In the late summer of 1922 an undersize boy with an unruly shock of red hair showed up at the University of Illinois for the first day of football practice. His credentials were impressive enough. At Wheaton (Ill.) High School he had been a three-sport standout, and during his senior year he had scored 23 touchdowns and kicked 34 extra points. But Harold E. (Red) Grange (above) took one look at the assembled monsters and decided right then that his talents could be better applied to his other two sports, basketball and track. He didn't even bother to suit up, but hightailed it back to the Zeta Psi fraternity house. Luckily for Illinois, the good brothers were better judges of his ability than he, and that night after some judicious fraternal hazing, Grange decided to have a go at college football after all.
That 1922 Illinois freshman team was one of the best ever brought together, according to Grange. Besides Grange, it included Fullback Earl Britton, who should have been named All-America (in Grange's opinion), but was not because of the unwritten rule against two players from the same backfield making the team. The freshmen were so good, in fact, that midway through the 1922 season varsity Coach Bob Zuppke, suffering through his second successive losing year, decided to concentrate on them. They were regularly defeating the varsity during midweek scrimmages anyway.
Grange, of course, was the star. Jim McMillen, himself an All-America guard in 1923, said, "Red would run through us every night. If he got a step on you, he was gone. He could run away from you or run over you. You'd grab for a leg, and suddenly the leg wasn't there. It was a little tiresome."
September 18, 1966
That pretty much summed up the feelings of all of Illinois' opponents during the 1923 season. Beginning with a rout of Nebraska, which had lost only two games in the previous two years, the Fighting Illini went on to an undefeated season, their first since 1915, and the national championship, their first ever. Grange was so nervous in the Nebraska game that he tipped off the plays. When Zuppke told Grange this, he replied, "I can't be. I don't know where they're going myself." He still scored three touchdowns as Illinois won 24-7.
Grange scored twice more the next week during a 21-7 victory over Butler, then a major opponent. And then came Iowa, coached by Howard Jones. The Hawkeyes had just completed two undefeated, untied seasons and had a 21-game winning streak going. To further complicate matters, Fullback Britton, who, as McMillen put it, "was a hard man to get serious about a game," failed to show up at the team meeting before the game. McMillen was sent by Zuppke to find Britton. He looked everywhere without success until a hotel operator told him he could find "the big guy" up on the roof. It was homecoming at Iowa City, and a massive parade was in progress. Britton was making paper airplanes out of hotel stationery, scribbling "To Hell with Iowa" on the wings and expertly sailing them into the gathered crowd.
Fun, if not games, aside, Britton kicked a 53-yard field goal with the game just four minutes old and, after Iowa had taken a 6-3 lead, Grange scored a last-minute touchdown from two yards out for a 9-6 triumph.
The following Saturday it was Northwestern's turn to face the now-rampant Illini. Grange picked off a pass early in the game and ran it back 90 yards for a touchdown, scored two others and so impressed Grantland Rice that Granny dubbed him "The Galloping Ghost," the name that has stuck with him ever since.
On Nov. 3, powerful University of Chicago came to Champaign-Urbana to play the first game ever in what is now Memorial Field, and Grange scored the only touchdown as Illinois won its fifth straight, 7-0. (The Memorial Field dedication came a year later and will always be remembered for what Grange did to Michigan: four touchdowns in the first 12 minutes, a fifth early in the third quarter and a pass for a sixth in the fourth as Illinois won 39-14.)
After Chicago came Wisconsin (10-0) and Mississippi State (27-0), leaving only Ohio State between Illinois and a perfect season. The Buckeyes were down, but did their homework on Grange and Britton to perfection. Entering the last 15 minutes the score was tied 0-0. Then Britton kicked a 32-yard field goal and Grange broke away for a 32-yard touchdown run to clinch the perfect year.
The Illini reaped a good harvest. With Michigan they tied for the Big Ten title, although they had five victories to the Wolverines' four, and were awarded the national championship. Grange made nearly everybody's All-America team, McMillen was named on several. And Zuppke himself added the final touch with his cryptic comment after the Michigan student paper, the Daily News, put Grange on its second team All-America with the comment, "All Grange can do is run."
"And all Galli-Curci can do," said The Dutchman, "is sing."
There will be running and singing at Illinois this year, but not anywhere near as much of either as is likely to be seen or heard at Nebraska, which is not at all as humble as it was when it started Red Grange galloping toward his spectacular career.
Life at NEBRASKA has been just one Big Eight championship after another ever since Coach Bob Devaney got established in Lincoln. The Huskers have won three titles in a row and only one honor has escaped them—the national championship. They would have had that last season if Alabama had cooperated in the Orange Bowl.
