Auburn may be the "loveliest village of the plains," as Oliver Goldsmith wrote, but on Saturdays in southeast Alabama after the War Eagles have won another football game it becomes the rowdiest, especially in that part of the village known as Toomer's Corner. Toomer's Corner is not just where the drugstore is, and has been since the turn of the century. It is, after a victory, where the students are, building a fire in the street, painting automobiles orange and blue (the Auburn colors), turning the automobiles around, and then painting the small buildings on the corner, including Toomer's Drug Store. "It's washable paint," explains Auburn Publicity Man Bill Beckwith. "The merchants expect their buildings to be painted, and they always have them clean and ready." Some owners are not exactly overpleased to find their cars painted in gaudy new tones, and buses have been known to drive miles out of the way to avoid Toomer's Corner after an Auburn victory.
Avoiding Toomer's Corner, or Auburn, for that matter, is not that much of a much, for there is, in this day of giant universities, comparatively little of Auburn. The university, as distinguished from the town, has an enrollment of 9,844, of whom 2,848 are girls and 9,844 are enthusiastic football followers. Auburn, in fact, has the largest student following of any Southeastern Conference school—two thirds of the students by actual count who faithfully attend all the games, at home and away. And each one is a true-tempered War Eagle. The origin of that nickname goes back to Auburn's first football game in 1892 against Georgia which, incidentally, was also the first collegiate game played in the South. According to the preposterous story, three Auburn students went to a war (presumably the Civil War), and only one returned—wounded and with an eagle he had picked up on the battlefield. He took the eagle to that first game and, as Auburn won 10-0, the eagle made several warlike flaps—which even Auburn's staunchest followers must admit is pretty good for a 27-year-old eagle. Auburn's impassioned rooters have been flapping and yelling "War-r-r Eagle!" ever since.
For today's Auburn students, most of whom find themselves in classrooms of engineering, science, literature and agriculture (doctors and lawyers go to Alabama), giving the War Eagle and hying down to Toomer's Corner to paint cars are the major diversions outside of study. They can drink coffee ("We're the biggest coffee-drinking school in the South," says Beckwith) in the Student Union, eat turnips at The Grill, get a 15¢ hamburger at the Hungry Boy, swim or have a cookout at Chewacla Park four miles away, drive three miles out on the Notasulga highway to the nearest beer at The Plainsmen or get "dressed up" and drive seven miles to The Town House in Opelika, Ala. for an elegant dinner.
From about that distance, Auburn's smokestacks and unfettered campus buildings conjure up the impression of a factory set in the midst of an Alabama plain. But within the shaded boundaries of the town, inhabited by 18,000 nonstudent residents, there are rows of fraternity houses (sorority girls live in the dormitories), some fine old southern homes and five new motels.
The campus was given the unromantic name of East Alabama Male College in 1856, 20 years after Judge John J. Harper and his son, Tom, settled the town which got its name from Tom's fiancée Lizzie Taylor. She named it for the "Sweet Auburn" of Goldsmith's poem. In 1899 the school took on the still unromantic title of Alabama Polytechnic Institute, and it was not until 1960 that the name of the town and the university officially became one. This was just another facet of the improvement Auburn has enjoyed under retiring President Dr. Ralph B. Draughon, who strove mightily to enlarge the university and enhance its image. Since the 1940s, he has been the most popular figure on the campus—next to a game-winning quarterback.
At quiet, isolated, intimate Auburn, athletes are familiar faces and campus leaders, inheritors of lusty traditions dating back to cherished victories over the Carlisle Indians (1914) and Centre College (1922)—traditions that bring up names like Coach Mike Donahue, John (Barleycorn) Shirey, Ed (Shine) Shirling, C.C. (Fats) Warren and, soon to be added, Jimmy Sidle.
For although Auburn is first a college, and a college town, it is, in its atmosphere and its interests, more like Green Bay, Wis., the home of the Packers, than almost any other campus town in the U.S. "I would say," admits Beckwith, "that the fortunes of our football team is the most important thing at Auburn."
