One of the most important functions in the developing of the University football team, generally misunderstood by the student body and subject to undergraduate criticism is that of secret practice. Why do the coaches deem it advisable, the undergraduate argues, to debar him from seeing the football team in action daily, following its progress, and watching the progress of polishing the eleven by the coaches? Would not the team be benefited by student attendance in open practice daily? At the outset the CRIMSON wishes to correct some of the misunderstanding prevalent among the student body in regard to secret practice, and advance sound reasoning for the continuance of secret practice on the Stadium field.
In the first place the idea exists among undergraduates that secret practice means literally practice conducted in absolute secrecy, with the intention of preventing any new plays from being carried away by the spectators and reaching the ears of our adversaries. This is further strengthened by the strange truth that on each Saturday the undergraduate sees but little change in the team's style of playing, with but few new or startling plays in its method of attack. Secret practice is not conducted primarily to keep secret the team's development. It claims a far more worthy aim; that of permitting the coaches to get the undivided and undistracted attention of their charges, so that perfection in playing may be instilled more thoroughly and quickly, and with greater efficiency. Furthermore it is extremely desirable to have only a fixed staff of coaches and prevent a large number of graduates from attempting to coach the players, each in a different way.
Under the present system, scouts from rival universities see the team in action but once a week. If they were permitted to watch the team daily, the greatest asset they would gain would be intimate knowledge of the personality of each player. The new plays evolved would be of less use to them than this intimate knowledge of each player. Thus a premium would be placed on scouting, a feature which should not be fostered.
There is no question but that each player on the team is stimulated by the feeling that the student body is standing by and is loyal in its support. The team, however, does not require the presence of undergraduates at daily practice to feel this. It would be much better for the men who would watch opon practice to indulge in some form of exercise during the time they would otherwise spend in the Stadium. We believe, however, that the undergraduates should see the University team in action on the Fridays before the Michigan and Princeton games and at the last practice in Cambridge before the Yale game. This the coaches are most willing to do, and these are the proper times to openly show loyalty to the team. During the rest of the time let the team and its coaches have full possession of the Stadium.