THE SOUTHERN CONFERENCE

September 23, 1956

HERMAN HICKMAN SAYS:

There is little balance of strength in this venerable conference, which once stretched from College Park, Md. to New Orleans and was composed of the present powerhouses of the Southeastern Conference and the Atlantic Coast Conference.

The nine-team conference could probably best be divided into the haves and have nots. West Virginia, Virginia Tech, George Washington, William and Mary and Richmond are the haves. Less fortunate are Davidson, The Citadel, VMI and Furman.

West Virginia's Mountaineers have figured rather prominently on the national scene for the past few years, but late-season lapses have cost them some prestige. They open the coming season with Pitt's Panthers on Sept. 22 at Morgantown, W. Va. Word is that they have pointed for this one since the close of last year. Despite key losses the Mountaineers will again be powerful and should certainly add to their 16 straight victories against Southern Conference opposition.

George Washington and Virginia Tech should rate close seconds to West Virginia in the power department. The Colonials are loaded with veterans and could be a threat to West Virginia. A win over the Mountaineers would undoubtedly give them the title, because Virginia Tech plays only three conference games and none of these with George Washington or West Virginia. The rest of the conference shapes up pretty much catch-as-catch-can, and it will be extremely difficult to make any sense out of their standings, since there is no requirement that members play any definite number of games with conference opponents.

Richmond, with a slew of veterans returning, and William and Mary, with a less murderous schedule than last year, should have winning seasons, as should Davidson and The Citadel.

Youth and inexperience appear to be the main problem at VMI, where a winning season is still a couple of years away, while Furman, though improving, is playing out of its class.

WEST VIRGINIA
MORGANTOWN, W.VA.

COLORS: Gold and blue.

BASIC OFFENSE: Split-T.

1955 RECORD: Won 8, lost 2.

LETTERMEN RETURNING: 15 of 24.

WATCH FOR: Chuck Howley, C; Larry Krutko, B; Jack Rabbitts, B.

THE DOPE: The Mountaineers bullied the Southern Conference last year and undoubtedly will play the tough guy again this year within the confines of their own backyard. But an unusual number of non-conference games with topflight competition may make it tough for the West Virginians to match their 8-2 record of 1955. Pitt, Texas and Syracuse are among the first four games on the Mountaineer schedule, and a poor start could demoralize the team. Coach Art Lewis is pinning his hopes for the season on the results of the first game. "If we beat Pitt in the opener," he says, "I believe we will go on to a very good season." The loss through graduation of All-America Guard Bruce Bosley and Back Freddy Wyant will reduce some of the power in the West Virginia attack, though Coach Lewis claims the Mountaineers are still mighty tough through the middle. If sophomore End Bruce McClung develops as a pass receiver, the West Virginia aerial attack, with Quarterback Mickey Trimarki tossing, ought to be one of the most vicious in the South. On the ground, the man to keep an eye on is burly Fullback Larry Krutko (6 feet 1, 195 pounds), who will carry on the Mountaineer power tradition, while Halfbacks Jack Rabbitts and Sammy Sizemore will lend more scatbacking than before. All in all, West Virginia's offense appears to be as well rounded as any in the conference.

1956 SCHEDULE (1955 score):

Sept. 22—Pittsburgh (7-26)
Sept. 29—Richmond (33-12)
Oct. 6—at Texas, N (no game)
Oct. 13—at Syracuse (13-20)
Oct. 20—at William & Mary (39-13)
Oct. 27—at Penn State (21-7)
Nov. 3—George Washington (13—7)
Nov. 10—VMI (47-12)
Nov. 17—Furman (no game)
Nov. 23—at Miami, N (no game)

VIRGINIA TECH
BLACKSBURG, VA.

COLORS: Orange and maroon.

BASIC OFFENSE: Split-T.

1955 RECORD: Won 6, lost 3, tied 1.

LETTERMEN RETURNING: 17 of 28.

WATCH FOR: Don Divers, B; Grover Jones, E; Jim Burks, G.

