Mansfield Fox

Law student. Yankees fan. Massive fraggle. Just living the American dream.

Saturday, November 22, 2003

SATURDAY EVENING QUARTERBACK That was a painful loss today. Harvard was the better team, especially their linemen. Harvard's QB Fitzpatrick had all the time in the world when he dropped back. He got enough reads to finish Moby Dick. The wonderfully named Eli QB Alvin Cown, on the other hand, was under intense pressure the whole game, and it showed. Never let anyone tell you that linemen aren't important. dey iz.

The most frustrating part was that, even though they were outmatched by the Crimson at most positions, the Elis could have won the game, if only Coach Jack Siedlecki hadn't come down with a bad case of world-historical-bad-play-calling-itis. Yale was stopped on the goal line two separate times. Both times, it seemed like there was no plan beyond the next play - always a disastrous idea. First time: six-odd minutes in the first half, Yale down 10-3. First and goal on the three. Run up the middle. Run up the middle. Draw play. So: it's fourth-and-goal on about the two. What do you do? You go for it! If you score, you tie the game. If you don't, you've pinned the opposing team deep in their own territory, with enough time left that a little good D can get you the ball back before the half with decent field position. What does Siedlecki call for? The gimme field goal. Yale pulls within four. But Harvard gets a great runback on the kickoff, and turns their good field position into a drive up the field for another touchdown. And, of course, the Crimson never look back.

So, it's the third quarter. The score is 24-13 Harvard. Yale is in the red zone again. Run right. Run left. Incomplete pass. It's fourth and goal on the four-ish. What do you do? You kick the field goal! Pull to within eight, and pray your defense can hold up. Harvard had been killing Yale in short yardage situations all day. What on earth made Siedlecki have faith that his team could convert on fourth-and-four, but not fourth-and-one? Why are you going into panic mode in the mid third quarter, when you're still within two scores? But of course not. Instead, Cowan throws an incomplete pass. And Yale never really challenges again.

Look: I don't pretend to be a football expert, or anything. But it seems to me pretty obvious that you should take chances in the first half, and in the fourth quarter if you're trailing and have to.

Is there any way one of the people wants to come up to New Haven to help us out? I mean: why should the Gators have all the fun?