Alabama is the best team in the country largely because of its tough defense. The team allowed only 22 points in 10 games, the last five of which were shutouts. Coach Paul (Bear) Bryant, like Murray Warmath of Minnesota, stresses position football. Faced with fourth down and a yard to go on the Arkansas 40-yard line, Alabama is almost certain to punt, confident of containing Arkansas and taking over again inside midfield. The Alabama defense is smart and quick. It generally lines up in an eight-man front with three men back, although Linebackers Darwin Holt and Lee Roy Jordan, two good ones, will often move back at the last moment. Alabama is especially rough on running attacks, having given up an average of only 45 yards a game. Coach Bryant's offense is very basic. Fullback Mike Fracchia hammers at the line, and Quarterback Pat Trammell (handing off, below) often fakes to Fracchia and keeps. Alabama's favorite pass is the whoopee: a halfback glides through the line, and Trammell sort of under-hands the ball to him. When Billy Richardson is at fullback, be prepared for a quick kick. At Alabama, that's considered an offensive move.
Arkansas Coach Frank Broyles has what he calls a "battle plan" for Alabama, but if he has his way no one will find out about it until New Year's Day. Chances are it will involve passing and more passing, for if Alabama is to be beaten, it must be through the air. Quarterback George McKinley will be trying to hit End Jimmy Collier and Halfback Lance Alworth with his passes, especially Alworth, who can do a pretty dance if he's given the ball and a little room. Arkansas uses the wing T almost exclusively, but occasionally flanks Alworth on pass plays to take advantage of his speed. When not flanked, Alworth sweeps off tackle a lot, as does Halfback Paul Dudley. The quarterback sprint-out with the option to pass or lateral has been the most consistent gainer this season, but against Alabama's line, the play may not go. Coach Broyles teaches the monster defense, which means that a roving linebacker prowls back and forth, picking his spots. Both Arkansas and Alabama will kick a lot, waiting for the other to make a mistake. If Arkansas can score first, the game will be interesting. If not, by three touchdowns, Alabama.