Skip to main content
Publish date:



HERMAN HICKMAN SAYS: Out in this high country, large cities and high school football players are a scarce commodity. Nonetheless, through judicial use of lean homegrown talent and "foreign" importations, the caliber of football is at a new peak. Perhaps the presence of the new Air Force Academy, whose avowed intent is to have an outstanding football team, has had something to do with this upsurge. Incidentally, this coming season is one in which they will provide nonconference opposition for Skyline teams, having graduated from the freshman and Rocky Mountain Conference competition of their first two seasons. They now have only three classes but are growing increasingly tougher.

Utah is admittedly the team to beat in 1957. The veteran Coach Jack Curtice, never static in his offensive formations and maneuvers, will be aided and abetted this fall by an experienced backfield with speed to burn. Word is that the passing attack will be also much improved. There is experience too in the line, but depth is lacking here. An intersectional date with Army at West Point on Nov. 16 is the high point of the Utes' schedule.

Bob Devaney, fresh from the Michigan State coaching staff, has succeeded Phil Dickens at Wyoming. He has scrapped the Tennessee single wing, which had become traditional during the reigns of Bowden Wyatt and Dickens—and last year carried the team to an undefeated season—and has installed the multiple offense. If Larry Zowada, a senior quarterback, stays healthy, hopes for another winning team are high.

A bigger, heavier line is in prospect for Denver, but inexperience is the major problem, with only 10 lettermen returning. If the Pioneers can get by their early-season games they should be a contender for the title.

My old Yale line coach, Hal Kopp, at Brigham Young should have the most improved team in the conference. With 21 lettermen returning and an undefeated freshman team coming up, Kopp's second year at BYU should be a pleasant one. Carroll Johnston at quarterback is considered by many as the top passer in the conference.

Colorado State University, formerly Colorado A&M, had a disappointing 1956 season and will have to rely heavily on new men for the coming campaign. But these new men are of high caliber, including both the rising sophomores and junior college transfers. The Aggies may not be a contender but they are capable of beating any team in the conference on a given Saturday.

At Utah State it is definitely a rebuilding year. Gone are speedy Jack Hill and many of his backfield compatriots. The line, too, suffered heavy losses, and only at the ends is there any worthwhile experience.

Lack of experience, mainly in the backfield, will also be the chief handicap at New Mexico, but this could be partially overcome by added depth and speed.

Provo, Utah

COLORS: Blue and white
1956 RECORD: Won 2, lost 7, tied 1
WATCH FOR: A sharp passing attack led by Quarterback Carroll Johnston

THE DOPE: The Cougars have for so long led a hand-to-mouth existence in the conference slums that it is hard to believe they are about to enter an era of relative prosperity. Yet, such may be the case; '57 is the year they should reach the subsistence-level victory diet. By '58 they may have a chicken in the pot and two cars in the garage. Coach Harold Kopp regards his bumper crop of sophomores as among the best in the league and thinks that along toward the end of the season they may attain a certain ruggedness. Among his small band of returnees is Quarterback Carroll Johnston, a fine passer last year, so Kopp expects to attack mainly from the air. Johnston has two good ends to pass to, Tom Clark and Paul Caldwell, as well as some sticky-fingered halfbacks. The halfbacks, indeed, seem to be the Cats' deepest spots: Burt Bullock is the best receiver; Raynor Pearce, an explosive runner, and Larry Regis averaged 4.2 yards per carry last year. Kopp has done some experimenting to fill the reserve fullback posts behind Steve Campora, who was the hepest of the Cats last year with a 7.6 average per carry. The line will be good-sized and deep, with perhaps only one senior starter.

1957 SCHEDULE (1956 score):

SEPT. 21 at Arizona, N (no game)
SEPT. 28 at Kansas State (no game)
OCT. 4 Montana, N (14-21)
OCT. 12 at Utah, N (6-41)
OCT. 19 at Wyoming (6-7)
OCT. 26 Denver (34-58)
NOV. 2 Utah State (7-33)
NOV. 9 at Fresno State N (13-26)
NOV. 23 Colorado State (0-0)
NOV. 30 at New Mexico (33-12)

Fort Collins, Colo.

