PACIFIC COAST CONFERENCE

September 23, 1956

HERMAN HICKMAN SAYS:

Strife-torn from Seattle to Southern California, the Pacific Coast Conference lurches uncertainly into the current football season. The unprecedented series of upheavals started at Washington early last winter, smoldered and smoked there for months, then burst into full flame at the West-wood home of the Uclans. Swept across town by an ill wind, the conflagration caused considerable financial loss to the University of Southern California and reduced some of the powerful Trojans to part-time personnel. Some of these sparks ignited a minor fire at Berkeley, but losses were negligible except for one important part-time casualty—the brilliant Fullback Jerry Drew. Thus far, Pullman, Corvallis, Eugene, Palo Alto and Moscow have not been touched. Truthfully, these seats of learning are in no way sympathetic to their suffering brethren, particularly those in the Los Angeles area.

As spring came to the slopes of the Pacific, it looked like the same old story. Southern California seemed headed for its alternate-year appearance in the Rose Bowl. The battle for Coast supremacy would again be between the Trojans and the Uclans, with Stanford given an outside chance. Then charges and countercharges rent the air. The University of Washington had already been given a thorough going-over: fined, reprimanded and excluded from the Rose Bowl. But this was nothing compared to the conference action against UCLA and Southern California. Fines, probations, reprimands and Rose Bowl exclusions were pronounced, the latter important to the Los Angeles schools because the Pasadena affair had been practically their own private enterprise. One year's eligibility was taken from all players who had accepted excess aid, an action affecting nearly every member of both squads. Later, the conference, doubtless considering that the players were suffering most for sins equally shared by others, ameliorated the penalty to allow seniors to play—any five straight games. Tommy Prothro, whose Oregon State Beavers were runners-up for the title last year in his first head coaching assignment, sums up the situation pretty well: "The fans of the Pacific Coast will really have an exciting season when they go to the games this fall. They not only won't know who will win, they won't know who is playing." The seniors at UCLA and USC will probably be split pretty well over the season.

Unscathed Stanford looks like the best bet to win the Pacific Coast title and go to the Rose Bowl. Coach Chuck Taylor has gotten a lot of mileage out of sometimes thin material in the past few years and has finally acquired depth and size at a time when the giants of the southland are at low ebb. The pass-minded Indians, with John Brodie doing the pitching, and a large line, spearheaded by Tackle Paul Wig-gin, may even be a candidate for top national honors. This contention will be tested early, when they meet Michigan State and Ohio State on successive Saturdays.

But, Washington, under new Coach Darrell Royal, is my dark-horse pick for the title. Better morale and better techniques are the basis of my selection. If the quarterback situation can be solved and not too much physical damage incurred in early-season inter-sectional games with Minnesota and Illinois, the Huskies should be a definite contender.

USC should again be strong, despite the fact that 12 players will lose five games of eligibility. UCLA, contrary to popular belief, did not have depth even before the loss of Ronnie Knox and All-America end candidate Tom Adams to Canadian pro football.

UCLA
LOS ANGELES, CALIF.

COLORS: Blue and gold.

BASIC OFFENSE: Single wing, balanced line.

1955 RECORD: Won 9, lost 1.
Rose Bowl: Lost to Mich. St. 14-17.

LETTERMEN RETURNING: 16 of 31.

WATCH FOR: Donnie Long, B; Esker Harris, G; Jim Matheny, C; Bruce Ballard, B.

THE DOPE: The Bruins, already thin on experience, suffered seriously by the loss of their seniors for a half season. Coach Red Sanders has spread his veterans carefully, allowing himself an equal ration of maturity for each half of the season at key spots, but this makeshift arrangement still leaves UCLA weak. The picture is further complicated by the desire of all the seniors to play against Stanford in the seventh game, leaving UCLA woefully weak for its opening games against Utah and Michigan. Like USC, UCLA has not repented its sins so much as it has sought vengeance on Stanford, the only school which did not vote for amelioration of the penalties on their players. They take the attitude of the prisoner at the bar who wants to "get" the judge—and UCLA may just do it too.

1956 CHEDULE (1955 score):

Sept. 21—Utah, N (no game)
Sept. 29—at Michigan (no game)
Oct. 5—Oregon, N (no game)
Oct. 13—Washington State (55-0)
Oct. 20—at California (47-0)
Oct. 27—at Oregon State (38-0)
Nov. 3—Stanford (21-13)
Nov. 10—at Washington (19-17)
Nov. 17—Kansas (no game)
Nov. 24—USC (17-7)

OREGON STATE
CORVALLIS, ORE.

COLORS: Orange and black.

BASIC OFFENSE: Single wing, balanced line.

