For Freshman football news see page 1, column 5. For additional Freshman athletic news see page 11.
For the first time in three years the Varsity football team will start the season without two strikes already upon it and the third, a high hard one coming while the batter is still off balance. That may be mixing sports and figures of speech but it's literally true, and this is the season when sports are being mixed anyway.
Two years ago Dick Harlow was called up from Western Maryland to take charge of Crimson football. He was met by a team demoralized by past seasons, timid of the coming season. Whatever spirit there was was dispelled when Bob Haley, the captain, was put off the team on technical charges of professionalism.
Harvard football hit a low that season (that was the year when the banner appeared in the Harvard stands in the middle of the game "What the hell do we care?"), but at the same time a wealth of confidence was being built up in Dick Harlow's ability as a football coach. This first appeared among the players themselves and by the end of the season the hand-dog, furtive look on the faces of Harvard sports followers was beginning to disappear in spite of the fact that Harvard won no major games that year.
Last year the team was due to got off to a better start but final exams dealt it a body blow. Not only did the captain, Emil Dubiel, go on pro, but also the only bucking back and one of the most promising linemen.
In spite of these breaks, the team went ahead with the full confidence of the college behind it. It won the two opening games, but after the Army power machine had rolled over, there was little enough left. Again Dick Harlow started at the beginning, again there was drill on fundamentals, again confidence had sunk to a new low.
But Harlow and his football players kept plugging away. Only to the experts was it obvious that every game saw a better Crimson football team come out on the greensward of the Stadium, but it was true nonetheless. And finally it was proved.
On the afternoon of October 31 the powerful Princeton football team came into the Stadium. In its backfield was an all-American running back. He was flanked by other stars, and in front of them loomed a bone-crushing line. And that afternoon Harvard football fortunes turned. The final score was 14-14, but to the delirious Harvard stands, starving for a winning football team, the score was 114 to 14.
Later the team lost to Navy and it lost again by a single point to Yale, but it can be definitely said that the turning point in Harvard football fortunes has been reached.
This year there is no one on pro. For the first time in three years Harvard's first choice in captain will start the season.
No less than 14 lettermen are returning. Four are regular starters in the line. The other two linemen will be set to give these four regulars a fight for starting positions. The rest are backs, and there is little enough to choose between any of them. It is certain that all of them will see a wealth of action in every game, since frequent substitutions are the order under Harlow's system.
In addition the Freshman squad is sending up a bunch of promising players to hold down the Sophomore positions.
Offhand it seems impossible for a Sophomore to break into the starting backfield, even such an all-around athlete as Torbert McDonald who did most of the ball-lugging last year. There is, however, the possibility that cliff Wilson will be shifted from a bucking back with Chief Boston to a line post, and in that case there will be an opening for someone to spell Boston.
In the line Bob Green, Gibby Winter, and Red Daughters will divide the end posts between them. Alex Kevorkian, mentioned on several all-American teams, will hold down one tackle position. The other may be taken over by Joe Nee who played guard last year most of the time, or possibly by Wilson. That leaves Booth as a substitute tackle. Captain Russ Allen will have things his own way as one guard leaving the other for either Nee or Boston.
If anyone forced us to pick a starting lineup we'd choose the following: ends, Daughters, Green; tackles, Kevorkian, Nee; guards, Wilson, Allen; center, Russell; backs, Oakes, Wilson, Stuart, Struck. And if we have four of them right, we'll consider it a good job of picking, well, all right then, guessing.