The Harvard Squad

THE OFFENSE

QUARTERBACK (1)--Don't expect to know who the quarterback is on opening day, or even three weeks into the season. Last year's eventual number one--Greg Gizzi--didn't even play (let alone start) until the fifth game of the season. Don Allard set the Harvard single-season total offense record in 1982, but it was Ron Cuccia who got the nod on opening day. So whether junior Brian White or senior Dennis Vecchi lines up behind the center on the first offensive play of the year, rest assured that things can change. Look for either White or Vecchi to start things off, with senior Greg Kouvelas waiting in the wings for his chance at steering the much-heralded Multiflex. White has the most experience--he backed up Chuck Colombo (last year's first starter) in three of the first four games. In practice after the fourth, a blood clot swelled up his arm, knocking him out for the rest of the year. White is the flashiest of Harvard's signal-callers, with good speed and a strong arm. At 6-ft., 2-in., 185 lbs., he's got the size. Vecchi is three inches shorter and has never appeared in a varsity game. Kouvelas (6-ft., 1-in., 185 lbs.) saw limited action at the end of last year.

TAILBACK (1)--Senior Mark Vignall returns to the starting slot he filled last season. The 5-ft., 11-in., 185-pounder carried the ball a school-record 39 times against Army for 173 yards, eighth on the single-game list. The team's leading rusher until a hamstring injury sidelined him at Cornell, Vignall has excellent speed and uses blocks well. Backing up will be sophomores Jee Pusateri and Rufus Jones.

WINGBACK (1)--It wasn't just coincidence that made Robert Santiago the only sophomore starter on last year's team. Coach Joe Restic had to find a place for his fastest player, so Santiago (at just 5-ft., 11-in., 190 lbs.) played fullback. Now that team MVP Steve Ernest has graduated, Santiago can move to wingback where he can make better use of his speed. He'll be backed up by senior Jim Lowe and junior Tim Manges.

FULLBACK (1)--With Santiago moving to wingback, look for senior Brian Cooke (6-ft., 202 lbs.) to start and junior Chris Ridout (6-ft., 1-in., 210 lbs.) to back him up. Cooke appeared in nine games last year: Ridout in three.

TIGHT END (1)--Senior Captain Steve Abbott (6-ft., 3-in., 225 lbs.) should get the starting and, with backup help from senior Bill McGagh and junior Bob Hoog. Whoever plays, don't expect Kellen Winslow. Harvard wants blocking front its tight end: peas receptions are icing on the cake. Last year's squad got nine receptions out of the right and position.

SPLIT END (1)--When John O'Brien graduated in June, Harvard lost its second-best receiver of all time. O'Brien hauled in 47 passes last year, by far the most on the team. None of the returning split ends caught a pass. Senior Pat Coyne (6-ft., 3-in., 183 lbs.) has the edge in experience, but sophomore Joel Seay (5-ft., 10-in., 175 lbs.) and junior John Zurasky (6-ft., 1-in., 175 lbs.) are also in the picture. Restic wants a deep threat, so the position may not be settled till he finds one.

OFFENSIVE TACKLE (2)--The strongest, biggest and most experienced player on the team plays at right tackle, and you can bet that on fourth and inches senior Roger Caron will be the man clearing the hole. At 6-ft., 5-in., 270 lbs., Caron represents a mammoth obstacle for opposing defenses. The Norwell, Mass. native beach presses more than 400 pounds. A first-team All-Ivy and Honorable Mention Division I-AA All-America, he has a great shot at the pros. The left side of the ball is a different story. Junior George Kostakos leads the race for the starting slot. Three inches shorter and 50 pounds lighter than Caron, Kostakos played in just three games last year. Junior Joe Ryan is a formidable backup tackle at 6-ft., 2-in., 265 lbs.

OFFENSIVE GUARD (2)--Once again the right side is stronger and more experienced. Senior Mike Pascucci (6-ft., 3-in., 242 lbs.) started the last four games last season. On the left, senior Ben Thio (5-ft., 11-in., 230 lbs.) appeared in all 10 games of 1983. At press time, he was battling senior Wayne Hunley and sophomore Alex Hill for the starting job.