It was precisely in the AUBURN spirit that late one evening during the Masters golf tournament in Augusta, Ga. last spring, a reveling Southerner leaned out from a hotel window and shouted to no one in particular, "War-r-r-r Eagle!" Seconds later, from a different floor in the same hotel, another Southerner's head came out of a window and he, as if answering a mating call, shouted, "Ro-o-l-ll, Tide, Roll!" They were, of course, Auburn and Alabama football enthusiasts, the kind who never allow the season to end. Such is the institution of college football in the Deep South.
There will be another evening, November 25 in Birmingham, Ala., when it will be quite impossible on the streets, or in the hotel corridors, to hear anything but those full-throated cries of "War Eagle," and "Roll, Tide." That will be the night before Auburn plays Alabama in a nationally televised game that could settle the Southeastern Conference championship, the Sugar Bowl bid and, just possibly, the national championship. Auburn is that good. Alabama is almost that good.
Some of the virtues of the War Eagles are embodied in Quarterback Jimmy Sidle and Halfback Tucker Frederickson, but not all of them. Coach Ralph (Shug) Jordan has quality, depth, size and speed in a first-team line that is tall, quick and aggressive and features his best tackle pair ever in Jack Thornton and Bobby Walton. The senior ends, Bucky Waid and Mike Helms, plus their stand-ins, are good enough to keep Scotty Long, a 6-foot-3, 200-pound sophomore—Auburn's best end prospect since Jim Phillips—fidgeting on the bench. Strictly a power team a year ago, Auburn expanded its offense in the spring. Sidle's passing improved, and Jordan gave his quarterback some maneuvers to get outside.
Defensively, the leading SEC teams are almost always among the best in the nation. Auburn this year is no exception. Frederickson leads the defensive secondary (he was considered the conference's best defensive back and blocker by sportswriters last season), and the defensive line glimmers with a furious junior. Linebacker Bill Cody—"Our next All-America," the Auburnians claim.
All of the War Eagles may have to be All-Americas to handle ALABAMA again. (Auburn won 10-8 a year ago.) Joe Namath is back in the good graces of Alabama Coach Bear Bryant after being suspended from the team late in 1963 for some injudicious bistro hopping. Quarterback Namath, a 6-foot-2, 194-pound senior from Beaver Falls, Pa., is not only the most talented passer-runner Bryant has coached since he had Babe Parilli back at Kentucky, he is the darling of pro scouts. "Namath comes closer than any other quarterback in the country to being the college boy who could step right in now and play with the pros," says John Breen, director of personnel of the Houston Oilers. So many other scouts agree that Namath is quite likely to be the first quarterback to go in both the NFL and AFL drafts.
For help, Namath has a fine quarterback mate in Steve Sloan, who sparked the 12-7 Sugar Bowl victory over Ole Miss, and a clutch of runners—Ray Ogden, Steve Bowman, Hudson Harris, Larry Wall and sophomore Wayne Trimble (see box, page 48). Bear Bryant also promises that Alabama will play defense as only Alabama can, and as Alabama did not in 1963 when seven teams scored in double digits. The line is young and it is not big, but it will be alert and aggressive, and on Namath's hot Saturdays, Alabama will be a superb team.
While Alabama and Auburn struggle to arrive unbeaten for their epic game in the upper half of the seven-state SEC, the persistent giant of the bayou, MISSISSIPPI, will glide blithely through its usual soft—except for Memphis State and LSU—schedule with its usual un-soft team.