THE DOPE: The Gobblers have speed, depth and a hard-hitting running attack, but lack of experience at the tackles may mean trouble. The loss of ace Quarterback Billy Cranwell due to a knee operation gave Coach Frank Moseley his biggest headache, but he has reshaped his offense to fit the pile-driving tactics of Fullback Don Divers. Jim Burks, a 6 foot 3, 220-pound guard, is the defensive standout in the Tech line. With only three conference games scheduled, Virginia Tech is not a serious challenge to West Virginia for the title, but Moseley is optimistic about his season as a whole. "If speed can make up for lack of experience at the tackles, our line may be able to do the job that will be required to improve our 6-3-1 record of last year," he said. The games that will make or break the Gobblers are North Carolina State, Clemson and Wake Forest.

1956 SCHEDULE (1955 score):

Sept. 15—E. Car. at Bluefield, N (no game)
Sept. 22—at Tulane (no game)
Sept. 29—N. C. State at Norfolk (34-26)
Oct. 6—Fla. State at Norfolk, N (24-20)
Oct. 13—William & Mary (14-7)
Oct. 20—at Richmond, N (7-7)
Oct. 27—Virginia at Roanoke (17-13)
Nov. 3—at Clemson (16-21)
Nov. 10—Wake Forest (0-13)
Nov. 22—VMI at Roanoke (39-13)

DAVIDSON
DAVIDSON, N.C.

COLORS: Black and red.

BASIC OFFENSE: T with split ends and flankers.

1955 RECORD: Won 5, lost 4.

LETTERMEN RETURNING: 14 of 25.

WATCH FOR: Dick Belton, B; Don McRee, B; Tom Lee, T; Bill Gramley, E.

THE DOPE: Watch for the Wildcats to stage a wide-open aerial circus under the tutelage of their ringmaster, Coach William E. (Bill) Dole. Dole admits Davidson's running attack is the weak point in his offense, so he intends to capitalize on the magic arm of senior Quarterback Dick Belton. Last year Davidson broke the Southern Conference passing record set by Maryland in 1952. Here's how Dole sizes up Wildcat prospects for '56: "The success of our season will depend to a great extent on the development of replacements at center and guard. Our ends, tackles and backs have ample experience, and we will have two of the finest passers in the conference in Captain Dick Belton and Dyke Little, senior quarterbacks." But unless the Wildcats get their ground game moving, they will look only second rate against conference foes, even though the schedule was designed for winning.

1956 SCHEDULE (1955 score):

Sept. 21—Catawba at Charlotte, N (26-0)
Sept. 29—at The Citadel, N (6-2)
Oct. 6—at Presbyterian, N (7-16)
Oct. 13—at Wash. & Lee (no game)
Oct. 20—Stetson (25-13)
Oct. 27—VMI (21-7)
Nov. 3—Richmond (0-19)
Nov. 10—at Wofford, N (9-21)
Nov. 23—Furman at Charlotte, N (9-13)

GEORGE WASHINGTON
WASHINGTON, D. C.

COLORS: Buff and blue.

BASIC OFFENSE: T.

1955 RECORD: Won 5, lost 4.

LETTERMEN RETURNING: 14 of 23.

WATCH FOR: Paul Thompson, E; Dave Lid-dick, T; Claude Austin, B; Ed Sakach, G.

THE DOPE: The Colonials, with a little bit of luck, could surprise against West Virginia for the conference crown. George Washington's running attack is better than average, spearheaded by speedy Mike Sommer, who last year led the nation in punt returns. The Colonial defensive line is practically unchanged from last year and needs only a little more depth at the center and guard positions. Coach Gene Sherman sums up the situation this way: "We have the nucleus of another good club and, barring injuries, we should improve on last year's 5-4 record." Since six of the nine games on the Colonials' schedule are with Southern Conference opponents, the prospects are excellent that Coach Sherman will finish close to the top in final standings. If, with a little guidance, Ray Looney should develop into a great passer, then George Washington would have the balanced offense it needs to graduate from a contender to a champion.

1956 SCHEDULE (1955 score):

Sept. 22—at Miami (Ohio) (no game)
Sept. 29—at Furman, N (no game)
Oct. 5—Hardin-Simmons, N (no game)
Oct. 13—at Boston U., N (no game)
Oct. 19—VMI, N (25-6)
Oct. 26—William and Mary, N (16-0)
Nov. 3—at West Virginia (7-13)
Nov. 9—Richmond, N (0-7)
Nov. 17—at The Citadel (no game)

RICHMOND
RICHMOND, VA.

