Penn State's football heritage is sprinkled with remembered names—Charley Way, Glenn Killinger, Lighthorse Harry Wilson, Rosey Grier, Lenny Moore, Richie Lucas, Dave Robinson are recalled most often—but Bob Higgins is the only Nittany Lion to make All-America twice, first in 1915 and again in 1919, the year he came back from the war as a captain after playing on the 89th Division team that won the AEF championship.
Off the field Bob Higgins was easygoing and something of a joker; on it he was uncompromising. His battered leather helmet pulled down snugly over his ears, he would stand at his end position ready to swoop in on an unsuspecting ballcarrier. Often he would trail an opponent halfway across the field before bringing him down from behind. His exploits in 1919 were legendary.
That was a vintage year for eastern football. Harvard was undefeated and beat Oregon in the Rose Bowl. Colgate, Dartmouth, Navy and Penn State each lost only one game. Most of the players were war veterans, and the football they played was tough and uninhibited. Although Notre Dame had popularized the forward pass in 1913, most eastern teams regarded the weapon as a cowardly stratagem employed in desperation by effete Midwesterners.
September 19, 1965
Nevertheless, the one play oldtimers still love to talk about when they gather at University Park is a forward pass that Higgins caught in the Pitt game. Dick Harlow, later head coach at Harvard, was one of Coach Hugo Bezdek's assistants, and he had scouted the powerful Panthers for weeks. Harlow noticed that Pitt almost always put nine or 10 men on the line when opposing teams, deep in their own territory, went into punt formation. He was sure that a pass would catch the Panthers by surprise. Bezdek was afraid to try it, but Harlow gave the team the play one day when the coach was absent from practice.
Early in the game the Nittany Lions were pinned down on their own eight-yard line and went into punt formation. Pitt responded characteristically by putting 10 players on the line. The mighty 10 came storming in, but Bill Hess, the kicker, flipped a short screen pass over their heads to Higgins, who ran 92 yards for a touchdown, a play which still stands as Penn State's longest pass completion. The story has it that when Bezdek saw the play coming, he ducked under the bench and did not come out until an assistant manager assured him that Higgins had scored. The Lions went on to win 20-0 for a 7-1 season.
"Anyone could have done it," protests Higgins today. "I just happened to be the guy who was supposed to catch the pass."
But not anyone could have done what Hig did to a favored Penn team earlier that season. In that game, played in a driving rain, he harassed the poor Quakers so thoroughly that Penn State won 10-0. The next day the Philadelphia Sunday Press reported admiringly, "Higgins proved himself one of the most brilliant players in the country. He was in every play, his quick brain working all the time. His anticipation was amazing. He did all the punting, and did it well, caught forward passes like a big league outfielder snares a baseball, and broke up every attack aimed at his end. He was truly magnificent."
Later, as the Penn State coach from 1930 to 1948, Higgins relived many of his glory days. His unbeaten 1947 team still holds the NCAA record for the least number of yards yielded per game—17—and his 1948 club tied SMU in the Cotton Bowl. Higgins retired after that season and, in 1960, suffered a stroke which partially paralyzed him. However, he still gets out to see most of the Penn State home games.
One Nittany Lion whom Bob Higgins will enjoy watching this fall is Dick Gingrich, a 5-foot-11, 183-pound safetyman and a relentless tracker of pass receivers and runners. Gingrich was not always a defensive star, however. At Chief Logan High in Burnham, a small mill town the other side of the Seven Mountains from University Park, he was an outstanding left-handed quarterback. When he came to Penn State, Pete Liske was the No. 1 quarterback, so Coach Rip Engle made Gingrich a split end and he caught six passes in 1963 and doubled on defense. Last year he became so good at defense that his coaches think he will be the best safetyman in college football this season.
"He has a terrific attitude," says Engle. "A lot of boys with big high school reputations might have become discouraged by not winning the quarterback job, but not Dick. He will do anything that is needed to win."
Gingrich had a chance to prove Engle's estimate of him in the Houston game last year. With the team's regular place-kicker injured, someone remembered that Gingrich used to do the kicking at Chief Logan. After a quick sideline briefing, he kicked three straight extra points and a 22-yard field goal. Penn State won 24-7.
Like any reformed quarterback Gingrich would like another shot at the position but admits, "It's obvious that defense is my strong point. I'm satisfied now."
So are the Penn State coaches. Dick Gingrich may not be an All-America like Bob Higgins but he has a similar knack for winning.