CENTER (1)--Senior Sam Jensen rounds out an incredibly strong line with his 6-ft., 5-in., 235-lb. frame. He started in six games last season, and has good speed. Backing up Jensen will be junior Charlie Godinez.

THE DEFENSE

DEFENSIVE TACKLE (2)--Two-year letterman Barry Ford will hold down one tackle slot. The 6-ft., 3-in., 218-lb. senior is the only returning starter on the defensive line. Ford appeared in all 10 games his sophomore year, but missed four last season because of an abdominal injury. The other defensive tackle slot will go to junior Bernie Guckguexian, senior Peter Mackle or junior Dennis Vavassis.

MIDOLX GUARD (1)--Senior Dave Fanikos will sure down opposing centers. The 6-ft., 2-in., 226-lb. Fanjkos started at tackle in the last five games of 1983, and can beach press more than 400 pounds. Senior Rob Hobart and junior Jerry Garvey will back up.

DEFENSIVE END (2)--There are gigantic shows to fill. Third-team All-American Mark Mead was second on the squad in tackles and had 11 quarterback sacks. Morgan Rector started all 10 games and led the Crimson in fumbles recovered. Trying to replace them will be seniors Steve Anderson (6-ft., 3-in., 215 lbs.) and Brent Clapacs (6-ft., 3-in., 218 lbs.). Clapacs, who started three games at tackle last year in place of the injured Ford, led all returning linemen in tackles last year with 17. Anderson injured his finger in the Sept. 8 scrimmage with Northeastern and may miss the opener. Backing up will be senior Pete Mielach and juniors Bill Ross and Stan Yukevich. Anderson and Mielach both appeared in all 10 games last year.

LINEBACKER (2)--The position hit hardest by graduation, this could be the Achilles heel of the defense. Harvard graduated the best linebacker pair in the Ivies--Joe Azelby and Andy Nolan. As if that weren't enough, replacements Kevin Garvin, and Craig Uecker also picked up sheepskins last June. All told, Harvard loses a third of its tackles and 10 of 34 quarterback sacks. Filling the gap will be senior Dan Bennett (6-ft., 195 lbs.) and junior Brent Wilkinson (6-ft., 2-in., 220 lbs.). Teammates have been impressed with Bennett and Wilkinson, but neither has much experience. Look for junior Larry Bean and sophomore Scott Collins' to back them up.

DEFENSIVE BACKS (4)--Perhaps the most experienced area on the team, and a nightmare in the making for opposing quarterbacks. Senior Brian Bergstrom (6-ft., 2-in., 190 lbs.) and junior Ken Tarczy (6-ft., 175 lbs.) should be a solid pair of cornerbacks. Bergstrom--one of only three two-year lettermen on the team--is a returning starter. He tied for the team lead in interceptions last year with three. Tarczy played in all 10 games last year, earning a starting role after John Dailey was injured at Cornell. Junior K.C. Smith (6-ft., 2-in., 195 lbs.) should get the nod at adjuster with senior Garry Leone ready to step in when needed. Junior Cecil Cox (6-ft., 1-in., 195 lbs.) will show off his great range at safety, with senior Bill Hyland backing up. Cox is one of the team's best athletes--he pitched for Harvard's league-champion baseball squad. Junior Frank Ciota appeared in nine games last year and brings depth to the adjuster and safety positions.

KICKING GAME--Jim Villanueva's graduation won't and Harvard's league-dominating kicking game. True, Villanueva booted more field goals than any other kicker in Crimson history. True, the first-team All-Ivy punter and placekicker brought consistency and experience to both positions. But junior Bob Steinberg, who followed Villanueva through Palisades High (of Whatever Happened to the Class of '65 fame), should keep Harvard's kicks among the longest and most accurate in the league. Steinberg new considerable action last year when Villanueva got hurt. While he was a touch shaky in the placekicking department (only three of the PATs successful), his punting was superb--10 for an average of 39.6 yards. He kicked a 49-yard field goal in high school. Backing up Steinberg on punts, field goals and kickoffs is junior Andy Maretz.