Mississippi Coach Johnny Vaught is a rare one in his ground-laden, defensive-conscious conference. He is first an optimist, contending this year, for example, that Ole Miss can win them all, and he is secondly devoted to wide-open offense. Ole Miss believes in the forward pass as a necessary weapon in its quarterback-fullback offense as strongly as it believes in a swarming defense that permitted no touchdowns on the ground last season. Quarterback Jim Weatherly, the inheritor of a position that has glittered with such names as Charley Conerly, Eagle Day, Ray Brown, Jake Gibbs, Glynn Grilling and (last year) Perry Lee Dunn, appears to be the perfect combination. Weatherly, who sang and played the guitar in a Biloxi nightclub during the summer, was a typical Vaught operator last year, although he shared time with Dunn. As called for, Weatherly ran (202 yards, four touchdowns) or passed (676 yards, seven touchdowns). With the job all to himself this year, Vaught expects even more of Weatherly.
But Vaught expects a lot from everyone. He has the fastest backs within his memory and, he says, "There are three boys in the line who have the potential to be All-America." Vaught thereupon points to End Allen Brown (6 feet 4, 225), Guard Stan Hindman (6 feet 3, 225) and Tackle James Harvey (6 feet 5, 240).
Ole Miss could finish with an 8-2 record and a bowl bid almost without lifting a hand, and for that 10-0 perfect record the Rebels need only to be at their best against Memphis State, a brooding, talent-loaded independent, in the opening game this Saturday and later against LSU in Baton Rouge.
The LSU game is one that Ole Miss now seems to know how to win. The Rebels have two in a row to their credit after a series of truly close and (it must have seemed to them) incredible defeats. But LSU, nagged by injuries a year ago, could have its most explosive team since the national championship of 1958. The backfield is rich in speed with Pat Screen at quarterback, Joe Labruzzo at halfback and Don Schwab at fullback, exciting runners all. And there is a sophomore with the melodic name of Gawain DiBetta of whom nothing short of greatness is expected. Up front, there are two Cajun stalwarts who could play for anybody, Guard Remi Prudhomme (6 feet 3, 236) and Linebacker Ruffin Rodrigue, to go along with LSU's dependable nest of top Louisiana recruits. In all, LSU has 25 lettermen, its wounds hopefully mended and that imposing speed. But it also has a killer schedule that includes Rice, Florida, North Carolina, Ole Miss and Alabama.
A team with what is virtually a one-game schedule in relation to its talent is MEMPHIS STATE, Coach Spook Murphy's fast-growing football factory that has become the best southern independent. The one game is, of course, with Ole Miss, which State managed to tie (0-0) last year while limiting Ole Miss's rushing game to a mere 59 yards. Memphis State is a team that delights the pros, primarily because of Tackle Harry Schuh (6 feet 3, 275), and End Chuck Brooks (6 feet 5, 230), and a lot of other athletes who have migrated there from a total of 13 different states, including Illinois (nine players), New Jersey (eight players) and Pennsylvania (seven players). It is a huge, ragged, rowdy squad, and one that last season claimed the championship of Mississippi because of that tie with the Rebels and victories over Mississippi State (17-10)and Southern Mississippi (28-7). This time Memphis State plays Southern Mississippi twice, a curious schedule quirk resulting from the fact that no team particularly wants to play Memphis State.
Just as big a surprise last year was MISSISSIPPI STATE in the SEC. The Maroons' record (7-2-2) earned Coach Paul Davis the Coach of the Year honor in the conference. No team in the land closed against a stronger group of opponents, or closed as well. Mississippi State barely lost to Alabama (20-19), then upset Auburn (13-10) and LSU (7-6) and tied Ole Miss (10-10). State has lost several players who were most responsible for that surprising season, and it has lost the surprise element that caught the others unaware. But Davis has plenty of material and, as one State-fearing coach puts it, "They'll still be hungry."
The hungriest Maroons are Fullback Hoyle Granger (6 feet 1, 214), a strong runner, Center-Linebacker Pat Watson (6 feet, 207), Guard Justin Canale (6 feet 2, 222), who is also an expert placement kicker, and Tackle Tommy Neville (6 feet 3, 216), considered by some the best tackle in the SEC. State really has just four problems: Alabama, Auburn, LSU and Ole Miss.