Devaney's amazing success has not been purely accidental. He has an insatiable hunger for large, splashy football players, the more the merrier. He puts his recruits together to form a punishing defense and a ferocious attack, the kind that led the nation in rushing last year (290 yards a game) and was second in total offense (404 yards).
If it is any small comfort to Nebraska's rivals, the Huskers have lost some excellent players. All-America Ends Tony Jeter and Freeman White and Tackles Dennis Carlson and Jimmy Brown are gone from the offensive line and All-America Tackle Walt Barnes and Linebacker Mike Kennedy from the defense. Ordinarily, losses like these would be awful, but not at Nebraska, where there are 33 lettermen and 44 sizable sophomores trying desperately to beat them out. The coach's biggest worry will be deciding which of the sophomores to red-shirt.
The replacements are much better than adequate. Dennis Richnafsky, a good pass catcher, will be at split end while Mike Wynn, a red-shirt, will fill in at tight end. And no one will push around the tackles, 228-pound Gary Brichacek and either 264-pound Bob Taucher or 274-pound Bob Pickens, an Illinois transfer, on the other side. Guards La Verne Allers and Jim Osberg and Center Kelly Petersen are back, too.
"We'll be good," admits Devaney, but that is as far as he will go. The truth is, Nebraska may be stronger than last year. For one thing, the Huskers' offense could be better. Harry Wilson—called Lighthorse, of course—who turns corners like a London taxi, is back, and so is Ron Kirkland, a steady pounder who gets his 6.6 yards a carry. For fullback, there is a pleasant choice—214-pound Pete Tatman or Choo-Choo Winters, who can hit with anyone. More important, Quarterback Bob Churchich, a superb passer and option runner, is still around to set off an explosion.
But if all this proves insufficient for the devastation Devaney is planning, he has a few new twists to go with his usual unbalanced T, pro sets and spreads. Do not be surprised to see Nebraska go into a snappy I formation now and then and, occasionally, Wilson may interrupt one of his power sweeps to throw a pass.
Devaney has done some tinkering with his defense, too. What prompted this was the way his huge, lumbering linemen were outcharged by Alabama's smaller and cuter players in the Orange Bowl. In fact, Devaney can still see them stumbling over themselves to get at 'Bama's Steve Sloan and Sloan nonchalantly lofting soft passes over their heads to his receivers. "They taught us a few things," says Devaney a little sadly.
He learned that he needed faster and more agile tackles and more speed in his secondary. So Jim McCord, a mere 250 pounds but quicker, will replace 261-pound Dick Czap, wrecked by a bad back, while Middle Guard Wayne Meylan, who is 239, goes to the other tackle and 244-pound Carel Stith moves from tackle to middle guard. The ends are Langston Coleman, a tough 197-pounder, and 227-pound Jerry Patton. The pass defense has a swifter and more secure look now with Ben Gregory, a strong running back, switched to cornerback to team up with holdover Kaye Carstens. The safetymen are Marv Mueller and little Larry Wachholtz, who was second in the country in punt returns.
As impressive as all this sounds—and is—Devaney has to fear someone, so he is making noises about Colorado and Missouri in his own conference, not to mention TCU and Utah State. But it will take a lot to beat these Huskers.
The second-best team in the Midwest may be NOTRE DAME, where Coach Ara Parseghian's name already is pronounced with the reverence once reserved for Knute Rockne. Hanging on a wall in Parseghian's office is a revealing dissertation entitled Enthusiasm. It concludes with the following: "If we have it, we should thank God for it. If we don't have it, we should get down on our knees and pray for it."
Parseghian, an energetic, effusive man, has it, and so do his players. One reason is that the Irish will be playing 1964-style football again instead of the poky, landlocked game they were forced into last year when Quarterback Bill Zloch's passes fluttered like wounded doves. Notre Dame passed only 118 times, and its attack was so predictable that Halfback Nick Eddy and Fullback Larry Conjar, maybe the best one-two punch ever at South Bend, automatically attracted a crowd wherever they went. It was a tribute to their ability that they were able to gain 582 and 535 yards.
Now comes a pair of talented sophomore quarterbacks, Terry Hanratty and Coley O'Brien, to turn the Irish around. They engaged in a spirited duel in the spring, along the way chasing holdover Tom Schoen to the defense, and Hanratty won out. A slim, poised youngster, Hanratty can run, but best of all he can pass—long or short, on the run or from the drop-back pocket.
What makes the life at South Bend even more like Riley's is that Hanratty has an abundance of good receivers. In fact, Jim Seymour, a rangy 6-foot-4 sophomore split end with good hands and all the moves of a pro, may even make Notre Damers forget Jack Snow. He is that good. So is 6-foot-3 Curt Heneghan, another sophomore, who probably will be at flanker.
