Every year as the Yale game rolls around to climax another year of football, students, alumni, and coaches alike turn their thoughts away from the season which will pass away soon in one colorful afternoon and start at the hoping and plotting for the eternal next year. 1946, probably more so than any other year in Crimson gridiron history, has been a year of plotting and waiting and hoping.
With six of the eleven men he started through most of the season complete newcomers to Harvard football, Dick Harlow had a mountainous task ahead of him in trying to turn out a finished club by November 23. No one who saw the outweighed, outexperienced, outmanned Crimson perform in those first 15 minutes against Yale will ever doubt that the coach did an amazing job with his greenest team, and the good news that comes as gravy to one of Harlow's most successful seasons here is that the work he started this year will only really start to come to fruition next fall.
Only four of the 1946 regulars will be missing in 1947: Captain Clee O'Donnell at tailback, center Jack Fisher, tackle Eddie Davis, and quarterback Henry Goothais. That the loss of those four will be keenly felt cannot be denied, but the remaining returnees more than swing the balance to the happy side.
Swift Chip Gannon will be the key operative among next year's veterans. Only a Freshman this fall, Gannon nevertheless managed to earn himself plenty of fame around the Ivy circuit. At his wingback post he will always be a long-gain threat and at the same time a back who can be counted on to drive with all the muscle in him for the essential two yards. Chip's work against both ground and aerial attacks has been commendable, and his passing will remain a threat--and a constantly increasing one--especially on his optional end run-pass. Behind Gannon will be Kenny O'Donnell, the magnetized pass-defender, scuttling Paul Lazzaro, and smotth-passing Jim Noonan.
At fullback it will be Captain-elect Vince Moravec holding down the A-team honors in all probability. The improvement of Moravec during the '46 season into a really hard-hitting, bruising ball-carrier was one of the most notable aspects of the team, and Vin will also surprise the opposition from time to time with a quick-opening pass--a play he has almost mastered. Paul Shafer, who saw little action but much practice this year, and Freshman back Don Trimble will back up the fullback post.
The remainder of the backfield is still in a state of extreme flux. A lot depends on what formation Coach Harlow decides on for his 1947 outfit. There are signs that the wily oologist still has his heart set on using a straight T sometime soon, despite his hasty abandonment of it this year. When Dick switched to his mysterious L formation, he did so because he had no heavy-duty blocking back or T quarterback, and wanted to make his outside plays go by using his guards for the line trapping and by giving his blocking backs easy angles on the opposition. The question of what "system" Harlow decides to follow next year, therefore, depends to a great extent on what he can produce in the way of a quarterback.
Right now the logical candidate for a T spinman would be this year's Freshman star Jim Kenary, a potent runner and passer. But the chances are strong that Kenary may be switched out of his old slot and into the tailback position, where his abilities are equally needed That would leave the quarterback post--probably not in a T--up to Frank Mildos, or possibly to some heavier lineman who would be moved back into the job, Mike Ned Dewey. Besides Kenary in the tailback, the candidates will include Leo Flynn, the best passer on the 1946 squad, Pete Petrillo, who slowed up after a fast start early in the season, Charlie Roche, Freshman passing and kicking sensation of 1945, and small but very swift Hal Moffie, whose performances on the Yardling eleven this year bode no little ability.
At the ends Harlow has a wealth of candidates, with his three most regular starters, Wally Flynn, John Fiorentino, and Walt Coulson, all returning. Only Howie Houston is likely to retain his job at tackle, but he will have able assistance from big John Gorcynski, former Pitt star, who was here this year but ineligible under the transfer rules. At the guards it will be Emil Drvaric, Nick Rodis, Jim Feinberg, and Bob Drennan battling it out again, while Chuck Glynn is slated for the center slot unless Dewey, who will almost certainly not be at tackle next year in any case, is moved in.
With many capable linemen backing up his regulars and a full spring practice behind his backfield men, Harlow promises to produce a 1947 eleven that could stand this year's on its head. At any rate the master-mind will be in there pitching, as his wife could probably tell you. She woke up at 6:30 o'clock this past Sunday,--if the tale is not apocryphal--found Mr. Harlow's light on, and asked him to explain. The reply: "Just thinking up a couple of plays for next year's Yale game, my dear."