April 24, 2008
NEW HAVEN, Conn. - Spring practice for the Yale football team culminates this Saturday with the annual Spring Game, which is slated for 2:00 p.m. at the Yale Bowl, Class of 1954 Field and is open to the public.
The spring game features the Yale roster divided into two teams and a modified scoring system. Touchdowns, field goals and extra points will still be six points, three points and one point respectively. But the offense can also get a point for getting a first down, while the defense gets three points for an interception, two points for a fumble recovery and one point for a stop on downs. There will be four 10-minute quarters.
The Bulldog offense returns junior All-America tailback Mike McLeod (New Britain, Conn.), but there will be a new leader under center with the graduation of quarterback Matt Polhemus (N. Chatham, Mass.). Junior Ryan Fodor (Madison, Conn.) and sophomore Rich Scudellari (Saratoga, Calif.) are scheduled to be the starters Saturday.
"Our goals for the spring game on offense are to give as many players as possible an opportunity to have the ball in their hand and make plays," said Jack Siedlecki, Yale's Joel E. Smilow '54 Head Coach of Football. "We have really emphasized the pass game in spring practice and that will continue in the spring game. We will throw the ball more than we run it early on."
The Yale defense is led by junior linebacker Bobby Abare (Acton, Mass.), who was elected captain for next season.
"It has been a great spring," Abare said. "I expect big things from everyone, and I am hoping that the game will be even more intense than it has been in the past."
The Spring Game also brings many alumni back to the Yale Bowl, Class of 1954 Field. The Bulldogs have recently begun naming honorary coaches for the event, and this year Cory Carruthers '99 and Jake Fuller '00 will serve in those roles. Carruthers, a defensive lineman, captained the 1998 team that bounced back from a 1-9 showing the year before to go 6-4, ending with a 9-7 win at Harvard. Fuller, a wide receiver, captained Yale in its 1999 Ivy League championship season that included a 24-21 win over the Crimson.
Also returning to New Haven is Eric Johnson '01, who caught the game-winning touchdown against Harvard in 1999. Johnson has been playing tight end in the NFL since graduating, totaling 48 catches in 14 games with the New Orleans Saints last season. He will help coach Yale's tight ends at the Spring Game.
With the NFL draft taking place Saturday and Sunday, this weekend may also help determine if any Bulldogs join Johnson, head coach Dick Jauron '73 (Buffalo Bills) and tight end Nate Lawrie '04 (Cincinnati Bengals) in the NFL ranks next year. In the past seven years Yale has had four players play in the NFL, including three that were drafted. Four graduating seniors -- defensive lineman Brandt Hollander (Indianapolis, Ind.), tight end Langston Johnson (Los Altos, Calif.), offensive lineman Jeff Monaco (McDonald, Pa.) and defensive back Nick Solakian (Santa Barbara, Calif.) -- recently participated in a pro day at Yale.
The Spring Game is just one part of a busy Saturday at the Yale Bowl complex as well. The Yale men's lacrosse team hosts archrival Harvard at 1:00 p.m. in Reese Stadium and it is also Youth Day, with hundreds of local children out at the Yale facilities to learn from Bulldog student-athletes. The football team is also hosting a junior day for prospective student-athletes.
The Bulldogs are coming off a 9-1 season in which they finished one win short of the Ivy League title. After a pre-season scrimmage at Princeton Aug. 31, Yale opens the 2008 season against Georgetown at the Yale Bowl, Class of 1954 Field on Sept. 20.
report by Sam Rubin '95 (firstname.lastname@example.org), Yale Sports Publicity