It was hardly a cause for dancing in Market Street when Football Coach Clark Shaughnessy and Stanford University joined forces early in 1940. The Indians had won only one game in 1939. Coach Tiny Thornhill, who had endeared himself to Bay Area fans by taking three straight teams to the Rose Bowl, was fired, and Shaughnessy's credentials seemed to promise little. He had won no games the previous year at the University of Chicago and had lost by such scores as 85-0 and 61-0. Weighted down by this crushing burden, intellectual Chicago then gave up its coach and intercollegiate football.
Thus it was with some trepidation that Stanford opened the season at Kezar Stadium against the University of San Francisco, a solid, proven team. USF "might be the best team in our section," said a sportswriter, and added, "the young, green and inexperienced line the Indians present may break at times under the pressure of the Don forwards." But Stanford surprised the writer, and everybody else, by holding USF to a net gain of eight yards. It used only 11 plays and won in a breeze 27-0. In the locker room afterward the USF coach, according to one observer, "looked like a man who'd seen a ghost." What he actually had seen was the debut of one of the great miracle teams in college football, a team that popularized the T formation and sent seven men on to star in pro football. This was the beginning of the Wow Boys.
Shaughnessy's approach to victory was very un-Stanford. Thornhill's Vow Boys, who had sworn they would never lose to Southern Cal and never did, had been laughers. A meticulous play-planner, Shaughnessy analyzed the talent on hand and installed the T to take the best advantage of it. That meant around-the-clock work for his staff and his quarterback, Frankie Albert (above), who had been an unpredictable sophomore halfback in 1939. Before school opened Albert slept at the Shaughnessy home, where some skull sessions lasted until 6 o'clock in the morning. The T was not new (Amos Alonzo Stagg had a highly developed version of it in 1896), but Stanford's success with Clark's T made it practically the biggest thing since Notre Dame brought in the forward pass against Army in 1913.
September 18, 1966
Stanford followers soon realized that despite his poor season at Chicago, Shaughnessy was a fine coach and was doing an amazing job of reshuffling the Stanford deck. "I saw the ideal college backfield for the T formation," said Shaughnessy. "I saw in Albert a daring fellow with the ball, one who could handle it deftly, could bootleg when necessary, could pass well and kick quickly. Pete Kmetovic couldn't run to his left, but as a man-in-motion and a runner to his right he was marvelous. For sheer straight-ahead power, Norm Standlee was the finest fullback in the country. And then we had Hugh Gallarneau, a versatile back, who could run to his left or to his right and was a fine man-in-motion. All of them, and that includes Albert, could block. All could catch. As I fitted these pieces together, I felt I would be a poor coach if I couldn't find a way to get the most out of them."
The line was not bad, either. Center Vic Lindskog was moved from the backfield; he eventually became an All-Pro center. At tackles were Bruno Banducci, later a pro with the San Francisco 49ers, and Ed Stamm, who became student-body president. Guard Dick Palmer was the most vicious blocker on the team. Right End Fred Meyer made All-Coast and both Clem Tomerlin and Stan Graff were good left ends. At the other guard was Chuck Taylor, now Stanford's athletic director. Albert called him "the spark of our line."
The opening victory over USF, in which Kmetovic returned a punt 60 yards for a touchdown, did not excite many people outside the San Francisco area, but as the loss-free season rolled on the sportswriters began to tell the story of stunned foes, fans unable to follow Albert's sleight-of-hand and what Shaughnessy himself later described as "one of the 12 greatest backfields of all time."
The Indians beat Oregon 13-0, helped by Gallarneau's 51-yard run. Santa Clara fell 7-6, the Broncos' only loss that year. Stanford came from behind to beat Washington State at Pullman (Kmetovic averaged 9.6 yards a carry and set up a touchdown with a 52-yard run). USC, dazzled by a 61-yard Albert-to-Kmetovic scoring play, was the fifth unbeaten team in a row to fall, 21-7. UCLA went down 20-14. Undefeated Washington got off to a 10-0 lead, but Taylor's great line play and Albert to Kmetovic for a 56-yard touchdown play spoiled the Huskies' Rose Bowl dreams. The Wow Boys clinched the Pacific Coast Conference title by beating Oregon State 28-14 and finished up by winning the Big Game over Cal 13-7 with a goal-line stand in the fourth quarter.
