Tag Archive: Football

  1. Ivy sportswriters predict Cornell over Yale

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    Every Friday during football season, writers from Ivy League college newspapers send in their predictions for the weekend’s Ivy League matchups.

    In the first weekend of Ancient Eight matchups, reigning champion Harvard (1-0, 0-0 Ivy) will hit the road to face Brown (1-0, 0-0 Ivy), while Yale (1-0, 0-0 Ivy) heads up to Ithaca, N.Y., to face Cornell (0-1, 0-0 Ivy). The rest of the Ivy League is playing non-conference games this week, so they were not considered in this poll.

    If sportswriters get their way, the odds are stacked against the Elis: seven of eight sportswriters picked Cornell to beat Yale this weekend. Only Dartmouth writers say they think the Elis will pull it out.

    We’re doing a little better than Brown, though, who was unanimously expected to lose its match against Harvard. We’ll see how right our writers are this weekend.

  2. FOOTBALL | Rookie Williams makes his mark

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    Playing quarterback at Yale can prove challenging, especially for the few freshmen who have gone under center, but Eric Williams ’16 appears up to the challenge.

    The rookie signal caller has already led the Bulldogs to a historic 24–21 win at Georgetown last Saturday. He connected with wide receiver Cameron Sandquist ’14 for a record-breaking 98-yard touchdown pass, but Sandquist said it was his confidence that has been the most impressive.

    “From the get-go you could tell that he had some leadership qualities. He took control of the offense,” Sandquist said.

    Williams’ leadership ability has also caught the eye of head coach Tony Reno. It was one reason that Reno decided to name Williams the starter against Georgetown over the more experienced John Whitelaw ’14, who quit the team in the wake of that decision.

    Reno added that Williams’ attitude does not fluctuate with his play, allowing him to stay in control despite his inexperience.

    “[Williams] managed the game pretty well,” Reno said after Saturday’s victory. “He made a few mistakes, but the key with Eric was that he made the mistakes but he kept playing. For a young guy to have some negative experiences during the game, but to not change his demeanor or who he was — he just kept playing.”

    Williams credited his level-headedness on the field to his brother Scott Williams ’13 and his father, Larry Williams.

    Larry Williams played football at the University of Notre Dame before going on to be an offensive lineman in the NFL for the Cleveland Browns, San Diego Chargers, New Orleans Saints and New England Patriots.

    “He really didn’t force us to play football at all,” Williams said of his father. “He definitely did serve as our mentor once we started playing football. We listened to him in terms of how to get better.”

    Their father’s advice must have worked, because Eric is the third Williams son to don the blue and white. Scott Williams is a linebacker and Sean Williams ’11 was a defensive end for the Elis.

    Eric said the biggest advantage to having an older brother on the team has been the advice given to him on how to manage his schoolwork. He added that watching his oldest brother play at Yale is what inspired him to come to Yale.

    His brothers’ influence, combined with academic reasons, are what led Eric to turn down scholarships from the University of Cincinnati and the University of Toledo.

    “I was really interested in my academic career,” Eric said. “I know Yale offers a way better opportunity in that realm than Cincy or Toledo could.”

    Sandquist added that having a brother on the team helped the younger Williams acquaint himself with the team.

    Eric is no stranger to meeting new teammates or learning a new offense, however, since he did the same thing before his senior year of high school.

    He transferred from Jesuit High School in Portland, Ore., to football powerhouse St. Ignatius in Cleveland.

    “I liked it out there [in Oregon],” Eric said. “But coming into my senior year I wasn’t fitting in there academically or athletically.”

    Eric led St. Ignatius to its 11th Division I State Football championship, but it turns out he had athletic dreams beyond the gridiron. Until his junior year of high school, Williams said he wanted to play basketball in college. Luckily for Yale, he chose football.

    Williams and the Bulldogs will next play on Saturday, Sept. 22, when they travel to Cornell.

  3. FOOTBALL | Elis beat Hoyas sixth straight time

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    WASHINGTON, D.C. — Georgetown quarterback Aaron Aiken intended for wideout Kevin Macari to catch his 17-yard pass for a game-winning touchdown with 40 seconds remaining. Yale defensive back Collin Bibb ’13 had another idea. Bibb jumped in front of the Georgetown receiver and came down with the interception to preserve Yale’s 24–21 victory.