This tickles Parseghian. "People won't be able to jam us and cram us now," Ara says happily. "We'll be able to throw the ball, and they will have to scatter whenever they even think it's coming. That will give Eddy and Conjar more running room, and that's all we want."
There is a problem. Except for Tom Regner, a crisp-blocking 245-pound guard, and Center George Goeddeke, the interior linemen who must provide the room for Eddy and Conjar are inexperienced. Tackles Rudy Konieczny and Paul Seiler, both around 230, and Guard Dick Swatland have played very little. But they are quick and big—the interior averages 232—and these qualities could hide a lot of naivete.
The defense is something else. Not many teams will get through the front four of Ends Tom Rhoads and Alan Page and Tackles Pete Duranko and Kevin Hardy. Page and Duranko are each around 235 pounds while Hardy, out last season with a back injury that has since been corrected by surgery, is a massive 270-pounder. The line-backing corps is intact, too, with John Horney, Jim Lynch and Mike McGill all back. If Notre Dame is vulnerable, it will be to the pass. The entire deep secondary is new and still learning.
Should the Irish get by Purdue and Northwestern in the first two games, the waters will be smooth and untroubled until Michigan State on Nov. 19.
Right now, MICHIGAN STATE has other worries. For one thing, everybody knows that Big Ten champions never—well, almost never—repeat (the only one to do it in the past 15 years was Ohio State in 1955), and the average finish for defenders has been fifth place. But Coach Duffy Daugherty just gulps when he is reminded of that odd phenomenon and tries to disperse his own doubts by thinking of the five All-Americas still on his squad.
"Sure, there is something to it," says Daugherty realistically. "The lack of the Rose Bowl incentive is a real thing, and I am not naive enough to think we can be an automatic winner. After all, we did lose the heart of our defense. But we'll survive, and we'll be hard for anyone to beat."
Wishful thinking? Perhaps, but Daugherty surprised everyone a year ago when his Spartans were unbeaten—until the Rose Bowl—and it might pay to listen to him. Michigan State's losses were severe—Middle Guard Harold Lucas, Tackles Buddy Owens and Don Bierowicz, End Bob Viney and Linebacker Ron Goovert from the defense that was the best in the country last season (it held opponents to 45.6 yards a game on the ground) and Quarterback Steve Juday, who held the offense together.
The defense, though, is not exactly bankrupt. Two of those five All-Americas, Bubba Smith, a giant 275-pound end who can move, and 218-pound George Webster, the roughhouse rover back who likes to muss up ballcarriers, are defensemen. Linebacker Charlie Thornhill is still around, too, and so are Drake Garrett, Jerry Jones and Sterling Armstrong from the deep secondary. Although the newcomers, End Phil Hoag, Tackles Nick Jordan and Charles Bailey, a sophomore, Middle Guard Pat Gallinagh and Linebacker Bob Brawley, are hardly the behemoths Michigan State has been used to, they will impress people.
The offense, where the other three All-Americas—Halfback Clinton Jones, Fullback Bob Apisa and Split End Gene Washington—hang out, has a brighter look. The line is packed with experienced players like the lanky Washington, who is the Big Ten hurdles champion and holds most of the school pass-receiving records (he caught 40 for 638 yards last year), and Tackles Jerry West and Joe Przybycki. Then there is Dick Kenny, the barefoot Hawaiian who punts sky-high and boots field goals and extra points. He was good for 53 points in 1965.
The backfield is a delight. It has three players who, among them, ran for 1,864 yards. Jones, a strong, fast runner, gained 787 yards and scored 12 touchdowns. He also grabbed 26 passes. Right Half Dwight Lee picked up 411 yards and Apisa, who hits like a baby bull, rushed for 666. Apisa, however, had knee surgery during the winter. If he is not right, the halfbacks can expect to meet swarming defenses.
The new quarterback is Jimmy Raye, a scrawny little fellow who would rather run than pass any day, and that fits in just fine with Daugherty's plans. Since his Spartans will be smaller all over, this calls for a new offensive approach. "We like our offense carefree but not irresponsible," says Duffy. "We know we can't blow people out of there with power anymore, so we'll rely more upon surprise and speed."
With that in mind, he remodeled his attack some in the spring. Raye ran the option a lot and Daugherty put in a balanced line. But he warns, "That doesn't mean we won't be unbalanced in the fall."
Whether or not State can beat the Big Ten year-after-the-Rose Bowl jinx will be decided early. The Spartans play Illinois, Michigan, Ohio State and Purdue on successive Saturdays in October.
At OHIO STATE, Coach Woody Hayes seemed sorry, even a little melancholy, when spring practice ended. He was like a kid who had had his new bike taken away from him for the summer. Hayes looked forward to the brightness returning in the fall.
Hayes' brightest things are some very large and experienced offensive linemen and a group of shiny sophomores he calls "the best I have had in 15 years." At least five, and maybe more, of these young Bucks will be in the starting lineup.
