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Spring Ball Ends With Defensive Bang

Beau Palin. (photo by Jack Warhola)
Beau Palin. (photo by Jack Warhola)

Yale Enjoys Blue-White Game

Spring Game Photo Gallery

Award Ceremony Photo Gallery (featuring 1989 Team)

NEW HAVEN, Conn. – Today's Yale Blue-White Game on the Class of 1954 Field at Yale Bowl was the perfect way to finish off spring practice while raising money for the Warrior-Scholar Program. The Bulldogs enjoyed cool temperatures and put on a great defensive performance in a 7-0 Blue win.


The Elis, led by Tony Reno, the Joel E. Smilow '54 Head Coach of Football, played 10-minute quarters with a running clock followed by an awards presentation. Yale's 1989 championship team was honored and included in the naming of the spring practice awards, while legendary head coach Carm Cozza and some of his 1989 team were present to take part in the day.


Captain Beau Palin stood out the most for a white defense. The elected leader was a constant source of energy, providing a sack and numerous tackles for loss. On a third quarter drive deep in the defense's territory, Palin shot through the line to drop running back Everett Johnson for a loss of two. The next play, Palin reprised his role, and sniffed out a swing pass for a loss of five, thereby ending the threat. The captain received this spring's Every Play Award to the raucous cheers of his teammates.


It was a great defensive performance all-around, more than a few players stood out. Roger Kilgore III brought the hammer, laying numerous big hits and dislodging a couple of passes. Kolu Buck spent much of the second half wreaking havoc in the offensive backfield, while Kyle White, who recently switched from offensive to defensive line, recorded a quarterback sack. Cole Champion roved the secondary and broke up numerous passes.


In the second year of defensive coordinator Rick Flanders system, players are confident in their roles. "On defense, everyone knows where they're supposed to be," said Palin, "In the second year of the system, guys know what they're supposed to do. Even better, the young guys are really stepping up, so we're excited."


On the other side of the ball, the offense put together plenty of good drives, but was unable to finish until last possession of the scrimmage. Facing a third and long, quarterback Eric Williams found Sebastian Little for a 30-yard touchdown. The pair, returning from season ending injuries, connected in what could be the first glimpse of a long and healthy on-field relationship.


Playing without the standout from Canada, Tyler Varga and fellow running back Khalil Keys, the running game showed signs of life. Austin Carter broke off two long runs, powering through arm tackles and displaying a keen sense of open field running. Carter's play this spring impressed Varga, "I saw a lot of diversity out of Austin Carter, playing several different positions. He had some great runs today."


The spring game capped a productive and entertaining three weeks of practice for the 2013 Bulldogs. Packing away the pads until the fall, Palin reminisced upon his favorite moment from spring. "We do this gauntlet thing. There are three blockers and a bag, and one guy has to get through all three blockers and tackle the bag before the whistle. It's just an all-out, drop-dead drill. Well once, Coach put all four quarterbacks in the drill. Henry Furman went and was just knocking heads. And that was good to see. You want your quarterbacks to be tough guys, not pretty boys."


Far from a team of pretty boys, the Bulldogs pride themselves on a tandem, hard-nosed, blue-collar approach to every aspect of their lives. Speaking of tandem, a new bicycle has been spotted around town. "The Tandem, with Beau and me," said Varga. "We hit that tandem bicycle up to Science Hill. We're bringing smiles to people one day at a time."


Smiles abound at the end of spring ball. "One team, one fight. Yale football 2013," said Palin.


Booths were set up outside the Bowl for donations to the Warrior-Scholar Program, led by former Yale linebacker Jesse Reising '11. The program, which helps war veterans transition to college, made its debut on the Yale campus last spring with the support of faculty and staff volunteers.



Yale's Spring Practice Awards (honoring the 1989 team)


1989 IVY Championship Team Offensive Line Award – Wes Gavin


1989 IVY Championship Team Offensive Big Skill Award – Mike Leunen


1989 IVY Championship Team Offensive Skill Award – Everett Johnson


1989 IVY Championship Team Defensive Line Award – Jeff Schmittigens


1989 IVY Championship Team Defensive Big Skill Award – Andrew Larkin


1989 IVY Championship Team Defensive Skill Award – Roger Kilgore


1989 IVY Championship Team Darin Kehler ONE Team Award – John Oppenheimer


1989 IVY Championship Team Jon Reese Every Play Award – Beau Palin


Filed by Wes Moyer '12, Yale Sports Publicity Intern


Beau Palin image by Jack Warhola