Nowhere in the country is more good football played than in the sprawling Midwest. In describing an area so large—it spreads from Ohio to Colorado, from Oklahoma to the Dakotas—it is impossible to generalize, but the phrases "Midwest" or "Middle West" evoke linemen as big as Kodiak bears and backs with legs like steel girders. These images used to be confined to members of the Big Ten and to Notre Dame. No more. The big change in Midwest football today is that these schools make up only a percentage of the really excellent teams in the region.
This summer, for example, Miami, Bowling Green and Ohio University were designated major football teams by the football writers. The wonder is that the rest of the schools in the Mid-American Conference weren't similarly recognized. Long a favorite of pro scouts, the conference consistently has produced teams that can—and do, when they occasionally slip onto Big Ten schedules—beat their more celebrated neighbors.
In the Big Eight, a conference so long dominated by Oklahoma that it could arouse only ho-hum spectator interest, there suddenly are so many good teams that the race for the conference title may be the most exciting one in the country. Missouri, much the same team that many persons thought deserved the No. 1 rating over Minnesota in 1960, might very well have to struggle to come in fourth, behind Kansas and Colorado and Oklahoma.
This is not to say that the Big Ten teams are no longer any good. With the exception of Indiana and Illinois, all of them, particularly Iowa and Ohio State, have excellent prospects of ending the season at the top.
A land of plenty
Why all this good football in the Midwest? In a sense, it has always been there, as long as there has been inter-scholastic sport. Before other sections of the country had schools large enough to field a football team, there were great town rivalries in the Midwest in which, it often seemed, a community's entire honor was put to the test. The tradition has continued. The quality of high school football in the Midwest, in fact, seems to improve each year. Where colleges once had to go far beyond their state's borders to find enough gifted schoolboys, they need now merely look out the back door and find a flock of them.
Pat Richter, the huge (6 feet 6, 230 pounds) Wisconsin end, is a case in point. He grew up in Madison, home of the University of Wisconsin. Last year he tied the school's record for pass receptions with 25, and this despite an injury that kept him out half the season.
Another is Colorado's All-America Guard Joe Romig, who comes from Lakewood, near Denver. In everything he does, Romig is a purist. A vicious tackier who gives you the impression of being too energetic and too impatient to wait for the next play, he has a single-minded intensity that may bring him recognition this year as the country's best lineman. He is also one of college football's best students, with close to a perfect A average as a physics major.
Ohio State has 225-pound Fullback Bob Ferguson, who came to Columbus from Troy, Ohio, because, as he says, "I liked the way Woody Hayes runs the fullback belly series." Liked seems a mild word. Last year Ferguson gained 853 yards bulling through the line.
Hayes, however, does not capture all the exceptional Ohio football players. He lost out to his downstate friend, Coach Bill Hess of Ohio University, on Tackle Dick Schultz. A high school All-America, Schultz is one good reason why the Athens school has one of the finest defensive lines in the country.
On the Big Ten fringe, Iowa has a quiet-spoken 200-pound quarterback, Wilburn Hollis, who is coveted by all the professional teams. His sleight-of-hand faking and slashing running style are the finest in the conference. An out-of-stater, as are many of Iowa's players, he came from Boys Town, Neb. and, studying to be an interior decorator, he may be the only college football player taking home economics courses.
But probably the best player of all this year in the Midwest is the young man pictured at the left. He is John Hadl, quarterback at Kansas. In a locker room full of prairie-bred players, Hadl's big-muscled body and down-home personality are indistinguishable from the others; on the field, however, he is electrifying.
A throwback to the prewar triple threat, he can do everything that an arm or a leg can possibly do to a football. Syracuse Coach Ben Schwartzwalder has said, "If we had our choice of one player in the country, he would be John Hadl."
Kansas Coach Jack Mitchell felt the same way about Hadl when he recruited him in 1958 (Hadl briefly toyed with the idea of enrolling at Oklahoma, where he had formed close friendships with several players while attending a Fellowship of Christian Athletes conference). "I knew in my heart that I was going to Kansas," says Hadl, "but it was just fun to think of going someplace away from home."