One sure to be is Dave Foley, the remarkable 242-pound tackle (see box page 69) who joins an offensive interior that includes Mike Current, 237 pounds, at the other tackle, Dick Himes, an aggressive 250-pound junior who has been moved to guard from defensive end, and Ray Pryor, 235 pounds, at center. The little guy of the mob is Guard Bill Eachus, a mere 218. With Billy Enders, a split end who can catch anything he can reach, and either Joe Jenkins or Nick Roman, both neophytes, at tight end, the line will be tough.
Ohio State's T, not really as cloudy and dusty lately as some people would like to believe, will be in relatively new hands. Halfback Bo Rein, more of a slasher than the nifty type and a good pass catcher, is the only starter back, but Rudy Hubbard, the left half, and Paul Hudson, a burly 210-pound fullback, played some last year. They are volatile enough but not exactly speed demons. Two sophomores, Gerry Ehrsam and Bill Long, are fighting it out for quarterback. Ehrsam is the stronger runner but Long, who throws a slightly better pass, probably will start.
"Everybody thinks we don't pass," says Hayes. "Well, let 'em think that—maybe we'll just fool 'em." Last year the Bucks did throw—22 times a game—but seldom when it really mattered. Then conservative OSU called on its stock-in-trade, the fullback up the middle.
The defense suffered a severe blow when Linebackers Ike Kelley and Tom Bugel and Middle Guard Bill Ridder departed. End Jim Baas, Tackle Gary Miller and sophomores will have to take up the slack while Himes may be called on for double duty. Even so, the Bucks are plotting an ambush for Michigan State in Columbus on Oct. 15. That one could decide the Big Ten title. "We'll have a darn good team, don't worry," confides Hayes. Nobody ever does, except other Big Ten coaches.
Purdue's Jack Mollenkopf is one who will not worry, since his Boilermakers do not play Ohio State. But they do meet Michigan State, and Mollenkopf does worry about the Spartans. "They'll be so tough to score on," he laments.
If Mollenkopf is right, then his team is in trouble; scoring is supposed to be what it does very well, chiefly because of Quarterback Bob Griese, one of the best college passers in the land. A master of the quick release, Griese has the rare ability to pick up his alternate receivers and then get the ball to them in a hurry. Last year, he completed 142 passes for 1,719 yards and 11 touchdowns. He also ran for four touchdowns and kicked 23 points after touchdown and five field goals.
"He's just fantastic," says Mollenkopf, and Notre Dame's Parseghian, whose team has to face Griese Sept. 24. In their game last year, Griese wrecked the Irish, completing 19 of 22 passes for 283 yards and three touchdowns. "It was just a question of mechanics," said Griese modestly.
The mechanics are all there again. Griese will pitch to Jim Beirne, who has switched from tight to loose end, Sophomore Marion Griffin, the new tight end, and Flanker Jim Finley. Between them, Beirne and Finley caught 62 passes in 1965. Unfortunately, though, there is a shortage of knowledgeable pass blockers. Guard Chuck Erlenbaugh is the only one back, and Mollenkopf has had to switch 235-pound Jack Calcaterra from middle guard to tackle to help out.
But there will be more hurry in the running attack with Lou Sims, a real swifty (9.7 for the 100), moved over from the defense and Perry Williams, a high-hipped sophomore, at fullback. Defensively, Purdue is solid all over, especially in the interior with 255-pound Lance Olssen and 240-pound sophomore Clanton King flanking 225-pound Bob Sebeck at middle guard.
Even with all these plusses, Mollenkopf is not talking Big Ten championship, not out loud. He was burned last year when Michigan State and Illinois beat what he thought was his best team ever out of what would have been its first trip to Pasadena.
One of the teams that Nebraska's Devaney fears in the Big Eight is COLORADO, and with good reason. The Buffs have been coming on fast—they were 6-2-2 last year—under Coach Eddie Crowder, and the time when they can cause problems for the Huskers is close at hand.
Crowder predicts, "This will be our best team," but he quickly qualifies that, adding, "I don't know whether this will be our best year." What he means is that the conference is getting tougher and there are more dangerous opponents. He is, perhaps, too modest. His losses from 1965 were slight—only seven lettermen—and with 30 back the Buffs are two-deep almost everywhere.
The offensive line, which was hardest hit, needs some rebuilding, and End Sam Harris, 6 feet 4 and 230 pounds, has been moved over from the defense. Even so, the defense is hardy enough for the perils ahead. Frank Bosch, a persuasive 245-pound tackle, is the standout of a group that includes Tackle Bill Sabatino, Middle Guard Ron Scott and End Bill Fairbrand. If any runners escape them, Linebackers Kerry Mottl and Dennis Drummond will stack them up.
