Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Trust men and they will be true to you; treat them greatly, and they will show themselves great.” In football, this idea takes on a particularly special meaning.
The offensive linemen on the football team can be viewed as the elder statesmen of the squad — each player is a returning starter.
They have endured everything together: every scoring drive, every botched assignment, every game-saving play and every missed opportunity. Now, as they enter their final campaign for the elusive Ivy League championship — together again — these five men hope that their single, greatest asset — trust — will propel both themselves and the team to greatness.
“We’ve been playing together for so long, we don’t want to let each other down,” senior tackle Kevin Boothe said. “We want to win — we want to succeed — for each other and for the team.”
Boothe, a first-team, All-Ivy selection last season, anchors one of the Ivy League’s most experienced offensive lines. He is joined by classmates David Archer (guard), Zach Beadle (guard), and Tim Doherty (tackle) and also junior Jon Moody (center) — all of whom have started for the Red in multiple games.
More importantly, the squad has started many games with each other — an aspect vital to the line’s functioning as a cohesive, impregnable fortress.
“We’re like a tightly clenched fist,” Archer said. “We’ve played a lot together and we know what to expect on the field. And this year, we expect to win.”
The linemen will look to improve on a 2003 season in which the Red compiled a 1-9-0 overall record and gave up 29 sacks for 207 negative yards. And with the arrival of first-year head coach Jim Knowles ’87 and an entirely different offensive scheme, the wardens of the trenches face a number of daunting challenges in the upcoming season.
“The new schemes are solid, but coach Knowles is more solid,” Beadle said. “There is a whole new attitude permeating the team this year. We all have a deep and sincere belief that we will do well.”
No matter what the expectations or the final outcomes turn out to be, the linemen are well aware that this is their last chance to leave absolutely everything on the field.
“The writing is on the wall,” Archer said. “For four years we have had little success. Now more than ever, this is our time to shine and win an Ivy League championship.”
Archived article by Kyle Sheahen
Sun Assistant Sports Editor