Since Jarring Jack Fisher departed from the Cambridge scene in 1946, Harvard has been having center trouble. Last year, for instance, Dick Harlow was forced to switch end Johnny Florentino to the pivot post when Chuck Glynn and Don Stone went on the injured list.
This fall, the Crimson has four evenly-matched centers, any one of whom could possibly start against Columbia this Saturday. Topping the roster at the moment is personable Paul O'Brien, a husky 210-pound Sophomore from Rockland. One of the few surviving members of last year's successful Freshman team, O'Brien has been boomed by the experts as a second Ben Tickner.
Must Convince Competitors
Before he can expect to trot out onto the Stadium greensward Saturday, though, he must convince three men by the names of Stone, Hickey, and Glynn that this pre-season rating is not merely idle talk. Don Stone played first-string center last fall when Chuck Glynn hurt his hand. He was particularly effective on defense. A Senior, he got his football groundwork at Roxbury Memorial High.
"Cowboy" Bill Hickey, who isn't even listed on the official Crimson roster, has impressed Soldiers Field observers as one of the most improved players on the squad.
A star on the Freshman team two years ago, he dropped out of the picture last fall, playing very little Varsity ball. Now, under Valpey's two-platoon system, Hickey looms as a possible line-backer. He hails from Texas.
Chuck Glynn is the fourth man. He played first-string center last year until shelved by an injury. Even with a cast on the injured hand, he was used on offense by Dick Harlow. Chuck is back now, minus the cast, and intends to outfight his three competitors for the starting job. He started getting into shape at his New York home this summer a month before fall practice opened. Like O'Brien, Stone, and Hickey, he may be used as a defensive line-backer this fall.
Others Also Backing Line
Two backfield men have also seen backer-up service in the weeks of practice. Mel Freedman, who moved up from the Jayvees in mid-season last year, has proved durable in the position; and Phil Isenburg, a scrappy lightweight, has also worked out behind the line. Both Freedman and Isenburg are quarterbacks.
Double workouts, held since September, ended Friday. From now on, there will only be one practice a day.