At the beginning of this season the problem of the choice of an eleven from a very large squad was brought before the coaches more forcibly than ever before. When practice began on Monday, Sept. 17, forty-five candidates came out and within a week the squad numbered eighty men. To select a team from so many candidates and to round it into condition soon enough to win the two important games with Pennsylvania and Yale seemed a very difficult takes. The coaches decided at once to bring about the development of the team very slowly and gradually, and not to vary this policy in the slightest degree. For this reason the elementary practice at starting, running and tackling the dummy was kept up much longer than in former seasons, and the rudiments of the game were thoroughly drilled into the men before any serious attempt at forming a team was made.
When the actual playing did begin the choice of the first eleven proceeded very slowly. All the men were given a good chance and every effort was made to get the very best man for each place. This stage of the choice of material has continued until this week and the final disposition of the men has been uncertain in a majority of the cases.
While the choice of players went on, little attempt was made to develop team play. The men were brought into the best possible form of individual play and it was not until then that the modelling of the team as a whole began. Just before the Bates game, however, the coaches began to get the most promising candidates to work together, especially on the defense. W. H. Lewis L. S. '95 and B. G. Waters '95 took up this and in the secret practice before the Carlisle game they worked hard at the defense, but the results were not satisfactory. The men were slow and careless, and the entire line was upset in the Carlisle game by a few simple tricks. Besides this, the Indians were able to gain fairly consistently on straight plays, especially around the ends. Since then, however, the ends have improved considerably, and it is probable that they are now as strong as last year. During the past week, the work of the line men has been devoted to defensive work against the guards back formation; and although it has succeeded in stopping it, too much encouragement must not be drawn from this, because Pennsylvania will work it much more effectively than the second eleven can. Aside from the experience with the guards back the defense is still ragged.
The same state of affairs, only in a more noticeable form, exists in the offense. Practice in this began very late, and has been greatly retarded by the constant changes in the back field due to injuries received by the regular players. As yet the men are uncertain about the signals, start slowly and form ragged and loose interference.
There have been many surprises in the individual playing of the veterans on the team. Of these Daly alone has done as well as last year. Besides working the team well, tackling and running brilliantly, he has developed an ability to drop-kick which seems to show up best in an emergency. Hallowell and Campbell have not put enough life into their work and are not as reliable as last year. At the tackles J. Lawrence and Eaton have worked very hard and form the strong places in the line. The four centre men, Barnard and Burnett, Lee and Sargent are not as strong a combination as Burden, Boal and Burnett were last season. Behind the line there is plenty of good material in Ellis, E. Kendall, Sawin, Kernan, Devens, Putnam, Stillman and Gierasch, but injuries have prevented all of them from getting into their best form.
In this matter of injuries the team has been very unfortunate. In the middle of the season I. W. Kendall dislocated his shoulder and had to give up playing altogether. Then Hallowell sprained his ankle and did not work for three weeks. Ellis, Kernan, Gierasch and E. Kendall have been seriously injured more than once, while Ellis and Sawin have been out of the game altogether for some time on account of water on the knee. Besides these injuries a large number of less important ones have hampered the coaches throughout the season. In conclusion it may be said that the team is a strong combination with great possibilities, but apparently unprepared at present for an important game