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Columbia's game notes and two-deeps for this Saturday were released last evening.
(Ever notice how the game notes always come out earlier in the week as the season goes on? Does anybody know why that is?)
It's hard to put too much stock in the two-deeps when QB Sean Brackett was listed as the starter last week when everyone on the team knew he wasn't going to play at Darmouth as early as Tuesday.
But some astute readers have already pointed out that junior Andrew Weiss is now listed as the backup to Brackett. Since we don't really know if Brackett will play, we could see a brand new starter this Saturday on national TV no less.
Also notable is freshman Alec Fisher getting listed as the #2 running back and freshman Chad Washington listed as a backup defensive lineman. Congratulations to them!
Patrick Witt makes Yale all about him
Looking at the Elis
Last year, Yale made a strong move up the Ivy standings mostly by winning a series of extremely close games.
This season, none of their games has been decided by less than nine points, (and that game wasn't really as close as it looked).
No nailbiters this year.
What we do have is an improved overall offense and a team that has performed well at home and generally poorly on the road.
Veteran readers of this blog know I'm no fan of Yale QB Patrick Witt.
That's even though he's just been named the only Ivy finalist for this year's Bill Campbell trophy.
It's not that I don't think he's talented, because he clearly is. When he gets that quick release going he is impossible to stop.
It's not that I don't think he's smart. He clearly is; posting some stellar grades all the way through school.
My issue with Witt is that he seems to lack the complete maturity and leadership qualities to bring the Elis victories in tough games or on the road.
So the question is whether Witt will play the role of Dr. Jekyl or Mr. Hyde this Saturday.
One player who has clearly made strides over last year is senior RB Alex Thomas, who is having a great season running the ball for Yale. The only trouble is, he doesn't get the ball enough. Thomas is averaging just 15 carries a game, and I can't understand why. In short, I think the Bulldogs are passing the ball too much this season and that may be Witt's fault.
The offensive line has been excellent, notably giving up just seven sacks all season. But starting LT Wes Gavin is out for the year after going down in the Penn game and that could change everything in the coming weeks.
Yale's D is noticeably weaker this season, as many predicted it would be after several top players graduated.
The Elis are closer to the bottom of the Ivy pack allowing 136 rushing yards per game, but the real weakness has been pass defense. No Ivy team has been passed against more than Yale and those passes are being completed a league-high 66.7% percent of the time for 255 yards per game.
And yet the Bulldog defense also put together a 30-0 shutout of Dartmouth in week four, so there is some ability here.
The best part of the special teams at Yale is punt returner Gio Christodoulou who averages almost 15 yards per return and has a TD this season
Second best is junior Chris Smith who averages almost 26 yards per kickoff return.
The kickers aren't quite so great.
Place kicker Philippe Panico has been spotty, missing four PAT's already this season. He's a decent FG kicker, but nothing over 35 yards out is a good bet.
Punter Kyle Cazzetta averages just 35 yards per punt and has had one blocked.