On a recent afternoon at PENN STATE Engle was talking about his favorite subject: eastern football. "One thing most of the major teams have in common this year," Engle said with only a faint choke in his voice, "is that we have all lost our quarterbacks. I guess maybe now we'll just have to do things differently."
Engle is right. All the really good quarterbacks—Navy's Roger Staubach, Pitt's Fred Mazurek, Army's Rollie Stichweh, Columbia's Archie Roberts, as well as respectable second-liners like Syracuse's Walley Mahle and Penn State's Gary Wydman—are gone. What is more, there is no one with a trace of their abilities in sight anywhere. What will make up for the lack? Look for new offensives, look particularly for variations on the I formation, the newest panacea for impressionable coaches, and look especially for Penn State and Syracuse. They are the teams with the most good players.
To be sure, Engle, a professional worrier, does not see it that way. He never does, even in years—such as three of the last four—when he should, and does, win the Lambert Trophy. What hasn't Engle got in 1965? He hasn't got 22 lettermen, an experienced defense or a seasoned quarterback. What has he got? Just the men to make even Engle forget his losses—five of the seven offensive linemen who stomped all over enemy defenses last November, a clutch of fine running backs and a pride of mammoth-size tackles who go up to 260 pounds. "Aw, that's all baby fat," Engle says.
Maybe so, but most teams will think twice about running at sophomore Mike McBath (235 pounds) and Ed Stewart (225), who flank Dave Rowe (255) in the middle of the Penn State defensive line. And behind them are sophomore Rich Buzin (250) and Joe Vierzbicki (245). The only thing wrong with this bulky group is that, except for Stewart, they have not played very much. But Penn Staters usually show a knack for learning quickly, and the linebackers, John Runnells, Bob Kane and Gary Eberle, a 240-pounder, do know their way around. So does Safety Gingrich.
Penn State's quarterbacking should be handled ably enough by Jack White, who runs much better than he passes—which means State will run more and throw less, relying on options and roll-outs to spread the defenses. Engle also plans to sprinkle his T with more I to take full advantage of the quick, determined running of Halfbacks Don Kunit, Dirk. Nye and Mike Irwin. Dave McNaughton, last year's No. 2 fullback, is returning, too, and has looked so good that Engle has switched sophomore Roger Grimes (see box page 55) to left half to take advantage of his speed.
These good runners have an aggressive, hard-blocking offensive line in Ends Bill Huber (he caught 25 passes last year) and Gerry Sandusky (who will play defense, too), 230-pound Tackles Bryan Hondru and Joe Bellas, who is an authentic All-America candidate, Guards Chuck Ehinger and Steve Schreckengaust and Center Bob Andronici.
So what is Engle afraid of? SYRACUSE. "My goodness, they have that Floyd Little and all those other big people back," he says. "I just hope we can be close to them." One man who wants it close, too, is Coach Ben Schwartzwalder of Syracuse, who predicts the worst. "I'd have to say that Penn State is the team to beat," he moans. The point should be proved early when State invades crumbly Archbold Stadium on October 16.
Never one for fancy teams—i.e., passing teams—Schwartzwalder is not particularly concerned about the East's quarterback drought. He much prefers a smashing game, and last year the Orange smashed hard enough to lead the nation in rushing with 2,510 yards.
Syracuse will be that kind of a team again. One big reason is Little, the bandy-legged halfback who made All-America as a sophomore. Little burst through the opposition for 828 yards, accounted for 1,681 yards in all, on runs, pass receptions and kick returns, and scored 12 touchdowns. He strikes inside or outside, and now Schwartzwalder has adjusted his unbalanced T to take even greater advantage of Little's remarkable skills.
Little is not alone. Mike Koski, a splendid runner and blocker, is back at right halfback, releasing Ron Oyer to take over at fullback. The most likely choice for quarterback is Ted Holman, a string bean of a lefthander who played defense last year. Holman is only a fair passer but he can run. And if for some wild reason Schwartzwalder wants to throw the ball, he has Rick Cassata, a fine sophomore prospect who is adept at hitting receivers.
Syracuse's stock-in-trade has always been big, punishing linemen, and there is no scarcity of them this year. On offense Pat Killorin, a 230-pound All-America center; Tony Scibelli, a 245-pound outside tackle who has switched positions with 235-pound Guard Gary Bugenhagen; and End Harris Elliott are all experienced at leveling defenders. John McGuire, a 6-foot-5 end transfer from Colorado, knows how to catch passes—which could surprise the opposition.
