March to the Sea: Offense Holds Keys to Success

Last year they set records. This year, they’re back for more.

Kinda sounds like a cliched movie trailer. Don’t worry, the Wayans brothers are not part of the script. Instead, senior quarterback Neil Rose and junior wide-out Carl Morris are headlining.

Rose and Morris set or tied a combined 16 school records last season as Harvard boasted one of the most prolific offenses in recent school history. With an added year of experience, both players should improve on last year’s dynamic performances.

“I couldn’t be any more optimistic about our offensive unit,” Harvard Coach Tim Murphy said. “We’ve got a playmaker in Carl Morris, who is a guy that will command attention from every defensive coordinator in the league this year. He will generate double teams and open up the rest of the offense. We’ve got a great quarterback in Neil Rose and an offensive line with depth—if everything falls into place, we could be as good as we were in 1997.”

The Crimson went undefeated in league play during the 1997 season and took home the Ivy title. Though there are some question marks regarding this year’s edition, Murphy can expect his team to put up big numbers on the scoreboard.

Rose, who started all but the first game of the season last year, is fully recovered from a shoulder injury that hampered his play against Penn and Yale in the last two games of last season. Despite the injury and beginning the season as the back-up quarterback, Rose set a Harvard record for most passing yards in a season with 2,655. He also threw for 412 yards against Brown in his first game as a Harvard starter, another Crimson record.

Morris asserted himself as Rose’s go-to-guy in the Brown contest. Morris caught 10 passes for 220 yards, including an 80-yard touchdown late in the fourth quarter, to ignite a comeback victory for the Crimson, 42-37. Morris would set Harvard records with 920 total receiving yards and 60 receptions in 2000, all-time highs for any wide receiver in Crimson history.

Both Rose and Morris admit to feeding off each other for their amazing success on the field.