COLORS: Red and blue.

BASIC OFFENSE: Split-T.

1955 RECORD: Won 4, lost 3, tied 2.

LETTERMEN RETURNING: 19 of 30.

WATCH FOR: Dave May, G; George Riggs, B; Dick Eaton, C.

THE DOPE: The Spiders will be a young, fast club but lacking in depth at tackle and quarterback. Coach Eddie Merrick plans to have five sophomores in his starting lineup and is seriously considering Freshmen Clarence Fox and Tommy Sterns, now eligible for varsity play under conference rules. The Spiders are usually among the best defensive clubs in the nation, and this year should be no exception, especially in aerial defense. Keep your eye on speed merchants George Riggs and Dave Ames, who will be providing most of Richmond's offensive thrills. Merrick doesn't expect a championship club but predicts: "We should have our fourth consecutive winning season."

1956 SCHEDULE (1955 score):

Sept. 22—Randolph-Macon, N (33-6)
Sept. 29—at West Virginia (12-33)
Oct. 6—VMI, N (21-0)
Oct. 12—The Citadel, N (12-14)
Oct. 20—Virginia Tech, N (7-7)
Nov. 3—at Davidson (19-0)
Nov. 9—at George Washington, N (7-0)
Nov. 17—at East Carolina (no game)
Nov. 22—William and Mary (6-6)

THE CITADEL
CHARLESTON, S.C.

COLORS: Blue and white.

BASIC OFFENSE: T.

1955 RECORD: Won 5, lost 4.

LETTERMEN RETURNING: 18 of 25.

WATCH FOR: Al Andrejko, B; Al Baron, T; Connie Tuza, G.

THE DOPE: The Bulldogs came up with their first winning season in 13 years last year (5-4) under former West Point Star, Coach John Sauer. Now it looks as if they are in for another dry spell. Sauer hopes to make it an interesting season, however, featuring a race-horse offense. He feels the "belly series" and the more wide-open offense will make the college game more attractive to local fans and create more interest in the Bulldogs' football fortunes. Youth, Sauer points out, will be his sore spot: "The Citadel will have to use many freshmen and sophomores in the lineup, and we have to expect them to make mistakes. Inexperience will be our main problem."

1956 SCHEDULE (1955 score):

Sept. 22—Newberry, N (13-7)
Sept. 29—Davidson, N (2-6)
Oct. 6—Stetson (no game)
Oct. 12—at Richmond, N (14-12)
Oct. 19—Wofford at Orangeburg (7-27)
Oct. 27—at Furman (25-19)
Nov. 3—Presbyterian (14-13)
Nov. 10—at Villanova (no game)
Nov. 17—George Washington (no game)

FURMAN
GREENVILLE, S.C.

COLORS: Purple and white.

BASIC OFFENSE: Split-T.

1955 RECORD: Won 1, lost 9.

LETTERMEN RETURNING: 23 of 29.

WATCH FOR: Bob Jennings, C; Jimmy Grant, B; Dick Pfiefer, E.

THE DOPE: The Purple Hurricane blew itself out before the season started last year, and the storm warnings cannot be taken too seriously during 1956 either. The schedule set up for Furman is just too tough. Coach Homer B. Hobbs would have to work miracles to have a winning season against such powers as George Washington, Auburn, South Carolina, West Virginia and Clemson. The team lacks experience now, but that will be quickly cured and, as Hobbs says, it will improve on the field. Whether there will be much improvement over last year's 1-9 record is doubtful. A bright spot in an otherwise dismal picture is Fullback Jimmy Grant, who will sparkplug Furman's wide-open offense. The team is fast and well conditioned. Graduation will claim only five of the top 40 players after this season, so 1957 should be a brighter year.

