out just yet.  Lehigh pounded us 63-35 last season behind their backup quarterback at the Bowl.  This game presents a fantastic opportunity for Tony Reno and his staff to show the improvements made from a year ago.

Kickoff will be at 12:30 PM ET on Saturday and the game can be seen on the Patriot League Network.  A more detailed preview will follow in the coming days.

Camp Updates

Bo Hines has decided to hang up the cleats and issued a statement that his decision was based on medical reasons.  We would have loved to see Bo this year, but luckily the WR corps is one of our deepest units.  The Blue-White scrimmage took place on Saturday and gave us a good opportunity to evaluate the returning talent and rookies.  The runningbacks are a versatile group with Lamar, Salter, and newcomers such as Dudek all adding different running styles to keep the defense off balance.  The offensive line is getting better by the day and we keep hearing about the great performances in camp by Marback, Strother and Bezney.  The coaches have been thrilled with Rawlings’ development thus far.  On the defensive front, Fraser flashed in early practices and Daniel James made a few nice plays in the scrimmage.  It will be interesting to see who earns the starting spots at defensive tackle with Tyler, Fraser, Crowle, James and others battling it out.  Oplinger and Rymiszewski have been the heart and soul of the defense so far this preseason.

The Bulldogs open the season on September 16th at Lehigh.

Top Stories Heading into Preseason

The Bulldogs will be reporting to campus this afternoon for the start of preseason camp.  Here are the top storylines heading into the season:

Who will start at WR?  Bo Hines is finally healthy and Chris Williams-Lopez enters his senior season, so one is inclined to assume that those two will be on the field with the first string offense.  The 3rd WR spot will be a toss-up as there are several great players that can fill that role such as Klubnik, Siragusa, and Shohfi.  Drwal, Herring, Locke and Marcinick have all seen extensive action and could contend for a starting spot with a fantastic camp.  Incoming freshman Darrion Carrington might enter the mix if any injuries arise and there are still several talented WRs on the roster that we haven’t even mentioned.

What defense will show up?  Will the defense that fell apart against Colgate and Lehigh reappear this year?  With the coaching adjustment at defensive coordinator and the return of two All-Ivy defenders that missed last season, the defense on paper seems stronger.  Much of the success will depend on the development of young linebackers, the one area of relative inexperience on this side of the ball.  The defensive line has no excuse not to manhandle opposing fronts.

How has Rawlings developed?  We won’t know for certain how productive the offseason was for Rawlings until September 16th against Lehigh.  If Rawlings continues to improve at reading defenses, he could be one of Yale’s greats, but with his limited body of work, it’s simply too early to tell what kind of player he can become in the future.  Rawlings and his top receivers really need to nail down the timing of routes this camp.

Which freshman will make the biggest impact?  Awodiran comes in as the highest rated recruit by national recruiting sites, but rookies like Melvin Rouse or Darnell Robinson could find themselves starting if seasoned defensive backs go down with injuries.  Reno will play the best player regardless of age and that leaves openings on the offensive line and linebacker corps that could shake things up.

Can the special teams units continue to improve?  We return our starting K/P  Alex Galland, LS Hunter Simono, and holder Rafe Chapple, so the key spots are filled with experience.  The special teams units will need to further develop in the areas of protection and kick coverage, but all the ingredients are there for success on this side of the ball.

Ivy Preseason Poll

The Ivy League released its annual preseason poll with the Tigers and Crimson tied for first place.

Princeton

Harvard

Penn

Yale

Dartmouth

Brown

Columbia

Cornell

Why the poll is wrong: Princeton lost key components on defense.  Harvard melted down at the end of last season and coaching has seemed to deteriorate over the years.  Penn lost a potential starting QB and CB in the off-season, but adds a Georgia transfer at QB.  Yale has experienced starters coming back at every position group and Rawlings development could shock fans around the league.  Dartmouth has talented and young offensive players, yet lost their best defender and had a coaching shakeup with several assistants.  Brown returns the core of their offense, but Columbia seems to have out-recruited them the past two years.  Cornell has a top RB and seems to play hard when the cards are stacked against them.

Why the poll is correct: Besides the close loss to Harvard last season, Princeton dominated their Ivy League foes and returns several All-Ivy players.  Harvard is a perennial favorite and will be looking for vengeance after losing the title.  Penn’s defense will keep them near the top of the standings, but they lack the offensive firepower to beat Princeton or Harvard.  Yale has the talent in place to make a run, but coaching and injuries could derail the season.  Dartmouth will be looking to bounce back, but will not have the defense to limit offenses.  Brown should beat Columbia and Cornell and lose tight games to teams in the upper half of the league.  Columbia is starting to put the pieces in place, but will need another year or two to change the culture.  Cornell has limited support from administration and has not had fabulous recruiting classes to stock the shelves for future seasons.

First Impressions of Recruits

Micah Awodiran (LB)-Arguably the top recruit in the class, Awodiran is a speedy sideline-to-sideline linebacker who effortlessly sheds blocks.  He is a great blitzer, has excellent tackling skills and demonstrates high effort on the gridiron.