Two teams with less severe schedule problems are DUKE and NORTH CAROLINA. The Atlantic Coast Conference is not particularly strong, but Duke and North Carolina are, and the conference should be theirs to do with as they please in 1964. Outside the conference Duke must play Navy, Army and Georgia Tech, and North Carolina faces Michigan State and LSU, but these ACC teams are capable of doing well enough against them all and should come down to their own decisive November 21 game without too many scars.
Duke Coach Bill Murray, who will still use a Lonesome End offense, has a quarterback, Scotty Glacken, a fullback, Mike Curtis, a halfback. Biff Bracy, and an end, Chuck Drulis, that he would not trade to anyone. Last year's Duke team was injury-prone, but its 5-4-1 record is deceiving, for two losses, to Navy and North Carolina, were last-minute tragedies and a tie with California was a definite upset. "And we should be much better," says Murray.
That being the case, North Carolina is fortunate in returning its finest stable of prospects in years from a co-championship (with North Carolina State) squad. The Tar Heel leaders in a similar pro spread formation will be Halfback Ken Willard (6 feet 2, 220), who led the conference in rushing, caught 19 passes and scored 44 points. Quarterback Gary Black, who has speed and an arm that hit 59%, Fullback Eddie Kesler, who broke his nose twice last year but did not stop running, and End Frank Gallagher (6 feet 2, 225), who has been immovable on defense.
A close neighbor of the ACC is the Southern Conference, and the most distinguishing thing about it is the presence of Quarterback Bob Schweickert at VIRGINIA TECH. Schweickert (6 feet 1, 191) does more things—and does them well—than any player in the country. A year ago this master of the sprint-out, run-pass option ran for 839 yards and passed for 687 more. In between, Schweickert punted for a 39.1-yard average, returned punts and blocked. Throughout this sector it was felt, especially by Virginia Tech Coach Jerry Claiborne, that Schweickert was more valuable to his team than was Roger Staubach to Navy. If he is that valuable again, Virginia Tech should have little trouble repeating as the Southern Conference champion.
Unable to compete for any championship is GEORGIA TECH, no longer a member of the SEC. Tech's withdrawal was pushed by Coach Bobby Dodd, who had several reasons—a conference rule limiting scholarships, and Bear Bryant, a mortal enemy, to name a couple. Tech now hopes to become as important an independent in the South as Notre Dame is in the Midwest—in other words, a national team. Tech's schedule will, Dodd insists, always include natural rivals such as Georgia, Auburn and Tennessee, but the future will also discover Tech playing the likes of Army, Notre Dame and USC. Pro football's certainty of entering Atlanta worries Dodd, and he wants an attractive schedule to compete with it. He also feels strongly that Tech no longer could live peaceably with certain SEC members academically.
In a football way, several SEC teams have found it hard to live with Tech, and it is fortunate for some that Dodd is out of the conference. He is delighted with 27 lettermen, his best sophomore crop in years, unusual team speed and two terrific centers and linebackers in Bill Curry and Dave Simmons, who must share time. There is also a flock of top runners, the best of which are Gerry Bussell, Johnny Gresham, Terry Haddock and Jeff Davis, as appropriate a southern name as ever there was. Billy Lothridge, the do-it-all quarterback, is gone, and in a unique sense Dodd is relieved. "At least," he says of replacements Jerry Priestly and Bruce Fisher, "we will not be so dependent on one man this season."
Florida state might be. This other excellent southern independent has 27 lettermen and is, like Memphis State, fully capable of jarring the bigger name teams. But Coach Bill Peterson's pro-type offense is geared to Quarterback Steve Tensi, a fine thrower. If Tensi throws accurately, Florida State will win often enough to deserve its rank in the higher society of the South.
