COACH: Gary Thran, 12th year

LAST SEASON: 4-6 overall; tied for third in Pioneer League, 2-3

PLAYERS TO WATCH: Thran has only eight lettermen and four starters returning but considers his team a contender for the Pioneer League title. His optimism is based on who, specifically, is coming back and coming up. Coming back are Mike Browne and Merritt Robinson. Browne (6-4, 230 pounds) has been an all-league performer the past two years as an offensive and defensive tackle. Thran calls the senior a major-college prospect. Robinson (6-2, 175), a consistent hitter on Harvard’s baseball team last season, was chosen all-league at wide receiver and defensive back. The Saracens’ quarterback will be senior Cory Thabit (5-10, 175). Thabit was a starter at the position last season, but earned all-league honors at linebacker. Also returning is Peter Andersons, a 6-3, 195-pound offensive tackle and linebacker. Coming up are several players who helped lead the sophomore team to a 9-1 record last season. Junior Alex Huh (5-4, 212) rushed for nearly 1,000 yards on the sophomore team. He will be the varsity’s starting fullback this year. “He is a very strong blocker and very hard to tackle,” Thran said.

OUTLOOK:"We are a little concerned (with the juniors) because it’s a big transition from the sophomore team to the varsity team,” Thran said. “It all depends on how the team matures.” Harvard figures to battle Miraleste, Leuzinger and Morningside for the league championship.

Football previews were compiled by Dave Desmond, Mike Hiserman, David Keck, Gary Klein, David Morgan, Jeanmarie Murphy, Derek Raser and Johannes Tesselaar.