Coach Bobby Dodd's Yellow Jackets were second only to Tennessee in the Southeast Conference as the result of dropping a 6-0 squeaker to the Vols. Like former Dodd teams, they are without any glaring weaknesses. Offensively they run the belly series with great effect off-tackle, but watch Tech's "swift sweeps" on pitchouts to a bunch of speedy halfbacks. This team has bruising power up the middle as well as the speed to go wide. The downfield blocking is the best of any team in the South. The line is light, fast and quick-reacting. The backs are small but shifty. Tech has the wherewithal to pass but does not use it much since it is primarily a ground-attack team, well drilled in fundamentals. Defensively Tech went through 1956 allowing only 33 points in 10 games, the lowest of any major football team in the U.S.
11 WADE MITCHELL, QB—Wonderful ball handler, good faker. Defensive standout.
40 KEN OWEN, FB—Work horse of Tech backfield, always good for the short gain.
December 24, 1956
21 PAUL ROTENBERRY, LH—Great running back when right but has tendency to be erratic. Sure tackier, good sideback.
28 JIMMY THOMPSON, RH——Small (148) but shifty, best inside for long gainers.
50 DON STEPHENSON, C—Key to Tech's defense. Often shoots gap, but drops back well against hook passes.
16 TOPPY VANN, QB—Best offensive quarterback. Watch for passes. Not good on defense but improving rapidly.
65 JIMMY JOHNSON, LG—Excels on defense, great speed, pursuit. Trappable.
64 ALLEN ECKER, RG—Plays the big game when needed. Can be trapped but is hard to keep out of play. A fine blocker.
76 CARL VEREEN, LT—Good on offense but on defense can be run through and over.
73 ORMAND ANDERSON, RT—Does everything adequately. Fine tackier, often stops sweeps in backfield. Very hard to move.
87 JERRY NABORS, LE—Competent both ways. Good pass receiver, became starter in late season.
86 TED SMITH, RE—Has speed to stop wide stuff, fine blocker, especially downfield.
Coach John Michelosen's Panthers may be the best team in the East. Miami, which was undefeated until meeting Pittsburgh in the final game of the season, rates the Panthers the most powerful team they encountered this year. The line is large and strong from end to end, perhaps one of the best defensive units in the country. Offensively, Pitt runs out of the split-T, but gangs its blockers in a manner reminiscent of the late Jock Sutherland's single-wing juggernauts. Though the Panthers seem to like power plays off-tackle, right and left, watch for occasional fullback counters and quarterback roll-outs. Quarterback Corny Salvaterra likes to roll to the left and option to the right, although he will occasionally alternate the procedure. Pitt is a strong second-half team and probably will be at its best in the third quarter.
11 CORNY SALVATERRA, QB—Big, Strong, a very good long passer, no decided weakness although his passes are often intercepted.
42 RALPH JELIC, FB—Hard runner, good on the corner, receives passes well, excellent defensive player, good blocker.
35 DICK BOWEN, LH—Replaced Corky Cost who had an appendectomy. Coaches like him better on defense. Not as fast as Cost.
22 JIM THEODORE, RH—Good on offense, carries on tackle power plays and end runs. Not too strong as corner linebacker.
59 CHARLES BRUECKMAN, C—Very good blocker, average on defense. Not a quick linebacker and a little weak on pass defense.
41 TOM JENKINS, FB—Best punter, tough runner when he's right.
64 VINCE SCORSONE, LG—Fine speed, leads interference, plays strong linebacker.
67 DAN WISNIEWSKI, RG—Average, tries hard as center guard on defense but his reactions are not too good.
74 BOB POLLOCK, LT—Injured ankle has slowed him down but he is still tough. Best at defense with fast, good pursuit.
72 HERMAN CANIL, RT—Does not have Pollock's mobility. Will stop anything straight at him but can be skirted.
87 JOE WALTON, LE—A true All-America end either defensively or offensively. Has no known weaknesses. Watch him on passes.
84 BOB ROSBOROUGH, RE—Rugged, with good hands. Caught TD passes against Army and Penn State. Bruising type end.
GEORGIA TECH OUTSIDE BELLY
The Belly series (so named because the quarterback sticks the ball in the fullback's belly while he runs a couple of steps beside him) is the key to the Georgia Tech offense. It is effective because the defense must react to the fullback fake and leave a weakness elsewhere. Here Mitchell (11), the quarterback, rides with Fullback Owens (40), pulling the defensive left end in with the fake. Then he pitches out to Left Half Rotenberry (21), who swings by the pulled-in defensive end while the right half, Thompson (28), blocks the corner linebacker out. The offensive right end, Smith (86), blocks briefly on the defensive end to help establish the fullback's fake, then goes on downfield to take out the safety.