If football coach John Yovicsin was looking for answers at Saturday's intrasquad scrimmage, he must have come away, as most of the sun-baked spectators did, somewhat disappointed.
The most immediately pressing problem is at the quarterback position. Senior George Lalich, who started for the first team, looked alternately good and bad. Although his passing was generally on target, the sometime-baseball pitcher committed a number of errors of inexperience--throwing away laterals, fumbling snaps from center, etc.
Moreover, Lalich had trouble moving the team consistently against the second defensive unit, which provided the opposition all afternoon. In this controlled scrimmage (Coach Yovicsin had the ball placed at various spots on the field with different down situations to provide essential game practice) Lalich's unit produced only one touchdown.
The score came on the first team's second series of plays after Lalich had run the teams through fifteen minutes of playing time without crossing the goal line. Moving almost exclusively through the air, relying on sure hands, good speed, and brute force of a potentially great split and sophomore Pete Varney, Lalich brought the team from deep in his own territory to the defense's 40. Then he pitched to sparingly used Captain Vic Gatto for what looked like a Gatto special around the left end.
It turned out to be something a little different. As he drifted to the left, Gatto cocked his arm and lobbed an option pass 25 yards downfield, where the mammoth (6-2, 240) Varney waited behind two defenders. Gatto's pass drifted over the guards and disappeared, like a grape, into the end's paws. The dash to the goal line was anti-climactic. But except for this drive, the first offense was stymied most of the afternoon.
There was one other score. Second team passer Frank Champi, a junior from Everett, moved his unit down the field easily in his first confrontation with the first defensive unit. A javelin thrower who held the University record for a month last spring, Champi can heave the football. In the touchdown drive, he hit junior bantamweight John Ballantyne with a bullet. Ballantyne made a fine leaping catch for 30 yards to the defense 10. A few plays later, Champi connected with Newcomer Skip Vaccarello for a six yard TD.
After the scrimmage Yovicsin has a few concrete indications for the season:
* He will probably start Lalich over Champi against Holy Cross Saturday, but he's sure to be second-guessed from the stands.
* He will probably start Ken O'Connell at fullback rather than Gus Crim. Both run strong and block hard. A difficult choice.
* Neither offensive line (first or second unit) was overpowering. Lalich, Champi and Smith spent most of their time dodging tacklers. With this in mind, Yovicsin is making liberal use of an old favorite: an inside handoff to a halfback who then gives it back to the quarter-back, keeping the defense honest and giving receivers time to get downfield.
* Defensively, Harvard was adequate. After Champi's opening successes, the backfield stiffened and kept all second team receivers tightly covered. The defensive line seemed a little sluggish in its pursuit, but it was a hot day, after all.