Senior receiver Ryan Tyler, who has been out due to injury since Oct.
1, could return and lend a valuable veteran presence to Harvard’s
receiving corps tomorrow. He dressed but did not play last week.
When Harvard takes the field tomorrow at Harvard Stadium against
Princeton to begin the season’s second half, it’s safe to assume that
everyone on the Crimson will be very familiar with the name McCareins.
That’s Jay McCareins, of course, not to be confused with his brother Justin, who is currently a wide receiver with the Jets.
Jay, a senior cornerback for the Tigers, might soon join his
brother in the NFL, and this year’s stunning numbers have caught the
attention of everyone in Ivy football.
“He’s the best player in the league,” Harvard coach Tim Murphy
said. “If you want to ask me who’s the next player going to the NFL
from our league? It’s Jay McCareins.”
McCareins’ performance through Princeton’s first five games
has been dominant. Not only has he intercepted five passes, but he’s
returned two of the five all the way back for touchdowns. Ironically,
that gives him two more touchdowns than his pass-catching brother.
Even with McCareins’ impressive play, Murphy believes Harvard cannot afford to alter its offense.
“We’re not going to back down,” he said. “We’re going to go
right at him. You have to do that. If you don’t challenge him it allows
the defense to focus on certain things and it becomes a problem.”
Crimson sophomore quarterback Liam O’Hagan has thrown nine
interceptions this year, although he had his first interception-free
performance in last week’s 24-17 win over Lafayette.
Senior receiver Ryan Tyler, who has not played in a game since
injuring his shoulder Oct. 1 against Lehigh, may be nearing a return.
Tyler dressed for last week’s game at Lafayette, but he did so
only in order to participate in warm-ups and work on conditioning.
Tyler’s return would limit the pressure on freshman Alex
Breaux and sophomores Matt Legace and Joe Murt, who have handled the
bulk of the receiving load since Tyler and junior wide out Corey Mazza
Mazza sat out three games with an injured ankle, which he further aggravated in practice this week, according to Murphy.
“Corey Mazza’s probably done for the year,” the coach said.
While Breaux, Legace, and Murt will still see substantial time
even if Tyler can play, the addition of a veteran presence in the
receiving corps would certainly help O’Hagan—especially with the ball
hawking McCareins waiting in the secondary.
Even though he’s missed the past two games, Tyler is still
tied with Breaux for the team lead in receptions with 14. Mazza,
despite playing in just two games, is still one behind with 13 catches.
THIRD AND THREE
Murphy wouldn’t commit as to who would act as his primary punt
returner against the Tigers, but it won’t be sophomore Steven Williams.
Williams has lost three fumbled punts in the past two games. His
replacement will likely be either Andrew Berry or Breaux...Junior
safety Danny Tanner will return to action this week following a knee
injury that caused him to miss two games. Senior Robert Balkema will
retain his starting role, and Tanner will be used predominately in
nickel packages...Harvard has a nine-game winning streak against
—Staff writer David H. Stearns can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.