Bill Campbell, Joe Restic's counterpart at Columbia, said, "We're moving new people in."
Joe Restic, Bill Campbell's counterpart at Harvard, said, "That tells me one thing--they're better."
Joe Restic did not say how much better, so while the Lions, who have slowly edged closer to mediocrity during Campbell's brief tenure in Upper Manhattan, may be improved over last fall's 3-6 club, they shouldn't be improved enough to ruin the Crimson's first road opener since the Marshall Plan.
Restic, though, keeping in character, remains overtly concerned. Key personnel lack experience, the starting line-up will not be finalized--on paper if not in Restic's head--until this afternoon and Columbia or no Columbia, this is still the first game. Last week was 44 weeks ago.
Back then, Tim Davenport was sitting on the bench watching Jim Kubacki. Kubacki is now taking pictures in Europe, and Davenport will be calling the shots in New York.
Three-fifths of his protective covering is also new. Mike Clark and Bruce McKinnon were busting chops in '76, but Joe Kross, Reid Cocalis and Joe Pellegrin were mostly collecting splinters.
For firepower, Davenport can call on Larry Hobdy and Paul Sablock through the air, Bob Kinchen, Chris Doherty and Ralph Polillio on the ground. He can also call on Jim Curry, but not until next week, when Curry's football career resumes after a one-year layoff.
Defensively, Harvard is well-stocked up front, set in the middle and green back deep.
With a defensive line of Bob Baggott, Charlie Kaye, Russ Savage and Steve Kaseta, the Crimson should provide lots of heat for the Lions' starting quarterback, Kevin Burns.
With Joe Goodreault and Craig Beling, the probable starters, with Joe Jason and Rank Russo, who could also start with nary a drop in talent, filling the holes at the linebacker positions, Harvard has little worry there.
And although Tom McDevitt at middle guard and three-fourths of the defensive secondary--Fred Cordova, John Tuke and Steve Potysman, with Paul Halas the exception--have little varsity experience, it would take a great aerial demonstration by Burns or his understudy, Cal Moffie, to make Crimson rooters year for the return of Bill Emper.
One of these days, the Ivy League might not have Columbia football to kick around any more. Tomorrow, though, shouldn't be one of those days. Not just yet.
With all due modesty, and a batting average of over .800 the last time I soloed, here are some picks to register by:
Harvard at Columbia: Not just yet. Harvard 23, Columbia 14.
Brown at Yale: Only eight weeks 'til THE GAME. Yale 20, Brown 7.
Princeton at Dartmouth: It's not cold enough in Hanover to play football. Dartmouth 33, Princeton 3.
Cornell at Penn: As if you care. Penn 20, Cornell 10.