Down at Soldiers Field this week it is not the opposing team that's disturbing the freshman football coaches, but a second, un-uniformed opponent: influenza. At yesterday's practice session, nine members of Coach Henry Lamar's freshman team were reported stricken with the virus, riddling the attendance roster with absent marks.
With the season's opener against Tufts scheduled for Saturday morning, Lamar has had to make a number of temporary shifts in what was a fairly well settled starting line-up. The middle of the line has been heaviest hit so Lamar has moved up his third and fourth guards and shifted a reserve tackle to plug up the gaps in his forward wall.
Squad Ready For Opener
Although the absence of these men admittedly hinders the team's progress, Lamar feels that his squad will be ready for its Saturday morning debut against Tufts. When the team lines up, Lamar will have 6' 2" Jon Christensen at the center spot. Flanking him will be Charles Nunez and 195 lb. Terry Lenzner, captain of last year's undefeated Exeter squad, at the guards, while the two tackle slots will probably be filled by Roger Wilson and Eric Nelson. At the ends of the line Lamar feels he has an exceptional group of players to chose from and will probably start Dick Aadalen and Bert Messenbauch.
In the backfield, the team has generally better depth than in the line. Furthermore, most of this team's backs have had T-formation experience while in other years the freshman backs have had to be initiated into an unfamiliar offensive system.
At fullback Lamar expects to go with either Glenn Haughie or Steve Cohen. Most of the heavy ball carrying on a T offense is done by the halfbacks and the Yardlings are well staffed here with either Deane or Frank Crossen at left half while Bob Repsher should get the nod at right half. Quarterback Chuck Ravenal, another Exonian standout, has been directing the squad well in practice and he passed quite well in yesterday's scrimmage against the J. V.s. Lamar also has two other capable quarterbacks on the team in Dick Rinella and Bill Rodgers.
The Yardlings scored twice on good marches in yesterday's scrimmage and Lamar felt that with a day's work on co-operation on offensive blocking the team will be well prepared for the Tufts game.
After the scrimmage Lamar said, "Although as a team this one is only slightly better than average, I think that in a year or two, it will produce several players of good varsity calibre." Lamar also said that the comparatively small physical size of the whole team, line and backs alike, would be offset by a corresponding degree of mobility and speed.
However, more than from performance of individual players, Lamar's confidence in his team's play this year stems from considerable evidence of real team spirit on the practice field. "These boys want to play football," stated the coach.