At the beginning of this year the prospects for a highly successful football season at Yale were very bright. Both guards from last year's team, Cooney and Geebel, had returned; Brides, Philbin, Murphy and Coy, all of whom played in the backfield last year, were eligible; Andrus. Hobbs and Kilpatrick of the winning 1911 team could fill other places in the line. The chief problem was to find a centre and a quarterback. Because of frequent injuries, the end positions have been very unsettled; but it is probable that Captain Burch will play one of them today. The guards and tackles were well filled from the beginning. At centre Biddle developed very slowly; but he is now playing a steady, efficient game. The backfield has relied too much on old-fashioned line-plunges and has not shown any indication of having developed an open game. In the early part of the season the backs were slow to get started and it was not until the end of the Princeton game that their attack became so powerful. The position of quarterback has been in doubt all season. Three men were tried during the Princeton game, and it was only the third one that livened up the offense. The defense is not exceptionally strong, as both Brown and Princeton have crossed the Yale goal line.
In the first game of the season, Yale defeated Wesleyan by two touchdowns, scoring both of them in the first half by straight line-rushing. In the second half, many substitutes were put in who could not gain consistently through the Wesleyan line. Against Syracuse, a week later, the team could only score one touchdown. The work was ragged and rather discouraging. Eighteen points were rolled up against Holy Cross on October 10, in a game that showed much promise. The offense was still slow in starting, but on the defense, both the line and the backs showed marked improvement. The Army proved to be the hardest proposition Yale had met. Playing with several men crippled slowed up the Yale attack, which was unable to gain consistently against the opposing line. In the second half, fierce line-plunging by the backfield won the game for Yale. The defensive work was excellent throughout the game, but, on the offense, the team confined itself to old-fashioned football.
During the next two weeks Yale had two easy victories, defeating Washington and Jefferson by the score of 28 to 0, and overwhelming the Massachusetts Agricultural College team by the score of 49 to 0. Both games showed a fast attack with good interference for the runner. The light opposing teams could not withstand the rushes of the heavy Yale backs. The fumbling of the team at critical moments was apparent.
Throughout the Brown game, Yale was outclassed by the visitors. The team played a listless game and gave miserable protection to the man with the ball. In punting alone were the visitors excelled. It was only after Brown had scored that Yale braced and played a hard, steady game, using line plays and forward passes with equal success. Yale's first tally was the result of a beautiful place-kick by Coy, from the 30-yard line. The touchdown came from a forward pass on the 20-yard line. The final score was 10 to 10.
In the Princeton game, Yale showed the wonderful reserve that won last year, by rolling up two touchdowns in the second half after Princeton had scored early in the game. During the entire first half, Yale was outplayed. The speedy Princeton backs, and especially Tibbott, managed to run around the ends for long gains, from which Princeton's touchdown resulted. The nearest Yale got to the opposing goal was the 13-yard line where an attempted forward pass failed. In the second half, Princeton at first kept the advantage, but as the game went on the team tired and could no longer hold Coy's terrific rushes. His playing, probably the most brilliant seen on the football field this year, was directly responsible for both of Yale's touchdowns. Brides, at tackle, and Goebel, at guard, both played well, opening large holes for the backs.
Individual criticism of the players from their work so far this season follows:
W. S. Logan '10, left end, is strongest in open field tackling. He is not altogether reliable for the handling of the forward pass or onside kick, but in getting down under kicks and sizing up the opponents' play he is especially valuable.
H. A. Hobbs '10S., left tackle, is an aggressive but not always entirely consistent tackle. He breaks through well, keeps his eyes open and many times gets the man with the ball, but on the other hand has often been found for large gains. His work in getting down under punts is excellent.
H. F. Andrus '10S., left guard, is a quiet, hard-working lineman. His work is never showy but is always consistent. His chief strength is on the defense.
A. A. Biddle '09, center, has a very hard charge and is very fast for a center. He follows the plays well and is a good open field tackler. His passes, however, are liable to be erratic.
W. A. Goebel '10, right guard, is a hard worker and is especially effective in helping dragging the runner along. He still lacks skill in the finer points of the game and is not yet able to use his strength to full advantage. He is fast on his feet but has the fault of charging too high. He is especially good on the defense.
A. E. Brides '09 M.S., right tackle, has been at a disadvantage owing to his being shifted from halfback. He is a natural lineman, however, and would have been a sure choice for an All-American guard last year had the coaches not transferred him from the line. He is especially good at diagnosing plays and is a dangerous man to direct an attack against.
Captain R. B. Burch '09, right end, since he has been kept out of the game for most of the season by injuries, is rather an unknown quantity. He plays his position intelligently and at the beginning of the season showed great promise of developing into an excellent end, but at present it is a question whether he will be able to do himself justice. He is especially strong in getting down under punts and is not easily blocked.
A. L. Corey '11, quarterback, has been showing improvement steadily in his ability to run the team. He has a very level head, starts the plays in good shape and his passing is excellent. He is a very sure man in catching punts but is some-what slow in running them back.