By this time there were plenty of believers and Stanford was an 8-5 favorite in the Rose Bowl over Nebraska's Cornhuskers, champions of the Big Six. But Nebraska jumped ahead quickly 7-0. Albert sent a play near the sideline and shouted to Shaughnessy, "Don't worry, we've got the ball now."
The Indians went on to win 21-13, the important final touchdown a 39-yard punt runback by Kmetovic, who for once did go to his left, then fled to his right behind some of the most scythelike blocking ever seen in the Arroyo Seco. Lightweight sub Eric Armstrong took one man out, and Albert cut down two with another block. Dick Palmer also took out two men, one of whom did a somersault and was knocked cold.
Stanford, the dismal team that had averaged less than five points a game in the 1939 PCC season, was undefeated and untied. Shaughnessy was voted Scripps-Howard Coach of the Year by the largest margin in more than a decade. Of course, it had helped to have Albert, the cocky quarterback. Nebraska Coach Biff Jones is supposed to have told Shaughnessy after the Rose Bowl game: "I'll buy you 120 acres of cornland if you'll tell me where I can get a Frankie Albert."
Were Jones still coaching, it is likely that he would find two Frankie Alberts on the Coast in 1966: Gary Beban, chief forger of all those miracles for UCLA last year, and Gene Washington, a sophomore at, of all places, Stanford. If Beban can't take the Uclans to the Rose Bow! again, Washington could get the Indians there.
For a while this spring it seemed unlikely that Gary Beban would be taking his team anyplace. Coach J. Thompson Prothro, in fact, was not pleased at all with what he saw at the start of UCLA's spring drills. Quarterback Beban was anything but the same young man who, as a sophomore, led the AAWU in total offense and led the nation in average yards per pass attempt (10.2).
"Then the Saturday before our final spring game, Beban took charge," said Tommy. "It was really the first time we went 11 against 11. He likes that action. Gary hit the first eight passes he threw; he ran great. Yes, he's better than last year."
Beban and Prothro are just two of the reasons why UCLA is favored to be best in the West again and return to the Rose Bowl for what would be Tommy's third straight appearance there (his Oregon State team lost to Michigan in the 1965 game).
"I've never been in a league where I didn't think we had a chance to win," said Prothro. Considering the peculiarities of his schedule—it is not only difficult, with Syracuse and Missouri in the second and third weeks and Stanford and USC at the end, but it includes only four conference games—Prothro maybe in trouble. "If we lose one we're behind everyone else," said Prothro. If he seems not too perturbed, chalk that up to his having, in addition to Beban, Halfback Mel Farr, one of UCLA's glaring strengths.
The poised 6-foot, 195-pound Beban can pass, run and handle the ball deftly. Best of all, he has the ability to break up a game with long touchdown passes, like the two he threw in the closing minutes of the USC game last year. Farr, a Texan, was first in the country last season in average yards per carry (7.0) and was running, blocking and catching passes better than ever in the spring. He has built up his weight to 208 without losing mobility. At the other half, Cornell Champion is ready to live up to his name after missing a year due to an injury. A pro scout said, "When Champion gets into the open, the only way to stop him is with a shotgun." This fine backfield will have at fullback either junior Steve Stanley or sophomore Rick Purdy, who, as if the Uclans needed it, can pass as well as run.
The big weakness is pass receiving. Beban's top three targets, End Kurt Altenberg, End Byron Nelson and Halfback Dick Witcher, are gone. Also departed is Rose Bowl hero Bob Stiles, defensive half who lost his senior year of eligibility when it was found he had spent a semester at Ole Miss. Still, the defensive secondary cannot be hurting too badly because Safety Man Tim McAteer was moved to offensive right halfback. Prothro rates his lines as only "fair," but the defense has at least two standouts in Guard John Richardson (6 feet 2, 254 pounds) and Linebacker Dallas Grider (5 feet 11, 212 pounds).
In what should be a five-way scrap for the AAWU title, STANFORD has the best chance to knock off UCLA. Much depends on sophomore Quarterback Gene Washington (see box page 88). Dave Lewis, the Chukchansi Indian who had a .513 passing percentage last season, has been tentatively moved to halfback, where his running and passing skills could make him murder on the option play.
