The most radical change which has taken place in the practice of the Harvard eleven this fall in contrast with the work of past years, has been the tendency of Head Coach Crane to make the game more enjoyable to the players than heretofore, and to relieve them as far as possible of the drudgery of the daily routine.
Secret practice was begun nearly three weeks later than usual and has been held only infrequently, except during the last week. The scrimmages, however, have taken place three times a week, which is as often as in former years, and the breaking through practice for the linemen under Coach Cutts has been, if anything, harder and more frequent than before.
Harvard played the first games of her schedule as usual with the Maine colleges. Bowdoin was defeated only 5 to 0; but against the University of Maine and Bates bigger scores were rolled up, the former being defeated 30 to 0, and Bates 33 to 4. Captain Schumacher scored for Bates on a goal from the field, this being the third successive year that Bates has tallied against Harvard. Wil- liams was defeated 18 to 0 in a rough and uninteresting game, in which neither team played a new-style, open game, but resorted mainly to line plays. The only game played away from Cambridge was with the Navy at Annapolis on October 19. The team was taken some-what by surprise in regard to the Navy's strength which was underestimated; and the Harvard offense met an opponent which was able to withstand it. Crude work on the part of the backs was plainly evident in the Annapolis game.
The next game was with Springfield Training School, who last year were beaten 44 to 0, but on October 26 of this fall they were barely defeated, 9 to 5. Springfield had the science of forward passes down to a fine point, and by using this play frequently had a great advantage over the Harvard team. After Springfield had scored their touchdown on a blocked punt Harvard braced, and scored a touchdown and a goal from placement.
The Brown game was the closest that has been seen in the Stadium this year. The University team, with only five minutes to play and with the score 5 to 0 against them, put a snap into their actions that was irresistible, and rushed the ball straight down the field for a touchdown. Previous to Brown's touchdown, they put up a magnificent exhibition of holding on their own goal line.
In the Carlisle game the weakness of the University's ends and secondary defense was plainly brought to light. With the Indians' strong interference, they could not prevent the Carlisle backs from gaining frequently around the ends. The Harvard offense was strong enough, however, to push the ball over when within striking distance of the goal line, and, all told, the backs played a strong game against the Indians' stubborn defense.
Last Saturday's game with Dartmouth emphasized still further the weakness of the secondary defense. The line showed great improvement, and the work of the ends was better than in the Carlisle game. Dartmouth's large score of 22 points was due largely to the recovering of blocked kicks and to the fast manner in which the Dartmouth players followed the ball.
The greatest problem of the coaches this year has been to develop and coach ends, and for that purpose the services of D. C. Campbell '02 and F. D. Cochrane '99, former University ends, have been secured during the past two weeks to assist the regular coaches. The choice of ends was in doubt up to the last week. Starr has been playing end in practice recently and is undoubtedly the best tackler out for the position. Macdonald is a valuable man on account of his experience, and Browne has shown great improvement recently. Bird promised well at the beginning of the season as a good man to catch forward passes, but he is handicapped in this work by weak eyesight. C. Peirce, Houston and Forster make fair substitutes.
Burr was shifted from his former position at guard to tackle early in the season on account of a loss of weight. He quickly became acquainted with his new position and now is one of the best defensive players on the team. He is most valuable to the team, however, on account of his great punting ability. Fish, the other tackle, developed rapidly from the beginning of the season. He was a member of last year's Freshman team, but at first was not regarded as University material. His defensive game is somewhat weak, but he is strong in following the ball and in catching forward passes. Inches and Hadden are the first substitute tackles. Kennard, who played end last year, has been playing well at tackle, but broke a bone in his foot in the Indian game which disabled him for the rest of the season.
Both guard positions are filled by men who played in other positions in past years. Captain Parker was transferred from centre, and W. Peirce was shifted over from tackle. Parker is very quick for a man of his weight, but has been kept out of several games this fall on account of injuries to his back and shoulder. Peirce plays a hard game but is inclined to be over-aggressive. Hear has been developed into a first-rate substitute for Parker's position. The other substitute guards are Brock, Gilmore and Forchheimer.
At centre, Harvard is playing Grant, a man of only 171 pounds in weight, but who has been more than a match for all the centres that he has played against thus far. He is down under punts with the ends, is a strong man at blocking kicks, and follows the ball excellently. His substitute is Nourse, who gave Grant a close race for the position, and who is able to play a first-class game.
For quarterback, there was a hard contest between Newhall and Starr, the former running the team better, and Starr being stronger in tackling and in running back punts. Newhall was picked as the best man, but Starr was too valuable to lose altogether, and so was transferred to end, where he played last year. Gilder is the second substitute quarterback.
There were several good candidates for fullback at the opening of the season, but two of the most promising, Mason and Brennan, have been laid off on account of injuries. Apollonio is the best man for the position. He hits the line very hard and is an excellent defensive back. Blamer and Waterbury are the substitutes, but both are considerably weaker in defensive work.
It is very fortunate for Harvard that Wendell is able to play at left halfback. The Dartmouth game was his first this fall, as previous to that he had not been allowed to play on account of scholarship deficencies. He runs hard, keeps his feet well, and is the best secondary defensive back on the team. The other back, Rand, is good in offensive work and fights hard for his ground. Frequent gains have been made through his side of the line in the last few games, however. Lockwood and Gilbert are the first substitute halfbacks. Lockwood is valuable on account of his speed, but his interference and defensive work is weak. Cutting and Starr have been put in at halfback in practice and have shown streaks of very brilliant playing.
As a whole, the weak points of the team have been a lack of efficient, ground-gaining trick plays and formations and an undeveloped secondary defense. The team fights hard, however, and the snap which they have at times put into their play, when the odds seemed or were hopelessly against them, has been remarkable