Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Scouting Harvard

Colton Chapple brings it in

Hurricane Sandy knocked a lot of us on our backs yesterday. 

But now I have power back at home on Long Island, (I'm the only one on my block though), and practice resumed at Baker Field today, so I think we're coming back! 

Now, all we have to do is figure out how to beat Harvard! I can't decide if that will be easier than draining the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel.


Throw out 12 minutes and 45 seconds of this season, and you have a perfect team up in Cambridge with no serious weaknesses. 

But that 12:45 happened to come at Princeton Stadium with the Crimson up 34-10 and cruising in the 4th quarter.

The the Tigers went crazy, employing a hurry up offense and holding firm on defense to complete a stunning 39-34 comeback win that will not soon be forgotten in Ivy League history.

Last week, Harvard got back on track with a 31-14 win over the Big Green in Hanover. BUT, there were some similarities in that game as the Crimson seemed to relax too much when they grabbed a 21-0 lead at the half. Dartmouth made it 21-14 and came close to tying it before Harvard regained control.

So if there is a weakness on this team, it would appear to be mental in nature... and only after Tim Murphy's team takes big leads. Somehow, I don't spotting the Crimson three TD's is a good strategy. 

And after two straight games with letdowns, there's a good chance Harvard's #1 goal Saturday will be to play 60 minutes of intense football even if that means running up the score. 


On a very strong team, this is the stronger overall unit. QB Colton Chapple is having a bang up season with 18 TD passes and just four interceptions in 217 attempts. Chapple is also a good runner with 418 yards and six rushing scores this season. 

Then there's RB Treavor Scales. On any other team, he would have been a 1,000 rusher before his current senior season. But the always-stacked Crimson make it hard for underclassmen to make their mark. One gets the feeling that Harvard could just hand the ball off to Scales all day and score plenty of points if they wanted to. As it is, Scales has more than 700 yards rushing on well under 20 carries per game and he's averaging a monster 5.8 yards per carry. Oh, and he also has 10 TD's. 

And I haven't even mentioned the guy everyone was gushing about in the preseason.

That guy is H-Back Kyle Juszczyk, who is certainly not disappointing with 40 receptions for 571 yards and six touchdowns. 

Struggling to get some attention in this crowded field of stars is the junior WR Cameron Brate who has 33 catches for 465 yards and five TD's. 

The offensive line may be the best in the Ivies. In addition to plowing over opponents in the running game, the Crimson have allowed just 12 sacks all season. 


Harvard seems to always have a great D-line and this year is no exception. The Crimson are tops in the Ivies, allowing just 52 rushing yards per game and also leading the league in sacks with 33. Sophomore Zach Hodges and senior John Lyon are the most fearsome defensive ends in the league with eight and seven sacks, respectively. Senior Grant Sickle and junior Jack Dittmer round out the front four and they are also on the Ivy sack leader board.

Getting back to rush defense, it's been more than a year since Harvard allowed an opposing rusher to gain 100 or more yards against them. That rusher was Chuck DiBillio on October 22, 2011. 

The linebackers are led by senior Bobby Sneider, who is among the Ivy leaders in tackles for a loss. Junior Josh Boyd is also a star at LB.

Things get a little dicier in the secondary, where Harvard ranks a surprising 6th in the league in pass defense. But that stat is deceiving since opposing teams HAVE to pass so much to get around the brick wall Crimson run defense. Harvard is still allowing the lowest completion percentage in the Ivies, and that's very telling. 

Chris Splinter, a junior cornerback, is one of the stars in this underrated unit and he has two picks this season. Sophomore Norman Hayes is a rising star in the secondary. 

Special Teams

There's not a lot of weakness here. Punter Jacob Dombrowski may be the best in the league. Kicker David Mothander isn't as strong as some Crimson kickers of the past, but he's hardly a liability.

On the other hand, Harvard's return game has been unimpressive this season but the kick coverage has been very strong.  


oldlion said...

Big changes on the starting lineup. Ramljak goes to LT, Yukevich to LG, Stock back at RG, Lawrence at RT, Nelligan and Connors at WR. Game notes say that McDonagh and Trumbull will both be worked in at QB.

Roar Lion said...

Is Ward hurt? Coach seemed to pull him from the Yale game. He didn't seem hurt.

oldlion said...

Ward is listed as second string. Not sure what to read into this and don't want to speculate. But it is obvious that coach M wants to work in a lot of first year players. I also think that Ramljak is probably our best OL at this point is the season, and he can do the most good protecting the blind side of our QBs.

Anonymous said...

Oldlion, can you tell me where it is listed, who is first string, second, etc? I would like to see it.

oldlion said...

Game notes for Harvard

InwoodTiger said...

Can report that the Inwood area around Baker Field made it through the storm just fine. No damage to Campbell that I could see (that is some seriously strong plate glass) and the light towers at Baker looked fine. Quite a few trees down on the surrounding blocks, and the new park was obliterated (and the boathouse may have flooded) but on the whole not bad. Will not be a problem, in my opinion, when football returns for Cornell.

oldlion said...

Too bad about the new park. I checked it out last weekend, and it was shaping up as a real gem. PS, Firing Line was much too negative about the Yale win and the Harvard game last night. If I want negativity, I can read foehi on Voyforums.

RedTiger61 said...

just a note .... an ex-teammate of mine, Bill Poppe, is the defensive backfield coach at Harvard