Coach John Ralston lost his leading ground gainer, Ray Handley, and 14 other lettermen, but he gets 25 back, plus transfers, redshirts and the cream of an undefeated freshman team that starred Washington and Tight End George Buehler (6 feet 2, 246 pounds). The Indians are deep at every position and have a good pro prospect in Defensive Guard Mike Hibler, who with lettermen Monty Mohrman and Bill Ogle will anchor a fine defensive line. Ralston has capable lettermen to replace four starters lost in the offensive line. The Farm has not sent a team to the Rose Bowl since 1952. This could be the season.
USC is famous for its wide-open and colorful offense, but defense may win for the Trojans this time. Seven starters are back from a defensive unit that allowed only 92 points last season. All-Coast Defensive Back Nate Shaw is big, fast and has instant judgment, and in front of him will be Tackle Harry Wells, Rover Eddie King, Middle Guard Larry Petrill and a brace of tough, although inexperienced, linebackers.
The offense will suffer from the losses of Heisman Trophy-winning Mike Garrett at halfback and every starting lineman except Guard Jim Homan. To compensate, Coach McKay has moved All-Coast Defensive Tackle Ron Yary (6 feet 6, 265 pounds plus) to offensive tackle. Yary runs 50 yards in 6.2, as fast as when he was 25 pounds lighter.
No Garrett, but another All-America backfield prospect is Flanker Rod Sherman, once a freshman star across town at UCLA. Sherman specializes in game-winning catches and has averaged more than six yards a carry in his Trojan career, but he missed spring drills because of a knee operation. Quarterback Troy Winslow also had knee surgery, and if he cannot function effectively McKay will go to one of his promising but untried backup men, probably junior college All-America Dick Hough or sophomore Steve Sogge, USC's leading hitter in baseball.
Dee Andros, in his second year tutoring OREGON STATE, thinks he has a tough slate, and he does, but the Beavers, like UCLA, play only four league games, none of them against the Uclans or Stanford.
Andros has 24 lettermen back from a 5-5 team that suffered some narrow defeats. Top returnee is Fullback Pete Pifer, who bulldozed his way to 1,095 yards last season, only the fifth man in conference history to top 1,000. Quarterback Paul Brothers was a sensational sophomore under Tommy Prothro but fell off last year, partly because of poor receivers. He now has End Harry Gunner, a 6-foot-6 basketball player from Texas who looked good in the spring game. And to ease the load on him, Pifer has Bob Grim, an ex-quarterback and ex-split end who is now an accomplished halfback.
Both lines are experienced and big, led by Defensive Guard Mark Gartung, 6-foot-5, 260-pound AAWU heavyweight wrestling champ. The whole defensive backfield was lost and must be replaced.
Washington, too, had a break-even 5-5 year in 1965 despite the pass-catching histrionics of End Dave Williams (38 receptions and 10 TDs). It is hard to believe Jim Owens' Purple Gang will be mediocre two seasons in a row. Williams, fast, strong and with good hands, is back as part of an all-veteran offensive line that also boasts Guard Mike Ryan (6 feet 1, 220 pounds) and Tackle Bob Richardson (6 feet 3, 235 pounds) from Hawaii. Junior Quarterback Tom Sparlin, who started one game as a sophomore and then broke his collarbone, will be feeding the passes to Williams.
Washington's running game should be good, although Halfbacks Steve Bramwell and Ron Medved are gone. Returning is Don Moore, top sophomore ground gainer in the school's history, who will play either halfback or fullback. The defensive backfield was not impressive in spring drills, but the defensive line, headed up by All-Coast End Tom Greenlee, should make up for its youth with speed and size. If the defense comes along as Owens hopes, Washington could be the Coast's second biggest surprise.
Beware of UTAH STATE! It may well be the surprise. The Aggies were 8-2 last season and seem sure to repeat as the West's strongest independent, even though Roy Shivers, fourth leading runner in the nation, gave up his senior year for a bundle of National Football League dollars. Coach Tony Knap has 18 starters back and just may knock off Nebraska a week from Saturday—not to mention every other team on his schedule.
Quarterback Ron Edwards, one of 13 Californians who are expected to start on the defensive and offensive units (contrasted with three natives from Utah), has thrown 21 scoring passes in two years and has good targets in Flanker Dave Clark and Tight End Jim LeMoine (6 feet 2, 247 pounds). The ground attack without Shivers will suffer, but Fullback Gerald Watson, second to Shivers last season, has two years to go.