Home is Lawrence. He was born and raised in the shadow of the university, and his parents, Jess Willard and Juanita Hadl, have always been loyal KU partisans. Mrs. Hadl, perhaps the more knowledgeable of the two, frequently uses the jargon of an assistant coach scouting a game. Tom Hedrick, the local sportscaster, recalls that early in John's sophomore year at Lawrence High, Mrs. Hadl baked a pie and brought it to him with the request that while broadcasting the Lawrence games he keep an eye out for John. Hedrick received a pie every week of the season, but after the first game of John's junior year, in which John tore off two splendid runs, Hedrick told Mrs. Hadl, "I like your pies, but from now on I'll be watching John, pie or no pie."
A star is born
Hadl led his high school team to a string of 21 straight victories and was named to high school All-America teams.
The summer before his first college varsity game, Hadl practiced running and kicking day after day with ruthless repetition. That fall, as a halfback, he burst upon college football with a rousing 98-yard touchdown against TCU. The following week came Syracuse and a 97-yard touchdown run. By the end of the season he was the national punting leader with a 45.6-yard average, and his team's leader in every offensive category except passing and rushing—in which he was second.
Mitchell decided to switch Hadl to quarterback. That summer Hadl left off practicing long enough to marry Charneil, the girl he met at Kansas. The honeymoon over, he picked up the football and spent the rest of the summer passing.
By the third game, against Iowa State, he had gained confidence in his passing and was throwing for touchdowns. Against Oklahoma he had an amazing day, passing for 182 yards and, on successive kicks, punting out of bounds on the one-foot line, the five-yard line and the 10-yard line. An awed Bud Wilkinson said, "truly a remarkable athlete." He is, and so are the other stars who will lead midwestern football to one of its finest seasons.
Home-town fans in Bowling Green have grown rich on Doyt Perry's coaching. His six-year record of 45 games won, five lost and four tied is the best in the NCAA. No man to allow his recruiting to slip, cautious Coach Perry is once again deep in talent. Impatiently waiting to step into the starting lineup are 6-foot-6, 250-pound Tackle Bob Reynolds, 210-pound Guard Joe Grant, Sprinter-Halfback Russ Hepner and Fullback Ray Bell. These four will meld smoothly in the hard-hitting attack with the prime returnees: Quarterback Jim Potts (who completed two-thirds of his passes for 662 yards and 7 TDs in 1960), Halfback Don Lisbon (605 yards rushing), specialist sprinter Al Junior (a remarkable 9.2-yard rushing average) and the conference's toughest tackle, Jerry Croft.
CONCLUSION: Hungry birds with insatiable appetites, the Falcons will again terrorize other conference teams.
Under a new coach, Chuck Studley, the Bearcats will be different, but not so different that the casual observer will be aware of the change. Except at two positions, the lineup will be a repeat of last year's and the offense will remain the slot T. But Studley has strong ideas about stopping the other team first, a concept that often eluded past Bearcats. Concentrating on defensive play in practice, Studley promoted Tackle Dave Six and Guard Rufus Simmons to join key Tackle Ken Byers on the starting line. Offensively, the Bearcats work hard for little. In 1960 they averaged 250 yards a game but scored only twice in their last six games. A passer would help the stylish Ed Banks (404 yards rushing) and Fred Oblak (344 yards rushing and 23 receptions), but Quarterback Larry Harp (39 completions for 116 attempts) has got to improve. CONCLUSION: Even with its new-found defense, Cincinnati unhappily retains that familiar look. A passer would be a happy sight.
The Buffaloes are preparing for what they hope will be their first championship in the Big Eight. Coach Sonny Grandelius, when he can see over or around the huge linemen he has surrounding him, gazes fondly on a landscape peopled with swift backs and one of the country's finest passers, Quarterback Gale Weidner, who throws effectively both long and short. The best of the runners in the multiple-T attack are sophomore Halfback Ted Somerville and Halfback Ted Woods, an Olympic sprinter who can really move with a pitchout. The line, solid and strong, is comfortably backed by capable transfers and sophomores, but the latter will find it difficult beating out performers like All-America Guard Joe Romig and All-Big Eight End Jerry Hillebrand, Colorado's most successful receiver (11 receptions for 218 yards in 1960).