    The Elis had a new coach at the helm in Tony Reno and a freshman starting behind center — the first in a season opener since 1997 — in Eric Williams ’16 on Saturday. But with his family in attendance, Reno was able to kick off his career as the 34th head coach of Yale (1–0, 0–0 Ivy) football in wild and record-setting fashion with a win against the Hoyas (2–1, 0–0 Patriot) in Washington, D.C., on Saturday.

    “It’s pretty special to have my family here,” Reno said. “[And] this is a special team. It’s a team that’s had some adversity early on, and they’ve really pulled together, and they’ve changed the culture of who they are, and I couldn’t be prouder of them and our staff.”

    The adversity was evident from the start of the game, when running back Mordecai Cargill ’13 made the lonely trek to the center of the field for the coin toss. Cargill was elected by his teammates to represent the Elis at the toss this week in the absence of a team captain.

    The Bulldogs lost the flip but received the kickoff when the Hoyas deferred until the second half. On just the fourth play of the drive, Cargill was stripped by defensive back Jeremy Moore to give Georgetown possession in Yale territory.

    The Blue and White defense stood firm, however, and responded with a fumble recovery of its own by linebacker EJ Conway ’15 to stop the Hoyas at the Yale 10-yard line.

    The ensuing Yale drive witnessed the debut of running back Tyler Varga ’16, who bullied the Hoyas on his way to 47 yards and a touchdown during the 14-play, 90-yard drive to hand Yale a 7–0 advantage.

    “Varga and Mo [Cargill], they got hearts; that’s to say the least,” Williams said. “After first contact they know how to keep getting more yards.”

    The tide turned quickly on the Elis after that, with Georgetown scoring on a punt return and an interception to take a 14–7 lead. The momentum appeared to favor the Hoyas heading into halftime, but Aiken fumbled as he appeared destined to score with under a minute to play in the half, and the ball was recovered by Yale at its own two-yard line.

    On the next play, Williams wound up and fired the ball 40 yards downfield towards receiver Cameron Sandquist ’14. The ball seemed underthrown, but it was tipped by defensive back Malcolm Caldwell-Meeks into Sandquist’s waiting hands. The wide receiver then ran untouched into the end zone to give Yale a surprising 17–14 lead at the half. The 98-yard bomb was the longest play from scrimmage in the history of Yale football.

    “It wasn’t a great pass so it was tipped,” Williams said. “But Cameron, he has the instincts to go get the ball and he came down with it and took it to the house.”

    The decision to go deep was not Reno’s only gutsy call. He also ordered a fake punt on fourth down early in the second quarter, but unlike the infamous “fourth-and-22” call in the 2009 Game, the deception gained the first down and more with a 24-yard run by defensive back John Powers ’13.

    The offense gave Yale the lead heading into halftime, but it was the defense that stepped up to hold on in the second half.

    The Hoyas capitalized on center John Oppenheimer’s ’14 wild shotgun snap to recover a fumble and take a 21–17 lead with a 32-yard rushing score by tailback Dalen Claytor.

    Yale’s defense made a statement on the next drive, however; with defensive end Kolu Buck ’14 forcing a fumble that end Allen Davis ’13 recovered at the Georgetown 14-yard line.

    It took the Elis just two plays to capitalize on the defense’s work. Varga scored from nine yards out virtually untouched to take the lead back 24–21.

    The Bulldog defense then took over the fourth quarter, stopping the Hoyas on two straight fourth-and-one plays before the final drive.

    “I’m happy with the way [the defense] responded,” former captain linebacker Will McHale ’13 said. “We were put in some not the best situations, but I’m proud of the way the guys fought and proud of the effort and the execution.”

    With just 2:23 remaining in the game, Aiken began leading Georgetown down the field to try and tie or win the game. His pass on second-and-four from the Georgetown 46-yard line appeared to fly harmlessly out of bounds, but defensive back Collin Bibb ’13 was called for a late hit that gave the Hoyas a first down at the Yale 39-yard line.

