Every level of Harvard’s defense lost at least one starter to graduation, but talent and experience make up for the departures, especially in the secondary. The biggest question mark lies on the defensive line, where the Crimson is without Mike Berg ’07 as well as brothers Brenton and Desmond Bryant, who were forced to take the year off for academic reasons.
Head coach Tim Murphy said it last year and he’s saying it again this year: this is the most experienced and talented secondary since he took over at Harvard more than 13 years ago. It’s led by junior preseason All-American cornerback Andrew Berry and senior Steven Williams (left), while safeties Doug Hewlitt and John Hopkins also provide critical experience to the Crimson’s last line of defense.
Through one week, junior Glenn Dorris (right) looks poised to have a breakout year, earning the Crimson’s only sack and its only interception at Holy Cross. He’s joined in the middle of the field by fellow junior Eric Schultz, Harvard’s leading tackler a year ago, and new starter Matthew Thomas, who takes over on the weak side for former captain Ryan Tully ’07.
Though he entered the season on pace to become the second most prolific scorer in Harvard history, senior Matt Schindel (left) now only has duties as the punter after sophomore Patrick Long took over sole kickoff and placekicking duties. Long has the stronger leg, but from close distances, it’s Schindel’s experience that could prove valuable if he’s given back the job this season.
It was arguably the best in the nation a year ago, but with two starters missing and another regular contributor gone as well, two new starters—junior end Peter Ajayi and sophomore tackle Chuks Obi—have a lot of slack to pick up. They’ll get help from defensive end Brad Bagdis and tackle Matt Curtis, as well as from junior Sonny McCracken on the other end spot.