1956 SCHEDULE (1955 score):

Sept. 29—Geo. Wash., N (no game)
Oct. 6—at Auburn (0-52)
Oct. 13—Wofford, N (6-27)
Oct. 20—Newberry, N (0-14)
Oct. 27—The Citadel (19-25)
Nov. 3—South Carolina (0-19)
Nov. 10—at Florida State (6-19)
Nov. 17—at W. Virginia (no game)
Nov. 23—Davidson at Charlotte, N (13-9)
Dec. 1—at Clemson (20-40)

WILLIAM & MARY
WILLIAMSBURG, VA.

COLORS: Green, gold and silver.

BASIC OFFENSE: Split-T.

1955 RECORD: Won 1, lost 7, tied 1.

LETTERMEN RETURNING: 12 of 22.

WATCH FOR: Walt Brodie, E; Charles Sidwell, B; Tom Secules, B.

THE DOPE: The Indians have the offense but no line to hold down the opposition score, so expect a strong running attack that will switch to the air lanes when necessary. William and Mary is as loaded in the back-field this year as it has been at any time since the days of the great Jack Cloud, but heavy losses at tackle and center have left the Indian line riddled and weak. The most exciting player fielded by Coach Jack Freeman will most certainly be Halfback Charlie Sidwell, only a junior but already drafted by the Cleveland Browns through a peculiarity in the rules covering the pros' priorities. William and Mary may not win any crowns this year, but it is fighting back toward a high spot in collegiate football under Freeman; for "example, among 28 freshmen footballers, only three are under 6 feet and only five under 200 pounds.

1956 SCHEDULE (1955 score):

Sept. 22—Wake Forest (7-13)
Sept. 29—at Navy (0-7)
Oct. 6—Boston U. (no game)
Oct. 13—at Virginia Tech (7-14)
Oct. 20—West Virginia (13-39)
Oct. 26—at Geo. Wash., N (0-16)
Nov. 3—VMI at Lynchburg (20-13)
Nov. 10—at Army (no game)
Nov. 17—at Rutgers (no game)
Nov. 22—at Richmond (6-6)

VMI
LEXINGTON, VA.

COLORS: Red, white and yellow.

BASIC OFFENSE: Split-T.

1955 RECORD: Won 1, lost 9.

LETTERMEN RETURNING: 15 of 28.

WATCH FOR: Sam Woolwine, B; Joe Moody, B; Carl LeBourdais, G.

THE DOPE: The Keydets are building under Coach Johnny McKenna, but with 28 sophomores on the roster the team is a couple of years away from maturity. The VMI running attack is strong, and watch for Fullback Sam Woolwine to provide an occasional thrill with his kickoff return specialty. Nonetheless, Coach McKenna assumes an attitude of restrained pessimism as he advises that "inexperience of this sophomore-dominated squad will cause headaches along the way." With a schedule that includes Army, West Virginia and Virginia Tech, the Keydets may have considerable difficulty improving on the 1-9 record in 1955. In fact, their only breather is the opener with Stetson. Rather than worrying about setting the world on fire this fall, McKenna simply hopes his squad will gain the kind of experience it will need to be a serious conference contender in 1957 or 1958.

1956 SCHEDULE (1955 score):

Sept. 15—Stetson at St. Pete, N (no game)
Sept. 22—at Virginia (13-20)
Sept. 29—Army (no game)
Oct. 6—at Richmond, N (0-21)
Oct. 13—Lehigh (0-39)
Oct. 19—at George Washington, N (6-25)
Oct. 27—at Davidson (7-21)
Nov. 3—W. & M. at Lynchburg (13-20)
Nov. 10—at West Virginia (12-47)
Nov. 22—Va. Tech at Roanoke (13-39)

PHOTOVIRGINIA TECH COACH FRANK MOSELEY PHOTOBILL DOLE: DAVIDSON'S CIRCUSMASTER PHOTOGW'S ALL-SOUTHERN BACK MIKE SOMMER PHOTOUNIVERSITY OF RICHMOND CO-CAPTAINS DUKE THACKER (44) AND DAVE MAY (53) PHOTOCENTER BOBBY JENNINGS, FURMAN CAPTAIN PHOTOCAPTAIN JACK YOHE OF WILLIAM AND MARY PHOTOFULLBACK SAM WOOLWINE, VMI JUNIOR

HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)