    “One of the big things [Coach Reno] has taught us while he’s been here is no matter what happens in the game you’ve got to stay on an even keel emotionally,” Bibb said. “Just look to the next play always.”

    Bibb did just that. Aiken drove the Hoyas all the way to the Yale 17-yard line when Georgetown decided to try and win it with 40 seconds to go, but Bibb put a damper on the Hoyas’ hopes with his takeaway, and the Elis were able to run out the clock on the opening day victory.

    Williams finished 19–30 for 250 yards with a touchdown and three interceptions, while running backs Mordecai Cargill ’13 and Varga finished with 76 and 103 yards rushing, respectively. Sandquist led the receiving corps with nine receptions for 187 yards and a touchdown. Aiken finished 11–25 for 94 yards in the air, but ran for another 72 yards to lead a Hoya ground attack that totaled 260 yards.

    Yale will travel to Ithaca, N.Y., this Saturday to face Cornell in its first Ivy League game of the season.

  4. FOOTBALL | Reno era begins with win over Georgetown

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    As far as opening games go, this one was certainly not lacking in drama.

    New head coach Tony Reno, rookie quarterback Eric Williams ’16 and a clutch performance by the new-look defense helped Yale (1-0, 0-0 Ivy) escape Georgetown (2-1, 0-0 Patriot) with a wild 24-21 victory this afternoon.

    After the Elis and Hoyas traded fumbles to start the game, Williams led a 14-play, 90-yard drive that was capped by running back Tyler Varga’s ’16 two-yard run into the endzone, putting Yale up 7–0.

    That lead lasted until Georgetown’s Kevin Macari returned punter Kyle Cazzetta’s ’15 punt 79 yards for a touchdown. And the Hoyas didn’t leave the game tied for long. They struck again just three plays later when defensive back Jeremy Moore jumped between a Williams pass and wide receiver Cameron Sandquist ’14, its intended target. Moore returned the interception for a touchdown, giving the home team a 14–7 lead.

    But the Bulldogs wasted no time responding, as Williams led a 51-yard drive into Hoya territory. Kicker Philippe Panico ’13 capped the possession with a 36-yard field goal that cut the deficit to 14-10.

    As the half wound down, Hoya quarterback Aaron Aiken appeared to be on his way to a touchdown and an even wider lead for Georgetown. But with the Yale defense’s backs to the endzone, linebacker Brian Leffler ’13 forced a fumble that defensive back John Powers ’13 recovered at the Yale two-yard line. With just 45 seconds left in the half, Reno decided not to settle for just preventing the Hoya score. He decided to go for a big play — and that is exactly what the Elis got.

    On the next play, Williams wound up and fired a long pass 40 yards downfield towards Sandquist. The ball appeared to be underthrown, until Georgetown defensive back Malcolm Caldwell-Meeks tipped it into Sandquist’s waiting hands. The wide receiver ran untouched into the end zone to give Yale a surprising 17-14 lead at the half. The 98-yard bomb was the longest play from scrimmage in the history of Yale football.

    The second half opened on a high note for the Elis, when linebacker Will McHale sacked Aiken to stop a Hoya drive at midfield. But a wild shotgun snap by center John Oppenheimer ’14 on the ensuing drive gave Georgetown the ball back, and the Hoyas capitalized with a 32-yard rushing score by tailback Dalen Claytor, giving the home team a 21–17 lead.

    Yale’s defense stepped up on the next drive, however; with defensive end Kolu Buck ’14 forcing a fumble that end Allen Davis ’13 recovered at the Georgetown 14. It took the Elis just two plays to capitalize on the defense’s work. Varga scored virtually untouched from nine yards out to take the lead back, 24-21.

    The Bulldog defense then took over the fourth quarter, stopping the Hoyas on two straight fourth-and-one plays before the final drive.

    With just 2:23 remaining in the game, Aiken began leading Georgetown down the field to try and tie or win the game. His pass on second-and-four from the Georgetown 46 appeared to fly harmlessly out of bounds, but defensive back Collin Bibb ’13 was called for a late hit that gave the Hoyas a first down at the Yale 39.