There is nothing soft about Colorado's attack, either. Crowder says, "We probably will throw more," but don't you believe it. Not with runners like Bill Harris, who got 680 yards a year ago, Estes Banks and Wilmer Cooks, who looks ready to live up to his notices. Besides, Quarterback Bernie McCall runs better than he throws, despite his 84 completions. Only two of them were for touchdowns, and you cannot win games that way. They will all be waiting for Nebraska in Boulder on Oct. 22.
The faces are new, but the game is the same at TULSA. When graduation stripped the Hurricanes of their prized battery, Billy Anderson and Howard Twilley, Coach Glenn Dobbs simply went out and got himself a flock of junior college transfers, some of them All-Americas, who like to play pitch-and-catch. They may make Tulsa good enough to win a fifth straight NCAA passing championship and, on the way, the Missouri Valley Conference title.
One of them, Greg Barton, from Long Beach, Calif., is pushing the coach's son, 6-foot-6 Glenn III, for the quarterback job, and that does not displease the elder Dobbs one bit. The more passers he has, the safer he feels, provided, of course, he has some bodies around to throw to. This year again there are: Flanker Neal Sweeney, who caught 78 passes behind Twilley's 134, and Wide End Brent Roberts, back after knee surgery in 1965.
The other thing that Dobbs fancies are huge, combative linemen to protect his passers and get the ball for them. He has so many that he was not at all concerned when blustery Willie Townes passed up his senior year for a pro contract. Joe Blake, a 295-pound JC All-America from Bakersfield, Calif., is considered an even better tackle than Townes and Karl Henke, a transfer who plays the other side, is also good.
A ridiculously unfunny thing happened to BOWLING GREEN on the way to the Mid-American Conference title last year. The Falcons stumbled over Miami of Ohio and found themselves in a tie with the Redskins. It was better than no championship at all, but Coach Bob Gibson is selfish. He wants to be alone. BG looks good enough this year to guarantee him splendid isolation.
The chief reason is a stuffy defense. There was a gap in the line, but Gibson fixed that up rather neatly. He made a tackle out of Tom Luettke, one of his 240-pound fullbacks. Two sophomores, Ed Jones and Dennis Zolciak, will plug holes at monster and linebacker quite nicely, and Mike Weger, a second-team All-America, heads up an excellent secondary. Except for End Jamie Rivers and Center Heath Wingate, the offensive line is not as talented, but it will do.
The backfield, with Halfback Paul Garrett, who has the speed to go outside, and Fullback Stew Williams, who hits hard inside, will do better even if the quarterbacking is undistinguished. Dick Waring, an adequate passer, is only a fair runner.
Nevertheless, BG will be fighting off MIAMI again. Coach Bo Schembechler, after a whiff of the good life last season, decided he liked it. What's more, he has an impressive calling card in Bruce Matte, brother of the Baltimore Colts' Tom. Bruce throws the ball a mile and runs like a halfback. Last year he led the conference in total offense with 1,390 yards, completing 70 passes for 11 touchdowns.
As good in their own ways as Matte are Left Half Al Moore, fast and bouncy, who ran for 677 yards in 1965, and Fullback Joe Kozar, who thumped away for 566 and scored 10 touchdowns. That adds up to a pretty potent offense. All this and a booming defense, led by End Joe Novak and Tackle Ed Philpott, a 235-pound destroyer, could make this another humorless campaign for Bowling Green.
The talk, not entirely idle, is watch out for Michigan and Illinois. The teams, coached by the brothers Elliott, could be the Big Ten's big spoilers, if for no other reason than that Pete and Bump know from firsthand experience what sad things happen to defending champions. Pete's Illini finished fourth in 1964, while Bump's Michigan Rose Bowl winners slipped all the way to seventh place last year, and both would dearly love to share their troubles. MICHIGAN, 4-6, was only eight points away from a 7-3 year and second in the conference. The Wolverines lost to Purdue 17-15, Minnesota 14-13 and Ohio State 9-7. "It was terrible," says Elliott now. "I didn't think we could find so many ways to lose."
Despite some regretted departures at the tackles—All-America Bill Yearby, Charlie Kines and Tom Mack are all gone—Michigan will present a strong front. Split End Jack Clancy, who caught 52 passes, is back while Jim Hribal, a 225-pound senior, and Ray Phillips, 217, will fill in at the offensive tackles. Elliott has solved the tackle problem on defense by switching 230-pound Dick Williamson from end and Ken Wright from guard. The other defenders are solid and Bump plans to put them in a five-man front to get better wide coverage.
The backfield is full of promise, with Carl Ward, who has exceptional moves, and Big Jim Detwiler for Elliott's wide sweeps and pitchouts and Fullback Dave Fisher for the heavy going inside. This could be the year, too, when Quarterback Dick Vidmer, who fizzled so badly in 1965, matures. His throwing was sharper and his running stronger in the spring.
