Crimson Defense Shaping Up
There's been a lot of concern the last couple of days about the "pounding" that the Harvard defense took from Brown in Saturday's scrimmage, particularly the pass defense. True, Brown passed for five touchdowns and both Bruin quarterbacks, Bob Bateman and Paul Michalko, had a field day, but it isn't quite yet time for Crimson fans to despair about the coming season's prospects.
"There were a number of reasons why Brown passed on us as well as they did," adjuster George Newhouse said yesterday, "but it wasn't because our first secondary unit was terrible. Admittedly we didn't play as well as we might have, but Brown completed only one pass for substantial yardage, and no touchdowns, against our first unit.
"We could have made a number of adjustments, if it were a game, that would have shut off the kinds of passes they were completing. The object of a scrimmage like this isn't to show them all our defensive sets, but just to go out and have hard-hitting scrimmage, which we did."
Senior linebacker Eric Kurzweil concurred.
"There were a number of minor things," Kurzweil said, "that we would have done to adjust to them. I personally think we're going to be real strong on defense this year. We looked tough against the run in the Brown scrimmage which was encouraging. We have a lot of young people who can potentially be a lot better. We'll certainly have more speed on defense this year than last."
Although practice is now going on its fourth week, the defensive line situation is still pretty cloudy. Tackle Peter Mee appears to be the only person who has a starting spot nailed down. Russ Savage and Walt Herbert are fighting it out at one end post, whil Bob Bagot and Bill O'Neill are jousting at the other end spot.
Steve Cassetti and Mitch Witten are the two prime contenders to fill the remaining tackle position, but middle guard is still up for grabs among a number of candidates, with Lou Bernieri having the inside track.
The linebacking is all set with Kurzweil and Tom Joyce, both returning starters, comfortably ensconced in their posts.
Newhouse at adjuster, Fran Cronin at safety, and junior Bill Emper at cornerback also are set, with Bill Wendell seeming to have the edge lately for the other corner.
One blessing has been the relatively injury-free pre-season that the Crimson has enjoyed. Starting halfback Tommy Winn was having some knee problems, but he went through a full practice yesterday.
The other two injuries have been to reserves, linebacker Ted Jadick and guard Gerry McGillicuddy, both of whom suffered strained knee ligaments. Jadick was running lightly yesterday, but McGillicuddy is on crutches and will be out three to four weeks.