CONCLUSION: This team's one weakness is receivers. If the sophomores provide spirited help, the Buffaloes will stampede the enemy.
The Flyers, with a dismal 6-24 record during the past three years, are the nearest thing in college football to an ostrich. Strong enough to provide fine prospects for professional football, they nevertheless are earthbound, and this year it is no different. Tackle Bob DeMarco has followed Jim Katcavage to the pros, and now, too late, beleaguered Coach Stan Zajdel has the backfield that should have played with the departed. There are high-stepping Halfbacks Andy Timura, who gained 470 yards in 1960, and Earl Spivey (420 yards), and two good quarterbacks, Dan Laughlin and Ralph Harper. To aid them there are 215-pound End George Kelly, a fine hand at over-the-middle passes, and three strong-blocking sophomores. Center Bob Donley and Tackles Bob Katcavage, 220 pounds and John Tarnovecky, 230 pounds.
CONCLUSION: A rough schedule and a fledgling line will prove too much of a burden for the potential pros in the backfield.
The Titans did not invent the forward pass, but they sure act as if they did—and for good reason. Coach Jim Miller has the perfect passing package, with Quarterback Jerry Gross (he completed 53% of his passes for 886 yards and six TDs in 1960) throwing to Ends Steve Stone-breaker and Larry Vargo (they caught 42 passes for 724 yards and scored the six TDs). It is fortunate Miller has these men, because Backs Vic Battani and Bill Allen run hard but not well. He is fortunate, too, in having a line that, in this era of two-platoon football, can play offense and defense. This is especially important because Miller hasn't many reserves. Vargo and Stonebreaker, strong defensive players as well as sure-handed receivers, already have been drafted by the pros, along with Center Frank Jackunas.
CONCLUSION: An exciting year looms for Detroit fans, but injuries must take a holiday if the Titans are to equal 1960's 7-2 record.
Fall will be full of days that try Illini souls, but few more than Coach Pete Elliott's. As he said recently, "We will probably have the youngest Big Ten squad since the war." That is only part of his problem. At some positions there is a complete absence of proved talent. This is particularly true in the backfield, where Mel Romani, two years a defensive end, has been installed at quarterback, and Norm Willis, defensively weak, is at right half. The one promising back is sophomore Half Jim Warren, whose great speed afoot may make some forget the floppy passes aloft. The line, however, is uncertain, with sophomore Tackle Bob Cravens (235 pounds) and Guard Dick Deller (208), another sophomore, lining up alongside last year's reserve End Ron O'Neal and Guard Tony Parrilli and Center John Kruze, both regulars.
CONCLUSION: If suffering is a requisite of success, Elliott is due for some bang-up years—in 1962 et seq., but not in '61.
Coach Phil Dickens' trials, like Christian's in Pilgrim's Progress, have just begun. Though the suspension by the NCAA has been lifted, there is no good passer around to lift the team into the air, where it could, conceivably, win a few games. The rest of the backfield, which at times becomes disoriented as it adjusts from the single wing to wing-T offense, is more effective, especially when heavy-hitting backs like 190-pound Mike Lopa (a 5.0-yard rushing average in 1960), Nate Ramsey (4.4) and Don Cromer (4.0) have the ball. Passless Indiana will be stronger than last year in the interior line, with the hard-blocking Jim Haas (239 pounds) at one tackle and rangy Jeff Slabaugh (214) at the other. The ends, Tom Trainer and Bill Olsavsky, improve the receiving but fall short of last year's strong defensive ends.
CONCLUSION: It is going to take more than Indiana's single-minded offense to fill that big, new stadium at Bloomington.
Forest Evashevski has retired, and there are those who fear the golden age of Iowa football has gone with him. The burial notices seem premature. New Coach Jerry Burns, Evashevski's former assistant and an ardent recruiter with a sound football mind, inherited a ready-made squad with only three vacancies to fill on the starting 11. At least one will go to a sophomore tackle, either 235-pound Gus Kasapis or 255-pound John Sunseri. Junior Earl McQuiston or senior Bill DiCindio moves in at guard, and senior Bernie Wyatt takes over at halfback. The backfield, led by Quarterback Wilburn Hollis who, in addition to passing, ran for 477 yards last year and scored 68 points, remains almost intact, with Halfback Larry Ferguson (665 yards rushing in 1960) and Fullback Joe Williams (393 yards) doing the heavy work.