The defense hardly needs sprucing up (it was sixth in the country in 1964), and it looks even better with two big sophomores filling in some gaps. Dennis Fitzgibbons, who goes 240 pounds, takes over at tackle, while Larry Csonka, a versatile 230-pounder, will strengthen the linebacking. The deep secondary, which had trouble against passes last year, is tighter, too, with Charley Brown and Terry Roe and George Fair.
Army Coach Paul Dietzel, who last fall finally beat Navy, was faced with a dilemma this spring. His entire backfield and most of his offensive line had been graduated and he was left with only 15 lettermen. Looking around for a drastic remedy, he deposited himself and staff of coaches at the knee of the USC coach and I-formation expert, John McKay. The I henceforth will complement Dietzel's all-too-familiar T.
Quicker than the I, Dietzel began juggling his players. Sonny Stowers, a linebacker, went to tailback, Mark Hamilton from tailback to fullback, Sam Champi from split end to tight end, Dave Ray from tight end to center, Vince Casillo from tackle to middle guard, John Montanaro from tackle to offensive guard, and Pete Braun from middle guard to linebacker. A large sophomore, 235-pound Don Roberts, was installed at offensive tackle, and Terry Young, another promising rookie, took over at split end.
What Army wound up with is a relatively experienced and fairly solid defense but a still questionable offense. The ends, Dave Rivers and Tom Schwartz, and the tackles, John Carber and sophomore Steve LaKamp, are strong operators, while Townsend Clarke, a 210-pound junior who delights in bashing heads, may be the second-best linebacker (behind Texas' Tommy Nobis) in the country. At least Dietzel thinks so. "Townie," he says, "has an amazing faculty for getting to the ball, and he considers it a personal affront if he doesn't make the tackle."
Fred Barofsky, the new quarterback, who was a good enough runner to play halfback occasionally last year, Hamilton, Stowers and Flanker Back Carl Woessner, a rugged 198-pound sophomore, can move the ball on the ground, which is where Dietzel likes to play his football. But there is a disturbing uncertainty that they can move it well enough to beat teams like Tennessee, Boston College, Notre Dame, Stanford and, of course, Navy.
If they cannot, Cadet followers may be treated to the unlikely sight of Curt Cook, the No. 2 quarterback and a strong-armed passer, flinging the ball from almost anywhere on the field. Even Dietzel, a genuine football conservative, is prepared for this eventuality. "I guarantee we'll startle some people when we line up on the five-yard line and throw a pass," he says. "Including me," adds Dietzel, with a grimace.
New NAVY Coach Bill Elias, who replaces Wayne Hardin, will be startled only if his team does not pass. He likes a wide-open, pro-type offense with split ends and flankers, and that is what he has installed at Annapolis. The defense will be just as wild with stunts, blitzes and anything else Elias can dream up to confuse the opposition. "What we want to do," explains Elias, "is attack even when we're on defense."
Pretty big talk for a coach who starts with a brand-new backfield and still is not sure who his quarterback is going to be. About all that Hardin left behind when he was fired was a handful of linemen and the usual Navy enthusiasm. That would be enough to discourage most men. But not the affable Elias, who endured four years at Virginia before coming to Navy and is so confirmed an optimist he honestly believes his green team has a chance to win every game.
The contending quarterbacks, Bruce Bickel and Phil Bassi, sound like a vaudeville act, but Elias is convinced that one of them, probably Bickel, who spins a fair pass and runs moderately well, will be able to handle his souped-up offense. After that, however, he just hopes. Steve Shrawder, Al Rood-house and Tom Leiser, routine runners all, are the ranking halfbacks, and Danny Wong, a stubby (5-feet-6, 192 pounds), thick-legged Chinese lad, is the fullback.
There are problems in the line, too. Aside from Harry Dittmann, a robust 6-foot-6, 247-pound center, Tackle Bob Wittenberg and End Phil Norton, the offensive line lacks the spit and polish to match Elias' ambitions. The defense is even shakier. Don Downing, a 227-pound linebacker, and Tackle Fred Moosally, the best players, will have to get some instant help from sophomores if Navy is going to stop anybody.
It does not take a trained psychologist to notice that little gleam in PITT Coach John Michelosen's eye these days. Obviously, he is relieved not to have Chancellor Edward H. Litchfield kibitzing his football coaching. The chancellor resigned last July and presumably his successor will be more concerned with getting Pitt out of its current financial difficulties than with football.
