Yale started work this fall with the best material for line positions that has come out in years, but, as for several years past, the back field material was not at all promising. Still all the candidates have proved to be hard workers and the men have shown unusual aptitude in mastering the fine points of the game. The abundance of excellent material for tackle positions and the comparative weakness of the back field suggested the experiment of trying Hale at full-back. This was done early in the season and has proved entirely successful. The development of the line has been steady and consistent, but the back field has been uncertain, and at times slow. The inability to develop reliable halfbacks has made necessary the practice of having line men carry the ball. The tackles, especially Bloomer, have been very successful in line plunging. This tackles back formation, devised especially to overcome Harvard's defense at tackle, which is widely different from the tactics in use at Yale and Princeton, is the only new idea in Yale's style of play this fall. In general the policy this year has been to go back to the old Yale plan of mass plays on the line as practised in the early nineties.
At the beginning of the season it was planned to develop heavy men in the back field as well as in the line, and Sharpe, Cook and Hale, all big enough for guards, were put in the back positions. The difficulty with this plan became evident in the Dartmouth game, when for the first time Yale lined up against a fast aggressive team. The backs were found to be too slow. From that time every effort has been devoted to making the team quicker. In the Indian game lighter backs were tried, and the good work of Fincke and Dupee made it a question whether light fast backs are not more effective than the heavy men used early in the season. This question is still undecided, but as Fincke and Chadwick were very successful in the Princeton game it is probable that they will be used against Harvard. Sharpe, however, is the best punter on the team and is very strong in defense, so he may be given a chance, especially as Fincke may be needed at quarter. Wear is a better general, passes more quickly and accurately, and is more inspiring to the team, but he is not quite so steady as Fincke, especially in the matter of catching punts.
Yale will probably gain most through the line and is hardly likely to attempt to run around the ends. The strength of the team is in the five centre men, but the backs are now playing a strong game and the ends have made a great improvement, as was shown by their excellent work in the Princeton game.