CONCLUSION: The succession is safe. With the implacability of emperors, the Hawkeyes move toward another Big Ten title.
The good little men of Iowa State have held their own in the Big Eight the last few years. Even so, Coach Clay Stapleton would like a margin of heft to work on, and Cyclone Boosters are cooperating by donating beefs and sows to the training table. This should please the bigger boys Stapleton is maneuvering into the lineup. Where last year the heaviest men weighed just over 200 pounds, this season Stapleton will have Tackles Don Anderson (224) and Dick Walton (215) and Guard Dan Celoni (210). They should balance neatly with the leftover ectomorphs, particularly Center John Spelman (177), Wingback J. W. Burden (163) and Tailback Dave Hoppmann who make the Cyclones' single wing go with quick, darting rushes. But Stapleton is still searching for a hard-hitting fullback or two.
CONCLUSION: Minus a power runner and any kind of passing, State will drop to the lower half of the Big Eight standings.
After learning that Kansas was rated No. 2 in the nation, Coach Jack Mitchell said, "That's nice—not very realistic but nice. It does give the boys something to shoot for, like a kid daydreaming of owning a candy store, but it can be disappointing when that kid wakes up." Mitchell might have been more confident had not high-stepping Halfback Bert Coan broken his leg in spring practice. Without Coan the Jayhawkers lack true breakaway speed. They must look to the power rushes of 215-pound sophomore Fullback Ken Coleman and, perhaps too frequently, the all-round versatility of Quarterback John Hadl, who completed half his passes in 1960, ran 375 yards and had a 40.5-yard punting average. The good line, quick, scrappy and low-slung, is led by Guards Benny Boydston and Elvin Basham and Tackle Larry Lousch.
CONCLUSION: The Jayhawkers are still the favorites to win the Big Eight title, but an injury to another back could leave them limping.
They call them Wildcats, but tabby cats might be a more apt eponym for this team which failed to win a single conference game in 1960. State averaged less than 100 yards rushing and was outgained on the ground 3,132 to 918 yards. It is no comfort to Coach Doug Weaver that 21 lettermen return. The weaknesses remain. The present backfield is only ordinarily fast, it has little power and the passing will be uncertain unless harassed junior Quarterback Phil Barger is able to show a quick arm in the face of a fast charge. All hope for a respectable showing depends on the hasty development of sophomores—Guard Bob Noblitt. Quarterback Ralph McFillen and End Carl Brown—and the recovery of junior Fullback Bill Gallagher, who gained 117 yards in the one game he was able to play last year.
CONCLUSION: The Wildcats will once again slink back to their den at the bottom of the Big Eight, providing solace only to other teams.
The only trouble with the Mid-American Conference is that there is no room at the top, and Coach Trevor Rees's Golden Flashes will only complicate matters. With eye-catching sophomores Fullback Santo Pino (195 pounds), Tackle Dick Louis (230) and Guard Mike Kennedy (205) joining 23 lettermen, Kent is as much of a contender as any other team. For once, numbers will be no problem; there are eight capable halfbacks and three vigorous fullbacks to carry out the running assignments in the multiple attack. At quarterback there is Jim Flynn, who last year accounted for 722 yards in total offense. Rees would like more mobility in the line but is satisfied that Guards Bob Alford and Jim Lee, Tackle Art Youngblood and Center Ron Sense (220) will discourage quarterbacks from running over State.
CONCLUSION: The Flashes have too many players, a fact which may force Rees to experiment while finding the right combination.
The Big Green is neither big nor green. With 20 lettermen back, Coach Charlie Snyder is able to field a lineup of experienced players, but this may be a mixed blessing. The holdover linemen lack the size to cope with the big muscular lines that seem to be standard in the Mid-American. Snyder plans to shuffle the lineup, working in 240-pound sophomore Tackle Mike Hicks, switching 205-pound End Dennie Skeens to tackle and replacing him with Halfback Mal Price. But this then puts two men in strange blocking positions and will hamper the offense. Having scored fewer than six points a game in 1960, the backfield of Millard Fleming and Jasper Wright at halfback, Dixon Edwards at fullback and Ralph May or Dick Filmore at quarterback is bound to suffer when the line begins to rock back on its heels.