Those huffing and puffing sounds heard in The Sports Center this winter came from KENTUCKY players tugging at isometric bars, an admirable way for football players to prepare for a Southeastern Conference season. But also disastrous. Someone from the NCAA heard the heavy breathing, and now the Wildcats are ineligible for a postseason bowl game. Not that Kentucky would have won enough games to play in a bowl anyway, but the ban makes a meaningless slogan of Coach Charlie Bradshaw's snappy "10 or More in '64" hanging on his office wall. Even so, Kentucky seems capable of causing a lot of mischief in the South. Both Auburn and LSU must face the Wildcats at home, and that is never fun. It will be less so with the likes of Halfback Rodger Bird and Quarterback Rick Norton operating behind a strong though young line. Norton was the second best passer in the SEC last year.
Six of the first seven teams that FLORIDA must play went to some bowl or other last season and, after that, moans Coach Ray Graves, "We get to meet the three that really hate us" (Georgia, Florida State and Miami). If the Gators survive their awesome schedule with more wins than losses (which does not seem likely), it will be because no one could stop Larry Dupree, shooting for All-SEC selection at fullback for the third straight time, and because Graves was able to find young talent for an inexperienced secondary.
Next to browsing through the Ilah Dunlap Little Memorial Library, GEORGIA'S studious new coach, Vince Dooley, would as soon contemplate his starting tackles, Ray Rissmiller (6 feet 4, 235) and the 250-pound Jim Wilson. If the opposition is going to run against Georgia, they had better do it elsewhere. And when it comes time for Georgia to move the ball, there's Pat Hodgson to catch passes (he led all SEC ends in that department last year). If Lynn Hughes, a wisp of a quarterback (169 pounds) and a sophomore to boot, can manage the passing, Georgia will be troublesome if not overwhelming.
It had to happen, of course, but it was still a sad day when TENNESSEE decided to abandon its lovable old single wing for the T formation. What will be sadder still will be watching Tennessee on offense, where several tailbacks turned quarterbacks have shown a tendency to be utterly bewildered by events back of center. As usual, the Vols will be tough to budge in the line, especially Steve DeLong, a 235-pound guard who was superb as a junior and will be better as a senior. But if Tennessee gives up so much as a touchdown—that's trouble.
Vanderbilt won exactly one game last year, so Coach Jack Green has decided to complicate the offense, simplify the defense and pray for a few miracles in between. The men counted on to put the mystery in the offense are Quarterbacks Dave Waller and sophomore Bob Kerr. Tackles Gary Hart and Joe Graham are considered good. With less stunting and jitterbugging to cope with, they should improve the simplified defense. Alas, there is so much to improve—three wins will make it a big year for the Commodores. TULANE won exactly one game last year and lost to bitter rival LSU for the 15th straight time. So what does Coach Tommy O'Boyle do? He gets up in front of the Tulane alumni and growls: "To hell with LSU. Do you hear me up there in Baton Rouge? To hell with LSU." Captain and Center Jim Besselman and Quarterback Dave East will have to carry a score of sophomores against Texas, Alabama, Duke, Mississippi State, Ole Miss and Georgia Tech for openers. If the Green Wave is more than a ripple after that, to hell with LSU indeed.
The administration and alumni may smile indulgently for four years, but by the fifth year the rebuilding team had better be rebuilt or everyone stops smiling. This is Bill Elias' fifth year at VIRGINIA and, by George, he has done it. There are swift halfbacks, a huge, agile line, depth at every position, and the sophomores have not been so promising since Nasty was a pup and Carroll's Tea Room was still holding international duck races every Sunday afternoon. When you talk about big, strong linemen, for instance, presumably you mean the remarkable sophomores, John Naponick, who is 6 feet 10 and weighs 290, or Don Parker, who reports in at 250 and is so good at so many positions the coaches get jittery trying to place him to best effect. No matter, both have to be good to budge 235-pound junior Tackle Bob Kowalkowski, possibly the best in the ACC. Nor is Virginia short in the backfield, where fine things are expected of another sophomore, Carroll Jarvis. He could help carry the young Wahoos to within a game of the ACC championship.