COLORS: Green and gold
1956 RECORD: Won 2, lost 7, tied 1
WATCH FOR: A more wide-open attack, starring a group of speedy halfbacks

THE DOPE: The Aggies suffered fairly heavy graduation losses from last year's inept squad, so the word from Fort Collins is hardly a cheerful one. Coach Don Mullison does see a chance to open up his offense a bit this year, for his pachydermic halfbacks have all graduated and he has a group of little speedsters to replace them. They include Bill Drake, the only letter-man of the lot, and some sophomores and transfers, including Mark White, who looked good in spring drills; Fred Delgadillo; Bill Potocnic; Wayne Schneider and Frank Gupton, last year's flashiest freshman. The only letterman fullback is Doc Lofton, and he, too, unfortunately is a little feller. No experienced quarterback returns, but four young unknown quantities are fighting for the position. The job will probably go to Freddy Glick, a halfback last year. There is more experience in the line: four lettermen tackles, four guards, a couple of ends and a center. But most of these were only reserves last year. A little more depth up front and the line might be a force to be reckoned with. But that backfield looks like second-division material, although it may develop nicely after a year of experience.

1957 SCHEDULE (1956 score):

SEPT. 28 New Mexico, N (28-27)
OCT. 5 Denver, N (13-39)
OCT. 12 at Wyoming (12-20)
OCT. 19 at Drake (no game)
OCT. 26 Utah State (7-46)
NOV. 2 at Utah (27-49)
NOV. 9 Colorado (7-47)
NOV. 16 at Montana (34-20)
NOV. 23 at Brigham Young (0-0)
NOV. 30 at Air Force Academy (no game)


COLORS: Crimson and gold
1956 RECORD: Won 6, lost 4
WATCH FOR: A profusion of fast, powerful halfbacks, good passing

THE DOPE: The Pioneers will probably not win the Skyline championship, but they may come close. The backfield, particularly at quarterback and the halfbacks, appears to be well-manned. The team's problem, according to Coach John Roning, is lack of depth and defensive skill in the line. The offense, however, should be able to make up most of the ground lost on defense. Roning has, for example, a wide choice at halfback. For power he can use George Colbert and Melvin Johnson, for speed he can go to sophomore Paul Collins and Chuck Mulliner. In between there are Eloy Mares and Jim Epperson. All are good defensively, and the corps as a whole has fine passing potential. Quarterbacks Al Yanowich and Don McCall can also throw the ball as well as call plays with astuteness. Fullback is the one backfield weak spot with no experienced men available; Dave Thoel will probably get the call, with Leo Guest and Gerald Blanks to back him up. There are plenty of ends available, but they are of dubious quality offensively. Five lettermen have left the tackle group, and this is the spot giving Roning the most worry. The top centers of last year, Bob Garrard and Pat Cunningham, will return.

1957 SCHEDULE (1956 score):

SEPT. 21 at Iowa State (10-13)
SEPT. 28 San Jose State, N (35-26)
OCT. 5 at Colorado State, N (39-13)
OCT. 12 at Montana (22-13)
OCT. 19 Utah (13-27)
OCT. 26 at Brigham Young (58-34)
NOV. 2 at New Mexico (20-14)
NOV. 9 Air Force Academy (no game)
NOV. 16 Utah State (13-18)
NOV. 28 Wyoming (0-27)

Missoula, Mont.