Christian Sampleton (TE/DE)- Sampleton displays natural instincts on the defensive side of the ball with quick play recognition abilities.  He punishes smaller backs that attempt to block him and chases down ball carriers when given a window.  On offense, he is a solid downfield blocker with sure hands and is a threat after the reception.

Jake Hinish (OL)- Hinish is a bruising blocker that utilizes his hands well and generates a push off of the line of scrimmage.  He is quick enough to be an effective pulling guard and once he locks onto a defender, he will play through the whistle.

John Dean (LB)- Dean may be the best linebacker in pass coverage of this class as he is constantly disrupting throwing lanes.  He is also a very effective blitzer and open field tackler.

Jimmy Check (QB)- Check is a tall, lanky passer with a big arm.  He looks to throw first, but is evasive in the pocket and can create opportunities with his legs.  Check can adjust on the fly and keeps broken plays alive.  His throwing mechanics and most notably footwork, are excellent for a young QB.

Patrick Conte (QB)- Conte is able to fit the ball into tight spaces and keeps his eyes downfield when the pocket collapses.  He throws accurate passes rolling out to his right or left side.  Conte is great at reading defenses and loves getting the ball to his deep threats when there is a breakdown in coverage.

Walker Lott (DB)- Lott is a former QB who has the size and tools needed to successfully transition to defensive back.  His film shows off his speed and power.  Given his QB experience, he should be able to learn Yale’s coverage packages quickly.

Jordan Carey (LB)- Carey is a downhill linebacker that can shoot into the backfield and disrupt plays from the start.  He is shifty in a short area making it difficult for linemen to latch onto him.  His most impressive traits are his speed and tackling abilities.  Coaches look for linebackers that run like safeties and Carey definitely fits this mold.

Blake Hill (LB)- Hill looks like the classic middle linebacker with the size and power to limit offenses.  He is a big hitter and seizes opportunities to lay the wood on opponents.  Hill was a solid runningback at the high school level and that athleticism should serve him well chasing down backs at the collegiate level.

Donovan Slater (OL)- Slater is a strong center that maintains leg drive through the whistle.  His snapping skills are solid and he uses his size to overpower smaller linebackers at the second level.  He is also effective at recognizing blitzes and stunts.

D. Major Roman (TE)- Roman is a tall tight end with the hands and leaping ability to catch balls in traffic.  After the catch, Roman has the speed and power to extend the play.  He could develop into a serious weapon for Rawlings.

Thomas Vissmann (RB)- Vissmann runs with aggression and easily breaks arm tackles.  When the hole is clogged, he has the patience and vision to turn a loss into a gain.  With the talented RBs we have and a defensive backfield that will graduate several starters after this season, Vissmann could find himself on the defensive side of the ball given his talent at safety.

Ethan Campbell (LB)- Campbell is a technically sound player that loves running down ball carriers.  With his height and pass rushing abilities, he may be better suited to play defensive end than linebacker at the next level.  Campbell loves to punish quarterbacks and is hard to block at the point of attack.

Brandon Peterson (DE)- Peterson has the leg strength to bullrush offensive tackles into the backfield and the speed to run down quarterbacks after disengaging with the blocker.  He is quick off the ball and keeps containment on the outside shutting down sweeps and reverses.  Peterson could develop into a defensive tackle with additional weight.

JJ Howland (TE)- Howland is another tall target at tight end that is able to catch the ball at its highest point leaving smaller defensive backs helpless.  Howland’s biggest strength is receiving balls in traffic as he will catch contested balls and isn’t afraid to get hit over the middle.  He is also strong run blocker and keeps his legs driving through the whistle.

Cameron Warfield (OL)- Warfield shows that he has the power to move defenders in the run game and the quick feet to stay with speedy defensive ends in passing scenarios.  He utilizes his size and leverage to seal off defenders on the backside of plays and likes to finish with a pancake.

Michael Purvey Jr. (RB)- Purvey is a well-rounded back that is dangerous on handoffs and short passes out of the backfield.  Once he has a step on the defender, there is no chance of running him down.  As he extends plays laterally, he can find a hole and quickly turn upfield for a big gain.

Darrion Carrington (WR)- Carrington is the complete package at wideout.  He is fast, tall, runs sharp routes, and has sticky hands.  Carrington is also a dangerous punt returner and could make an impact on special teams early in his career.

Melvin Rouse II (CB)- Rouse has all the tools to be a shutdown corner in the Ivy League.  He’s quick, has great awareness, and packs a punch when tackling.  Rouse is fantastic at reading quarterbacks and once he intercepts the pass, he is electric with the ball in his hands.

Zane Dudek (RB)- Dudek simply could not be tackled at the high school level.  He breaks arm tackles, stiff arms defenders and spins away from the opposition as he dashes for large gains.  Dudek’s vision and patience allow him to wait for teammates’ blocks to spring free.

