Joe Restic smiled when asked how Harvard had come out of Saturday's 33-15 win over Cornell. "We have no new injuries," he said yesterday afternoon. "And the people we had to play without last week should be back for Dartmouth."
Restic had reason to smile. A week ago the Crimson was a serious Blue Cross case. Restic's troops were really hurting. After the Columbia win, Harvard had 14 major injuries to consider. Restic was faced with the prospect of having to practically rebuild the entire offensive line. At 60 Boylston St. there was talk of recruiting Dr. Kildare.
Since then, Mother Nature has had a week to work, and the offensive line, decimated a week ago, should benefit most. Monte Bowens, who has been bothered by a bed back, should return this week, according to Restic. Also, guard Bob Kircher, who has not been able to play full time due to an old neck injury that refuses to go away, should be able to go all out by Saturday.
On defense, Mark Ferguson, victim of a hyperextended wrist, should be back at full strength this weekend. Ferguson saw only limited action against Cornell.
Two who will not be ready for Dartmouth are adjuster Steve Golden and left defensive end Mitch Berger. Golden is still plagued by a neck injury sustained in the Columbia game. Berger is through for the year. Next week he will undergo surgery to correct torn cartilage.
The loss of Golden and Berger notwithstanding, the good far outweighs the bad for Restic's troops this week. And it's a good thing it does. Restic readily admits that "we've got to have all our people" for the Dartmouth game.
Restic understates the case. Not only does he need all his people, but he needs a super effort from them. The Big Green (no longer the Indians) is a seniorstudded squad, rich in talent and, what is more, experience.
"They are really tough," Restic said yesterday. "They are consistent and experienced. They make the big play, but they don't let you make the big play against them."
Dartmouth, once-again, is undefeated. Restic's fun house offense will need all its tricks working to give the boys from Hanover a run for it. Or they'll need a big surprise.
Last year Restic threw Jimmy Stoeckel against the Big Green, and the then-sophomore responded with a record setting passing performance that almost pulled the game out for Harvard. But if Restic has any major surprises in store, he's keeping very quiet about them. When asked yesterday, he only smiled with his best Pepsodent smile and purred, "anything is possible......anything is possible."