Life After Smith

by Sammy Kardon | 10/19/01 5:00am

It's the beginning of a new era for Dartmouth football. When senior quarterback and All-American candidate Greg Smith '02 broke his middle finger in last week's 49-17 demolition at the hands of Holy Cross, the Big Green lost not only its best player, but its identity as well.

Everything has changed. The rest of the season now lies in the inexperienced and unpolished hands of freshman quarterback Evan Love and the other teams in the Ivies are back to dismissing the Big Green as the cellar-dwelling joke they have been for the past three years.

But how profound will the change be? How much of the confidence is left? How will they respond now that the worst-case scenario is a reality?

Those questions will take the rest of the season to answer; they still need to play the games. After all, Dartmouth is still 1-1 in the league and they have 0-4 Columbia this Saturday.

The Lions are more like pussycats this year; hands down the worst team statistically in the Ivies. Their offense only scores 13 a game. Their defense gives up 34.8. They are last in both categories and they've been losing pathetically for years.

Still, if Dartmouth does not win its Homecoming game on Saturday, the '02s will become the first class in Dartmouth history to graduate without taming the Lions at least once.

They should win, though. Dartmouth's early-season success was about more than Smith's right arm and no one questions that this is the best incarnation of the Big Green to set foot in Hanover since 1997. The Big Green is exceedingly talented at wide receiver and tight end and their defense, despite giving up obscene yardage, has shown the ability to bear down when it needs to. Evan Love is going to have to learn on the job and Columbia is about as remedial a first day of school as he could hope for. Look for the Big Green to regroup from last week's horrific loss to Holy Cross and begin the post-G. Smith era with a partial bang: Dartmouth 28, Columbia 14.

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