The lines are scary. The entire interior offensive line is back, including Center Ken Ferguson (6 feet 1, 220 pounds) from Canada. Tackles Bill Staley (6 feet 3, 240 pounds) and Spain Musgrove (6 feet 4, 290 pounds) return from the defensive wall that held foes to just 83.9 yards a game, sixth best in the country. The defensive backfield is sharp, especially Henry King (6 feet 4, 205 pounds), who led the nation in interceptions until he was bothered by injuries.
The Aggies, who, in addition to the Nebraska game this year, butt heads with Wisconsin in 1968 and Air Force and Army in 1969, are coming up in high society.
If the title of top independent in the West can be stolen, the trick will be accomplished by another set of Aggies, those from NEW MEXICO STATE. With Tailback Jim Bohl, the nation's third leading rusher in 1965 (6.5 yards a carry) showing the way, they will meet Utah State at Logan Oct. 1. Coach Warren Woodson's team was 8-2 last year and is good enough and has a weak enough schedule (i.e., Arlington State, Pacific) to do a nice encore.
Woodson's big problem is his defensive line, where three regulars were lost to the pros. His best linebacker probably will be Kelly Olive, just a sophomore. But the Aggies have two good defensive halfbacks in Abelardo Alba and Jim Miller.
Woodson is noted for his good offenses, but Quarterback Sal Olivas, who started as a sophomore, had better improve his passing percentage (.370 for only four touchdowns). Of course, with Bohl the Bull around, who needs to pass?
Brigham Young was picked for the Western Athletic Conference cellar last season but shocked everyone in the desert and the Rockies by winning the first football title in the school's history. Even the crazy basketball fans in Utah took notice. Now BYU Coach Tom Hudspeth gets to feel what it is like to be favored.
The Cougars' forte is their aerial bombardment, and the chief bombardier is a good student from right down the street in Provo. Quarterback Virgil Carter was third in the nation in total offense last season and already holds more than 30 school and conference records. He runs almost as well as he throws. Carter's prime receiver should be Split End Phil Odle, a speedy junior from Illinois who was WAC Lineman of the Year and leading scorer. As if that was not sufficient, Fullback John Ogden is back after twice leading the WAC in rushing. In two seasons he has been thrown for a loss only once—and that was for one yard.
Coach Hudspeth has problems with his offensive line, though. The top five guards and tackles are gone, so Linebacker Grant Wilson has been shifted to offensive guard. Hardest hitter in the defensive line is Curg Belcher, and Hudspeth is hoping sophomore Craig Bozich will be another good tackler.
Arizona State, BYU's main challenger for the WAC title, had its best spring practice since the arrival of Coach Frank Kush nine years ago. That was surprising because among the missing was Ben Hawkins, who led the Sun Devils in scoring, receptions, interceptions, punt returns and kickoff returns. Also gone are two linebackers and four regulars in the offensive line.
But there are compensations, including a sophomore end with the implausible name of Fair Hooker, who caught 11 passes in the annual spring intra-squad game and is one of the finest football prospects in the West. To throw to him, Kush has two seniors, John Goodman and Chuck Hunt. Goodman tossed nine touchdown passes last year. Arizona State's running game will be weaker with Hawkins gone, but 201-pound Travis Williams, the leading rusher from scrimmage, returns. He will be abetted by two strong fullbacks, senior Jim Bramlet and sophomore John Helton.
Halfback John Pitts (6 feet 5, 198 pounds), who went both ways last year, will be hard put to make the defensive secondary look good until experience sets in at the other positions. The defensive line, though, should be tough. Five starters are back, headed by Tackle Larry Hendershot, and two sophomore linebackers, Ron Pritchard and Tim Buchanan, are considered by Kush to be potentially the best he has ever had. Arizona State should be very bad news by the second half of the season.
Junior Dick Hall, who has not played football since the seventh grade, may be the key to a successful season for AIR FORCE. He came out of the intramural ranks and amazed Coach Ben Martin by booting field goals from midfield in a tryout. In the spring game he made four of five extra-point attempts (one was blocked) and kicked a 48-yard field goal into the wind. His presence means the Falcons have three-point potential every time they get inside the enemy's 40-yard line. With Hall and ace Punter Jim Hogarty, Air Force should have one of the best kicking games in the country.
