Monday, July 24, 2017

2017 Opponent Preview: Yale UPDATE

RB Alan Lamar is for real

(A number of comments and updates from Head Coach Tony Reno during the Ivy teleconference are now included here)


Anyone who says they feel confident about their take on how Yale will do this year is probably not being fully truthful. And that’s because this team is a massive walking contradiction.

For most Yalies, the big news is that the Elis finally beat Harvard last year after a nine-year losing streak. By their logic that centers everything around “The Game,” 2016 was a successful year and this year looks bright.

But 2016 was also probably the first year ever that Yale failed to get even one player on the All Ivy 1st Team.

Freshmen stars like RB Alan Lamar and QB Kurt Rawlings have Eli fans excited, but Lamar is really the only one who has truly proven himself as Rawlings was way too inconsistent overall.

The win over Harvard was a combination of solid athleticism and brilliant strategy, but Yale was embarrassed in both those categories in bad losses to Ivy co-champions Princeton and Penn.

Expect more “x factor” players from the incoming freshmen haul to play a role this year, and all the unpredictability that comes with them.

But let’s take a stab at what looks like what we can expect from the Bulldogs this season:


Lamar is a potential 1,000 yard rusher and seems like a return to Yale’s long tradition of big name tailback-dominated offenses. He’s the bright spot for the entire team.

A slightly less bright spot, but one with the potential to be great, is Rawlings. The rising sophomore can run and pass. But like many QB’s who do both, his completion percentage was weak at just 50% last season.

And the top returning WR is also a rising sophomore in Reid Klubnik, who made some big plays for the Elis last year. Christopher Williams-Lopez looked promising when he was healthy in 2016 and he’s back for his senior year.

The offensive line has some experience. All Ivy Honorable Mention Center Karl Marback returns, as does fellow starters Dieter Eiselen, Jeho Chang, and emergency starter Sterling Strother. 


The Elis gave up a ton of points and yards last year, mostly through the air.

The good news is big DT Copache Tyler is back after a year away and All Ivy Honorable Mention Junior DE Kyle Mullen is back on a D-line that needs to put more pressure on opposing passers to give the secondary a break. The top LB returning is fellow All Ivy Honorable Mention Matthew Oplinger. But three other Yale All Ivy Honorable Mention players on D have graduated.

In the secondary, 2015 All Ivy 1st Team honoree Spencer Rymiszewski is back after missing 2016 with injury. The other top returning DB is senior Foyesade Oluokun, who is trying to get back to the level of play he showed in 2014 when he made 2nd Team All Ivy as a freshman. But fellow senior Jason Alessi could emerge as a leader of that beleaguered secondary.

Another graduate departure is once great-feared LB Victor Egu, who flipped his commitment to Berkeley to come to Yale four years ago. He was always a good player,but never developed into the force many predicted he’d be.


Alex Galland handled the punting and placekicking duties pretty well in 2016 and he’s back for this fall. Alessi was a sometime explosive punt returner who made the All Ivy 2nd Team as a return specialist.


The folks writing in Yale as a definite top-four finisher in the Ivies are taking a lot of chances with a team that has a lot of questions left to be answered at many positions. Caveat emptor.

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