But now Michelosen has other worries. He insists that quarterback is not one of them because Kenny Lucas, a senior, is an excellent play caller and good passer. Lucas is a fair passer but he cannot run and this will limit the Pitt offense. Eventually, Michelosen may have to take a chance on sophomore Bob Bazylak, who lacks Lucas' know-how but is much better at scrambling. Both quarterbacks, fortunately, will have sophomore End Bob Longo to pass to.
The rest of the backfield is racy enough. Eric Crabtree, a fast, elusive halfback, is always a long-scoring threat. Bob Dyer, a squirmy 5 feet 9, is similarly talented, while Barry McKnight, who ran for 551 yards in 1964, is back at fullback.
Pitt's major problems are in the line. The offensive blockers, except for Guards Tom Qualey and Joe Novogratz, are not really devastating, and the defensive tackles also worry the coach. Jim Jones, at 265 pounds, is not exactly a panther, and Al Keiser, who plays the other side, is merely adequate. But there are some bright spots. Jim Flanigan, a rough, 220-pound middle linebacker, is good enough to have already impressed the pros, while Greg Keller, a 6-foot-3 sophomore end, is potentially good.
Despite Pitt's obvious shortcoming, Michelosen remains calm—even in the face of a killer schedule that reads suspiciously like somebody's top 10. Realistically a 5-5 season would be an accomplishment.
One team that could surprise a lot of people is BOSTON COLLEGE. The Eagles have come back a long way under enterprising Coach Jim Miller, and this could be their year. Miller thinks that he now has the size, strength and depth to challenge teams like Army, Penn State, Miami (Fla.) and Syracuse, all on the BC schedule this year.
"We're not going to be run over by anybody," predicts Miller, whose offensive and defensive lines average a tidy 224 pounds and are not likely to wear thin under heavy pounding. Not with tackles like Dick Powers (240), Jim Chevillot (235), sophomore Ron Persuitte (240) and Tom Sarkisian (240) or ends like Joe Pryor (230) and Dick Capp (245). The center, Bob Hyland, goes 240. The nice thing about them is that they all have good movement and speed.
The Eagles also have something no other major eastern independent has—a seasoned quarterback. Ed Foley, a 6-foot senior, is experienced at running Miller's imaginative offense, a multiple smorgasbord of T and I, and he can throw the ball. He completed 72 of 144 passes for 947 yards last season. Foley will not have Jim Whalen or Bill Cronin, last year's fine ends, to throw to, but Charlie Smith, Gordon Kutz and Pryor, the new offensive wingmen, are cut in the same mold.
The real nugget in BC's offense, however, is Brendan McCarthy, the sophomore fullback who is tough to bring down when he plunges into the line. And for the fancier outside running, the Eagles have Ron Gentili, Hank Blaha, and Tom Carlyon and a whole bevy of sophomores who can fly. It looks like another pleasant year, maybe even an 8-2 one, for BC.
Princeton, undefeated in 1964 and still seething over not getting the Lambert Trophy, remains the team to beat in the Ivy League. But at least three other teams—Darmouth, Harvard and Cornell—have a chance to hold the Tigers this time.
What encourages the challengers is that Princeton has suffered some severe losses, notably All-America Fullback Cosmo Iacavazzi and Tailback Don McKay. But Bert Kerstetter will fill in at fullback and Coach Dick Colman, who collects tailbacks by the brace, has eight on his roster. One, senior Ron Landeck, a defensive safety who also played behind McKay last season, is an excellent runner and passer. If things get sticky for Colman's single wing, there is always Charley Gogolak, the slight, soccer-style kicker, to side-boot a field goal. He kicked nine last year.
The Tigers are equally blessed in the line. They still have Paul Savidge and Stas (pronounced Stash) Maliszewski (pronounced Malishefsky), a pair of quick, muscular, 215-pound offensive guards who may be the best such tandem ever at Princeton. They play both ways, Savidge at defensive tackle and Maliszewski at linebacker, and along with Center Kit Mill and End Lawson Cashdollar, they give the Tigers the nucleus for another stern line.
Dartmouth will go after Princeton's title with one of the flashiest sets of backs that Coach Bob Blackman has ever had. Quarterback Mickey Beard, a 19-year-old junior who can run and throw (he did both for 865 yards last year), is the leader and he will get valuable assistance from Bob O'Brien and Paul Klungness, a pair of scat-backs, and Mike Urbanic, a hammering fullback. When Beard throws—and it will be often—his No. 1 target will be Bob MacLeod Jr., a 6-foot-4 junior who runs pass patterns and catches passes like a pro.