CONCLUSION: Coach Snyder's teams, though undermanned, are sticky defenders; still Marshall seems glued to its 1960 record.
The Redskins, Mid-American champions six times, are accustomed to the view from the top, but this season they will have to do their sightseeing from a less exalted position. This is not to say that Coach John Pont has assembled a displeasing team. On the contrary, the Miamians are big and strong and at times handle themselves skillfully, but skimpy reserves and two ineffectual first-team men inhibit their chances. Two who do not are 255-pound Tackles Paul Watters and Tom Nomina. Unfortunately, the multiple offense will be multiple only in its choice of ball carriers since Quarterback Vic Ippolito can do everything well but pass, and he is further limited by poor receivers. Fullback Tom Triplett, the team's most capable receiver, is too busy rushing (536 yards in 1960) to be spared for pass-catching chores.
CONCLUSION: Cradle of big-time coaches, Miami will play its usual smart game, only in the middle of the conference, not at the top.
The Wolverines' Big Ten title chances may have been done in by a baseball bat—End Bill Freehan's, to be specific. A heavy hitter as well as an All-America prospect, Freehan forsook football for the Detroit Tigers and a fat bonus. His departure leaves Bump Elliott with another hole in his line, which is porous everywhere except at Captain George Mans's end position and at right tackle, where the Big Ten's best, 235-pound Jon Schopf, returns. However, Elliott, who keeps a busy bench, has experienced reserves in Center Todd Grant (230 pounds), Tackle John Houtman (235) and Guard Lee Hall (220). In the strong backfield there is speed and passing, and Halfbacks Dave Raimey and Ben McRae, a hurdler in the off season, may be a step ahead of any other set of backs in the conference.
CONCLUSION: Michigan begins the season a stride behind Iowa but Elliott's imaginative coaching could put the Wolverines ahead.
Coach Duffy Daugherty literally had the Spartans in chains this summer. His players wore weighted bracelets around their ankles and wrists. The theory was that when their fetters were removed the players would be stronger and their movements quicker. Result? Men who weren't fast before still aren't. This is the only drawback to an otherwise typical Daugherty team. With 26 lettermen back, only two sophomores will break into the offensive and defensive platoons, 6-foot-4, 220-pound End Matt Snorton and 175-pound Linebacker Charley Migyanka. Strictly a ball-control team, the Spartans will have Gary Ballman (a 5.7-yard rushing average in 1960), Carl Charon (5.6) and Ron Hatcher (6.1) pounding up dust behind 212-pound End Art Brandstatter, Tackle Jim Bobbitt (235) and Guard Ed Budde (240).
CONCLUSION: With its rumbling runners, State could be good if Quarterback Pete Smith proves a capable passer.
The Biblical prophecy is seven lean years followed by seven fat. Coach Murray Warmath, however, struggled through only six harsh years before winning the conference championship. He may have triumphed too early—there shall be no fulfillment in 1961 for this solid but hardly exciting team. It is, in fact, the Gophers' lack of dash and daring that will reduce them prematurely to hard days. Heavy-legged Halfbacks Bill Munsey (196 pounds), Dave Mulholland (192) and Judge Dickson (210) can virtually guarantee three yards a try, but that means a kick on fourth down, and Quarterback Sandy Stephens, although a stirring runner, further limits the split-T with his sprayed passes. Warmath does have the usual ponderous Minnesota line, although this year, led by Tackle Bob Bell, it is a step faster than usual.
CONCLUSION: Warmath's best hope is a softer first-half schedule which may give him a chance to look around for new means to win.
