Gridders Are Optimistic Despite Dismal Season

The Football Notebook

After suffering its worst season since 1950, the Harvard football team has a lot of reasons to be optimistic about next year.

Although Harvard loses quarterback Tom Yohe, running back Tony Hinz and a host of other stars from the past three years, the squad returns a solid core of players for the 1989 season.

In the backfield, four players--the number two, three, four and five rushers behind Hinz--saw starting action and will return.

Quarterback Tim Perry was the fourth-leading rusher despite starting only one game. He should run a lot next year too, considering the Crimson loses its top three receivers and returns only one offensive lineman.

The offensive line, a strong point last year, never jelled despite returning four of five starters. This year they are all gone. Only Gerald Mahon and Buz Crain, who shared the job at left tackle, return.

On defense, the Crimson must continue to rebuild. The unit this year was suspect at times, yielding almost twice as much yardage as last year's unit did. New Captain Greg Gicewicz, a starter for most of the season, returns along with Mike Murphy to man the front.

Linebacker Rick McIntire was a starter by the end of the year and he should be solid next year with this season's experience under his belt.

The secondary could be improved, too. Harvard lost all four starters from a unit last year that was beaten a lot. The replacements this year weren't much better.

But there are four different players who saw starting action this year, and they should tighten up the pass defense. After a year of playing together, cornerbacks Jim Smith, Chris Rezendes and Cory Thabit and hard-hitting adjuster Bobby Frame should know each other's strengths and weaknesses better.

Terrific Tom: Yohe went where no Harvard quarterback had gone before.

Harvard's all-time leading passer entering the season, Yohe hit the 3000-yard mark in the season's second week, the 4000-yard mark in week five, and he had a shot at 5000 career passing yards before he was injured.

Yohe holds a host of Harvard passing records. He holds career records for passing yards (4407), passing attempts (648), completions (320), passing touchdowns (30), interceptions (24), total plays (845) and total offense (4388).

Yohe also holds several single-season passing marks, including passing yards (2134), passing attempts (321), completions (158), touchdowns (17), total plays (417) and total offense (1982).

Nine is Enough: Junior running back Jim Reidy averaged one touchdown run every ten rushing attempts. Reidy (5-ft., 9-in., 190-lbs.) carried the ball 40 times (for 223 yards) and scored four touchdowns.

In addition to his short-yardage skills, Reidy also proved to be a game-breaker. He had the Crimson's longest run from scrimmage (51 yards), longest pass reception (55 yards) and longest kickoff return (42 yards).

A Banner Year, But No Banner: Although Harvard posted its worst record since 1950 (when the squad was 1-7), the Crimson did set a few team records and posted several outstanding performances.

Harvard rolled up 3862 yards of total offense, breaking the record of 3740 set in 1982.

Crimson quarterbacks accounted for 2315 yards in the air, snapping the mark set last year (2146).

Harvard advanced for 194 first downs, two short of the record set last year, 196.

For the first time in Harvard history, three different receivers caught more than 30 passes. The trio of Don Gajewski (40 receptions, 533 yards), Tony Hinz (36 recs., 503 yds.) and Neil Phillips (36 recs., 597 yds.) provided 112 receptions for 1633 yards and all nine Crimson touchdowns through the air.

Gajewski's 40 catches are the most ever for a Harvard tight end, and his 10 receptions against Dartmouth is the third-highest number in a game for a Crimson receiver.

Let Him Tee It Up: Kicker Alan Hall's longest field goals, a pair of 47-yarders against Boston University, were five yards shorter than his longest punt (52 yards). His longest field goals were only four yards short of the school record of 51 yards by Tom Wynne in 1967.

Defense! Please: The Harvard defense gave up 272 points this year, only four shy of the school record of 276 established in 1949. Subtract Harvard's two wins (41-7 Columbia and 28-3 over Brown) and the squad allowed 262 points, an average of 32.7 points in each loss.