Quarterback Paul Stein, holder of seven academy records, has graduated and will be replaced by Sonny Litz, a strong passer but a poor runner (the team's running game last year depended on Stein's scrambling). Litz will have six of the top eight receivers back as his targets, so perhaps he will not have to run. The rest of the backfield is not awe-inspiring, although Tailback Larry Cook is fast and good in the open field. The fullback spot is open and may be filled by sophomore Dennis Ryll from St. Louis. The offensive line is only adequate, and much depends on the development of Tackle Ken Hamlin, a 230-pound sophomore.
Every defensive starter is back, but the standout is junior Corner Back Ncal Starkey from Dallas. Bobby Hunt of the Kansas City Chiefs says Starkey could start for some AFL teams right now. Tackle Larry Cole (6 feet 4, 233 pounds) from Granite Falls, Minn, is a bit of granite himself.
Washington State rates as the dark horse in the AAWU, even though it has all but nine lettermen back from a 7-3 team. The Cougars would be among the definite favorites except that the missing include Quarterback Tom Roth, All-America Tackle Wayne Foster, Safety Man Willie Gaskins and Fullback Larry Eilmes, WSU's alltime leading rusher. Still, Coach Bert Clark rates his team highly, if others do not.
One reason is Tight End Rich Sheron (6 feet 5, 230 pounds), a fine blocker and receiver who went both ways as a sophomore. Others are Mike Cadigan, who figures to be the quarterback (although he was at halfback in 1964) and Halfback Amnion McWashington, who led the team in punt and kickoff returns and was second in rushing.
The strong defensive line helped hold opponents to only 103 points last season and all but Foster return, so Clark has few worries there. He cannot say the same of his defensive secondary, which seemed O.K. in the spring but lacks experience. The offensive line, too, looks just so-so, except for Guard Dave Middendorf (6 feet 3, 240 pounds). Kicking will be a big plus with Fullback Ted Gerela, a soccer-style field-goal specialist. "Any time we're stopped inside the 45-yard line," said Coach Clark, "Ted will be kicking."
Not since 1958 has CALIFORNIA had a winning season, but Coach Ray Willsey has let it be known that "the price to play football at California has gone up." If the Bears are to improve their record, Quarterback Dan Berry (a fifth-round future draft choice by the Philadelphia Eagles) must develop into as good a passer as he is a runner. It should help him to be throwing to Split End Jerry Bradley (only 5 feet 11, 155 pounds), a 9.5 sprinter who can catch. Another important man is sophomore Halfback Rick Bennett, who missed freshman and spring football because of a letter of intent violation. Scouts think he has the potential to be another Hugh McElhenny, but he may be a year away.
The offensive line, despite a touch of green in the guards, will be quicker and will have one of the best blocking tight ends in the conference in John Beasley (6 feet 3, 220 pounds). Led by Dan Goich (6 feet 5, 230 pounds), another NFL future draft choice, the defensive line returns intact, backed up by two good players who were second-team linebackers last year and, except for junior Halfback Bobby Smith, a mediocre secondary.
"There are 54 sophomores and junior-college transfers on our 81-man squad," says Willsey. "I'd have to go farther and say we're green as grass. But this group has more potential to win than any in the last two years."
Although OREGON Coach Len Casanova has done wonders in the past with poor material, things look stark this year in Eugene. The Ducks lost 12 starters and were beaten by their alumni in the spring game. One of the few bright spots is at quarterback. Mike Brundage is a good passer, but if he falls down on the job, Tom Trovato, a better runner who shared signal-calling duties last season, can step in. End Steve Bunker caught 51 passes, nine for touchdowns.
The running game appears to be weak and partially depends on two sophomores, Halfback Steve Jones and Fullback Jim Evenson, whose special gifts have caused Casanova to switch to the I formation. The defensive line was wrecked by graduation, and four starters are gone from the offensive line. Jerry Richards, the best player from the freshman team, will be the "monster" back on defense.
Wyoming has a schedule advantage which may allow it to upset BYU in the WAC race. Four of the Cowboys' five league games will be played at home in Laramie. Also, the top six rushers, including All-WAC Tailback Jim Kiick, return and will be helped by sophomore Wingback Vic Washington (8.8 yards a carry with the undefeated freshman team). Both Kiick and Washington are from far-off New Jersey.
