Foye Oluokun has been fantastic in preseason camp for the Falcons and many believe he has actually outplayed the current starter at outside linebacker, Duke Riley. He was the top performing defender in the Falcons exhibition against the Jets as ranked by Pro Football Focus. Oluokun unfortunately suffered an injury on a special teams play in the Falcons contest last week and was absent from practice on Monday and Tuesday this week. Let’s hope he can bounce back to secure his spot on the 53 man roster and contend for the starting spot. Jaeden Graham and Matt Oplinger both appear to be on the roster bubble for the Falcons and Cardinals respectively.
The Yale-Brown scrimmage in Providence on Saturday is not open to the public.
Nicholas Crowle, a 5th year Senior from Milford, was named the next Captain of Yale football in the wake of Mullen’s departure. Crowle has been a key member of the defensive line over the last four seasons, but often was sidelined with injuries. The Political Science major from Stiles is poised to lead the Bulldogs in their defense of the Ivy league title in 2018. Congrats to Nicholas!
The Bulldogs held a Blue-White scrimmage on Saturday at the Bowl. Steve Conn wrote a very informative write-up on the event on Yale’s official athletic website. Notable performers included Rawlings, Dudek, Lamar, Pope, Charles, Shohfi, Carrington, Abraham and Howland. As many have pointed out on this blog, the playing surface should have been in better shape to begin the season. The last year of natural grass in the Bowl could turn into a muddy mess.
The Bulldogs will head to Providence next Saturday for a scrimmage against the Brown Bears.
With Mullen gone for the season, who will step up to take his spot? Callender will likely be a starter and has already flashed dominance early in his career. Sean Kissel and Devin Moore were recently named Dogs of the Day after stellar practice performances. Hunter Roman started against Columbia last season and is a fantastic pass rusher. Matthaei is still listed on the roster at defensive end and not defensive tackle, so there are viable options for Reno to work with at this stage. The tougher part for Yale will be replacing Mullen’s leadership skills and building team unity over the next few weeks.
With just three and a half weeks of preparation left before the contest against Holy Cross, Captain Kyle Mullen’s name has been removed from the official Yale roster. An anonymous source confirmed to the Yale Daily News that Mullen left during the summer and a new Captain has not been named at this point. What’s another Yale football season without a little drama?
Camp officially kicked off yesterday for an afternoon practice and the Bulldogs gathered for another practice this morning. The road to back to back outright titles starts here and finishes at Fenway!
With pre-season camp almost here, it’s time to start previewing the 2018 squad. What do you think will be the most competitive positional battle for a starting role?
We can assume the positions of kicker (Galland), punter (Galland), long snapper (Simino), quarterback (Rawlings), center (Strother), one guard position (Eiselen), and one defensive end position (Mullen) are locked down barring an unfortunate injury. That leaves us with a number of possibilities and combinations all over the field.
Despite being a pre-season All-American selection, Dudek will still have to battle Lamar for the starting running back position. For those new Yale parents unfamiliar with Lamar, he was one of the lone bright spots during the 2016 campaign and single-handedly carried the team in some games.
Shohfi will likely be the number one wide receiver, but a number of players such as Klubnik, Rouse, Carrington, Marcinick, Locke, Herring and White will be vying for serious playing time. If a freshman comes into camp and dominates, he could start as well.
Lager and Roman should be the front-runners for the tight end job. Lager is the seasoned veteran and a balanced player with blocking and catching skills, while Roman presents mismatches for almost any secondary.
The offensive line will be one of the bigger question marks heading into camp. Strother and Eiselen are the incumbents and are versatile enough to play multiple positions along the line when necessary. Warfield, Lee, Sexton and Neagli have all been discussed as options at tackle. Cepalia, Tribble, Hinish and several others could lock down an interior line spot. Yale needs to develop cohesion in this unit, so the best combination of players that can work together will start against Holy Cross not necessarily the players with the most raw talent.
On the opposite side of Mullen, we will most likely see Callender or Roman. Kissel and Sampleton gained valuable experience at end last season and Yale lists Matthaei as an end on the roster as well. Matthaei started six games at defensive tackle last year, so naturally we’d expect him to start there opposite Nicholas Crowle. Keeler, Fraser, Chime, James and others all have an opportunity to compete for a spot.
The fate of our defense will rest on the caliber of the linebacking corps and defensive backfield that we can put together. Awodiran made tremendous strides at linebacker during his freshman year, while Burke, Herbert and Balter all return with starting experience at the position as well. Dean and Carey were solid in their first year and we heard great things about Hill prior to his injury. Talented freshmen are entering the mix and we wouldn’t be surprised to see a player like Noah Pope see action at outside linebacker.
Yale has depth and experience returning at cornerback with Peggs, Dixon, Alburg and Henson. Safety is another story with no starting experience and very little depth, yet Reno seemed pleased with the play of Thomas and Agbeyegbe in the spring. To survive the aerial onslaught of Princeton, we will need at least one corner to establish himself as a lockdown player who can play on an island and we will need the safeties to be great tacklers. Carlsen and Alessi were not elite players in pass coverage, but they saved games with key stops.
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)
Ron Carr- Tackle, 6’5″, 240 lbs., Solon (Solon, OH)
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)
Alex Galland was named as the top punter at Chris Sailer’s College Camp in California. Sailer is regarded as one of the top kicking and punting coaches in the nation and is often seen as the gatekeeper to Division 1 football for specialists. This is a huge honor for Galland and NFL teams will surely take notice. He’s no slouch as a kicker either!
Nick Tibbetts is a 6’2″, 230 lb. long snapper from Montville High School in Montville, Connecticut. Tibbetts is ranked as a top 15 long snapper in the nation, the highest positional ranking of any incoming recruit. He is a fantastic athlete who played on offense, defense and special teams in high school. Tibbetts releases quickly from the line after the snap and looks like a linebacker as he pursues punt returners. He will become a staple on the special teams units over the course of his Yale career.