Illinois, at home to Michigan State and Ohio State in its first two league games, could scramble matters early. Some positive thinkers among the Illini think they just might take both. They finished fast a year ago, winning five of their last six games, and 25 players return. Fullback Jim Grabowski and Quarterback Fred Custardo are no longer around, but everywhere else there is experience, size and speed. The offensive ends, John Wright (split), who caught 42 passes and Craig Timkó (tight) are back, and the tackles are grade A Big Ten types: Willis Fields is 281 pounds, Will Radell, 239. The defense will be bigger and, Elliott hopes, better. It still has Bo Batchelder, perhaps the only millionaire in college football, playing defensive end, and 242-pound Dick Stone at tackle. The other tackle is Mike Rogers, a muscular, 255-pound sophomore.
The halfbacks are a wispy lot, with Cyril Pinder, the Big Ten indoor 60-yard sprint champion, Ron Bess and sophomore Bill Huston, who is only 5 feet 7 and 154 pounds but is fast and has extraordinary balance. Either Doug Harford or sophomore Rich Johnson will get Grabowski's fullback job, but Elliott still has not settled on a quarterback and that could be the key to Illinois' future. He will have to decide from among Rich Erickson and Dean Volkman, who played a little behind Custardo, and sophomore Bob Naponic, who has a quick, strong arm.
Northwestern's Alex Agase is in a peculiar fix. Although he has his best running backs in years, the Wildcats will probably pass more and run less, and from a spread and a shotgun at that. Quarterback Dennis Boothe is not that good a passer really, but the interior linemen are inferior and Agase figures that the only way he can find running room at all is to throw. Fortunately, Tight End Cas Banaszek and the split ends, Mike Donaldson and Roger Murphy, can catch the ball, so Northwestern might upset a few people.
Indiana could, too. The Hoosiers won only twice last year, but they scared a lot of teams, including Michigan State, Ohio State and Purdue, and that was the sort of progress Coach John Pont had been brought in to accomplish. He is looking for more this fall, even though he has to rebuild his defense and his runners are the plodding kind. What encourages him is that he now has the size to frighten opponents—Tackles Mike Field, Doug Crusan, Bill Bergman and Joe Sutor are 259, 256, 257 and 238 pounds—and Quarterback Frank Stavaroff is passer enough to spread defenses.
Minnesota Coach Murray Warmath, after watching his first and second units play to a 20-20 tie in the spring game, observed, "When you have two even teams, it usually means you have two second teams." That just about sizes up the Gophers. Without John Hankinson to throw the ball, Minnesota will return to Warmath's grim, knocking game. That would be fine, except that he does not really have the players for it. The best one, End Kenny Last, is a pass catcher. The quarterbacks are mediocre, the runners just ordinary and Warmath will have to scrounge among his sophomores to fill out the defensive line.
Wisconsin and IOWA are still poverty-stricken. Wisconsin's Milt Bruhn got a one-year reprieve from a kindly Board of Regents after his Badgers were battered in seven games and gave up 291 points last year. Only Passer Charlie Burt stands between him and job hunting. At Iowa, things are so bad that new Coach Ray Nagel, used to a better life at Utah, was shocked when he got a look at his skimpy squad. He will have to play with undistinguished linemen and a sophomore quarterback, Ed Podolak, who can run but has trouble with passes over 15 yards. "I've got maybe 14 players of respectable Big Ten caliber," he says morosely. "It's sort of frustrating."
Back in the Big Eight, MISSOURI'S Dan Devine says, "This is the year I am going to test our alumni. When I came to Missouri, they assured me they didn't expect me to win every game, just be respectable. Now, I may find out if they meant it."
What the alumni will find out is that Devine, once again, has exaggerated the gloom-and-doom bit. Although the Tigers have lost Quarterback Gary Lane, Johnny Roland and all their starting tackles, there are enough lettermen and red-shirts around to make Nebraska and Colorado jumpy.
Devine has a quarterback—Gary Kombrink—who runs almost as well and passes even better than Lane, and he still has Halfbacks Charlie Brown, a chunky squirmer who led the conference in rushing with 937 yards last season, and Earl Denny, a power runner. Along with Ray Thorpe and new Fullback Barry Lischner, they will make Mizzou's wing-T power sweeps and off-tackle slants as fierce as ever.
Not even Devine worries about the defense. It will be tough to crack with 6-foot-6, 260-pound Russ Washington, who needs only to get meaner to be an All-America, at one end, 215-pound Bill Powell moved over to tackle from guard, and Don Nelson, a low-slung guard who is hard to root out.