They will not travel much farther, however, unless Coach Lloyd Eaton comes up with some sort of offensive line to open holes. As it stands (or falls), it is woefully inexperienced with one senior, two juniors and one sophomore. The defensive secondary is equally callow. Brighter by far is the defensive line, which is experienced and tough, especially Middle Guard Jerry Durling, All-WAC. Jerry DePoyster is expert in most phases of kicking and led last year's 6-4 team in scoring.
Arizona, a poor 1-4 in the WAC last season, may execute a complete turnabout with a new emphasis on passing. Junior Quarterback Bob Matthews, who started his college ball at Santa Monica (Calif.) City College, will do most of the throwing. His best targets—Split End Fritz Greenlee, Flanker Jim Greth and Halfback Paul Wargo, who is also a good runner—all played before at the Air Force Academy. Coach Jim LaRue has changed his offense to a pro-style set-T.
The Wildcats have six starters back in their offensive line, plus Air Force transfer Bill Nemeth at center, so Matthews should have plenty of time to look around for open receivers. The defensive line suffers because sophomores start at both tackles and at one linebacker spot. The defensive secondary should be stingy, and Woody King is expected to be one of the better safeties in the conference. If Arizona does well, Coach LaRue can look at the skies in the manner of John Wayne and murmur, "Thank goodness for the Air Force."
Across the hot sands and into the next state, NEW MEXICO is switching to two platoons. Most of the Lobo players last season had to go both ways, and there still is not much depth. The team will be better only in the unlikely event that sophomore Quarterback Rick Beitler continues to be as successful this fall as he was in the spring game when he threw 36- and 80-yard touchdown passes to JC transfer Sherman Seiders.
The entire right side of the offensive line graduated, but New Mexico's running game should still be strong with Fullback Carl Jackson, who scored 10 times last year, and Halfback Carl Bradford, a good receiver who was second-team All-WAC. The defensive line has a Roswell, N. Mex. native named Paul Smith and may not need much more. He was All-WAC as a sophomore and New Mexico's lineman of the year.
The word at UTAH is renovation—offense, defense and even the Ute Bowl. New Coach Mike Giddings, a Cal mathematics graduate who was on John McKay's staff at USC, has naturally introduced the McKay I formation and "rover" defense, but it probably will take a season or two to see results. However, the Utes should be all right this year on defense because of three fine linemen, All-WAC Tackle John Stipech (6 feet 3, 230 pounds) and Linebackers Pat McKissick and Tom Hawkes. Behind them is a "below average" secondary.
Jack Gehrke, who alternated at quarterback last season, probably will operate the I if sophomores Darrell Bigelow or Dick Wilson do not beat him out. Split End Mike Butera, All-WAC, makes an inviting target. Fullback Marvin Lowery was the team's leading rusher and Halfback Ben Woodson makes good use of his speed on sweeps. Junior college transfer Charlie Smith from Bakersfield, Calif. may break into the starting backfield.
Independent COLORADO STATE lost 19 lettermen from a 4-6 team, which does not sound encouraging. Although there are players from as far away as Tennessee, Pennsylvania and Ohio, it should be another sad fall in Fort Collins for Coach Mike Lude, who has not had a winning season since he arrived in 1961. Lude may find some cheer in squat Oscar Reed (5 feet 11, 211 pounds) from Memphis, who switches from fullback to halfback. He holds the school single-season rushing record. All four halfbacks are gone, so Lude has moved sub Quarterback Jon Henderson there and hopes he can learn quickly. Fullback will be 223-pound Jim Oliver, also a solid linebacker. Quarterback Bob Wolfe has no experienced split end to throw to, but he does have Tight End Tom Pack (6 feet 4, 210 pounds), who is a good blocker and good receiver despite being slow. The defensive line will suffer because of lack of depth and the fact that some good boys will have to go both ways. Graduation took all but one starting offensive lineman. Shed a tear for the Rams when they try to stop the likes of Tulsa and Utah State.
Prospects at PACIFIC in Stockton, Calif., proud alma mater of such good football players as Dick Bass and Eddie LeBaron, are even darker than at Colorado State, but the Tigers have a new coach, Doug Scovil, who played for the school from 1949 to 1951 and is No. 5 among its alltime passers. He vows he can bring back the glory but does not say how soon. The Tigers have won only four games in three years and were 1-8 last year, when they did not even field a freshman team.