Blackman likes nothing better than to tantalize his Ivy colleagues with a wild variety of formations, and this fall his Indians will display everything from the V to the wing T, slot T, double slot, I and anything else the ingenious Blackman can think of. But whether Dartmouth can win depends largely upon a couple of sore-legged defensive linemen. If End Tom Clarke (broken ankle) and Gerry LaMontagne (broken leg), a 225-pound tackle, have recovered completely from last year's infirmities, the Indians may be able to patch up a leaky defense that gave up 135 points in 1964.
When the Ivy League publicists assembled last spring for their annual guess-together they picked Dartmouth and HARVARD to win the championship. That prompted one churlish fellow—not a Yale man, either—to note, enviously, that each year the Crimson gets "the best material in the league."
Harvard Coach John Yovicsin, healthy again after undergoing successful open-heart surgery in April, scoffs at this. Further, he insists that his squad has been mortally wounded by the loss of an entire line and, quite unexpectedly, half his offense. Fullback Pat Conway and End Pete Hall, two starters, are out for some very un-Ivy-like conduct. Despite its woes, the Crimson still has enough experienced players (16) around for Yovicsin to form his usual demanding defense. He will rebuild his lines around hard, uncompromising types like End Ken Boyda, Tackle Steve Diamond and Linebacker Bob Barrett. Harvard's flanker T will be as landlocked as ever but, even so, extremely effective on the run. John McCluskey, a sprint-out, option quarterback, and fast Halfbacks Wally Grant and Bobby Leo are all stylish runners. They could be good enough for Harvard to win the title.
Cornell, despite the loss of six All-Ivy players, five of them linemen, has the defense and the backs to make a first-rate run at the championship. The defense is large and solid, with 230-pound All-Ivy Tackle Phil Ratner moving to linebacker to help holdover Tom Guise, 220-pound Dave Hanlon at tackle, and Craig Gannon, a 300-pound sophomore guard.
The backfield is pleasingly competent. Quarterback Marty Sponaugle can handle Coach Tom Harp's wing T, and he is an adequate runner and passer. Fullback Bill Wilson ran for 659 yards last year, while Tailback Pete Larson scored five times. Trouble is they are all slow, and the Big Red offensive line is green. How well Cornell fares will depend on its newcomers.
Massachusetts, a "small college" with big ideas, lost Jerry Whelchel, its do-everything quarterback, and two other starting backs, but Coach Vic Fusia, a master craftsman and recruiter, is not worried one bit. All he did was dig into the deep reservoir of talent he has assembled, and, presto, up came sparkling sophomores like Greg Landry, a splendid 6-foot-3 roll-out quarterback, and Don Durkin, a free-running halfback. Fusia's T is designed for ball control, and he wants his quarterbacks to run like halfbacks and throw well, but sparingly, and his halfbacks to cut corners like racing drivers. Landry and Durkin fit these specifications nicely.
The Redmen also have some outstanding linemen to dress up their new, 24,000-seat stadium this fall. The best are Bernie Dallas, a rough-and-tumble linebacker, and Ends Milt Morin and Bob Meers. Morin, a 6-foot-4 245-pounder who plays both ways, already has the pros talking. Meers is a superb pass catcher. Massachusetts, which has lost only one regular-season game in two years, should breeze to its third straight Yankee Conference Beanpot.
It is a strange year when YALE is not among the best, but the Elis, after a brief respite, are back on hard times. Although Coach John Pont, who departed for Indiana after a sobering two years without spring practice, left behind 20 lettermen for his successor, Carmen Cozza, formerly his assistant, they were mostly second-line reserves. The nub of Yale's tough defense is gone. Cozza, who plays his football like Pont—grim and pounding—starts his reconstruction up front with End Bob Kenney, Guard Greg Weiss and Center Dave Laidley. But scoring will be a problem for the Elis. Quarterback Tone Grant does not pass very well and, except for Halfbacks Jim Groninger and Jim Howard, who run hard, the backfield is hardly the kind to frighten opposing coaches.
