All was happiness at Syracuse until last Saturday, when the Orangemen staged a secret scrimmage. Coach Ben Schwartzwalder is now grumbling about his reserve strength. But Schwartzwalder, who spent most of last spring adding new wrinkles to his offense, was satisfied that Ernie Davis, his preseason All-America back, would get ample opportunity to run. "I guess I was like the guy who went to the smorgasbord and didn't know when to stop," said Schwartzwalder. "We now have enough offense to play half the schedule without running the same play twice."
Penn State, generally rated the best in the East, will have to do some regrouping before the Sept. 23 opener with Navy. While Halfback Roger Kochman nursed a painful charley horse, Tackle Jim Smith was trundled off with a severe concussion and Guard Bob Hart suffered a knee injury. Pitt, too, had a problem when Quarterback Jim Traficant banged up a knee. However, Sam Colella, a Syracuse transfer, will protect the Panthers while Traficant recovers. Army temporarily lost Quarterback Joe Black-grove, who tore the ligaments in his right knee, but Coach Dale Hall was cheered by two sophomores, 213-pound Tackle Chet Kempinski and Bill Chescavage, a big, hard-hitting end.
September 17, 1961
The normally conservative SEC was suddenly showing more offense. Georgia Tech, in a full-dress rehearsal before 18,000 at Atlanta, brought smiles to Coach Bobby Dodd as Quarterback Stan Gann threw the ball freely, scored one touchdown and set up three others to lead the Whites past the Blues 42-0. Even Auburn was looking offensive. In a scrimmage game, Halfback Jimmy Burson and Quarterback Mailon Kent ripped through the second team for several scores as Coach Shug Jordan fumed over the defense. "I can't ever remember so much scoring at Auburn," he complained, ignoring the positive scoring punch, his first in many years.
Alabama, which had planned to be a higher-scoring team this year, was set back seriously when Quarterback Jack Hurlbut broke his arm. The Crimson Tide will reverse tracks and depend once again on the short, effective but unspectacular jabs of Pat Trammell.
At Miami, Eddie Johns, shifted from quarterback to halfback to stir up the attack, was benched by a knee injury. He may be out for most of the season.
Michigan State discovered three swift sophomores—Herman Johnson, Sherman Lewis and Dewey Lincoln. They may turn the Spartans' usually broad-bladed battle ax into a rapier. In a scrimmage last Saturday, Lewis scored twice, Johnson once and Lincoln ran free to set up two scores. Ohio State's Woody Hayes remained confident. "We're gonna be doggone good," he said. "It's gonna take a helluva team to beat us."
For those in the Big Eight who hope to beat Kansas, the news is bad. Quarterback John Hadl has never looked better, and Halfback Curt McClinton is running as if he thinks he is Red Grange. At Boulder, Colorado's star guard, Joe Romig, is on crutches—with a knee injury—and the Buffs are worried. Oklahoma has lost seven players, including Halfback Billy Meacham and Center Jim Byerly, because of bad injuries and bad marks. The Sooners are worried, too.
Baylor, Texas, Arkansas and Rice are still the favored contenders for the conference title. Baylor's only real problem is whether to use Bobby Ply or Ronnie Stanley as starting quarterback. Stanley accounted for two touchdowns with his passes in a scrimmage last week, but Ply has looked good, too. Rice's Jess Neely, usually a gloomy predictor, is busy saying, "We have as much playable manpower as we've ever had."
UCLA, despite Coach Billy Barnes's tongue-in-cheek protest that "we're overrated," has looked good in practice. Although lacking the passing and power that Bill Kilmer gave them last year, the Bruins have three tricky running tailbacks and good depth in the line, where 216-pound Tony Fiorentino has moved ahead of Steve Bauwens at tackle. USC, lighter and faster than last year, is touting sophomore Willie Brown, who snaked loose from five tacklers and sprinted 56 yards for a touchdown in a scrimmage last week. California and Stanford have both looked better than they did last year.
Washington is concentrating on perfecting 15 offensive plays (instead of the 50 it had in the Rose Bowl) for its opener. Oregon State has been working on its new wing T behind locked gates, while Oregon, unexpectedly, will have to find replacements for three regulars: sophomore Quarterback Bob Berry, who entered the service; Center Joe Clesceri, who quit to become a Los Angeles policeman, and Fullback Bruce Snyder, out for the year with a torn cartilage.