The five top halfbacks who made Coach Dan Devine's power sweeps work so well last year have all gone, and with them five more starters from the Orange Bowl team. Mizzou will not go into eclipse as a result, but it is bound to be a place or two lower in the conference standings at season's end. The line again is strong, with all-conference Guard Paul Henley and Tackle Ed Blaine joined by an outstanding defensive end, 6-foot-3, 204-pound Con Hitchler. If 220-pound Tackle Bill Wegener is recovered from an injury that kept him out last season, the defense will be even better. Quarterback Ron Taylor will direct the wing T. He still has the option of pitching out to swift Halfbacks Norm Beal and Bill Tobin but now can also hand off to a line-gutting fullback, Andy Russell.
CONCLUSION: By midseason the thin halfback corps will be done in by the frantic pace of the sweeps—and so will MU's title chances.
Coach Bill Jennings always has problems, yet his team often upsets the favorites: Army, Texas and Oklahoma were the victims in 1960. "This season," says Jennings, "we're in the same position as a baseball team trying to tighten up the middle. This small task includes finding a center, quarterback and fullback, the vitals of the wing T." The quarterback will probably be sophomore Dennis Claridge, who will oust lettermen John Faiman and Ron Meade, who between them completed only 12 passes last year. After two years as a reserve Mick Tingelhoff moves in to make the center snap and, if he has recovered sufficiently from a knee operation, Noel Martin will be the fullback. This will free Nebraska's wild-horse runner with the wild-horse name, Thunder Thornton, to return to the halfback spot.
CONCLUSION: A bigger line and a freer-wheeling Thornton will make some Big Eight contenders wish they hadn't heard of Nebraska.
Coach Ara Parseghian has grown accustomed to disappointment. For three straight years his Wildcats, off to fast starts, faltered in mid-season when injuries exposed the team for what it was—brilliant but seriously undermanned. Now he must rebuild with only four returning starters, Halfback Al Kimbrough, defensive strongman Larry Onesti and two fine tackles, 250-pound Fate Echols and 227-pound Boyd Melvin. Fortunately, the resourceful Parseghian will be able to fill all but one position with game-tested men. Guards Chuck Urbanic, Jack Cvercko and Burt Petkus move into the starting lineup to insure Northwestern a tough middle, especially when defending. But the offense may not fare as well, with only Kimbrough and Quarterback Bob Eickoff capable of driving the wing T with flair.
CONCLUSION: Not strong enough to get ahead of the challengers, with good coaching the Wildcats will manage a .500 season.
For the first time in Joe Kuharich's three years at Notre Dame, the only thing green about his team will be the uniforms it wears. Properly hardened by several seasons of adversity, the Irish are ready to march through a traditionally tough schedule to national rating. The team's depth—there are at least two experienced men at each line position—should guarantee a good season even if injuries are frequent, as they have been in the past. Guards Norb Roy and Nick Buoniconti and Center Tom Hecomovich provide a really hard core in the line, but the men who are going to make Kuharich's straight-T offense work are Halfback Paul Costa (230 pounds) and Fullback Jim Snow-den (235 pounds) and Quarterback Daryle Lamonica passing in the flat to truly fast Halfbacks George Sefcik and Angelo Dabiero.
CONCLUSION: The Irish lost four games by a touchdown, once by a point. They shudder at the thought, and so should their opponents.
After three years in Athens Coach Bill Hess has developed his lines of supply and there will be no slackening off by the Bobcats, who last year won their first championship. To compensate for the loss of last year's entire backfield, Hess has in Tackles Chuck Nickoson (265 pounds) and Ted Stute (225) and Guards Dick Schultz (235) and Allen Miller (219) some of the nation's best defensive linemen. There will be a good new backfield, too, led by Quarterback Roger Merb, who, during a brief trial last season, demonstrated a flair for the dramatic. A good ball handler, he completed only seven passes, but three of those were for touchdowns. Complementing him in an opened-up offense will be Fullback Harl Evans, a linebacker who as a substitute in 1960 compiled a 5.5-yard rushing average.
CONCLUSION: Ohio, battling to keep the title, will be on even terms with at least three other teams. This may be one too many.
