Tuesday, October 28, 2008

QB Questions on the Quinnipiac?

Ryan Fodor is listed as the starter at QB for Yale this Saturday

Yes, I'm playing a little game with the letter "Q", but that's because Columbia isn't the only school with QB questions this week.

Yale starter Ryan Fodor was out with a shoulder injury last week against Penn, and he is listed as the probable starter over sophomore Brook Hart in the Yale game notes released today. But shoulder injuries for QB's are pretty tricky, and you have to think that if Fodor was anywhere near able to play last week against Penn he would have. The overall point being that Fodor must have been pretty banged up last week and seven more days of rest and treatment may not be enough.

Fodor put up some strong numbers in the season opener versus Georgetown, but Georgetown remains a major statistical punching bag this season and any games against the Hoyas are basically misleading.

However, neither Fodor nor Hart have been entirely impressive and the entire Yale offense is stuck in the wrong gear. A big reason is that star running back and defending Ivy Player of the Year Mike McLeod clearly isn't 100% healthy. A bigger reason is it appears the Eli offensive line is dramatically weaker this season than it was in '05, '06 or '07. Watching my DVR'd version of the Yale-Penn game yesterday, all I saw was the Penn defensive line and linebackers getting into the Bulldog backfield at will. Yale's defense was impressive as well, but not as menacing and dominant. The left side of the Eli O-line is especially questionable.

The numbers don't lie. Yale is averaging a shockingly low 79 yards rushing per game this season after getting 265 rushing yards per game last season. That's a 70.1% decline!

The depletion among the down linemen is all about graduation, and tight end Langston Johnson is another graduation casualty. Johnson was a two-time All-Ivy honoree who maybe caught 6 passes in his entire career. He was just a great pulling end who often allowed McLeod to turn the corner or simply kept blitzing defenders from coming around the end of the Yale offense.

With Columbia's rising effectiveness on defense, particularly in the pass rush, the Elis should have their hands full with the likes of Lou Miller, Owen Fraser, and Phil Mitchell.

Who Columbia starts or uses primarily at QB is much more of a story right now, because M.A. Olawale and Shane Kelly are much more different from each other than Hart and Fodor are.

Miller on Top

Speaking of Lou Miller, he now leads the Ivy League in sacks (5) and tackles for a loss (11). Yale's Joe Hathaway and Kyle Hawari are tied for second with four sacks, so the top three sack leaders will be on the field Saturday. Lou's older brother played for Yale and graduated after the 2006 season, so I wonder if there will be any extra motivation for him Saturday. (Clark Koury's brother Jake is currently a backup on the O-line for the Elis).

Drew Quinn and Alex Gross are still #1 and #2 respectively atop the Ivy tackling leaders list. Yale's "Mr. Everything" Bobby Abare is fourth on the list, so three of the top 4 tacklers in the Ivies will be on the field Saturday at the Bowl.

Yale's unique defensive strength is picking off passes. They have three players with three interceptions each and another with 2 INT's. Against Penn, there seemed to be a Yale player coming close to picking off almost every pass. This has to be a concern for Columbia.


At Wed Oct 29, 01:33:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good analysis. I think that we match up well against Yale. We played them pretty well the last two years, and we have a much stronger team this year while Yale is suspect. I am not a fan of their coach or their tailback.


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