South Carolina lost eight games last year, but ask anyone who played them—the Gamecocks weren't all that bad. Five losses were by a touchdown or less. Coach Marvin Bass has 24 lettermen back, and the one who terrifies and delights him the most is Dan Reeves, the ACC's most accomplished quarterback. Reeves has just one weakness. He gets hurt. He is healthy now, and he has an all-senior backfield to work with. Bass also has a line with Tackle Steve Cox (6 feet 4, 250), for one, in it. The line is good enough to make the Gamecocks quite capable of winning six more games than last year.
"We have the best school, the best faculty, the best coaching staff and the best administration in the United States," Frank Howard told the CLEMSON alumni last winter, and you know what that kind of talk means. Big trouble. Not so long ago Clemson had some of the best football teams, too, but this year it is mostly Fullback Pat Crain. He is one of the best, but the huge line and big, fast backs that Howard used to send out each Saturday are playing on someone else's team this season. Clemson came on strong last year, winning its last five games, and may go right on winning until game three (Georgia Tech) this year. At that point the schedule gets serious, and another 5-4-1 season is asking a lot.
No one toots louder for a talented player than MARYLAND'S Tommy Nugent, and this year the loudest toots go to Kenny Ambrusko, who used to be a halfback but is now one of those quarterbacks who scorn such routine matters as first downs. The only thing that really interests this senior is touchdowns, and he will invent all kinds of ways of getting them. Once he flipped a two-handed basketball pass to a teammate in the end zone. Throwing the regular way, Ambrusko can also wind up for 50-yarders, usually to Darryl Hill, a little (160) whippet of a halfback. These two will provide the Terrapins with an exciting if not exactly winning season.
Most of the players that made NORTH CAROLINA STATE three-deep and the co-champions of the ACC last year are gone. Thus Coach Earle Edwards starts from near the bottom again, making do with the 13 lettermen he does have. Most of the players with blood on their jerseys are in the line, where State is quite respectable. Tackles Steve Parker (240) and Glenn Sasser (220) have speed to go with all that heft, and Leland Huges is only a sophomore, but there are 240 pounds of him and he means depth. Ray Barlow, who would just as soon run headlong into a locomotive as not, is one of the better defensive ends in the conference. The entire backfield, however, is either untried or uninspiring, and that is where the Wolfpack will get hurt.
But no matter how bad things are at State, it has got to be all laughs compared to the gloom at WAKE FOREST. Bill Tate spent all spring trying to cheer up the downhearted by pooh-poohing the past. "We've forgotten all that," he said, and, because Tate is new this year, perhaps he can carry it off. But "all that," for those who have been around awhile, meant 19 losses in the last two years, and it is hard to get rid of the notion that very few winning football players are around this year either. Tate does have a good fullback in Brian Piccolo, and the ends, John Grimes and Dick Cameron, could play almost anywhere. But without breaks, Tate could be in on the start of a new era that will be as worthy of forgetting as the last.
There is a new bully in the Southern Conference (Virginia Tech), and WEST VIRGINIA doesn't like it one bit. It likes Tech about as much as its miners admire oil. Unfortunately, there is absolutely nothing the Mountaineers can do about the Virginians this year except take out their hurt on the rest of the conference. That Coach Gene Corum and Company are equipped to do. Particularly effective will be Fullback Dick Leftridge, who can use his 222 pounds with great effect when he feels like it.