    From there, Aiken drove the Hoyas all the way to the Yale 17 when Georgetown decided to try and win it with 40 seconds to go. Aiken sent a pass into the end zone, where Bibb redeemed himself for the earlier penalty with a leaping interception. From there, the Elis were able to run out the clock on the opening day victory, and proceeded to douse Reno in Gatorade to celebrate his first win.

    Williams finished 19-30 for 250 yards with a touchdown and three interceptions, while running backs Mordecai Cargill ’13 and Varga finished with 76 and 93 yards rushing, respectively. Sandquist led the receiving corps with nine receptions for 187 yards and a touchdown. Aiken finished 11-25 for 94 yards in the air, but ran for another 72 yards to lead a Hoya ground attack that totaled 260 yards.

    Yale will travel to Ithaca, NY Saturday, Sept. 22, to face Cornell.

  5. FOOTBALL | LIVE BLOG: Yale vs. Georgetown

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  6. FOOTBALL | Keys to the Game

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    ESTABLISH THE RUN

    Running against Georgetown (2–0, 0–0 Patriot League) has been like trying to bust through a stone wall so far this year, but that is exactly what the Elis will have to do tomorrow. The Hoyas have conceded a total of 76 rushing yards in two games so far, including -18 yards against Davidson in their season opener. Yale will need to make sure that rookie quarterback Eric Williams ’16 is comfortable in the passing game, and that is much easier to do if he isn’t forced into long yardage situations that will allow the Hoyas to apply pressure. If running backs Mordecai Cargill ’13 and Tyler Varga ’16 can put pressure on the defense, that will pull the Hoyas into the box and create favorable matchups for the Bulldogs in the passing game. This would give Williams a few easy throws to get his confidence up and the offense rolling.

    CONTAIN THE QUARTERBACK

    Last year the Bulldogs faced a Hoya attack that threw on 51 of its 79 offensive plays, but Georgetown will not look the same on offense this year. Despite returning quarterback Isaiah Kempf, who threw for 1,268 yards and 10 scores last year, the Hoyas opted to give the reins to dual-threat quarterback Aaron Aiken this year. The decision has paid off for sixth-year coach Kevin Kelly, as the team has averaged 360 yards of total offense per game this season. More than 60 percent of that offense has come on the ground, however, with the Hoyas calling plays for Aiken’s legs more often than for his arm. If the Blue and White defense can force Aiken to stay in the pocket and try to make plays through the air, it can pressure him into mistakes.

    SCORE IN THE RED ZONE

    The Hoyas have been stingy on defense this year, allowing just 24 points in two games so far. Georgetown has let its opponents into the red zone just three times this season, but all three trips have resulted in touchdowns. If the Bulldogs want to score on the Hoyas, they will have to improve on a red zone offense that scored just 63.4 percent of the time last year, good for seventh in the Ancient Eight. Georgetown has yet to allow a rushing touchdown, so that will put the pressure on Williams and on Yale’s wide receiver corps, which will be without its two top receivers. Chris Smith ’13 is taking the semester off for personal reasons, while Deon Randall ’13 will miss the game with an injury.

  7. FOOTBALL | Elis open season against Hoyas

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    For the sixth straight year, Yale will open its football season against Georgetown, and the Elis are hoping that Saturday plays out like the last five matchups.

    The Bulldogs (0-0, 0-0 Ivy) have downed the Hoyas (2-0, 0-0 Patriot) five years running, most recently winning 37-27 in the Yale Bowl Sept. 17, 2011, behind a four touchdown-performance from quarterback Patrick Witt ’12.

    This year there will be a new Eli behind center, head coach Tony Reno announced Tuesday.

    “Eric [Williams ‘16] will start,” Reno said. “I made a decision over the weekend.”

    Quarterback John Whitelaw ‘14, who was the only quarterback on the roster with experience at the college level, sent an email to his teammates Tuesday afternoon informing them that he was leaving the football team.

    Reno said that Whitelaw dropped football “to pursue other interests,” and that Derek Russell ’13 and Logan Scott ’16 will become the back-up quarterbacks.

    Russell was listed as a wide receiver, but played quarterback for Newton South High School prior to attending Yale.

    “It caught me by surprise a little bit actually,” Russell said of his position change. “I actually played defense last fall. I’ve moved around a lot, [so] I’m ready for whatever.”

