October 19, 2007

From the Broadcast Booth: Off to Philly

Oct. 19, 2007

by Ron Vaccaro '04

Huge game tomorrow as Yale travels to Franklin Field to take on Penn. Penn may be 2-3, but don't be fooled by their record. The Quakers also have a very fine tailback in Joe Sandberg. There could easily be more than 500 rushing yards between these two teams on Saturday.

Getting ready to head down to Philadelphia has been different this week, because memories of the late Dick Galiette have come flooding back. It was two years ago this week that he fell ill and passed away suddenly, but this is our first time heading back to Penn since, and so many images are imbedded in my head. Mostly, I laugh thinking about how Dick would be railing against the far-less-than-ideal (to put it extremely charitably) broadcast position we have at Franklin Field. Radio crews aren't in the press box; we're in the rafters, between the decks of the stadium on the home side of the field. Diagonal bars run from "ceiling" to "floor", and mission accomplished is getting through the day without banging your head or falling down. "Nothing changes, Ronnie, nothing changes". I can hear it now.

Well, one thing that surely hasn't changed this year is the dominance that Mike McLeod has displayed on the ground. Last week I mentioned that he was only one yard shy of Princeton in team rushing. Well, his record-breaking day last week has changed that number: McLeod has 995 rushing yards -- that's just five yards shy of averaging 200 per game by the way! -- and Princeton is the second place team in league rushing with 841. You have to think that Penn is not going to want to allow any back to rush for over 200 yards on vaunted Franklin Field, so this should be a very interesting story to watch Saturday.

This is the first time Yale has been 5-0 since 1981. You can see the Ivy Champs banner from that year hanging in the Bowl. That was the third of three consecutive championships for Carm Cozza's teams.

Speaking of Coach Cozza, I have to say by far the coolest thing I have seen this year is a t-shirt being sold at the merchandise tent just inside the main admission gate at the Bowl. It is an old Starter shirt, and on the front it says "Yale Football, The Cozza Era, 1965-1996". The back lists all 10 Ivy League Championships won under Carm and says "Thanks Coach". I bought four last week to give to friends and keep one for myself. If I had the money, I'd commission a new order and hand them out to everyone who comes to the Yale-Harvard game this year to wear as a tribute to Carm. The shirts are awesome. We are all enjoying this year's success, on the heels of last year's co-championship season, but we can never pay too much respect to the foundation it stands upon. Thanks, Coach, indeed.

So, if Philly is not in your travel plans, join Carm and I at 11:30 tomorrow for pre-game coverage on News/Talk 960 WELI-AM and online at 960WELI.com. Kickoff is at Noon, and it should be a good one.

Ron Vaccaro '04 is the voice of Yale Football on News/Talk 960 WELI-AM