The man in the radio booth at the Stadium Saturday was enthusiastic. He had a little trouble with the exact player identification, but from his high vantage point he followed the general sweep of the game, and what he saw pleased him.
"Folks," he told his audience, "this is a fine Harvard football team. Next week we'll follow it against Holy Cross--one of the East's top squads; and they'll be in there fighting all the way. Folks," he added, "the drought at Harvard is over."
Now, while one rejoices to see such public confidence in Mr. Jordan's squad, one would have to share the opinion of many who viewed Saturday's victory that the drought is, regrettably, not yet ended.
But a few heavy drops have started falling.
It is always more pleasant to boost than to knock, and it would be nice to be able to say that the performance against Springfield "marked a definite turn in Crimson grid fortunes." Nice, perhaps, but not true, for the Harvard team still shows many weaknesses, some of which may be erased, in time.
Two important plus-factors, however, do to some extent balance the faults. Most important is the superb conditioning which the Crimson squad exhibited. Except for a little bumping, everyone came through in fine shape. Yesterday's was the first post-game Monday practice in a long time at which all were able to take contact work: nobody had incapacitating injuries.
Conditioning exercises, to which Jordan and his assistants devote a great deal of the squad's time, make all the difference. For not only will a well-conditioned squad tire more slowly, but it is also far less prone to twist-turn-sprain type injuries. Saturday proved the Crimson's superiority here. The local team finished strong, while Springfield wilted in the September heat. And though Jordan's team showed no bad effects from the heavy contacts. Springfield injuries stopped play at least four times.
The second positive feature of this year's team is harder to see. It is most visible in the vicious Crimson tackling, in the three roughing penalties, in the way the backs keep driving after they have been hit.
From tackle to tackle, though, the defense will bear improvement. Guard Joe Shaw stands out as relatively untrappable, but tackles John Nichols and Arnie Horween show the strain of going both ways. This situation should ease somewhat once Bob Stargel who played only a little--gets back.
The backfield also promises much, both offensively and defensively. Art French and John Tulenko give the secondary a big speed boost. If linebacker Tom Ossman can keep busting through tougher lines the way he splintered Springfield's the Crimson defense will stop a good many enemy marches.
On the attack, the two men to watch will be tailback Dick Clasby and fullback John Culver. Clasby cannot pass nearly so well as Captain Carroll Lowenstein, but he runs well, even when not accorded interference. Culver didn't lose a yard all afternoon. When confronted with a pile-up at the line, he disdains lowering his head and merely plunging' instead, he rumbles up one side of the heap, and down the other, as though the whole thing were solid ground.
Most encouraging, of course, is that Harvard has already equalled its annual win total for the last two years.
There are still eight games to play.