Woody Hayes is said to resist change as diligently as a Tory at a Birch Society meeting. That is only partly true. While his huge, graceless teams seem like throwbacks to the cloud-of-dusters of pre-World War II days, they also throw the ball (50% pass completions, 814 yards in 1960) and take off on an uncommon number of dangerous end sweeps. The Buckeye T requires the quarterback to run with the power of a fullback and the grace of a scatback as well as pass. Tom Matte, who did all three superbly last year, is gone, but Hayes has converted two fullbacks, John Mummey and Bill Mrukowski, to quarter, and while they learn should give work at last to Halfbacks Bob Klein and Ed Ulmer (they carried 30 times last year), and to Fullback Bob Ferguson (he carried 160 times for 853 yards and 13 TDs in 1960).
CONCLUSION: Perfectionist Hayes's teams seldom make mistakes. Their ungiving defense will keep them up among the leaders.
Fast backs and a mean, ungiving defense were the Sooner trademark during 14 years as Big Eight champions. In 1960 the line melted, the runners slowed and the result was disaster. Prideful Oklahoma has no intention of repeating that dismal season. Coach Bud Wilkinson has gathered about him a line that can rout runners and spill passers with all the oldtime arrogance—linemen like Guard Karl Milstead, Tackle Bill White and Center John Tatum. Unfortunately, there is only Halfback Mike McClellan, who scored five touchdowns in 1960—and perhaps the promising sophomore Quarterback Bill Van Burkleo—to move the split-T to the choppy, rapid-fire gains of yore. The other backs, Fullback Phil Lohmann and sophomore Halfback John Smith, owe their team positions to their sharp defensive skills.
CONCLUSION: It is hard to imagine Wilkinson having two bad seasons in a row. He won't, but 1961 won't bring a title either.
Any resemblance to last year's Cowboys will be purely accidental. Coach Cliff Speegle didn't just putter with the team; he grabbed it by its long-heeled boots and shook a new look into it. The offense will be a wing T, three players will switch positions and four sophomores will be in the starting lineup. One of them, sprinter Ray Wesley, will play at one half opposite 1960 Fullback Jim Dillard. This gives the team the flank attacking speed it lacked last season. To improve his passing, Speegle installed towering (6 feet 5) sophomore Bill Leming at quarterback and provided him with sturdy protection in the form of another sophomore, Fullback Bill McFarland, and a good line headed by 245-pound Tackle Frank Parker, Center Billy York, sophomore Guard Mike Upton and Guard Gary Cutsinger, converted from tackle.
CONCLUSION: The offense is exciting, but with sophomores and lettermen changing positions, the defense has a Marx Brothers look.
Seldom the titlists but always good, the Spoilermakers should enjoy another fine year boffing the unsuspecting leaders in the toughest of all conferences while losing to the also-rans. That artful and underpublicized coach Jack Mollenkopf must patch and putty a lineup which lost much of last year's potency, but he is an old hand at this sort of thing. He'll use tough-tackling Guard-Linebacker Stan Sczurek to anchor a line that includes three rangy, mobile players: Ends Jack Elwell and Forest Farmer and Tackle Don Brumm. Upperclassmen will start the season at all backfield positions except quarterback, where Ron DiGravio shows great promise as a passer. However, Halfbacks Tom Bloom and Dave Miller and Fullback Tom Yakubowski may end up sharing duties with sophomores.
CONCLUSION: This season will challenge Mollenkopf's ingenuity but, blessed with a gifted passer, he should snag his usual upsets.
Last year, Coach Clive Rush's first at Toledo, was not successful. But Rush rekindled interest in football, and this season 71 men turned out for practice, among them some exciting sophomores in the backfield. Two of the best are Quarterbacks Phil Yenrick and Ron Allan. They throw far enough and run fast enough to insure ample leadership for the split-T. Others are Halfbacks John Hebert, Jim Burnett and Jim Van Deilen, who have good getaway speed and can turn the ends. The only upperclassman who is safe from the sophomore incursion is Fullback Frank Baker, Toledo's best ball carrier. The weakness in the team is the defense. Last season opponents averaged 21 points against Toledo. With no shiny new sophomores to help out, the team will have to rely on the players who couldn't hold off the enemy last year.
CONCLUSION: There's more to work with at Toledo, but the talent is all young. This will be a learning year.