    Williams will be tested early by the Hoyas, whose stalwart defense on the ground could force the rookie signal caller to show off his arm early on Saturday. Georgetown has given up a total of just 76 rushing yards in two games so far this season. Opponents are averaging a miserly 1.4 yards per carry.

    In order to pave the way for the Bulldogs’ rushing attack, the offensive line will have to win the battle in the trenches. Running back Mordecai Cargill ’13 expressed confidence that the O-line is ready for the challenge.

    “I don’t want to offend any of the linemen I’ve had in the past,” Cargill said. “I feel like this is the best line that I’ve run behind in my time here. Coach [Joe] Conlin has done a great job with the guys, getting them prepared for basically anything that they may come across in games. They’ve responded well to his coaching.”

    The game will not get any easier on the other side of the ball for Yale, either. Georgetown has won both of its games so far this year by pounding away at the opposing defense, averaging 223 rushing yards per game. Nose guard Chris Dooley ’13 said that the Elis’ new 3-4 defense will help them shut down the Hoyas.

    “The new defense, I really like it,” Dooley said. “It’s a lot simpler than the old one.”

    Dooley added that playing against Yale’s no-huddle offense in practice has helped to condition the defense.

    “Our defense is in great shape,” Dooley said. “We fly to the ball. There are eleven guys at every tackle.”

    The new defensive style and conditioning was put in place by Reno to improve a defense that lost nine starters from a squad that finished fifth in the Ivy League last year in scoring defense.

    Kickoff for the 140th season of Yale football will be at 1 p.m.

  8. Football coaches lead off the field

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    Mostly known for calling plays, Yale’s football coaching staff has been getting in the game to help register potential bone marrow donors.

    Forty years ago, Andy Talley and Larry Ciotti were best friends, roommates, and teammates on the football team at Southern Connecticut State University. Now Talley is in his 28th season as the head coach of the Villanova Football team and Ciotti is the Bulldogs’ running backs coach.

    When Talley was contacted by the Be the Match Registry in 2008 to help start drives on other college campuses, Ciotti was more than happy to help his old friend.

    “It’s an amazing thing,” Ciotti said. “We can make a difference in life.”

    Ciotti added that as the football team began to work on its first drive for Talley’s “Get in the Game, Save a Life” program, Mandi Schwartz ’11 was diagnosed with leukemia. The women’s ice hockey team then joined with the football team in a collaborative effort.

    Women’s ice hockey forward Jenna Ciotti ’14 said that the team wanted to begin a donor registration drive as a “search for a match for Mandi within Yale and in her memory.”

    That year the Bulldogs registered the most potential donors out of anyone in the “Get in the Game” program with more than 850 registrations, according to Ciotti. Ciotti’s work with the program has had an effect on his players.

    “To see how … Coach Ciotti is so passionate about [the drive] made me really want to step my game up last year,” running back Mordecai Cargill ’13 said.

    Several other members of the coaching staff have been particularly involved in the program. Head coach Tony Reno said that he works with the players to solicit new potential donors. Volunteer Assistant Chris Gennaro recently donated his bone marrow. He registered at a similar drive in 2009 when he was a member of the University of Maine football team. He stressed that the procedure was painless, and that he hopes to continue working with donor registration drives.

    “As long as I’m [at Yale], I’m going to be involved,” Gennaro said.

    Director of Football Operations Nick Kray also has ties to the Get in the Game program. Joining the Elis after two years at Villanova, Kray was active in Villanova’s donor registration drives, Ciotti said.

    The players have taken the examples of their coaches in working on the drive.

    Will McHale ’13 has served as a member of the committee that organizes the Mandi Schwartz Donor Registration Drive, quarterback John Whitelaw ’14 said, but McHale’s role in the program could be adding a new dimension. Ciotti said that McHale was contacted by the National Bone Marrow Registry as a possible donor. McHale declined to comment.

    Members of the team who are not a part of the committee are still active in the drive soliciting students to join the registry.

    “My main responsibility for the job was being a hawker,” nose guard Chris Dooley ’13 said. “I pretty much harass people on the street and try to get them to sign up for the registry. Not to be arrogant, but I’m pretty good at it.”

