The Bulldogs will try to run away from their problems tomorrow.
Possibly having to play without a true quarterback for the second straight week, Yale (2–5, 1–3 Ivy) will look to ride its powerful ground attack to a victory at Brown (4–3, 1–3 Ivy) on Saturday.
Yale ranks second in the Ivy League with 194.4 rushing yards per game and running back Tyler Varga ’15 paces the Ancient Eight at 122.5 yards per game. Head coach Tony Reno said the Bears will try to force the Elis to move the ball through the air instead.
“If it’s [Varga] or Hank [Furman ’14 playing quarterback], we have to mix it up a little bit,” Reno said. “Tyler had some stuff in the game plan [last week] that we didn’t use.”
One part of the running game that the Elis will have to work on is the hand-off. Reno said that one of Yale’s three fumbles last Saturday was a direct result of miscommunication on the transfer from Varga, who played quarterback last week, to running back Mordecai Cargill ’13.
The “mesh” is about both repetitions in practice and timing, according to Reno. Running back Kahlil Keys ’15 added that hand-offs have been emphasized in practice this past week.
“A main point of practice has been ball security and securing the ball during the mesh,” Keys said.
Unlike for most teams in the Northeast, practice for the Bulldogs was unaffected by Hurricane Sandy this past week as the team was back on the practice field Tuesday evening. But the storm did prevent injured quarterbacks Eric Williams ’16 and Derek Russell ’13 from attending rehab for several days, Reno stated.
Several players have been pressed into service under center by the injuries that have plagued the quarterback position this season. In addition to Varga and wide receivers Furman and Russell, linebacker Scott Williams ’13 could be the next signal caller to see action for the Bulldogs. He quarterbacked for the JV team last Sunday. After Williams, Reno said that Yale will be hard-pressed to find another player with experience at quarterback in high school on its roster.
“We have John Powers ’13 but he’s got a broken arm,” Reno said. “He’s the last of the Mohicans … We have kind of exhausted all options to be honest.”
Wide receiver Cam Sandquist ’14 said the revolving door at quarterback this season has not affected the wide receiving corp. He added that the strength of Yale’s running backs has kept pressure off of the receivers. Sandquist said he has had experience with every quarterback Yale has run out on the field this season.
“We have been taking reps with every quarterback that has stepped on the field so far this year since preseason,” Sandquist said. “That has made it very easy for us to mesh so far.”
Communication between the quarterbacks and receivers will be at a premium against a Brown secondary that leads the Ivy League with 10 interceptions. The Bears are in a three-way tie for first with Cornell and Princeton with 13 total takeaways this season.
Kick-off in Providence is at 12:30 p.m. tomorrow in Brown Stadium.