The head coaching job at Tulsa is a family affair, and after Bobby Dobbs moved on to the Canadian pros, it looked like it could produce a family squabble. Most of the 1960 Tulsans had graduated, and Brother Glenn, in taking over, was faced with a grim first year. He moved quickly though, gathered in nine junior college players and 11 transfers from Denver, which last year gave up football. Among them was bullet-passing Quarterback Ramiro Escandon, the country's 12th ranked passer. As might be expected with so many new faces, the Hurricane lineups will switch from week to week. The pro T offense should make use of fast-faking Halfback Bob McGoffin and last year's leading ground-gainer, Fullback Dave White, and Passer Escandon will have End Jim Furlong, the team's leading receiver, to throw to.
CONCLUSION: Denver's football demise proved Glenn Dobbs's good fortune. He should improve on Brother Bobby's record.
Except for one man, Western Michigan will be no place for ambitious sophomores this fall. Indeed, Coach Merle Schlosser has lively expectations of winning his first Mid-American title, and the reasons are two: a defensive team and an offensive team. The one sophomore, Tackle Jim DePoy, will be able to insinuate his huge (6 feet 4, 255 pounds) frame into the lineup. A craggy line, averaging 220 pounds, will be led by All-America Tackle John Lomakoski to give the Broncos a near perfect defense against rushing plays, while the strong middle line of Guards Ken Reasor (220 pounds), Pat Emerick (235) and Center Mike Snodgrass (210) should easily clear a path for power Backs Bob White and Alex Forge. For long-gaining plays in the T offense, the Broncos look to strong-arm Quarterback Ed Chlebek.
CONCLUSION: Mid-American competition is fierce but the hard-hitting Broncos have as good a chance as any to break out on top.
Hank Foldberg set a dangerous precedent in his first year as head coach of Wichita. He won the Missouri Valley Conference title, the first time a Shocker team has managed this feat in six years. But Foldberg has no dynastic illusions. He is minus 16 lettermen from last year's squad, six of them starters who were the sum and substance of his success. Now he will play a makeshift lineup as he sorts out his sophomores. Defensively, the flanks, handled by Jim Maddox and Ron Turner, seem in good hands. So are the tackles, played by Jerry Crain and Bill Seigle. The slow middle, however, is worrisome. Better is the backfield, quarterbacked by Alex Zyskowski and flavored by the handy ways of Halfback Bill Stangarone, who caught 14 passes in 1960, completed two for two, punted for a 51.5 average and scored 26 points. CONCLUSION: The Shockers should live up to their name, particularly if they reach the second half of their moderate schedule healthy.
It is rumored that Coach Milt Bruhn has gotten the message. He took a heavy, frighteningly large team to the Rose Bowl two years ago, and its slaughter by slighter, lighter and faster Washington was pitiable. Now Bruhn has speed in the persons of three fine sophomore halfbacks, Bill Smith (160 pounds), Jim Nettles (165) and Lou Holland (177)—obviously all recruited after the Bowl defeat. The entire offensive thinking has broadened; where once the pass was used only to open up the running, it is now the big tactic. Last year, with Quarterback Ron Miller completing 97 of 188 passes and 6-foot-6 End Pat Richter catching 25 passes in six games, Wisconsin gained almost twice as many yards passing as running. The line is smaller now, but there is still some of the old-fashioned bulk in 231-pound Brian Moore.
CONCLUSION: The passing is superb, the pass defense bad. If it improves, Wisconsin may be testing its new theories in the Rose Bowl.
For a year Coach Ed Doherty, an imaginative man, played football straight. But the orthodoxy wounded his southwestern razzle-dazzle heart (evident when he coached at Arizona), and this year Doherty is back in form with a hybrid offense—a cross of the Lonesome End with the wing T and an added man in motion. This formation, says Doherty, will give quick-cutting Backs Tom Clark and Don Stupica more running room without destroying the passing effectiveness of Quarterback Irv Etler. To back the offense is a defense which last year figured in five of the 16 touchdowns scored by Xavier. John Nelson, a 227-pound one-man gang, led all college linemen in 1960 in interceptions (five) and his team in recovered fumbles (five) and blocked passes (six). He also blocked a punt for a safety.
CONCLUSION: If the hybrid offense should flop, Doherty still has a stout line and the clever Nelson to fall back on.