When the Navy football squad reported for practice in September of 1954, the gloom was as thick as the fog that sometimes rolls in off the nearby Severn River. The Midshipmen had muddled through to a 4-3-2 record the year before, losing to Army 20-7. Only two linemen were returning and just one—End Ron Beagle, who later became an All-America—was outstanding. Worse yet, when the linemen stood up to full height, they looked like Singer's midgets. Only two players, Tackles Jim Royer at 211 and John Hopkins at 203, weighed more than 189 pounds. The quarterback was a bony little 157-pounder named George Welsh (above). He stood barely 5 feet 9 and did not look strong enough to throw the ball more than 10 yards. A win over Army was a pipe dream, a trip to a bowl utterly ridiculous.
Coach Eddie Erdelatz' first estimation of his team was hardly optimistic. He told sportswriters, "We're young, green and our line is very definitely our big problem." One writer's preseason evaluation began, "Navy's hopes for a successful season depend on a small miracle." He was prophetic. The Navy team of 1954 was destined to become the surprise team of the year.
Erdelatz' first order of business was to devise a new defense for his small, light line. He taught his players to scramble from one side to the other and in and out of the line to confuse the opposition's blocking assignments. Although common today, "jitterbugging," as Erdelatz named this style of play, was a novelty back in 1954, and it helped his linemen survive when it seemed often that they would be murdered. With less inspiration, Erdelatz called his offense "ham and eggs." It consisted of equal measures of passing and running, and if the phrase has disappeared, the records the backfield set using the offense have not.
Navy was so lightly regarded that when the oddsmakers made Annapolis a 10-point favorite over William and Mary in the opener, even the players were surprised. But Navy sailed past W&M 27-0. Then came Dartmouth. Welsh was out with bruised ribs, and the offense sputtered badly under John Weaver, who moved over from half to quarterback. Dartmouth led 7-0 in the third quarter when Erdelatz yanked his regulars and put in the second team with Dick Echard at quarterback. The subs scored 42 points in 16 minutes. Stanford, with John Brodie (now a San Francisco 49er) at quarterback, was next and fell heavily 25-0.
By this time people were beginning to take notice of Navy. For the first time in years, the team showed up in the top 10 in the wire-service polls. The week after the Stanford game, Erdelatz, ever the coiner of epithets, said at a press conference, "The fact that they have more desire to win is the big difference.... Why not just call it A Team Named Desire?"
The phrase was corny, but it caught on. In football, desire and the 1954 Navy team will always be synonymous.
No words, however, were enough to pull Navy through the following Saturday against a bigger Pitt team. Navy lost 21-19. The Middies bounced right back to trounce Penn 52-6, but then suffered a loss that was the making of the team. Navy pushed Notre Dame around frightfully in the mud at Baltimore, only to lose 6-0 on a long pass. "Actually," says Welsh, now an assistant coach at Penn State, "we didn't know how good we really were until we lost to Notre Dame. After that, we were sure we could beat anyone."
Erdelatz was beginning to think so, too. "The greatest team I ever coached," he announced. "Nothing will stop this team named desire."
And nothing did. Navy smashed Duke 40-7 and Columbia 51-6, and then it was time for Army. The Cadets, after losing to South Carolina, had won seven in a row, and they were ranked No. 5. They had Fullback Pat Uebel, who had scored three times against Navy the year before, and Halfback Tommy Bell, the leading scorer in the country. They were enough to make Army a seven-point favorite.
Meanwhile, the Sugar Bowl had been sounding out the Navy brass about a postseason game, and the Tuesday before the Army game word leaked down from the Pentagon: Navy, which had not been to a bowl since 1923, would accept a bid if it won or tied. Navy elected to win. Before the usual 100,000 spectators at Philadelphia, it traded touchdowns with Army as though they were going out of style. George Welsh was superb. He completed only five out of 11 passes but three of them were for touchdowns, and he scored a fourth himself. Chunky Fullback Joe Gattuso played like a demon, making tackles, smashing out first downs and punting. The little Navy linemen, bouncing all over Municipal Stadium, completely frustrated the big Army line. Navy won 27-20.
Next to come was Mississippi, the Southeastern Conference champions, in the Sugar Bowl. Ole Miss was 9-1 and its big, strong line, which outweighed Navy by 19 pounds a man, had given up only 47 points. Quarterback Eagle Day and Halfback Jimmy Patton, later a defensive star for the New York Giants, were the leaders of a high-powered offense. It was easy to understand why the pairing drew the fire of the Dixie press. Eastern teams, they proclaimed, just did not play the South's brand of big-league football.