There may be some excitement at, of all places, PENN. Weary of being soundly pummeled year in and year out, the Quakers last winter took some firm steps toward a return to winning football. Coach John Stiegman was fired, and Bob Odell, a former Penn All-America halfback, was lured away from Bucknell to replace him. Then Penn announced it would pursue a "more aggressive alumni-supported recruitment policy." Meanwhile, Odell starts with 24 lettermen, including a couple of halfbacks who can make his new I formation work: Bruce Molloy is an authentic triple threat—he passes well, runs better and is the league's best punter; Barry Ellman is an excellent runner. Help is also on the way from Penn's first unbeaten freshman team in 14 years. Bill Creeden, a long-throwing quarterback, may move in ahead of Tom Kennedy as a starter. If Odell can revitalize his line, the Quakers could make it up to fifth place.
At BROWN there is little to make the heart sing. Coach John McLaughry's returnees are meager in size, ability and experience, especially at tackle and on defense. Fortunately, there are some good backs to save the Bruins from total disaster. Quarterback Bob Hall can run and pass and Halfbacks John Hutchinson and Bill Carr will bring some verve to McLaughry's wing T.
Columbia, for the first time in three years, will have to go it without Archie Roberts, the league's best quarterback in years—perhaps its best ever. Oddly enough, Coach Buff Donelli thinks his team may be improved this season. Not at quarterback, of course, where Rick Ballantine is the likely starter. What encourages Donelli are 19 holdovers with game experience. For a change there is some depth at tackle and guard behind 230-pound Ron Brookshire, Terry Mulvihill and Dick Flory. The running will be better, too, with Halfbacks Gene Thompson, Bob Klingensmith, Bob Patton and Rich Brown, a little sophomore darter who, Buff says, "may be one of the most thrilling breakaway runners we've ever had."
Among the independents are some teams which are not too far behind Penn State and company. Although VILLANOVA's strong rushing defense—seventh-best in the country last year—has been decimated by graduation, the Wildcats are still good enough to equal or better last year's 6-2 record. For one thing, Coach Alex Bell's attack, a subtle mixture of T and I, is tricky enough to confuse would-be stoppers. Tom Brown, a fast, shifty fullback who roamed inside and outside for 515 yards in 1964, and Quarterback Dave Connell, who ran for five touchdowns and passed for five more, know how to score. But much depends upon how quickly large two-way interior linemen like 230-pound Tackles Harry Walter and John Fry, 220-pound Guards Lou Morda and Brian McDonnell and 215-pound Center Roger Agin learn their lessons.
Colgate, which supplied the most excitement the Chenango Valley has had in 30 years when it went 7-2 last season, has the makings for another fine team. Coach Hal Lahar, who likes a firm, disciplined defense and a tough ground game, has the players for both. Not many teams will move the ball far against aggressive defenders like 221-pound John Paske, who goes from linebacker to guard, Linebacker Ray Ilg and End Hap Clark. There is good depth behind them, too. The Red Raiders also have Halfback Marv Hubbard, a strong 205-pound sophomore who is a good pass receiver and runs, blocks and kicks exceptionally well. He will team with Tom Carpenter, last year's leading ground-gainer, who moves to fullback. And when Colgate elects to pass—which is about 25% of the time—Quarterback Buff Piatt is more than adequate.
Rutgers is another team with interesting potentialities. Coach John Bateman, a rotund, sad-eyed man with an astute football mind, has the linemen for a staunch defense and the runners for his tricky double-wing T. Linebacker Bob Schroeder and 230-pound Tackle Jerry Sertick yield yards grudgingly and Halfbacks Ralf Stegmann and Charley Mudie eat up yardage on the ground. Bateman needs someone to throw to his good receivers, Ends Bob Stohrer and Jack Emmers, who caught 43 passes between them last year. If Jack Callaghan, who is only 5 feet 9, can see around or over the big fellows he plays with often enough to complete passes, the Scarlet Knights will be hard to beat.
Buffalo, which has lived by the pass for so long, may have to learn to live without it this year. That is, unless Rick Wells, a sophomore quarterback, proves to be as good as the Bulls think he is. If he is not, Tailback Jim Webber, a steady runner, may be Coach Dick Offenhamer's entire offense. What could save Buffalo is its good defense. E. Greenard Poles, a stubby 225-pound tackle who hits fiercely and runs faster than most halfbacks, and Linebacker Joe Holly head up a strong, mobile unit that averages a neat 220 pounds.
Holy Cross and Boston U. would gladly settle right now for break-even seasons. Mel Massucco, who takes over for retired Eddie Anderson at Holy Cross, inherited 28 lettermen, but most of the best ones were graduated. He also, quite unexpectedly, lost two good quarterbacks. Mike Cunnion, an excellent passer, was declared ineligible, and Jack Lentz, who ran for 802 yards last year, underwent knee surgery. Now Massucco will have to go with senior Brian Flatley, only a fair passer and runner, and hope for the best.