1955 RECORD: Won 6, lost 3.

LETTERMEN RETURNING: 20 of 32.

WATCH FOR: John Witte, T; Joe Francis, B; Sam Wesley, B; Bob DeGrant, E; Ted Bates, T; Jim Brackins, G.

THE DOPE: The Beavers startled the conference last season by winning six of nine in Tommy Prothro's first year as head coach, and may even do better this year. But two factors militate against Oregon State this season: the element of surprise is gone, and the schedule is much tougher, with USC and Missouri replacing COP and Brigham Young. Prothro met his first problem when Center Bob Hadraba was lost to the Army; Buzz Randall, a sophomore, will replace him. Joe Francis, tailback in Prothro's single wing, is "as good a passer as I've ever been associated with," according to Prothro. John Witte, an agile, powerful, 200-pound tackle, should make the Oregon State defense a sticky one. Witte is OSC's All-America candidate: he made one of the All-Americas last season.

1956 SCHEDULE (1955 score):

Sept. 22—at Missouri (no game)
Sept. 28—at USC, N (no game)
Oct. 6—at Iowa (no game)
Oct. 13—California (16-14)
Oct. 20—at Washington State (14-6)
Oct. 27—UCLA (0-38)
Nov. 3—Washington at Portland (13-7)
Nov. 10—at Stanford (10-0)
Nov. 17—at Idaho (33-14)
Nov. 22—Oregon (0-28)

STANFORD
PALO ALTO, CALIF.

COLORS: Cardinal and white.

BAISC OFFENSE: Spread T.

1955 RECORD: Won 6, lost3, tied 1.

LETTERMEN RETURNING: 23 OF 41

WATCH FOR: Paul Wiggin, T; John Brodie, B; Gary Van Galder, E; Paul Camera, B; Donn Carswell, G.

THE DOPE: The Indians' strength is as the strength of 10, principally because they have been officially tabbed as pure. Before the wholesale indictments which cost USC and UCLA half their senior strength, Coach Chuck Taylor's team was rated an even bet for the Coast crown. Now the Indians are a nearly prohibitive favorite, except for one thing: by a quirk in the schedule and the ruling on the five-game eligibility of seniors, both USC and UCLA can field all their seniors against Stanford. Taylor is two and three deep everywhere except at left tackle. He can mount an effective passing attack on the arm of John Brodie, who may throw 20 or 30 times per game. The Stanford defensive line is stout, the running backs big and fast enough and the ends are magnificent.

1956 SCHEDULE (1955 score):

Sept. 22—W. St. at Spokane, N (no game)
Sept. 29—Michigan State (14-38)
Oct. 6—at Ohio State (6-0)
Oct. 13—San Jose State (34-18)
Oct. 20—at Oregon (44-7)
Oct. 27—USC (28-20)
Nov. 3—at UCLA (13-21)
Nov. 10—Oregon State (0-10)
Nov. 17—Washington (7-7)
Nov. 24—at California (19-0)

OREGON
EUGENE, ORE.

COLORS: Emerald green and yellow.

BASIC OFFENSE: T, Split-T.

1955 RECORD: Won 6, lost 4.

LETTERMEN RETURNING: 21 of 27.

WATCH FOR: Jim Shanley, B; Jack Morris, B; Ron Stover, E; Spike Hillstrom, G.

THE DOPE: The Webfoots possessed the best running attack on the Pacific Coast last year and, with a track team backfield returning nearly intact, they may run even better this season. The only loss from the first three sets of 1955 backs was Halfback Dick James. Coach Len Casanova's fleet of sprinters is headed by Jimmy Shanley, 168-pound halfback who, as a sophomore, gained 711 yards in 100 carries to place third in the country in individual rushing. Fullback Jack Morris is a 9.7 sprinter and scored 68 points. The replacement for James is another sprinter, Jack Brown. Add to this trio a seasoned quarterback, Tom Crabtree, who can run and pass, and it is obvious the Webfoots have few worries about offense. Up front, the outlook is somewhat less favorable, despite strength at guard and end. Of the nine tackles, six are new hands and of the four candidates for center, none is large and two are converted backs. Casanova has just two early-season games—against Colorado and Idaho—in which to settle these problems.

1956 SCHEDULE (1955 score):

Sept. 22—at Colorado (6-13)
Sept. 29—Idaho (25-0)
Oct. 6—at UCLA, N (no game)
Oct. 13—at Washington (7-19)
Oct. 20—Stanford (7-44)
Oct. 27—at Pittsburgh (no game)
Nov. 3—at California (21-0)
Nov. 10—Washington State (35-0)
Nov. 17—USC at Portland (15-42)
Nov. 22—at Oregon State (28-0)

WASHINGTON
SEATTLE, WASH.

