It is with frank trepidation that Coach Irv Utz brings his Washington Bears to the Stadium to play their "toughest of the year" and first "major" opponent in over a decade.
Stressing his injuries and his team's unfamiliarity with the single-wing, the St. Louis mentor fails to point out that his club has 21 returning lettermen, three weeks of spring practice under its belt, several promising freshmen on the roster, and two victories in its only starts of the fall campaign.
The Bears opened the season by walloping the Missouri School of Mines, 27 to 6, and last Saturday edged Wayne University of Detroit, 13 to 12. The win over Wayne proved as costly as it was lucky, because Utz's most powerful halfback, 198-pound Norb Mueller, received an elbow injury that will sideline him for the season.
The Bears pass extensively from their deceptive T-formation, with Coach Utz' sons Jack and Jim, his first and second-string quarterbacks, doing the bulk of the pitching. Jack, the elder and lighter (140 pounds), has thrown four touchdown passes in the first two games of the season.
Jim, no giant at 150 pounds, does all the punting; and just to make things tough for the press-box, a third brother, 132-pound Bob, will play Mueller's half-back Saturday. Spell Utz with a capital "G". To blunt charges of nepotism, the coach will start big Bob Winkler at full-back, bad ankle and all.
Jim Kennedy, Bobby Crim and several other regulars on the defensive backfield are likely to carry the ball as the afternoon wears on; so will Steve Brown and Bob Lasley, who kicked the winning point against Wayne last week.
Ends Bob Maune--he's scored twice so far--and Kent McGinley, tackles Jack Bentzinger and Gerald Lee; Guards John Krause and Ted Berger, and center Joe Fenlon will start on the offensive line. End Brad Stevens is also sure to see action. Berger, at 185 pounds, is the squad's best blocker.
Defense a Toss-Up
Defensively, the Bears have employed the 5-3-2-1 in recent years, but it's anyone's guess what Coach Utz will throw against the Harvard single-wing. There's little doubt, however, that he will use Rich Hase at safety, Crim and Kennedy at the halfbacks, with Bill Dean and Mark Bollinger as linebackers.
The defending line will include ends Jean Dubail and Donald Rott, tackles Phil Muth and Ernie Verreos, and guards Joe Lysell and Leo Carosella. Muth and Verreos have distinguished themselves in Washington's first two outings, as has the hustling Dubail, who has blocked several kicks this year.
Definite underdogs this season, the junior-laden Bears might find themselves favored if they were to meet Harvard next fall. But with an undefeated record so far this year, Washington isn't worrying about any game beyond this afternoon.