Since the victory over Pennsylvania, the football team has been in secret practice the greater part of the time in preparation for the final game with Yale. The strain of hard training in the early part of the season caused by the fact that the games with Columbia, West Point and the Carlisle Indians all came in the month of October, followed immediately by the severe work of preparation for the Pennsylvania game, brought the men to such a fineness of physical condition that it became necessary at once to handle them with the greatest care, and to watch their work very closely, to prevent them from going stale.
This fact alone was the cause of laying off a number of the regular players, and in addition to this, more men had to be laid off entirely on account of injuries. Thus an unusually large proportion of substitutes have gone into the make-up of the University team during its last stages of preparation, and the practice as a result has often been loose and unsatisfactory. To these considerations should be added the fact that the reports of the secret practice have never been made over-encouraging. This state of affairs was most evident at the time of the Brown game, when the team, being more than half substitutes, could not show that unity of spirit and team play which is so necessary a feature of a finished eleven.
The result, however, of the careful policy which has been consistently pursued by the coaches, has become more and more evident during the past ten days. The injured men have one by one returned to regular play, and the team has once more become a unit. With this unity has come the former speed and precision which were so impressive in Pennsylvania game, and most encouraging of all, so careful has been the training that none of the numerous injured men now give evidence of any lasting detriment to their play.
No one who watched the last open practice could help noticing the strong, speedy play, in spite of the wet and heavy field. The team is not overstrained and every man on the team is in good physical condition. The best of the available material, therefore, will go into the game with Yale this afternoon and, if beaten, it will only be beaten by a better team.
Captain Daly has quite recovered from his injured knee, and hence will not be forced to play under any handicap. Ellis is again playing his strong rushing game, and Sawin and Kendall are both doing brilliant work. The ends seem to have come back to their old form, and Hallowell especially is playing a very fast, sure game. The tackles have improved consistently throughout the sea- son, and should give a good account of themselves, though playing against powerful opponents. The three centre men, with Burnelt and Roberts as substitutes, make a heavy, steady combination which should be difficult for any team to wear out or outplay materially.
During the past week the team has been given much practice on defensive work in anticipation of Yale's heavy attack and at last the defense seems satisfactory. The men play fairly low in the line, and the secondary defense is better than it has been at any time this year. This was well shown in the last open practice where the runner of the second eleven was often thrown back after getting through a hole in the line.
The offense, now that the veteran backs have again begun to play regularly, works with adequate smoothness and presents a firm interference, especially on end and tackle plays. The large number of substitute backs all work well together, and have no hesitation in their play. The number and excellence of these substitutes is one of the strong points of the team.
To sum up, careful coaching and training have carried the eleven through dangerous crises until now it stands ready and fit to play its best game of the season. It would seem that its advantage lay in its speed in the open game, in view of the hard work which Yale has been doing almost steadily for three weeks, and hence a dry field at New Haven would be in Harvard's favor by giving her an opportunity to exercised superior generalship in selecting plays