    Field hockey back Lexy Adams ’13 said she was recruited by a football player to join the registry and became a bone marrow donor. She said that the size of the football team helps the registration drive.

    “As a team of around 100 players and each being responsible for their five recruited registrants, [the football team] massively contributes to our large turnouts each year,” Adams said in a message to the News. “[O]n the day of the drive, the football players stake themselves out on Cross Campus, Old Campus and Commons to convince people to make it over to the drive — and with the numbers we’ve registered in the last four years, they are pretty darn good at it.”

    So far, the drive has found 14 matches that have led to life-saving bone marrow donations.

  9. QB Whitelaw ’14 quits football team

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    When the football team leaves campus Thursday evening for its season opener at Georgetown, quarterback John Whitelaw ’14 will not be on board.

    Whitelaw announced his departure from the football team in an email to his teammates Tuesday, the News has learned. His decision comes in the wake of head coach Tony Reno’s announcement that Eric Williams ’16 would start at quarterback against Georgetown on Saturday. After spring practice last year, Whitelaw had widely been expected to be named starter in the fall.

    The loss of the veteran Whitelaw is the latest in a string of offseason obstacles for the Bulldogs. Following controversies over the resignation of former head coach Tom Williams and the Rhodes Scholarship candidacy of Patrick Witt ’12, the team experienced another setback in August when linebacker Will McHale ’13 had his captaincy suspended following a fight at Toad’s Place in May.

    Prior to his leaving the team, Whitelaw was featured in head coach Tony Reno’s game plan for Saturday and both Whitelaw and Williams were listed as possible starters on the media depth chart.

    “Eric will start, I made a decision over the weekend,” Reno said at a lunch with members of the media yesterday, prior to Whitelaw’s announcement. “[But] John [Whitelaw] will play.”

    Reno said that Whitelaw left the team “to pursue other interests.” He added, however, that Whitelaw’s departure would not affect his young quarterback.

    “I don’t think there’s any more pressure at all [on Williams],” Reno said. “He’s got 10 guys [with him].”

    Although he has never taken a collegiate snap, Williams has already gained the confidence of his teammates.

    “I’ve just been really impressed by Eric’s raw talent,” running back Mordecai Cargill ’13 said. “He is a freshman so he makes mistakes here and there, like dropping the ball sometimes or causing us to do extra running at the end of practice. But there are also times he makes throws that wow you.”

    Williams is also no stranger to Yale — his brothers Sean Williams ’11 and Scott Williams ’13 have both played for the Blue and White.

    Derek Russell ’13 and Logan Scott ’16 will be the new primary back-ups, Reno said.

    Russell is listed as a wide receiver on the roster and has spent the past three years on the junior varsity team. He threw for 2,100 yards and 21 touchdowns as quarterback for Newton South High School in 2008. He also ran for 500 yards and eight more scores.

    Scott was a three-sport athlete for Chaminade College Preparatory School in California and was recruited to play a sport at Boise State, Nevada and San Diego State, among other schools.

    Whitelaw was unavailable for comment, and several of his former teammates declined to comment, with one of them doing so because Whitelaw’s departure was “a sore subject.”

    Whitelaw saw action in five games last year, completing one of four passes for eight yards and running for fourteen yards on five carries. He spent his freshman campaign on the JV squad, but he received the spring practice quarterback award in 2012.

  10. FOOTBALL | QB Whitelaw ’14 quits team

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    When the football team leaves campus Thursday evening for its season-opener at Georgetown, quarterback John Whitelaw ’14 will not be on board.

    Whitelaw announced his departure from the football team in an email to his teammates Tuesday, the News has learned. His decision comes in the wake of head coach Tony Reno’s announcement that Eric Williams ’16 would start at quarterback against Georgetown. After spring practice last year, Whitelaw had widely been expected to be named starter in the fall.

    Prior to his leaving the team, Whitelaw was featured in head coach Tony Reno’s game plan for Saturday and both Whitelaw and Williams were listed as possible starters on the depth chart.

    “Eric will start, I made a decision over the weekend,” Reno said at a lunch with members of the media yesterday. “[But] John [Whitelaw] will play.”

    Reno said in an interview Tuesday evening that Whitelaw left the team “to pursue other interests.” He added, however, that Whitelaw’s departure would not affect Williams, his rookie quarterback.

