Yesterday's football practice for the University squad was light, and consequently uneventful, as is usually the case on Mondays. In the Locker Building, the Bates game was discussed by the coaches, the weak points of the players indicated, and some new plays given out. Later the squad held signal practice in the Stadium.
Shift in Quarterbacks.
The most interesting event forthcoming yesterday was a shift in the order of the candidates for the quarterback position. In the Bates game, Bradlee was first choice, Freedley second, and Logan third. Yesterday, this order was exactly reversed, Logan running Team A, Freedley Team B, and Bradlee being kept on the sidelines. This change was due to the fact that in Saturday's game Logan, who played during the third period, showed vastly better generalship than either of the others. Bradlee's work lacked snap, and he showed a marked tendency to fumble and miss signals. The shift is, of course, wholly conditional on the showing of the men in the latter games.
O'Brien Laid Up.
No injuries of a serious nature have developed from the Bates game. O'Brien is the only man who played in it who was not fit for work yesterday, and his trouble consists of minor bruises which will keep him out only for a day or two. Cowen, who has not been practicing since the Maine game on account of a muscle injury, was again on the field yesterday, but did not get into the line-up of either of the University teams. Mills, who has been taking his place at left guard, has made such rapid progress in overcoming the handicap of inexperience and has shown such strength on the line, that Cowen will have a hard time recovering his old position. Mills played on Team A yesterday.
The practice in the Stadium opened with a long preliminary drill for the linemen, the backs, the ends, and the centres, working separately. Following this, there was a 20-minutes' signal drill for Teams A and B, and at the same time time a run around the track for the invalids and the substitutes. The line-up was as follows:
R. B. Wigglesworth '12, who is expected to help out in the coaching of the candidates for the quarterback position, has just returned from the Philippines to enter the Law School. He was not on the field yesterday, but is expected to be on hand soon.
Dr. Fraser Succeeds Dr. Nichols.
Dr. E. H. Nichols, the squad physician, has been retired in favor of Dr. Somers Fraser '07, a graduate of the Medical School. Dr. Nichols will continue to come around occasionally, but the brunt of the work will fall upon Dr. Fraser. The latter played centre on the 1907 football team.
The Football Situation.
In yesterday morning's Herald there appeared an article on undue confidence concerning the football team. The team is considered as a whole and individually, and this year's situation and men are compared with those of former years. The commenter says: "One would suppose that the bitter lessons of 1897, 1899, and 1910 would not so easily have been forgotten, but there is every indication that these experiences did not teach wisdom. In those years, as now, it was too easily forgotten that a team which is developed slowly may not make so good an appearance in the early games, but is sure toward the end of the season to advance with greater rapidity than a veteran team, unconsciously let down by past successes."
Dearth of Quarterbacks.
The article then goes on to speak of over-confidence in stars and comments in order on the quarterbacks, backs, line and end material "Last year, Gardner fulfilled all the requisites of a quarter-back perfectly, but this year there is no candidate who shows anything like his promise. True, it is early in the season, but the trouble is that no one of the quarterback candidates apparently has the capacity to develop into a first class man."
The backfield is next taken up and compared with last year's backfield. "Mahan's playing has been striking, but it is the kind of playing that shines against weaker teams. Its effectiveness against a strong line is doubtful and certainly it not comparable to the plunges of Wendell. Thus Harvard has lost the man who was really the keystone of her backfield work, and there is no one in sight who can fill his place."
Line Only Average.
Next in order is the line. The writer says that Parmenter was the man who concealed the weakness of last year's line. "Now he is gone, and the linemen of this year will have to rely on themselves. But Storer and Hitchcock at tackles, and Pennock, Trumbull, Mills and the other men trying for the centre trio are not of such calibre that they can alone meet a heavy, well-organized and concentrated attack. They are all average, and very average at that, and the slender margin of superiority in line work established last year by Parmenter's generalship has vanished."
These observations on the middle of the line are followed by more on the ends. "At the beginning of the season the end material looked promising, but now the story is different. O'Brien is fast down the field, but against heavy interference or as an offensive line man he is ineffective. Coolidge is much the same. Gardiner has had to stop playing and the other candidates not only do not now show, but have little promise of later developing varsity calibre."
"Meanwhile Yale, Princeton, and now Penn. State are studying those weaknesses and bending every effort to take advantage of them. At Yale particularly the call has gone forth to rally every effort for this year's team. Now with a squad that has done all the ground work that counts for so much as the season advances, Yale under the direction of her best football minds is working with one end in view, to defeat Harvard on November 22. She does not care much about her early games; she has learned that the best teams are those developed slowly. Last year Yale had the best material in the country. She failed to utilize it and she failed to make it into a team. But this year Yale has equally good material and the men who know most about making it into a team are working carefully and harmoniously to do so. No one who stops to reflect on these facts will be carried away with any delusions that Harvard's chances this year are any better than usual.