Scovil hopes to reverse the trend by having a freshman team this year, bringing in as many JC transfers as possible and praying that Quarterback John Quaccia, who has not played the position since high school, has not forgotten how. He is a senior and is brave. The defensive backfield was the weakest part of the team in 1965 but now has two good JC transfers. Dan Blumquist and Walt Harris. Another transfer, Jack Layland, or Allen Melikian will start at fullback. Both the offensive and defensive lines will be smaller than ever. Scovil must do a heroic recruiting job if Pacific is to improve soon.
Idaho has Fullback Ray McDonald (6 feet 4, 240 pounds) and that probably means another 1,000 yards and 90 points to help bring Coach Steve Musseau back to good health. Musseau, who has 12 children, suffered a heart attack and could not direct spring drills. If any offense is needed besides McDonald, Quarterback John Foruria, the Boise Valley Basque, will try to supply it with slick option plays. Fine Split End John Chapman is gone, and his replacement will be either sophomore Manny Murrell or Rich Toney, who missed spring practice because he was playing first base on the championship Vandal baseball team.
There are three pro draft picks in the defensive line, topped by Tackle Dick Arndt (6 feet 5, 257 pounds), but perhaps some of the talent there will be shifted to the offensive line, which looks thin except at tight end, where versatile Tim Lavens, ex-back and ex-defensive end, probably will wind up.
The Vandals made a wise move when they replaced Utah State on their schedule with Pacific. If McDonald stays healthy (he missed one game last season and Idaho fell to little Weber State), the team might improve on 1965's 5-5 record.
San Jose State lost 2,441 of its 2,939 offensive yards with the departures of Quarterback Ken Berry and Fullback Charley Harraway. Coach Harry Anderson may find a replacement for Berry from two candidates, sophomore Russ Munson, younger brother of the L.A. Rams' Bill, and a good junior college transfer, Danny Holman. Locating a fullback will be harder.
Only one experienced man returns to the offensive interior line, but Split End Steve Cox, despite being only 5 feet 10 and slow, is a fine receiver. The defensive line should be rugged, led by Linebacker Mel Tom (6 feet 4, 240 pounds) from Honolulu, who did not play football in high school. Tackle Martin Baccaglio (6 feet 3, 225 pounds) was Northern California Lineman of the Week once last season.
Move over, Chief
When senior Dave Lewis, the only real Indian on the Stanford Indians' roster, was asked to move from quarterback to half to make room for Gene Washington, the only people more upset than opposing AAWU coaches were the Stanford PR men who were faced with recoining such goodies as "the Big Chief leading the tribe" and "Red Man for the Big Red." The last two West Coast teams to go to the Rose Bowl were quarterbacked by sophomores. Stanford Coach John Ralston hopes to make it three in a row. Ralston considers Washington better than Paul Brothers of the 1964 Oregon State team and as good as UCLA's Gary Beban last year.
"Gene is a born leader," brags Ralston. Better yet, he is a born athlete. He is 6 feet 2 and 180 pounds and may be one of the finest athletes yet produced by Poly High School of Long Beach, Calif. The school lists among its alumni tennis star Billie Jean Moffitt King, footballer Willie Brown, and San Francisco Giant rookie Ollie (Downtown) Brown. The latter two are cousins of Washington. At Poly, Gene wound up with an A minus average while still finding time to play football and basketball, run a 9.7 hundred and get elected student body president.
Stanford had the best freshman team in its history last year and would have been good even with Gomer Pyle at quarterback. Gene Washington, calling the signals, still managed to stand out as the Papooses went undefeated. He averaged 8.9 yards a carry, third best on the team, and connected on 48% of his throws. His chief asset is his running ability which he learned, in part, from operating in a single wing at Poly. He is fast, strong and quick and a very dangerous man on the roll-out option—a play uppermost in the functioning of John Ralston's variable T. If Gene Washington has a weakness it is in his passing—he is inconsistent. One problem he will not have is calling signals. Ralston will do that. "We ask our quarterbacks to do a lot," Ralston explains. "If he can do the physical job, we want to share his mental problems, especially when he's a sophomore."
A back who may challenge Washington as the Coast's outstanding rookie is California's Rick Bennett. A bruising runner with a deceptive change of speed, Halfback Bennett was almost a Stanford Indian himself. He had signed a letter of intent to attend the school, but at the last moment—and days after he had signed—he decided to go to Cal. The conference declared him ineligible for his freshman year. The enforced year's layoff may have delayed his development some, but Bennett has great potential and should be one of the West's best runners by his senior year.