FOOTBALL | Witt, Elis end spring season

As the football team’s spring season winds down, the Bulldogs are gearing up for their annual Blue-White scrimmage set for Saturday — the 12th and final practice for Yale this spring and the last opportunity for fans and coaches to get a glimpse of next year’s squad on the field before the fall.

Sixteen of 22 starters are returning from last season, and although head coach Tom Williams said no position is set in stone, only one of last year’s two starting quarterbacks has been practicing this spring.

Patrick Witt ’12 and Brook Hart ’11 will again be battling for the starting quarterback spot. But Hart, who joined the baseball team as a pitcher this year, has not been able to attend any of this year’s spring football practices. Williams said that with Hart’s absence, Witt has been able to get more reps under center and become more familiar with the team’s offense.

“The fact that [Hart’s] not here is giving Patrick the opportunity to get more comfortable with what we’re trying to do offensively and more opportunities to try and solidify the job,” Williams said, though he added that the position will still be up for grabs this fall. “But certainly I think Patrick is putting himself in the position to have a better understanding of what we’re trying to do offensively.”

Last season, Witt, who transferred from Nebraska before the season started, threw for eight touchdowns and 11 interceptions in eight games, while Hart had four touchdowns and five interceptions in six games.

Witt said his relationship with the Bulldogs’ offensive coordinator Brian Stark has improved over the year, which he said was necessary for his improvement on the field.

“We’re both on the same page, and that chemistry is really going to help out this fall,” Witt said. “We need to be seeing the field the same way — he knows what’s expected of me, and I know why he’s calling certain plays. That chemistry is going to really help out this fall.”

Williams, who will be entering his second season at Yale, said the chief focus of spring practices has been to perfect the new offensive and defensive schemes he brought in last year, as well as to develop depth among some of the younger players.

With one year of head coaching already under his belt, Williams said that after having seen the personnel on the other teams, he has been able to adjust his recruiting in order to help the team in matchups where they are at a disadvantage. He also said that with injured players returning, including Gio Christodoulou ’11, who was out with a foot injury after two games last season, the team should see improvement over last year’s performance.

The Blue-White scrimmage is set to start Saturday 2 p.m. at the Yale Bowl.

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