Senior Bruce Freeman has started 17 games for Harvard at split end and caught all of 29 passes. He has the misfortune of being an end on a team that perennially passes very little.
"We've had the best receivers in the league for three years. I think I'm a mediocre receiver, but I think I'm better than any one I play against," Freeman said this week.
"The best receivers in the league" have not seen too much action for the last three years. A conservative offense, a lack of quarterbacks, and a lack of confidence have produced teams that over the last three years have thrown the ball less than any other team in the league.
"They throw a pass to you after you've mashed your hands blocking for three quarters and expect you to catch it every time. If you don't, they say, "See, passing won't work."
Freeman said that passing will have to work if Harvard is to beat Dartmouth today, and he added that the Crimson "will have to have good play calling to win."
"If I were a coach, I'd have my quarterback know his plays inside and out so he wouldn't go into the game and call the first number that popped into his head."
While Freeman is sure that Harvard will be up for the game, he is sure that Dartmouth will be just as emotionally ready.
"Every team in the league gets up for us. Other schools always compare themselves against Harvard, and football is a chance to compare favorably. Especially Dartmouth, of all places. I mean, where else can they compete?"
He also pointed out that Harvard-Dartmouth games are automatically emotional game for Harvard as well as Dartmouth. The spectator interest in emotional games for Harvard as well as the rivalry and the annual sell-out in Harvard Stadium helps key up the teams.
"I get psyched-up when I look up before the game and see that the place is packed, The idea of playing just for the love of the game is a lot of bullshit. The cheers help," he said.
Cheers from the Harvard undergraduates are often the most disinterested if not condescending of any student body in the league. This is probably not due just to Harvard's traditional brand of boring football. Many Harvard undergraduates do have a condescending attitude toward "jocks."
"I think it shows a very naive, immature mind when somebody calls a person a jock. If I have to use a label like freak,' I'm only admitting that someone has done something better than me. This label stuff is a lot of horseshit. You judge people by whether they waste time or not, not by what they do. If a guy doesn't accomplish anything. I don't care for him."
Athletes are sensitive about being mocked or criticized, Freeman said, but "only when they're attacked by people who have not shared their experience."
Freeman has no regrets about being an athlete at Harvard, except that it takes a lot of time.
"You find a real conflict of interest when you do more than one thing here. I'd like to pursue English and the Flamenco guitar, but I can't write a thesis in English or be a good guitarist if I play football."
Despite his sacrifices for football, Freeman doesn't appear to be excessively wrapped-up in the game. The CRIMSON asked him if he had trouble sleeping the night before a big game.
"Not me," he said.
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