Through it all, the players have remained dogged.
“The thing I’m most proud about this football team is how they’ve handled everything,” said Reno. “They’ve shown they can deal with anything and it’s going to help them in life. They’re super-resilient.”
Bouncing back from beatings may be admirable, but the Bulldogs would rather be known for turning around a lopsided rivalry.
“People definitely understand that in the way that this team is remembered, obviously a win against Harvard changes the lens that people view the season,” acknowledged McHale. “But at the same time, we want to win them all. It’s not like beating Harvard counts as two.”
After Yale beat Penn, it figured to have a legitimate chance to win the rest, but that was before the quarterback had to wear a “Hello, My Name Is” sticker on his jersey.
So far, there have been 67 passes attempted by players not listed as a QB on the roster. The backup is Williams’s older brother Scott, a linebacker who hasn’t played a down and had to change his number from 43 to 10.
Maybe Furman will start against the Crimson, maybe not. Reno figures he may not know until 10 minutes before kickoff. On Tuesday, he didn’t know which of his weekly “team leaders” would be walking out to midfield to shake hands with Harvard captain Bobby Schneider for the coin toss.
The Crimson can empathize. In 1957, when Yale dealt them their worst defeat in history (54-0), first-year coach John Yovicsin walked along the bench asking if anyone had played quarterback in high school.
“Be innovative,” Reno and his assistants keep telling each other every Monday. If they run out of candidates who can figure out a snap count, they may have to go back to the registrar and check the records. Maybe Brian Dowling has a game’s worth of eligibility left.
John Powers can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.