Monday, October 24, 2016

This is Familiar

Carm Cozza

I'll scout Yale as a team tomorrow, but looking at the program as a whole right now I have to say I'm getting deja vu listening to the angry voices coming out of New Haven. 

The Eli fans are furious, to put it mildly. Yalies have seen some tough years over the decades, but I can't remember a time when a coach who was brought in to turn around a struggling Yale team seems to have made it worse. 

For context, remember that Yale sort of hit bottom during the mid-1990's. Those were legendary Head Coach Carm Cozza's final years with the program and no one was going to push him out the door. Cozza went 17-33 over his final five years and even lost his last three straight contests against the Lions by a combined score of 64-26. When Jack Siedlecki replaced Cozza in 1997, the Elis began a respectable march back to competitiveness even though they never matched the kind of sustained excellence they did in Carm's heyday. After five years, Siedlecki was 26-23 and had an Ivy title under his belt. 

When Siedlecki finally ran out his welcome after the 2008, the controversial hiring of Tom Williams put Yale in a new spotlight. Williams will forever be remembered for a crazy fake punt call on a very long 4th and long play in his first game against Harvard in 2009. But he did get the Elis to a solid 7-3 record in his second year. Despite never beating the hated Crimson in his three years, Williams was let go because of some resume honesty issues more than anything else. 

Enter Reno, who was poached from Harvard where he was supposedly the Crimson's recruiting guru. It sure seemed like Reno was good at bringing in players by hook or by crook. Transfer Tyler Varga was the biggest treasure, but current senior LB Victor Egu made headlines when he ditched a Cal Berkeley commitment to come to New Haven. 

Yet here we are in the middle of year five and Reno is 21-25 and the team seems decidedly worse than it was when he took over in 2012. And like I said, the fans are angry and sounding a lot like Columbia fans did two years ago. They want Reno gone yesterday. 

I'm not sure exactly what went wrong for the Elis, but I do wonder about whether Yale now faces distinct recruiting disadvantages. New Haven isn't really a big city nor a rural area. And it's definitely not as exciting as New York, Boston, or Philadelphia. If you want a big city for college, Columbia, Harvard, and Penn are all better choices. If you want rural settings, Dartmouth and Cornell are better. And if you want a happy medium/suburban small town feel, Princeton is the best. I don't see where Yale fits in on that level. And it's usually true that when an Ivy team is struggling, recruiting is the biggest reason why. 

Some people laughed at me this summer when I suggested Reno would be fired at the end of this season. They're not laughing now. Yale's older football alumni are used to much better than this and they're not going to be shamed into silence. 


I remain, very truly yours, Richard Szathmary said...

You go to Yale fr very good pizza. And burgers without ketchup And, perhaps soon, to visit Al Bagnoli's old neighborhood. And maybe too to see where they used to play professional jai alai in a misbegotten an corruption-ridden venture.

Otherwise, however, New haven is kind of a desert. A pleasant enough county seat, but then. sp are Hackensack and New Brunswick.

Anonymous said...

I am obviously not a Yale football insider nor do i follow the program ├╝ber closely. But I have a theory on Reno's coaching style based on observations of overall college football over the many years.

Some coaches really know how to get the most of players, regardless of where they come from. These are the coaches that draw lots of players to their camps based on word of mouth. Everyone wants to play for a coach that recognizes their talent. On the flip side to that, some coaches are too insular and addicted to their me first mentality. Reno strikes me a a me first guy able to charm on the recruiting trail.

I get the impression Reno rubs people the wrong way with his coaching style and his decisions. A program collapses the instant your players lose interest in playing for you. It is contagious. That is my best guess based on what I can determine is Reno's way. He's able to fire up his remaining believers but emotion only takes you so far.

Chen1982 said...

Well, if You get bored in New Haven at least Hartford is nearby.....or Bridgeport....

What I learned is that football recruits gather on thursday at any one of the residential colleges having a crowded happy hour and play a groping for points game. Training future Republican presidential candidates

Chick said...

Chen, I'm very surprised at your lack of basic knowledge about "groping" in the world of politics.
You identified the wrong political body. Please google "Groper Joe Biden"--that's right, the VP the past eight years and Senator the previous 40.

You will find a long list of news stories, commentaries and, best or worst of all, explicit photos of public ceremonies and political events showing this ape forcing himself upon spouses and young female children of colleagues or any other females in the vicinity.

Somehow, the High Priestess of Feminine Honor, Hillary Clinton, has never spoken one word about Biden's
public conduct. I have read some things that make me wonder about his private conduct. I wouldn't be surprised at all if it's far worst. But no worries, Biden is nestled in the party of privilege.