At BU, Coach Warren Schmakel has 21 returnees back from a 2-7 team. Normally, it would be a promising start, but they gave up 213 points last year. Consequently, Schmakel concentrated on defense in spring practice. He also tried to stir up his offense, moving Dave La Roche to halfback and giving Tom Thornton, a fancy sophomore passer, a shot at Bob Kobus' quarterback job. The move might give the Terriers more bite.
The Middle Atlantic Conference will be no place for the faint-hearted. Any one of three teams—Gettysburg, which took the MAC by surprise last year, Temple or Bucknell—could win the title. GETTYSBURG'S Bullets, after shooting blanks for years, suddenly found a quarterback with a rifle arm—Jim Ward. He completed 90 of 177 passes for 1,233 yards and 17 touchdowns, is back for another fling with Coach Gene Haas's double-flanker pro offense and has good people to throw to: Flankers Dale Boyd and Tom McCracken and Ends Joe Egresitz and Dick Masin. Gettysburg also has outstanding runners in Rod Albright and Bob Nye. Up front, Guard Ron Brentzel and Linebacker Jack Costner give the middle a pleasing firmness. The only weakness is at tackle, but that does not bother Haas. He says confidently, "Our whole offense will be better. I look for another season like 1964."
Such shining optimism should breed clouds of pessimism at Temple and Bucknell. It does not. The TEMPLE Owls, who last year had their best season since 1945, again have some big guns to fire back at the Bullets. Quarterbacking Coach George Makris' pro attack is Joe Petro, a good passer. He has able receivers in Flanker John Fonash and Ends Ed Reinoso and Jon Czarnecki. For running, there is Fullback Paul Malatesta and Halfback Jack Stricker. Temple, however, will have some problems because of a miniature line—Guard Tom Bazis, for example, is only 5 feet 5 and 170 pounds—and skimpy interior depth behind the starters.
Bucknell, last year's Lambert Cup winner, will have a different look. One would think that a coach with a passer like Bill Lerro, who completed 98 out of 156 for 1,255 yards and 10 touchdowns, and a spectacular catcher like Tom Mitchell, a brilliant 6-foot-3, 215-pound end who runs zigzag patterns and snared 71 passes for 886 yards, would just sit back and let his star aerialists perform. Not Carroll Huntress, the new coach who formerly served as an assistant at Maryland. He has installed Tom Nugent's version of the I formation and is toying with the notion of replacing Lerro at quarterback with Bob Marks, who does not pass nearly as well but is much better at handling the roll-out option. The idea is to get more running into the Bisons' game.
The rest of the MAC is far behind. At DELAWARE things were so grim last spring that Coach Dave Nelson announced, "We are going to put extra emphasis on fundamentals." The Hens will have a good-size interior line, led by 240-pound Guard Herb Slattery, but Quarterback Tom Van Grofski, a good runner and passer, is the only old hand in the backfield. HOFSTRA will be respectable with Halfback Art Amelio and Ends Bill Knight and Bill Starr back but not quite good enough to bother the leaders. LAFAYETTE, which has won only one game in two years, has some hope: three bright sophomore backs, Bill Messick, Chris Yaniger and Joe Cossrow, who together gained more yardage in four freshman games than the varsity did in nine. LEHIGH's new coach, Fred Dunlap, has less and will have to scratch to match last season's 1-7-1 record.
It could be that as MAINE goes so goes the Yankee Conference. The Black Bears get the first shot at Massachusetts on September 18 at Orono, and they have the equipment to upset the Redmen. Coach Hal Westerman has 20 lettermen, and Linebacker John Huard, Tackle Vein Walker and End Al Riley head up a slight but sturdy defense. But where Maine is most dangerous is on offense. Quarterback Dick DeVarney, a quick little scrambler, throws the ball like a big leaguer (he completed 74 passes for 1,102 yards in 1964), and Halfbacks Paul Keany and Frank Harney are splendid runners. Massachusetts will have to be at its peak to trap the Bears.
Connecticut still lacks the size to challenge for the title. Coach Rick Forzano's biggest starting lineman is Tom Pope, a 205-pound tackle, and he is not the best. Jerry McWeeny, the other tackle, who goes only 190, is. Forzano says, "We're not big enough to run over anybody, so we'll try to throw the ball." That would be sound strategy except that his quarterbacks, Dave Whaley and Ron Westfort, do not throw too well.