Some recent have-nots are showing signs of life, too. Football at OKLAHOMA may not be much better, but it will be a lot different. New Coach Jim Mackenzie, for years Frank Broyles' top aide at Arkansas, brought along such bespangled notions as a freewheeling I, split receivers, monster linebackers and a zone pass defense. He even has forsaken the traditional white helmets for gaudy red ones.
Mackenzie also put in his own style of defense, and his players will stunt, chase and gang-tackle. (Broyles once said of it, "They don't play you, they raid you.") Unfortunately, this new enthusiasm took its toll in the spring. Eight players, including Linebacker Thurman Pitchlynn, had knee operations. Even so, Mackenzie, who started with 32 lettermen, has enough good players left for his kind of game. Middle Guard Granville Liggins, a 210-pounder who gets off the mark so fast opponents insist he is offside, and 233-pound Tackle Jim Riley head up an aggressive defense. Jim Burgar, a red-shirt quarterback, can throw the ball, Ben Hart, back at split end, and sophomore Ed Hinton, the new wingback, can catch it, and Tailback Ron Shotts is a stylish runner. It looks like the Sooners are on the way back.
Iowa State Coach Clay Stapleton is happy with his team. He has more size, depth, talent and better sophomores than ever before, maybe even enough to get the Cyclones into the first division. In Ames, they are already calling Willie Muldrew, a vicious 220-pound sophomore tackle, Iowa State's "best lineman since 1892," and Stapleton describes Sam Campbell, a 6-foot-5, 225-pound end, as "the greatest young player I've ever had." They will both be in the Cyclones' defense.
But the one who may do the most for State is Tim Van Galder, a tall, slight passer who changed Stapleton's game last year. He completed 100 passes, mostly to Ends Eppie Barnes and George Maurer and Wingback Tom Busch, and they are all back. Van Galder works at his specialty. He and Dave Johnson, a basketball player, spent the summer playing catch all over Europe, and once Van Galder was even red-dogged by the polizia in Rome's St. Peter's Plaza.
At OKLAHOMA STATE, Coach Phil Cutchin would be happier if his team did not have to play Arkansas, Houston, Colorado and Missouri in its first four games. Also, it would help if he knew who his quarterback was going to be. Harry Cheatwood, red-shirt Bruce Scott and sophomore Mike Arnold all had a shot at it in the spring, and none of them exactly excited the coach. The Pokes will have to survive on their defense, and that has a substantial look with 228-pound Dennis Randall and 240-pound Harold Akin at the tackles.
There are so many new faces at KANSAS that Coach Jack Mitchell says, "I almost feel as if I was at another school." There were times last year when Mitchell must have wished he were somewhere else. His defense was as porous as one of those Brand X paper towels and his runners were so bad that a first down was a major event. Hopefully, the newcomers will change that.
All of those dawdling running backs have graduated, quit or been demoted, and in their place are some sound sophomores—Don Shanklin, Junior Riggins and Bill Esters. With them is Quarterback Bob Skahan, who Missouri's Devine calls the best back in the conference. Skahan is a superb passer, and he runs like a halfback.
Sophomores also have moved into the front lines to give the Jayhawkers a sterner look. The prize one is Keith Christensen, a 265-pound offensive tackle who can "move mountains," not to mention mere opposing linemen. "I kind of think we might win more games than last year," says Mitchell. "We'd better," he adds ominously.
Kansas State's preseason brochure starts out, "Wildcats all the way! Would you believe 7-3...6-4?" That is pretty big talk for a school that was 0-10 last year and is 8-51 the last six. But K-State has been optimistic since it gave Coach Doug Weaver, who wears the horns for that record, a new three-year contract. Weaver was so grateful that he went out and got four new assistants, eight junior college transfers and changed his offense to a more exciting wing T and I with split ends and flankers. He even tried to disguise his players by putting them into purple-and-white jerseys and gray pants. Net result: Wildcats, with little claws that scratch. Sophomore Bill Nossek at quarterback and rookie Dave Jones and transfer Charlie Sanford, a 9.5 hustler, in the backfield, are the best of the new ones.
The team to watch in the Mid-American Conference is TOLEDO. The Rockets, who fumbled around in the cellar for so long, have come fast under able Coach Frank Lauterbur. With only six starters missing from last year's 5-5 team, Toledo will be bigger, stronger and deeper up front, and the pass defense that led the nation in '65 is mostly intact. Lauterbur's I pro-set will have more zest, too, with Quarterback John Schneider and Split End Henry Burch for the passing game and Roland Moss, a 215-pound sophomore tailback who may be the one to set off the Rockets.
Kent State also has the favorites nervous. Coach Leo Strang, who likes a big, firm defense, has just that. Not many runners will escape his tackles, 261-pound Howie Tennebar and 255-pound Ernie Ames or Linebackers Bill Landis (235) and Bob Covington (230). But sophomores George Infante at quarterback and Joe Pledger at fullback have to come through to keep Kent's attack from being too thin.