COLORS: Copper, silver and gold
BASIC OFFENSE: Winged spread
1956 RECORD: Won 1, lost 9
WATCH FOR: A pass-minded team featuring a new offensive system

THE DOPE: The Grizzlies used so many youthful sophomores last year that Dornblaser Field sometimes looked like a playground. It also looked a little like a used battlefield as the havoc wreaked by nine opponents was cleared away. Coach Jerry Williams hopes that his boys have grown into men as a result of all this carnage, and there seems to be reason to hope for some modest improvement in the team's performance. The rest of the conference, however, is stronger than it was in 1956, so, barring a miracle, it looks as if the Grizzlies will again hibernate in the conference cellar. The backfield should, on the whole, be faster than it was last year, and Williams has no less than four quarterbacks who can pass adequately. Roy Bray is probably the best of the lot. Little Jerry Conners, a wing-back, is the speed merchant, while Fullback Tank Rosera and Right Half Matt Gorsich are both bullish boys and will probably round out the starting foursome. Seven lettermen have been lost in the line, the star of which will undoubtedly be Stan (The Ram) Renning, right guard. Ends Terry Hurley and Pete Rhinehart, both excellent receivers, will bolster the passing attack on which Williams counts heavily.

1957 SCHEDULE (1956 score):

SEPT. 21 at Utah, N (6-26)
SEPT. 28 Wyoming at Billings (13-34)
OCT. 4 at Brigham Young, N (21-14)
OCT. 12 Denver (13-22)
OCT. 19 at Utah State (13-27)
OCT. 26 New Mexico (13-14)
NOV. 2 at Idaho (0-14)
NOV. 9 at Montana State (14-33)
NOV. 16 Colorado State (20-34)


COLORS: Cherry and silver
1956 RECORD: Won 4, lost 6
WATCH FOR: Speedy Halfback Lynn White, powerful Fullback Phil Spear

THE DOPE: The Lobos have the commendably modest ambition of rising a notch or two in the conference this year. They are the pluck-and-luck boys of the league, patiently grubbing their way toward the No. 1 spot. With a goodly number of lettermen back and Coach Dick Clausen's system firmly installed, they may just realize their hopes. Nothing flashy, mind you, but they will play good, solid, middle-class football. Clausen, for a change, has a fairly deep squad, with the second unit only a shade less efficient than the first. The team, as a whole, is heavier and this should pay off in improved defense. The center of the line is particularly eye-catching, with Guards Glen Hakes and Jerry Nesbitt, Center Andy Morales and Tackle Wayne Gares the big men. Quick little Lynn White gives the backfield speed, while Fullback Phil Spear gives it power. The major problem is at quarterback. Senior Joe Gale will start, but he was not a regular last year. His replacement will be a callow sophomore, Chuck Roberts, who has potential but is unproved. All in all, if the quarterbacks pick up a smattering of sophistication, the Lobo offense should be a little more potent than it was last year.

1957 SCHEDULE (1956 Score):

SEPT. 21 New Mexico A&M, N (14-6)
SEPT. 28 at Colorado State, N (27-28)
OCT. 5 Texas Western, N (0-34)
OCT. 12 at Utah State (27-19)
OCT. 19 at Arizona, N (12-26)
OCT. 26 at Montana (14-13)
NOV. 2 Denver (14-20)
NOV. 16 Wyoming (13-20)
NOV. 23 at Air Force Academy (no game)
NOV. 30 Brigham Young (12-23)

Salt Lake City

COLORS: Crimson and white
1956 RECORD: Won 5, lost 5
WATCH FOR: More speed, more passing and a more versatile running attack

THE DOPE: The Utes are everybody's favorites to return to the Skyline Conference championship after a year's absence. This is by no means an unwarranted assumption, even though the conference as a whole has improved and the Utes have a tough non-league schedule. It is the backfield which Coach Jack Curtice contemplates with the most pleasure. It has depth, speed and versatility. At least two deep at every backfield position, the Redskins' top man looks to be Fullback Merrill Douglas, last year's leading ground-gainer. There are so many good men and true at the other backfield positions that it is impossible to determine who will be the standouts. Curtice puckishly claims the line is thin. He has, however, two well-seasoned ends and three others who won letters. Last year's regular tackles are back, along with two other lettermen and two good sophomores. Co-captain Bob Lee is back at guard with three other lettermen, and there are two lettermen centers to fill the gap left by Roger Butler, who has had to retire prematurely because of a shoulder injury. In short, the Utes are fast, rugged, tricky and deep, deep, deep. With such plenitude Curtice will be the Casey Stengel of the Rocky Mountains.

