Last year, injuries and unexpected departures forced Yale to confront an issue that no football team wants to confront: a problem at quarterback. After John Whitelaw ’14 quit the team days before the season began, the Bulldogs started five different players under center — including three who began the season listed at other positions.
One game deep in this nascent season, however, the Elis seem to have a problem that every team in the country would, in fact, want. Both Henry Furman ’14 and Morgan Roberts ’16 have established themselves as viable signal-callers, and the choice now seems to be which one will get the most time on Saturday.
“The competition has been fierce since the spring,” Furman said. “We’re both talented athletes, but unfortunately the nature of the position only allows for one of us to be on the field at a given time. Having said that, we’re all very supportive and want what’s best for the team.”
Furman — who began last season listed as a wide receiver — got the nod as the starter against Colgate in the Elis’ season opener on Saturday. He quickly made his mark through the air and on the ground. While he threw for 129 yards on 11–17 passing, he established himself most on the ground, running for 60 yards and three touchdowns.
Furman emphasized the ability of Yale quarterbacks to run the ball, comparing the team’s offensive scheme to that of the Oregon Ducks.
“A mobile quarterback completely changes a defensive coordinator’s mindset because he always has to account for a second rusher,” he said. “Our offseason training allowed our quarterback corps to develop our speed so that we could be weapons inside and outside the pocket.”
While Furman certainly impressed, another Eli also made his season debut on Saturday.
Roberts took the field as a Bulldog for the first time this weekend after transferring from Clemson before the season. Although he passed for only 66 yards on 8–15 passing and ran for four yards on three attempts, he has attracted much buzz in the offseason due to his arrival from the school that currently features Heisman hopeful Tajh Boyd under center.
“Though Henry Furman and Morgan Roberts do have flowing blonde hair, they are not your stereotypical pretty boy quarterbacks,” captain Beau Palin said. “Both have the mentality of lion and the finesse of a gazelle.”
Even Derek Russell ’14, another one of the Elis’ emergency quarterbacks last season, recorded a pass attempt on the day, going 1-1 for 15 yards and a touchdown.
In addition to Furman and Russell, four other quarterbacks appear on the roster. Although he did not take a snap on Saturday, perhaps the most notable is Eric Williams ’16, who started seven games for Yale last season including the season opener against Georgetown.
Perhaps more about the quarterback situation will be revealed this Saturday, as the Elis play host to Cornell in their home and Ivy League opener. Kickoff will be at 12 p.m.