The game, as they predicted, was a mismatch. Navy simply ran over Ole Miss. Taking the opening kickoff, Navy marched 70 yards on sheer power with Gattuso bursting the final three through an eight-man line. Welsh threw a 15-yard touchdown pass to Weaver, and Gattuso went over from the one after a 93-yard drive in the third quarter. Mississippi made only one feeble pass at Navy's goal near the end, and that wound up with a fumble on the 12-yard line. Navy won 20-0.
Ole Miss Coach Johnny Vaught knew when he had been licked. "We sure got the hell kicked out of us," he said later. "Those little madmen from Navy play this game like they want to get in their last licks before the world comes to an end."
The chances of a miracle team emerging in the East this fall are fair. It might even be Navy again. Or it could be Penn State, Army or Pitt, all coming off mediocre seasons and all with new coaches. Or Yale, with a gang of shiny sophomores. But more likely, the best team in the area will be SYRACUSE, and that hardly will be a miracle.
Coach Ben Schwartzwalder, naturally, would be the very last to agree. Like most college coaches, he broods about such things as 20 lost lettermen, sophomores and an early opener with Baylor. But Schwartzwalder, if pressed, will admit that any team with Floyd Little on it has to be good.
Little, perhaps the best breakaway back in the country, has already intimidated more people than Groucho Marx. Whenever he takes off with the ball, which is about 20 times a game, his bandy legs churning, dipping and twisting, defenders have a problem. "He's like an eel," says one admiring opponent. "You think you have position on him and get ready to squash him. Then—zonk—all you got is an armful of air."
Last year after some painful early experiences when opposing defenses ganged up on Little, Schwartzwalder moved 235-pound Larry Csonka from linebacker to fullback and installed his version of the fashionable I formation, a crooked alignment that stacked the tailback and fullback behind the guard in Syracuse's unbalanced line. It was all designed to spring Little loose, and did it ever. While Csonka smashed inside for 795 yards, Floyd gained more than a mile—1,065 yards running. He added 248 yards catching passes, 677 more running back kicks and scored 19 touchdowns.
The combination could be even better this fall, because Schwartzwalder has added a few more homemade twitches to his I and Csonka has acquired some new skills. Instead of just hammering, he has learned to shake a hip and cut when he gets past the line of scrimmage. "If the opposition wants to take care of Little, they can do it," says Schwartzwalder. But he warns, "They will have to pay the price now that Csonka can shake 'em up inside. And we have a quarterback who can pass."
If the last seems un-Schwartzwalderlike—and it does—the reason is wrapped up in a left-handed package named Jim Del Gaizo. Del Gaizo, a rangy sophomore, seems a sure bet to take the quarterback job away from junior Rick Cassata. He is a superb passer, short or long, and he will be aiming at some receivers: Little, Right Half Tom Coughlin and Ends Ed Schreck, Dick Towne and John Del Gaizo, Jim's twin.
The offensive interior line has a greenish tinge to it, but it is quick, mobile and hostile. Gary Bugenhagen, a 240-pound tackle, has been switched from defense to offense, and 255-pound Dave Johnson, a sophomore, will be one of the biggest guards in the country. The other starters are 225-pound Harris Wienke at inside tackle, Bill Benecick at guard and Tom Rosia at center. What worries Schwartzwalder is his defense, which yielded much too easily in 1965. It has good size, though, and the player who could help spruce it up is End Herb Stecker, out most of last season with an injury.
The big tests come early—Baylor and UCLA in the first two games. But, like all true-blooded Orangemen, Schwartzwalder also fears PENN STATE even though his old feuding buddy, Rip Engle, has retired, turning over the head coaching job to his longtime assistant, Joe Paterno. "That Paterno is a smart coach," says Schwartzwalder, "just like old Rip. And besides, he's got some football players."
Nothing has really changed at State, except that Paterno, who always had a big hand in Engle's manipulations, is less lugubrious than his old boss. The Lions are just as big, just as broad and just as potentially dangerous as they were under Engle, and they have their best crop of sophomores in almost a decade. But that's the trouble, most of the good players are young.
Penn State's losses were heavy. Only 14 lettermen return, but one of them is Jack White, the quarterback who was granted an extra year because he sat out a season after transferring from Florida. Another is Split End Jack Curry. Between them, they smashed almost every school passing record. White completed 98 passes for 1,275 yards and Curry, a little string bean of a fellow, caught 42 of them. Bill Rettig, the No. 2 fullback, is back, too, and there is a whole bevy of sparkling sophomore runners.
