#44 Yale FCS Football 2016 Preview

Yale Bulldogs
Overall Rank: #44
#3 Ivy League
Yale had an up and down 2015 campaign that was slowed a bit by injuries. A 3-4 mark in Ivy League action was not what the Bulldogs were hoping for, but Coach Tony Reno should have his team ready to compete for an Ivy League title in 2016.
2015 Record: 6-4, 3-4
2015 Postseason: None
Coach: Tony Reno (21-19 at Yale, 21-19 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Joe Conlin
Defensive Coordinator: Steven Vashel, Sean McGowan
Returning Leaders:
Rushing: Deshawn Salter, RB, 561 yards
Passing: Rafe Chapple, QB, 45 yards
Receiving: Christopher Williams-Lopez, WR, 576 yards
Tackles: Hayden Carlson, DB, 92
Sacks: Matthew Oplinger, LB, 5.0
Interceptions: Spencer Rymiszewski, DB, 4
Other Key Returnees: WR Bo Hines, WR Robert Clemons III, WR Michael Siragusa Jr., LB Victor Egu, LB Darius Manora, DT Copache Tyler, DE Marty Moesta, K/P Bryan Holmes
Key Losses: QB Morgan Roberts, OL Luke Longinotti, DB Cole Champion, LB Andrew Larkin
The defense was the more consistent unit in 2015, but did struggle against the more potent offenses in the Ivy League. The line is in great shape though with tackle Copache Tyler leading the way. He is a beast in the middle of the line and most opponents will be forced to double team him. That will open up space for end Marty Moesta, who tallied 3.0 sacks during his junior campaign. At 6-6 and 254 pounds, Moesta is a handful. Linebacker Matthew Oplinger knows how to get into the backfield too and led the team with 5.0 sacks in 2015. With Victor Egu and Darius Manora joining Oplinger, the Bulldogs have a very talented group of linebackers that can take the Bulldogs to the next level. Cornerback Spencer Rymiszewski leads a secondary that needs to replace Cole Champion. Rymiszewski intercepted four passes last year and broke up eight more. Jason Alessi is a promising junior, but the Bulldogs do need to find some consistency in the secondary.
Quarterback Morgan Roberts leaves Yale as the programs all-time leader in passing yards and total offense. That is a big hole to fill. Rafe Chapple was Roberts’ backup last year, but only threw 11 passes. Whoever ends up under center will have some talented receivers to work with, including North Carolina State transfer Bo Hines who missed nearly all of last season with an injury. In the first half of the season opener against Colgate, Hines caught six passes for 68 yards. He came back for the last three games of the season, but was not as effective. If he can stay healthy, Hines should be one of the best receivers in the conference. Christopher Williams-Lopez, Robert Clemons III and Michael Siragusa Jr. deserve a lot of credit for stepping up in Hines’ absence and all three are back. Also back is running back Deshawn Salter. He led the Bulldogs with 561 rushing yards and seven touchdowns. While the new quarterback gets things figure out, expect Yale to work Salter more early in the season.
The Bottom Line:
By most accounts, it is a four team race for the Ivy League title this year. Yale has a slight upper hand since both Dartmouth and Penn have to come to New Haven. The potential problem with those games is that they are both relatively early in the season. Dartmouth and Penn have some questions to answer as well, but it is possible that Yale’s offense will still be a bit one-dimensional at that point in the season. Yale cannot afford to still be working in their new quarterback by week four when Dartmouth comes to town. The other big game is, of course, The Game. This year Yale heads to Harvard and that contest could have the Ivy League title on the line.
Projected Postseason: None
2015 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 122.4 (99th in nation, 7th in conference)
Passing Offense: 268.0 (24, 3)
Total Offense: 390.4 (52, 6)
Scoring Offense: 23.5 (76, 6)
Rushing Defense: 131.5 (22, 4)
Pass Defense: 256.9 (113, 6)
Total Defense: 388.4 (66, 4)
Scoring Defense: 24.2 (49, 5)
Turnover Margin: 0.10 (51, 5)
Sacks: 1.70 (87, 7)
Sacks Allowed: 2.50 (88, 6)
Madness 2016 Recruit Rankings:
#26 Ryan Burke
#62 Charles Callender
#140 Alex Motley
#155 Josh Keeler
#168 Sterling Strother
#190 Matt McCabe
#192 Alan Lamar