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Martucci, Ignacio Appear Ready To Bolster Defensive Backfield

By Bennett H. Beach

One area which many thought would be a definite weakness in this year's football team has started to look more like an asset than anything else.

One of the main reasons that last year's football team allowed opponents only 70 points in nine games was the defensive backfield-Tom Wynne, Pat Conway, John Ignacio. and Rick Frisbie. All but Frisbie have graduated. Another reason for some pessimism was a knee injury to Bill Kelly. who was expected to take one of the safety positions this fall.

Neil Hurley. a backup cornerback last fall. was shifted to safety. Junior Fred Martucci. Kelly's roommate and one who was expected to help rebuild the depleted backfield. is the safety on the left side Martucci was considered to have the ability, but his lack of experience was an obvious problem.

Frisbie is at the left corner, and sophomore Dave Ignacio is the other cornerback. taking the place of his brother John. Frisbie played 213 minutes last year as a sophomore. and defensive backfield coach Loyal Park considers him a real leader.

But Park was faced with the problem of integrating his talent and trying to overcome their lack of experience. Preseason work, however. went extremely well, and New Hampshire could score only once, working on short passes rather than throwing deep. Park can now face the season with justified optimism.

Martucci. who expects other teams to try to contro the ball and throw short passes, feels he and Hurley aren't quite as fast as last year's safeties but are better tacklers. He has been awaiting today's game eagerly to see how good the defensive backfield is.

Park is interested in preserving the tradition of strong backfields built up in recent years. In his four years at Harvard, the backs have only been beaten twice on deep passes. "This group is going to be very fine after it has a couple of games under its belt." Park said Thursday.

Martucci predicted a lot of gang tackling. "Park teaches ball reaction better than anything else." he said. "He's given us a lot of confidence, too." the junior safety added. Martucci will be calling signals for the defensive backs.

He and Ignacio are the main question marks right now, but most feel they are developing ahead of schedule. "Iggie gets a little better every day." Martucci said. Park had still more praise to hand out.

Fred could be the finest safety I've had by the end of the season. He's big. strong quick. and a good leader." the coach said.

"I'm not worried: they'll do their job," Park added.

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