1957 SCHEDULE (1956 score):

SEPT. 21 Montana, N (26-6)
SEPT. 28 at Colorado (7-21)
OCT. 5 Idaho at Boise (21-27)
OCT. 12 Brigham Young, N (41-6)
OCT. 19 at Denver (27-13)
OCT. 26 Wyoming (20-30)
NOV. 2 Colorado State (49-27)
NOV. 9 at Army (no game)
NOV. 16 Air Force Academy (no game)
NOV. 28 Utah State (29-7)

Logan, Utah

COLORS: Blue and white
1956 RECORD: Won 6, lost 4
WATCH FOR: The strong passing of Bob Winters, a weak running attack

THE DOPE: The Aggies, after rising to the dizzying heights of third place last year, have had it. Coach Ev Faunce puts it this way: "We lost too much by graduation to be classified as a contender." Gone is the entire starting backfield, with the exception of all-conference Quarterback Bob Winters. Particularly lacking is breakaway speed and good backfield blocking. So, with most of the end corps returning and with Winters to throw to them, it looks like the airways will be the favored Aggie attacking medium. In an attempt to bolster the running game, Faunce has shifted reserve Quarterback Will Souza to halfback where there are absolutely no lettermen returning. Strong Bob Steinke is the only letterman tackle. Gary Lund, a sophomore flash in 1955, is back to help at guard, and letterman Center Dino Anast has been shifted to guard. Guard Ken Benson takes over Anast's center position. It is obvious from all this that Faunce has been busy with hairpins and chewing gum, trying to patch together a team. He has a number of good sophomores who will ripen in a year or two, but unless they bloom suddenly the Aggies will indeed have to be lucky to finish above fifth this year.

1957 SCHEDULE (1956 score):

SEPT. 14 Hawaii, N (no game)
SEPT. 28 at Iowa (no game)
OCT. 55 at Wyoming (0-21)
OCT. 12 New Mexico (19-27)
OCT. 19 Montana (27-13)
OCT. 26 at Colorado State (46-7)
NOV. 2 at Brigham Young (33-7)
NOV. 9 Idaho (20-42)
NOV. 16 at Denver (18-13)
NOV. 28 at Utah (7-29)

Laramie, Wyo.

COLORS: Brown and yellow
BASIC OFFENSE: Multiple, unbalanced line
1956 RECORD: Won 10, lost none
WATCH FOR: A new offense sparked by the passing of Quarterback Larry Zowada

THE DOPE: The Cowboys, of course, can't be expected to do any better than they did last year and there is every reason to suppose they will not do as well, although they will certainly be among the conference top three. New Coach Bob Devaney is busily installing a new offensive system to replace Phil Dickens' single wing. He has a number of apt pupils, but thinks, on the whole, that the team lacks speed, depth and size. At quarterback Larry Zowada, one of the nation's top passers, is returning. At center, second-stringer Warren Benson is best defensively but must yield to Larry Yonkee on offense. There are only two lettermen ends, neither of whom show particular skill at hanging on to a pass. Newcomers tend to be small and slow here. The rest of the line, particularly at tackle, shapes up well, however, and the backfield, with hard-running Greg Maushart at fullback; 1953 letterman Harold Farmer at right half—he's small, but quick; and either of two top sophomores, Bob Sawyer, a breakaway artist, or Bob Hankins, look good. All this is by no means gloomy reading, and the Cowboys will certainly be contenders, although they will have to struggle fiercely to win the championship.

1957 SCHEDULE (1956 score):

SEPT. 21 Kansas State (27-15)
SEPT. 28 Montana at Billings (34-13)
OCT. 5 Utah State (21-0)
OCT. 12 Colorado State (20-12)
OCT. 19 Brigham Young (7-6)
OCT. 26 at Utah (30-20)
NOV. 2 Air Force Academy (no game)
NOV. 9 at Oklahoma State (no game)
NOV. 16 at New Mexico (20-13)
NOV. 28 at Denver (27-0)