With Freshmen eligible for the Varsity squad for the first time next fall, Coach Dick Harlow begins his most important year as Harvard football tutor with only a sprinkling of experienced men on hand. Gone are 10 of the 11 Yale game starters from last fall--the entire backfield and all but one man from the rock-ribbed line which defied all comers.
Dick Harlow must begin the rebuilding process all over again, starting almost from scratch. Of the four or five outstanding underclassmen who won letters last fall only Captain Don Forte has survived the accelerated academic program and will be back for another season. In addition to the terrific June graduation toll which took Chub Peabody, Loren MacKinney, Vern Miller, Dick Pflster, Captain Franny Lee, George Heiden, Tom Gardiner, etc., Juniors Don McNicol, Jack Morgan, and Johnny Page will play no more football for Harvard.
The backfield would have been built around the red-haired McNicol, and he, together with the lanky Morgan, would have given Coach Harlow an excellent passing combination. Page's value as a line backer cannot be overestimated.
A bigger and stronger Bill Wilson appears ready to give the Crimson a good running threat at tallback, and Wayne Johnson should step into the fullback role without much trouble. At the blocking and wingback positions, however, there were no standout performers in the spring drills. A talented Freshman might break into the starting lineup in one of those two positions early next fall.
Captain Forte and Bill Barnes have a clear edge in the fight for end jobs, but scarcely anybody else along the whole forward wall seems even reasonably sure of his place. Line mentor Lyal Clark has a host of willing hands and a few men with considerable promise, but all are green. Unfortunately, these inexperienced operatives will be forced to get their seasoning in blazing big-league competition rather than on the practice field ever the period of a year or two.
Russ Stannard and Stan Durwood are leading the pack at tackle at the present time, with George Hibbard and Steve Mallett right on their heels. Guards were rushed in and out of spring scrimmages so fast that it was hard to keep track of them, but Jim Aldrich, Wally Kamp, Goody Goodale, Sid Smith, and Charley Hubbard seem to be the leaders. Dick Rowe, who did not work out this spring, will be a strong contender.
It appears that these inferior linemen are giving the coaches a good deal of worry. No one packs the punch of a Peabody or a Pflstor, and the sheer power of a Miller or a Gardiner is sadly missing. Jack Fisher, the Freshman captain of a year ago, has the inside track on the conter fight, but hero again a wide-open battle royal should develop in September.
Harvard has a nine game schedule this fall, opening with the North Carolina Naval Aviation cadets in the Stadium and following with eight other major league opponents. Outmanned as Harvard appears to be in almost every encounter, there should still be several victories. A fighting Crimson squad directed by the brilliant Dick Harlow will attend to that matter.