AT DALLAS, TEXAS...
ABE MARTIN, with only a 7-13 record after two years as head coach at Texas Christian, took his basically junior team to nine victories, a conference title, No. 6 national ranking and a bowl date on his third try.
CHUCK CURTIS, JIM SWINK, HUGH PITTS (see opposite page).
VERNON HALLBECK (33), fb: Big, powerful runner with real speed; is particularly tough on fullback counter. Ex-guard and good on defense, a strong blocker.
RAY TAYLOR (20), rh: Not elusive but hard, slashing-type runner; not too fast. Good defensive back, tremendous punter. Sub Ken wineburg (26) more elusive, less power.
HAROLD POLLARD (16), fb: Same type back as Hallbeck, about equal in ability. Can kick extra points, field goals.
JOE WILLIAMS (63), lg: Exceptional blocker, aggressive; hard fighter and sure tackier on defense. Has standout sub in Bill Alexander (68), a great tackier.
VERNON UECKER (74), rg: Fine blocker, real defensive standout; puts pressure on middle, hard to move out.
NORMAN HAMILTON (75), lt: Very strong and powerful, reacts well, hard to move on defense. Good blocker.
DON COOPER (78), rt: Not so strong as Hamilton but a good tackle. Good lateral coverage, hard to move out. Fine blocker.
BRYAN ENGRAM (82), le: Team captain and leader. Covers outside very well, hard to block, defensive standout. Good pass receiver and blocker.
O'DAY WILLIAMS (89), re: Best receiver on team; fast and can really maneuver to get open. Hard tackier on defense, breaks up passes from corner position.
JOHNNY VAUGHT will feel right at home Jan. 2—he was an All-America guard at TCU and a teammate of Abe Martin on the 1930 team. In nine years at Ole Miss, Vaught's teams have an outstanding 65-22-5 record.
EAGLE DAY, PAIGE COTHREN, BILLY KINARD (see opposite page).
EARL BLAIR (22), lhb: Tremendous speed, runs halfback draw play very well. Outstanding pass receiver, solid on defense.
JOHN BLALACK (14), qb: Runs behind Day; faster but not so big and agile. Throws well but likes to run more. Good on the option play; outstanding on pass defense.
GENE DUBUISSON (51), c: Best blocker in a good-blocking line. Not too aggressive but fast, reacts well, covers lots of ground as linebacker, especially to outside.
BUDDY ALLISTON (67), lg: One of country's best guards: fast, very aggressive, good blocker. Plugs holes fast as linebacker or moves up in six-man line.
CHARLES DUCK (64), rg: Least spectacular of Ole Miss line but no weak spot. Steady, competent, hard to draw or trap.
DICK WEISS (78), It: Big (222), strong and mobile; a good blocker. Crashes hard on defense; good pursuit. Sub Billy Yelverton (77) has blazing speed for a big man, pursues well.
DICK GOEHE (71), rt: Hits quick and hard on defense, pursues strongly, likes to put pressure on passer, kicker.
BOBBY FISHER (85), le: Very fast, good blocker, fair pass receiver. Strong on defense, particularly good at breaking up option play to his side.
BOB DREWRY (81), re: Has fair speed, catches the ball well, good blocker. Like Fisher, tough on wide plays at his end, will force quarterback to sidelines.
The 1955 Horned Frogs are probably the best TCU team since Davey O'Brien and the national champions of 1938. Second in the nation in rushing offense with an average of 285.7 yards a game, they have a constant all-the-way threat in Swink, other fine running backs, a good young quarterback in Curtis, two fine ends and a highly mobile line which is anchored by Pitts and averages well over 200 pounds from tackle to tackle. The high-powered Horned Frog offense is basically split-T and its best plays develop from the belly series. As Rice found out, it doesn't pay to concentrate entirely on Swink but, as other teams discovered, you can't afford not to. This junior 185-pounder, called the most exciting back in the Southwest Conference since the days of Doak Walker, led the nation in scoring with 126 points, gained 1,283 yards carrying the ball. Curtis, not a picture passer but a highly accurate one, works with outstanding receivers and has a lot of deception handling the ball. With Mississippi's speed and long-range striking power on the other side, this promises to be quite an offensive show.
The most impressive attribute of Mississippi is its speed—the backs are tremendously fast, the ends can move and the line, even the two big tackles, has amazing mobility. Despite this, the Rebels seem to have a slogan: when in doubt, pass. This is probably due to Eagle Day's ability as a thrower—he's one of the best and has very good receivers. Ole Miss prefers to send its ends deep as decoys and pass short to the backs who can really scoot. As a running team they use their speed in the most effective way—wide. Day seldom fakes behind the line but sprints out past the end and sometimes cuts downfield before using his give-or-keep split-T option. They seldom grind for yardage, preferring to trap off tackle if power is needed. The Rebels are always primed for the big gainer, the knockout play, and they aren't good at controlling the ball on long, slow marches. They use an elastic, containment-type defense which gives up short yardage but stops the long gainer and may be the best possible solution to a major problem: how to hobble TCU's Jim Swink Jan. 2. Backed up to the goal, they can become very tough.
NUMBERS TO WATCH
CHUCK CURTIS, QB
This big (6 foot 4 inch) junior is a very slick ball handler and has developed into an accurate passer and smart signal caller. Slow, not good as a runner or on defense.
JIM SWINK, LHB
All-America and may be the best running back in country. Has speed, power, balance and remarkable ability to make tacklers miss. An open-field terror; fine receiver.
HUGH PITTS, C
No. 1 man in line, will give Ole Miss lots of trouble. Very strong, aggressive and quick-reacting. Great play diagnostician and linebacker. Terrific blocker, sure tackler.
EAGLE DAY, QB
Extremely fast and a very good runner on Mississippi's quick, wide quarterback sweep. Would rather throw, however, and is a deadly passer. Steady, aggressive.
PAIGE COTHREN, FB
Big enough at 195 and with the speed needed to be a very fine off-tackle power runner or to sprint around end. Devastating blocker, kicks points and field goals.
BILLY KINARD, RHB
Member of famous Ole Missfootballfamily. Bruising runner with very good speed, elusiveness; blocks hard, a standout on defense. Probably the team's best receiver.