Vermont bemoans the loss of 14 regulars, but Yankee foes have learned to beware of the Catamounts. They were 7-1 last year and Coach Bob Clifford has a way of surprising people. But this time the surprise may be that he actually is as bad off as he says. Graduation swept most of the backfield clean and left only a smattering of talent at tackle and end. About all the Cats have left is Rusty Brink, a scrappy 200-pound redhead who is the best center in New England, and some strength at quarterback. Jack O'Dea, back in school after a year's absence, will fight it out there with lettermen Scott Fitz and Bill Leete.
At RHODE ISLAND, Coach Jack Zilly has 18 players back but, aside from Fullback Bill Bryant and Guard Joe DeFalco, they are not very good ones. The Rams have a fifth-place look. NEW HAMPSHIRE finally settled its coaching problems by giving the job to Andy Mooradian, an assistant there for 16 years. This could turn out to be more of a punishment than a reward. The Wildcats are so slow that Mooradian painfully admits he will have to resort to sweeps and power plays to move the ball. That sounds like Ohio State talk, and New Hampshire is no Ohio State.
Lately it has been reasonable to assume that AMHERST would win the Little Three Conference championship. The Lord Jeffs have done just that three times running, and Coach Jim Ostendarp is sitting pretty again with most of last year's unbeaten team. For openers, he has Halfbacks Ed Bradley and Bob Ryan and Fullback Ron Hoge, who, among them, gained 1,079 yards rushing and scored 14 touchdowns last season. But WESLEYAN and WILLIAMS are not exactly bankrupt, either. Wesleyan will be hard to get through, with 230-pound Center Alex Spoehr and 220-pound Tackle John Zywna heading up a big line. Williams lacks backs but two of its linemen are enough to make anyone, even Amherst, cringe. Tight End Pete Richardson, 6 feet 4, 225 pounds, is an adept pass receiver while sophomore Bill Drummond, another 225-pound wingman, is so good that the varsity voted him on its 1964 All-Opponent team for his fierce play in scrimmages.
HE'S TOO GOOD TO BE FALSE
Halfback Roger Grimes of Penn State is the kind of player central casting might have dreamed up to play the All-American boy in a football film. Says Coach Rip Engle, who does not make his pay as a Hollywood agent: "He's a very down-to-earth boy—polite, studious, good character, religious, wonderful home life, small high school, good athlete—simply one heck of a fine boy." This answer to a movie coach's prayers, or Rip Engle's, for that matter, grew up within a long forward pass of Penn State, in the old iron-mining hamlet of Cornwall. ("I'm the first graduate of Cornwall ever to play big-time football," says Grimes. "Football is second to education for me, but I wanted to prove I could make it.") At Cornwall High, Grimes was the State Class-B shotput champion, the football captain and, of course, class and student council president. As a senior he gained 1,132 yards in 135 tries and scored 102 points. In last year's Big 33 game between the best Pennsylvania and Texas schoolboys, he averaged nine yards a carry and, in Penn State's only two freshman games last fall, rushed for 214 yards, caught two passes for 65 more yards and scored three touchdowns. Slightly below six feet and weighing 210 pounds, Grimes has good speed and plenty of power, as well as an ability to find a hole in the line and get through it quickly. But what makes him something special on the football field is his exceptional balance. "Roger can be knocked off stride and sent stumbling from a would-be tackier, keep his feet and on the very next step be going full speed again," says Backfield Coach Joe Paterno.
A back who may be as good as Grimes is Boston College's Brendan McCarthy, but he is more in the Frank Merriwell mold. McCarthy was a high school All-America in both football and basketball at DeMatha High in Washington, D.C. and was considered such an outstanding prospect in each sport that he received 170 scholarship offers in football and 35 for basketball. No one else really had a chance at him, though, since his father played football for BC—in the mid-'30s—and Brendan wanted a Jesuit education. A 6-foot-3 215-pounder, McCarthy was listed as BC's fourth fullback when spring training started, but by the time it was over, he was No. 1. "Brendan's biggest assets," says Boston College Coach Jim Miller, "are his size and his strength. He's very strong and he has that power step to move him away from a tackier when he's getting hit. It often takes two or three men to haul him down."
Among those who will try to bring down McCarthy and Grimes this season will be Linebacker Larry Csonka of Syracuse. Other sophs worth watching are Pittsburgh's split end, Bob Longo, Tackle Don Roberts of Army and Penn Quarterback Bill Creeden.