In the gloaming world of also-rans in the Southern Conference, RICHMOND has a 225-pound quarterback in Ronnie Smith, whom the pros (Chargers and Rams) have already put on their list, and Ends John Hilton and Pete Emelianchik for Smith to throw to. But Coach Ed Merrick must feel like a man who has had his navel removed. Both starting tackles, the first four guards and all of the letter-winning centers from last year's team are graduated, VMI Coach John McKenna is crying woe, but he has one of the best ends in the conference in Joe Bush and, as usual, very small but very fast halfbacks, GEORGE WASHINGTON is on the way up, with Tailback Gary Lyle giving the Colonials breakaway speed. Graduation hit FURMAN hard, but Fullback Ernie Zuberer hurts when he hits, and he is back. The most THE CITADEL can hope for is a surprise. Center Frank Murphy is the best in an improving line. DAVIDSON, which lost all but one game last year—and then its whole first string—should be able to complete its season. That, actually, is asking quite a lot. EAST CAROLINA joins the Southern Conference with a single-wing offense, a fine record (9-1) and Tailback Bill Cline, a runner, passer and kicker who was worth 90.8 yards a game last year. None of its games count in the conference standings this year.
There is no reason why MIAMI cannot lose just as often as it did last year, but this time around losing will be just half as much fun. George Mira, who used to entertain a football crowd as thoroughly as anyone ever could, is gone. His graduation drove Andy Gustafson into retirement. Now Charlie Tate, who used to wow 'em with his Miami senior high teams, takes on the job, hopeful that Halfback Russell Smith can stay in one piece. If the 195-pound junior does, he and Fullback Pete Banaszak will give Miami a running game of some quality.
Larry Ecuyer is the only regular returning in the SOUTHERN MISSISSIPPI line and, while the 210-pound center is good, he will be flanked by teammates who must learn their trade against such teams as Memphis State, Mississippi State, Auburn and (hello again) Memphis State, LOUISVILLE, starting its second season as a full-fledged member of the Missouri Valley Conference, has eight starters back, including Quarterback Tom LaFramboise, who can throw a pass (he was seventh in the nation last year), and Doug Buffone, a 220-pound tackle. Five or six wins are not out of reach this year, CHATTANOOGA will impress a lot of people for a few minutes of every game, but when the all-letterman first string runs out of gas—trouble. Perhaps Quarterback Ron Eisaman will be able to keep the untested players moving, but that is asking a lot against teams like Tennessee, Auburn and Southern Mississippi.
A sophomore of many talents
Alabama's idea of the perfect football player is one who runs like Johnny Mack Brown, passes like Harry Gilmer, catches like Don Hutson and is the size of—well, of Wayne Trimble, who is 6 feet 3, 195, and tough. Trimble is, according to one Southeastern Conference coach who tried and failed to recruit him, "the best sophomore in the league." He is so good, in fact, that Alabama Coach Bear Bryant is going to find it impossible after a game or two to keep Trimble out of the starting backfield—somewhere. Trimble, playing quarterback, passed for 16 touchdowns his senior year at Cullman, Ala., was a high school All-America and led his team to the state championship. But this year he will probably be a halfback. Why? Because Alabama has Joe Namath and Sugar Bowl star Steve Sloan ahead of him. His time to quarterback will come when they depart. "Wayne has tremendous potential," says Bryant, "but he's inexperienced and will have to prove himself." Trimble, who also water-skis, plays golf and was a basketball and track star at Cullman, was the standout of Alabama's spring-training game, catching—not throwing—four passes.
The Southeastern Conference is well stocked with other promising sophomores. Runners Giles Smith of Georgia Tech and Gawain DiBetta of LSU among them, and with solid linemen, such as Auburn's end, Scotty Long. The Atlantic Coast Conference is agog over two ponderous prospects at Virginia—End Don Parker (6 feet 3, 250) and Guard John Naponick (6 feet 10, 290). Parker, the son of a wealthy food broker from Hawaii, is unique in that he recruited himself—sending return postage-paid film clips to Virginia in the hope of obtaining a scholarship. He then held himself out for a year, playing every position except quarterback on Virginia's cannon-fodder squad to determine his best position. It turned out to be tight end, and Parker should become the best Virginia has had. But the South's Sophomore of the Year—hands down—should be Halfback Wayne Trimble of Alabama.