    “I don’t think there’s any more pressure at all [on Williams],” Reno said. “He’s got 10 guys [with him].”

    Derek Russell ’13 and Logan Scott ’16 will be the new primary back-ups, according to Reno.

    Russell is listed as a wide receiver on the roster and has spent the past three years on the junior varsity team. He threw for 2,100 yards and 21 touchdowns as quarterback for Newton South High School in 2008. He also ran for 500 yards and eight more scores.

    Scott was a three-sport athlete for Chaminade and was recruited to play a sport at Boise State, Nevada and San Diego State among other schools.

    Whitelaw did not respond to requests for comment Tuesday afternoon and evening, and several of his former teammates declined to comment, with one of them doing so because Whitelaw’s departure was “a sore subject.”

    Whitelaw saw action in five games last year, completing one of four passes for eight yards and running for fourteen yards on five carries. He spent his freshman campaign on the JV squad, but he received the spring practice quarterback award in 2012.

  11. FOOTBALL | Elis take a new route

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    Under the management of new head coach Tony Reno, Yale’s football program is already seeing major changes. For starters, this fall will be the team’s first season without a captain in its 140-year history.

    Linebacker Will McHale ’13, who was voted captain of the team last winter, had his captaincy suspended following an altercation in May at Toad’s Place in which he allegedly punched another student in the face. Reno said that McHale will not be reinstated or replaced as captain, and that the player who will represent the Bulldogs at the opening coin toss will be decided each week by a special vote by the players.

    Reno took over the reins as the 34th head coach of Yale football last spring and has been picking up the speed of Yale football ever since.

    Under the new coaching staff, the Bulldogs will shake things up on both sides of the ball. Tight end Kyle Wittenauer ’14 said that the Blue and White will be employing a spread offense to open up the field and create pressure.

    Nose guard Chris Dooley ’13 added that the Elis will be switching to a 3–4 defense, as opposed to the four defensive linemen, three linebacker alignment deployed under previous head coach Tom Williams.

    “I like the 3–4 better because it is harder [for the offense] to block,” Dooley said. “In the 4–3 there was less pressure on me because I wasn’t getting double-teamed … [but] I like the pressure.”

    The transition to the no-huddle spread offense is one of the differences between Reno’s tenure as head coach and his previous 2003-’08 stint with the Bulldogs as a wide receiver and defensive secondary coach, he said.

    In addition to the game plan, Reno has also changed the way the team practices. Recalling the methods of former head coach Jack Siedlecki, Reno has split practices into shorter periods.

    “[Periods are designed] to keep practice structured and to keep drills and routines moving,” Reno said.

    The change has led to more intense practices, players said. Wideout Cameron Sandquist ’14 added that the practices have already shown dividends in the spring game and in scrimmages.

    “We’ve just seen how by overtraining in practice and keeping the tempo high in practice we can keep our opponents on their heels,” Sandquist said. “It helps slow the game down for us … allows us to be a lot more comfortable.”

    Even with the heightened intensity, the team has lost only three members since preseason started earlier this month. One freshman walk-on and two upperclassmen had quit the program by the first day of practice, according to Reno, though he added that one player may decide to return upon resolving personal issues.

    Wide receiver Chris Smith ’13 will also not be playing this season. Reno said Smith has taken the fall semester off for personal reasons, but will return to the Yale Bowl for the 2013 season. Smith was second on the team with 28 receptions last year and had a team-high 602 yards and six touchdowns before an injury sidelined him for the last two games of the season.

    The team will also have to replace leading rusher running back Alex Thomas ’12 and quarterback Patrick Witt ’12. John Whitelaw ’14 is poised to take over as the signal caller, and running back Mordecai Cargill ’13 will fill Thomas’ absence. Last year, Cargill showed his potential at Columbia on Oct. 29, when he rushed for 230 yards and two touchdowns to lead the Elis to a 16–13 win on a snowy day at the Baker Bowl.

    Defensively, the Bulldogs are returning just three starters from last year’s squad. The defense will be led by McHale, who has 133 tackles and three interceptions in his Yale career.

    The football season will begin Sept. 15 at Georgetown.