Yale football ready for spring game

NEW HAVEN, Conn. – September 16 seems a long way off as the grass in New England has yet to reach its full green. It’s not if you are preparing for the 2017 football season.

The Bulldogs, who look like they are getting ready for the opener at Lehigh, are into their second week of spring practice on Clint Frank Field.

They were on the synthetic surface inside the DeWitt Cuyler Track by 6 AM this morning and will be back on the same schedule for Wednesday and Friday before running it again the following week.

Yale spring practice marks the end of the new year, off-season training program that began in Payne Whitney Gym and ended across Derby Avenue from Yale Bowl.

“Spring practice is going great. Everyone has come back revitalized and ready to work,” said Matthew Oplinger ’18, an All-Ivy linebacker who will be on the Class of 1954 Field for the April 22, 1:30 PM Blue-White game.

If you go out to watch a practice, you might notice a switch in positions by two defensive coaches. Steve Vashel is now working with the outside linebackers, while former Eli captain Paul Rice ’10, once a collegiate corner back, has the defensive backs.

“From a defensive standpoint, it seems the coaches are looking to simplify our attack, which allows us to play fast and physical,” said rising senior Hayden Carlson, who has made 187 tackles over the last two seasons and led the league as a sophomore. “Spring is a great time to develop communication and trust with my teammates. We hope that progresses every day. As a team, we’re excited to see our efforts in the weight room pay off on the field.”

The Elis, who have three practices after the Blue-White contest, finish spring workouts on April 27.

The 103rd season of football in the Bowl features a team that returns 17 players who started games during last fall’s 3-7 campaign that culminated with a win at Harvard. The Crimson return to New Haven on Nov. 18 for the 134th edition of The Game.

By Steve Conn, Yale Associate AD & Sports Publicity Director – steven.conn@yale.edu

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