The other MAC teams are not title-challenging types. MARSHALL has two fine runners, Tailback Mickey Jackson, who scored 16 touchdowns last year, and Fullback Andy Sacha, and two experienced lines. But Coach Charlie Snyder needs defensive backs and a quarterback for his slot T. WESTERN MICHIGAN and OHIO U. are rebuilding. At Western, Coach Bill Doolittle has only 10 players returning from a 6-2-1 season, and he has gone to the slot T to accommodate the skills of Quarterback Ron Siefert, who runs better than he passes. Ohio, 0-10 a year ago, has more to work with—23 lettermen—and Coach Bill Hess, long a devotee of Woody Hayes-style football, switched to the power I in the spring. He has not one but two backfields—one for power, one for speed—and Fullback Wash Lyons, over his toe troubles, will be in both of them. The Bobcats, however, need a good quarterback to run the show.
Cincinnati and Wichita State may stir up a spark or two in the Missouri Valley. At Cincy, Coach Chuck Studley, who used to pass only in desperation, will turn his wing T into an aerial act. One reason is Greg Cook, a 6-foot-3 sophomore who throws straight and far. Another is Ed Ford, a rookie wingback who can fly and catch passes. Wichita State Coach George Karras wanted more punch in his running game, so he loaded up with speedy junior college transfers. The quickest are Tailback Roosevelt Bonner (9.6) and Halfback Charley Brown (9.8). They will team up with Quarterback John Eckman. All that speed and a sturdy defense, led by 265-pound Tackle Earl Edwards, should shake the Shockers out of the doldrums.
Independent XAVIER, 8-2 last year, may improve on that record. The Musketeers think they have the hottest college passer in the game in Quarterback Carroll Williams, and they could be right. Williams completed 128 passes in 1965 for 1,847 yards and 20 touchdowns. He scored five times running and had 2,008 yards in total offense. Furthermore, he can still throw to End Danny Abramowics, who caught 50 passes. About all DAYTON has is hope, wrapped up in sophomores. Quarterback Jerry Biebuych and 240-pound Fullback Mike Wilson are the best.
A bull with brains
When he is standing there at the blackboard diagraming Ohio State's noble off-tackle smash, Coach Woody Hayes occasionally gets so excited he sends that O (representing his tackle) slamming into that V (theirs) with such force the chalk crumbles into a fine, white powder. It is not the play that stimulates Hayes so much as the name behind the O. He has been making a handsome living for years driving footballs through the same tackle hole, but always it has been the big man up front who has made the play work. In 1955-56 it was Jim Parker, in 1958 Jim Marshall and in 1965 Doug Van Horn.
Now comes Dave Foley. Next week against TCU Foley will start in his first college game, but already Hayes is calling the 6-foot-5, 242-pound tackle from Cincinnati's Roger Bacon High School "one of the very best linemen I've ever seen." And Hayes is not alone in his admiration for Foley's talents. "Why." exclaims Dave's father, Tom, a Cincinnati postal clerk, "I thought that telephone of ours would never stop ringing after he'd played in his last high school game. I don't know how many schools were calling him, but there were a lot."
Little wonder. Dave Foley was an honor student at Roger Bacon, graduating 30th in a class of 267. He was a school leader and in addition to starring for three years on offense and defense in football, he was a state champion high school shotputter, throwing the 12-pound ball as far as 62 feet 1½ inches. He looked like a natural for Woody's turf-tearing offense from the start.
In his freshman year Foley established himself as an outstanding student in Ohio State's engineering school, finishing with an impressive 3.69 point average on the university's 4-point system. But it is still his football prowess that has everybody talking, including Tackle Coach Hugh Hindman. "Dave is bull-strong," says Hugh, "and his reactions are excellent. He's blessed with exceptional speed—enough, in fact, to make him just the explosive blocker we need on offense. Furthermore, he has native intelligence—the kind that allows him to adjust quickly to stunting defenses." Foley will be at right tackle, where he'll play alongside Guard Dick Himes (6 feet 5, 250 pounds) and All-Big Ten Center Ray Pryor. The trio gives the Buckeyes perhaps the strongest right side in the league and, should OSU get into trouble defensively, these three would be the first to be tapped for two-way duty. Foley's only weakness, according to father Tom, is golf. "He hits the ball a mile," he says. "The trouble is he hits the putts a mile, too."
Another sophomore to watch in the Midwest this year is Tailback Roland Moss of Toledo. Coach Frank Lauterbur called Moss one of the finest running backs he'd ever seen after the 6-foot-3, 215-pound blaster ran for 621 yards, 12 touchdowns and scored 79 points for the Rocket freshman team.