COLORS: Purple and gold.

BASIC OFFENSE: Split-T.

1955 RECORD: Won 5, lost 4, tied 1.

LETTERMEN RETURNING: 21 of 34.

WATCH FOR: George Strugar, T; Dick Day, T; Credell Green, B.

THE DOPE: The Huskies are so deep in good running backs that Coach Darren Royal will pick his starters on their defensive ability. Royal, who learned his football as a quarterback under Bud Wilkinson at Oklahoma, will field the only pure split-T attack on the Coast, but he has some rather pressing problems. His quarterback, 165-pound Al Ferguson, had relatively little game experience last year. The right side of the 1955 line—the stronger side—is gone. Punting, an important factor in the ball-control strategy of the split-T, is weak. The four Husky players declared ineligible by the PCC were seniors, and two of them—both linemen—did not even show up for practice this fall. So Royal's fine runners may be wasted behind a line unable to clear the way. On the credit side, harmony reigns on the practice field once again after a season of revolt under Coach John Cherberg. The Huskies, like a man recovering from a serious operation, are weaker but much more cheerful. If their backs get adequate help from the line, look out.

1956 SCHEDULE (1955 score):

Sept. 22—Idaho (14-7)
Sept. 29—Minnesota (30-0)
Oct. 6—Illinois (no game)
Oct. 13—Oregon (19-7)
Oct. 20—at USC (7-0)
Oct. 27—California (6-20)
Nov. 3—Ore. St. at Portland (7-13)
Nov. 10—UCLA (17-19)
Nov. 17—at Stanford (7-7)
Nov. 24—Wash. St. at Spokane (27-7)

USC
Los ANGELES, CALIF.

COLORS: Cardinal and gold.

BASIC OFFENSE: Multiple offense.

1955 RECORD: Won 6, lost 4.

LETTERMEN RETURNING: 18 of 33.

WATCH FOR: Jon Arnett, B; C. R. Roberts, B; Don Hickman, B; Karl Rubke, C; Laird Willott, G; Ellis Kissinger, B.

THE DOPE: The Trojans, with mountains of material as usual, could conceivably benefit from the manpower dilutions forced on them by conference ineligibility penalties. Coach Jess Hill and his assistants have nearly always had trouble deciding on a starting lineup. Of the 12 seniors affected, six—including All-America Halfback Jon Arnett—have chosen to play the first five games, ending with Stanford. One was undecided, and the remaining five have chosen the final half of the season, including the traditional windup against Notre Dame. Since the penalized seniors may suit up for every game and go in whenever they want to start their string, all of them will be on hand, if needed, against Stanford, although the members of the last-half-season brigade would then have to skip Notre Dame. Hill has a great junior fullback—C. R. Roberts—available all season, adequate strength everywhere, except for reserves at guard and end. Like UCLA, USC apparently prefers revenge to repentance, so how they utilize their seniors is the key to their season.

1956 SCHEDULE (1955 score):

Sept. 22—at Texas, N (19-7)
Sept. 28—Oregon State, N (no game)
Oct. 6—at Wisconsin (33-21)
Oct. 20—Washington (0-7)
Oct. 27—at Stanford (20-28)
Nov. 3—at Washington State (50-12)
Nov. 10—California (33-6)
Nov. 17—Oregon at Portland (42-15)
Nov. 24—UCLA (7-17)
Dec. 1—Notre Dame (42-20)

CALIFORNIA
BERKELEY, CALIF.

COLORS: Blue and gold.

BASIC OFFENSE: T.

1955 RECORD: Won 2, lost 7, tied 1.

LETTERMEN RETURNING: 19 of 37.

WATCH FOR: Ron Wheatcroft, E; Jerry Drew, B; Roger Ramseier, E.

THE DOPE: The Bears were crushed by injuries last season; if the lame and the halt have healed, the team might be the surprise of the Coast. Wes Fry, backfield coach, says the California attack requires big blocking halfbacks and an adequate supply of them is on hand to spring Jerry Drew, the 195-pound fullback who was the most explosive runner on the Coast two years ago. He sat out last season with a broken elbow, will sit out half of this one with a bad case of partial ineligibility, endemic among West Coast seniors this fall. Coach Pappy Waldorf will play Drew through the final five games of the season, all against PCC foes. The team should present a strong passing attack with improved quarterbacking and potentially great ends in big Ron Wheatcroft and Roger Ramseier. No lettermen return at either center or tackle, so Waldorf must call on junior-college transfers at those positions. Pappy is hopeful, however: "I expect improvement in the following categories: experience, better quarter-backing, better end play, better spirit and a favorable schedule."

