Monday, November 12, 2012

The Situation is Healthy, We'll See About Michelsen


BY JAY GREENBERG

Connor Michelsen suffered no structural damage from the hit on the throwing shoulder that forced him out of the fourth quarter of the 29-7 win at Yale Saturday. The quarterback’s availability for the season finale Saturday against Dartmouth on Powers Field at Princeton Stadium will depend upon his response to treatment.

Connor Michelsen '15
“He has had enough reps by now that I don’t need him to practice all week before I would feel comfortable using him,” said Coach Bob Surace.  “We’ll see how he does.

“If he can throw, he can play.”

Quinn Epperly led not only the fourth-quarter scoring drive after Michelsen’s injury, but also Princeton’s first touchdown drive in the second quarter. Epperly also finished the Michelsen-led drive to start the second half.  Conventional football wisdom is that teams that use two quarterbacks essentially are saying they don’t have one, plus are begging for a divisive atmosphere. But the results from Michelsen and Epperly have been almost utopian, tribute to the attitude of the two sophomores of course, but also to the coaching staff’s preparation of both.

Epperly, the running quarterback, made a big-time back corner throw to Matt Costello for the game-clinching touchdown at Yale. Michelsen, the passing quarterback, regularly runs quarterback draws, testimony to how both have worked on their perceived deficits. The red zone offense is dramatically improved from last year in part because of packages for two different quarterbacks. And twice Epperly has conducted fourth-quarter touchdown drives – one on a two-minute drill for an all-time win against Harvard – after Michelsen was injured.

Quinn Epperly '15
“That’s not the reason we [decided to use] two,” said Surace. “But it has had that added benefit.

“Those two fourth quarter drives we had Saturday (the second ran out the clock) were the best we have finished a game this year.”

CONTROL FREAK DEPT:  Costello’s catch was the best in an end zone in recent Princeton memory.

“Omigosh,” said Surace.  “Matt has such good body control.

“I’ve seen him make that catch a number of times in practice, but at the back pylon with a guy on him?

“James (offensive coordinator Perry) asked about running that play (third-and-nine at the Yale nine when a chip shot field goal could have created a three-score differential as well).  So during the (Yale) timeout, I told Quinn ‘you have to put that ball where nobody (from Yale) can catch it.’ Both the throw and the catch couldn’t have been any better.”

“Coming down, I really couldn’t have any good idea where my feet were landing,” said Costello.  “I really just had to hope I would be in bounds.”
Matt Arends '16

COURAGE DEPT:  The deep slant tests a wideout’s speed, and health in addition to his resolve. And Manchester, Connecticut’s Seth DeValve had two big first-down catches on Tiger drives. “The (25-yarder) arrived as he was getting hit on the leg and he stayed up,” said Surace. “Yards after the coach are so important.’

CREDIT WHERE IT IS DUE:  While Mandela Schaeffer made the tackle at the one, the strip of Mordecai Cargill enabling Anthony Gaffney’s third-period fumble recovery in the end zone actually was made by Matt Arends.  “And Anthony deserves a lot of credit for being so alert, too,” said Surace. “There were four Yale players right there.”

TIGER TAILS

Bonfire is set for 7-9 p.m. Saturday night on Cannon Green. Obviously the Tigers don't want to put a hose to it with a loss to the Big Green.

“Dartmouth is as good as any team in the league," said Surace. "They have had only had the one league loss (to Harvard) that wasn’t in the final minutes.” 

Joe Bonura '15
Michelsen’s was the only new injury the Tigers suffered at Yale. . .  Di Andre Atwater, out since the Harvard game, ran better in Sunday’s walkthrough, but is too far behind on conditioning and probably too rusty to be considered anything better than doubtful for Dartmouth. . . News is not good for RT Kevin Mill (knee) either, who sadly also is doubtful to play in his final collegiate game . . . Game balls from Yale went to Epperly, Arends, Joe Bonura (special teams) plus Jack Verducci and Charlie Langerhans for their scout team work.  . . . Asked what stood out to him on the film Surace said “Phil Bhaya’s tackling.  Outstanding.”



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