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Passing the Buck

(This is the first in a series of columns discussing Varsity football prospects for the coming season.)

By Irvin M. Horowitz

Some people migh think that the middle of July is a funny time to start thinking about football, but the men who make that sport the source of their inflated bread and butter see unbalanced lines and T-formations even in the midst of their midsummer nights' dreams.

It's not surprising, therefore, that Al McCoy, who is the only member of Coach Dick Harlow's coaching staff remaining around the Holyoke Street bailiwick this summer, should have many interesting things to say about Crimson gridiron prospects for the 1946 season.

"You've got to remember," McCoy tells anybody who drops in to his office, "that our first problem is to field a team which will hold its own with colleges who managed to maintain pretty high football standards during the war."

"Therefore, all comments about how good Harvard is going to be this fall must be relative--we'll be a lot better, probably, than at any time since 1942--but so will everybody else."

Eligibility Rules Stated

The question of eligibility for the fall remains a muddle of conditional clauses, but as the situation stands at present these are the stipulations:

Any veteran who has never played for any other college as a civilian is eligible for the Varsity regardless of Class.

Ex-Gls who played at other colleges as Gls are likewise available as soon as they enter.

Veterans who played elsewhere as civilians before entering service must have a semester in residence here before they can play with the Varsity eleven.

The pre-war civilian Freshman rule still applies, and Henry Lamar will probably handle a regular pre-war Yardling team in a typical peacetime schedule.

"I don't think I'm going out on a limb when I say we have some good boys back, and some who have entered recently," McCoy went on, "but you have to remember that the Harlow system is not something which is learned overnight, and even some of our best new boys may take a while before the Varsity is really a polished club.

"There's no doubt that we--like everybody else we play, of course--will have the most mature squad since the days following World War I. We expect the average age to be close to 23, as compared with the pre-war average of about 19."

There's Plenty Of Talent Around

A preliminary glance at the College roster will show what McCoy means by "some good boys back and some who have entered recently." Among the returnees are Cleo O'Donnell, fleet wingback who was elected captain of the Varsity at the close of the 1942 season, and who never entered a game in that capacity; and last year's fullback, Bob Cowen, who is expected to have his Navy discharge in time to enroll for the summer term.

These are the only two returning backs, although Leo Flynn, last year's tailback, is also stated to return. But the backfield situation is not to be mourned as yet. Vince Moravec, who is currently Adolph Samborski's number one boy on the mound for the Varsity baseball team, is the same young man whose 200 pounds of fullback left Dick Harlow's "Informal" line a sadder and wiser crew last fall, when Moravec helped the New London Submarine Base in its lambasting of the Harlowmen. This fall he's on our side.

And there is likewise a gentleman named Ralph Petrillo, who also plays a little baseball. Petrillo, a tailback, doesn't do much: he just passes, runs, and kicks in a manner which has observers touting him as one of the finest prospects in years. Other backfield newcomers with good records in service competition include tailback Bob Schessley and quarterback Frank Miklos.

To discuss the line, the coaches, and the possibility of a change in Harlow's system is a story for another day, as are preliminary speculations about next fall's opponents, but it's sufficient to say that Dick Harlow should have a somewhat cheerier outlook than usual when practice starts on Soldier's Field the day after Labor Day. It's conceded that the Yalies, among others, will present an awesome spectacle come November, but at least the Cambridge oologist has the basis for a Varsity squad which might inject a few surprises into the Eastern grid-iron picture for 1946.

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