Sasha Hoban (TE)- Hoban is a versatile tight end that can be lined up on the outside or in the box.  He runs sharp routes often leaving defenders yards behind as the ball is delivered.  Hoban is also great at releasing from the line of scrimmage as he rarely will get jammed by linebackers or safeties.

Tyler Jost (OT)- Jost uses quick feet to set up nicely in pass protection and looks to put defenders onto the turf when they lose their balance.  He is most comfortable when down blocking a defensive tackle as he clears the gap for the back.  When Jost engages a defender, he keeps his legs driving through whistle.

Deonte Henson (CB)- Henson is a very quick athlete than can turn on a dime. He has excellent catch-up speed allowing him to intercept well thrown balls.  His sticky hands and awareness make him a nightmare for opposing quarterbacks.  Henson has all the tools to play on an island and shut down a team’s top target.

Grant Neagli (OT)- Offensive line coaches love players like Neagli who can create a hole at the line of scrimmage and then run downfield to continue blocking multiple defenders.  He has a nasty streak and routinely plants defenders.  Neagli’s strength and long arms keep defenders at bay and allow him to defeat pass rush moves with ease.

Rodney Thomas (DB)- Thomas has great route recognition skills and the agility to stay glued to fast wideouts.  He is a high effort athlete that is always competing whether it be on defense, offense or special teams.  Thomas’ speed and athleticism enable him to play man coverage without a 5 yard buffer.

Darnell Robinson (CB)- Robinson is yet another talented defensive back in this class.  With his confirmed 4.5 speed, receivers simply cannot outrun him.  When he’s not shutting down wideouts in coverage, he is equally impressive in run game support.  He knows how to get off blocks and is a sure tackler.

AJ Ryan (LB)- Ryan has the prototypical size, speed and strength for an inside linebacker.  He shoots downhill with aggression and obliterates backs on contact.  Aside from the run game, Ryan is also a skilled blitzer and a talented defender in pass coverage.

Michael Chime (DT)- Watching Chime block a punt and then proceed to scoop and score should show you everything you need to know about this athlete.  Chime is solidly built and is able to bull rush through blockers, yet he also has the speed and hip flexibility to rush an outside edge.  Chime has a powerful first step and is quick enough to penetrate the backfield before the play develops.

 

2021 Recruiting Class

Yale released the official recruiting roster for the 2021 class today.

Micah Awodiran, LB, 6-2 220, Marist (Chicago, IL)

Christian Sampleton, TE/DE, 6-3 245, Nazareth Academy (La Grange Park, IL)

Jake Hinish, OL, 6-3 295, Central Catholic (Pittsburgh, PA)

John Dean, LB, 6-2 228, Choate Rosemary Hall (Wallingford, CT)

Jimmy Check, QB, 6-4 210, Paul VI Catholic (Fairfax, VA)

Patrick Conte, QB, 6-5 230, Fairfield College Preparatory (Fairfield, CT)

Walker Lott, DB, 6-3 225, Choate Rosemary Hall (Wallingford, CT)

Jordan Carey, LB/RB, 5-11 203, Hazelwood Central (Florissant, MO)

Blake Hill, MLB, 6-1 228, Milford (Milford, MA)

Donovan Slater, OL, 6-3 290, Central Catholic (Pittsburgh, PA)

D. Major Roman, TE, 6-5 215, New London (New London, CT)

Thomas Vissman, RB, 6-0 210, Upper St. Clair (Pittsburgh, PA)

Ethan Campbell, MLB, 6-4 218, La Salle (Cincinatti, Ohio)

Brandon Peterson, DE, 6-3 250, Alamo Heights (San Antonio, TX)

JJ Howland, TE, 6-6 250, Choate Rosemary Hall (Wallingford, CT)

Cameron Warfield, OL, 6-5 285, Gonzaga (Washington, DC)

Michael Purvey Jr., RB, 5-10 215, Strake Jesuit (Houston, TX)

Darrion Carrington, WR, 6-2 175, Toms River North (Toms River, NJ)

Melvin Rouse II, CB, 5-10 170, Charlotte Latin (Charlotte, NC)

Zane Dudek, RB, 5-10 190, Armstrong (Kittanning, PA)

Sasha Hoban, TE, 6-4 245, Newton South (Newton, MA)

Tyler Jost, OT, 6-6 290, Libertyville (Libertyville, IL)

Deonte Henson, CB, 5-9 170, West Brook (Beaumont, TX)

Grant Neagli, OT, 6-8 295, Episcopal (Alexandria, VA)

Rodney Thomas, WR/DB, 6-0 170, Central Catholic (Pittsburgh, PA)

Darnell Robinson, CB, 5-10 178, Oxbridge Academy (West Palm Beach, FL)

AJ Ryan, LB, 6-1 230, Xaverian Brothers (Westwood, MA)

Michael Chime, DT, 6-1 265, St. Ignatious (Cleveland, OH)

Andrew Grinde, RB, 5-11 210, CM Russell (Great Falls, MT)

 

Noah Pope, Jaylan Sandifer and Demani Hansford (Air Force) were formerly committed to Yale, but do not appear on this list.

Look for our analysis of each recruit over the next week.