1956 SCHEDULE (1955 score):

Sept. 22—Baylor (no game)
Sept. 29—at Illinois (13-20)
Oct. 6—Pittsburgh (7-27)
Oct. 13—at Oregon State (14-16)
Oct. 20—UCLA (0-47)
Oct. 29—at Washington (20-6)
Nov. 3—Oregon (0-21)
Nov. 10—at USC (6-33)
Nov. 17—Washington State (20-20)
Nov. 24—Stanford (0-19)

WASHINGTON STATE
PULLMAN, WASH.

COLORS: Crimson and gray.

BASIC OFFENSE: T.

1955 RECORD: Won 1, lost 7, tied 2.

LETTERMEN RETURNING: 11 of 28.

WATCH FOR: Bunny Aldrich, B; Rey Alvarado, B; Bill Steiger, B; Don Gest, E; Gene Baker, G.

THE DOPE: The Cougars have a new coach—Jim Sutherland—and very little else. Sutherland coached Ronnie Knox at Santa Monica High, followed his protégé" to California and moved on to Washington, where he was fired by John Cherberg in the midst of the player revolt last year. An exponent of the straight T, Sutherland has promised an aerial circus for Washington State, but he doesn't have much to keep it flying. Aside from two good running backs, Bill Steiger and Rey Alvarado, and a durable end, Pete Toomey, the WSC squad is made up largely of sophomores and junior-college transfers. Sutherland has recruited diligently in the Santa Monica area, where he established a good reputation as a high school coach, but the results of his safari won't be felt this season. The Cougars should have a fast backfield, but the entire starting line of 1955 has moved on. Sutherland is pinning his faint hopes on "a new enthusiasm and desire," yet he foresees an "unpredictable season."

1956 SCHEDULE (1955 score):

Sept. 22—Stanford at Spokane, N
Sept. 29—San Jose State (13-13)
Oct. 6—at Idaho (9-0)
Oct. 13—at ULCA (0-55)
Oct. 20—Oregon State (6-14)
Oct. 27—at Col. of Pac, N (0-30)
Nov. 3—USC (12-50)
Nov. 10—at Oregon (0-35)
Nov. 17—at California (20-20)
Nov. 24—Wash, at Spokane (7-27)

IDAHO
Moscow, IDAHO

COLORS: Silver and gold.

BASIC OFFENSE: T.

1955 RECORD: Won 2, lost 7.

LETTERMEN RETURNING: 17 of 28.

WATCH FOR: Dick Foster, T; Ron Braden, B; Jerry Kramer, G; Mel Schmidt, B.

THE DOPE: The Vandals, embarked on an ambitious improvement plan, will be better than in recent years, but Coach Skip Stanley still has only one team of veterans. For reserves, he will have to dig down into sophomores and other untried candidates, where the mining, in some spots, is fairly good. Howard Willis and Gary Johnson give the Vandals two able quarterbacks, with Willis the better passer, Johnson the more experienced field general. The line, headed by 220-pound Guard Jerry Kramer, is big, with strong first-team tackles and guards, adequate ends and one experienced center. Mel Schmidt, a 203-pound halfback, was a pleasant surprise in spring training after a junior season plagued by injuries. His running mate is Larry Norby, 190 pounds, a good ball-carrier and a fine receiver. The Vandal fullbacks are small and may lack the power to give Stahley's T enough drive up the middle to prevent opponents from overshifting. Says Stahley: "We will be inexperienced, although we have 17 lettermen returning, but only five of these were regulars last season."

1956 SCHEDULE (1955 score):

Sept. 22—at Washington (7-14)
Sept. 29—at Oregon (0-25)
Oct. 6—Washington State (0-9)
Oct. 13—Arizona State (no game)
Oct. 27—at Utah (13-20)
Nov. 3—at Fresno State, N (no game)
Nov. 10—Utah State at Boise (no game)
Nov. 17—Oregon State (14-33)
Nov. 22—at Montana (31-0)

ILLUSTRATION PHOTOOREGON STATE TACKLE JOHN WITTE IS ALL-AMERICA CANDIDATE PHOTOSTANFORD PEGS PASSING ATTACK ON QUARTERBACK JOHN BRODIE PHOTOOREGON'S HILLSTROM LEADS JIMMY SHANLEY PHOTOTHE FLYING TACKLE IS HUSKIES' DICK DAY PHOTOUSC'S ARNETT WILL PLAY FIRST FIVE GAMES PHOTORON WHEATCROFT HOLDS UP CALIFORNIA END PHOTOWASHINGTON STATE BACK REY ALVARADO PHOTOIDAHO'S MEL SCHMIDT, A SPRING SURPRISE

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)