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There was a lot of spirit at Harvard's football practice yesterday afternoon. The Crimson is trying to forget what happened at Ithaca last Saturday, and it is trying to concentrate totally on the Dartmouth game this weekend.
Dartmouth is the whole season right now, and Harvard's reserve halfbacks were running against the Crimson's revamped defense yesterday, testing a unit that didn't perform up to expectations last week, and which must produce this Saturday if it hopes to keep the Indian offense at bay.
The reserves were wearing green jerseys with the numbers of Dartmouth's starting backfield on them, and Harvard's defensive unit was gradually becoming psyched to the skies.
But Harvard coach John Yovicsin knows that psychological ploys alone won't upset Dartmouth, and he's made several significant changes in both of his starting units to guarantee that Harvard will go into the contest Saturday with something more than high hopes.
Yovicsin has moved sophomore Steve Harrison to the starting halfback slot on the right side, sensing that a Harrison-Hornblower combination will supply a running threat that can match the best the Indians have to offer.
But Hornblower has virtually missed both practices this week. yielding to an injured muscle near his right instep, and his running ability will be a questionmark. He dressed for practice on both days, but left early on each occasion when it began to hurt.
Senior John Ballantyne, whom Harrison replaces, is running in Hornblower's place, but is also sub-par physically. Without a healthy Hornblower, and with Ballantyne's effectiveness hampered. Harvard's ground game will be in serious trouble.
Fortunately, junior Gary Farneti has returned to his regular position at left linebacker, but if he reinjures his elbow at any time before or during the Dartmouth game, the Crimson defense will be little better off than it was last weekend, when Cornell tailback Ed Marinaro and quarterback Rick Furbush ran through it at will.
Farneti is essential to any plans Yovicsin has of throttling the Indian's impressive ground game, and the Crimson will be watching his performance with unusual interest during the week.
Steiner for Sadler
Sophomore Mark Steiner has replaced senior Ed Sadler at right defensive tackle, and Yovicsin plans to use the more experienced Sadler as a swingman. Brad Fenton will take over for Dave Ignacio at right cornerback.
So Yovicsin is switching men, but not without caution. Harvard's defense is potentially the best in the league, and, except for the Cornell game, has held up well as it could be expected to. Yovicsin won't tamper with it witout necessity.
The offense is another story. It is also potentially the best in the Ivy Leagne, but only against Columbia, admittedly a weak opponent, did it put everything together for an extended period of time. It wil have to, this Saturday, Unless Hornblower and Ballantyne stay healthy, it probably may have trouble doing so.
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