But the key to Penn State's potential is Roger Grimes, a towheaded fullback turned tailback who runs with the bounce of a Jim Brown. Or did—before he suffered a knee injury in the second game last season, then came down with mononucleosis. Grimes reinjured the knee playing basketball last winter, had surgery and missed spring practice. How quickly, or if, he regains his form could determine just how the Lions will play the game this fall. With Grimes at his best, Penn State will have a sophisticated attack, mostly I. Without him, Paterno may go back to the old wing-T and rely more on White's passing.
Another problem is the offensive line, where Paterno will have to fill the gaps with newcomers and players who have been switched from other positions. The tackles are big—juniors Rich Buzin and John Sain were both close to 260 pounds in the spring—but not quick or agile enough to satisfy Paterno.
The defense does. It is big, fast and combative. Mike Reid, a 238-pound sophomore fullback who was moved to middle guard in the spring, looked like a man who had played there all his life as he merrily banged heads. Flanking Reid are two huge tackles. 260-pound Dave Rowe and 238-pound Mike McBath, while Bill Morgan and Tim Horst, another first-year find, will man the ends. Behind them are Linebackers John Runnells, Jim Litterelle and Jim McCormick and a tight secondary composed of Mike Irwin, Tom Sherman and Safety Tim Montgomery.
"We'll have to depend upon our defense to keep us in ball games," says Paterno, beginning to sound a bit like Engle. "But if it breaks down anywhere, I'm afraid we're in for a long year." He protests too much.
Army has already had its big surprise—the sudden departure last April of Paul Dietzel and the appointment not much later of Freshman Coach Tom Cahill in his place. The shock of those fireworks may light a rocket under the offense, which consisted mostly of duds and hangfires last season. Cahill's specialty is moving the ball, and the more flamboyantly this is done the better. Says he: "It's fine to keep the other team off the scoreboard, but you better get up there yourself."
With this in mind, the first thing Cahill did was put Army into a T with split, tight or three ends. He switched Carl Woessner, a slashing type, from flanker to tailback to team up with Fullback Mark Hamilton in the running spots and moved John Peduto from tailback to wingback. Then, when Quarterback Fred Barofsky was ruled out because of his unhappy vulnerability to head injuries, Cahill turned the new offense over to Jim O'Toole and Steve Lindell, a couple of talented sophomores. O'Toole is the better passer, and he brought along his own receiver from the plebe team—Gary Steele, a lanky 6-foot-5 split end with pipestem legs but grasping hands. Just in the nick of time, too, because Army lost all but one of its offensive ends.
Army's racier look may not be quite enough to camouflage the deficiencies. There are not many better football players around than Linebacker Townsend Clarke, who won notices almost as favorable as Tommy Nobis' and Carl McAdams' last year. Almost in a class with Clarke are Tom Schwartz and David Rivers, defensive ends, and Don Roberts, a 235-pound offensive tackle. But after those four comes the trickle.
Cahill has had to do some juggling to fill in the holes, especially in the middle of the offensive and defensive lines. On defense, Tackle Bud Neswiacheny is now at middle guard and Pat Mente, a smallish (206 pounds) former middle guard is at tackle. On offense, John Montanaro, a solid 228-pounder, goes from guard to center while Nick Kurilko, the team's punter and a high school fullback, is at guard along with John Nerdahl.
Cahill's tenure as head coach probably will rest on the Navy game. "We won't be pushovers," he insists, but NAVY will not be, either. Last year's 4-4-2 record, ending in that dull anticlimax, the 7-7 tie with Army, still rankles in the breasts of the brooding Midshipmen. The fact is, Navy is better equipped this time for the rigors of one of the toughest schedules anywhere (Boston College, SMU, Air Force, Syracuse, Notre Dame and Duke are all on it). Coach Bill Elias, a dry-eyed optimist, refreshingly predicts, "We'll be a better team this year." Maybe. There was not much wrong with Navy's scrambling defenses in 1965—only Georgia Tech and Notre Dame got through for more than two scores. The team was not really overpowering but it stunted, blitzed and came at opponents from almost as many directions as the Viet Cong. That is Elias' way: keep the foe guessing, prod them off balance and then surround them.
Although Navy has lost both tackles and a couple of linebackers, its defense should be even better. Ends Bill Dow and Curt Schantz, Middle Guard George Garrett and Linebacker Don Downing, the best from last year's team, are back, along with three experienced players in the secondary. Dave Tate, 235 pounds, will fill in at one tackle while Dick Petrino is the other linebacker. But the one who really excites Elias is Tom McKeon, a rough 6-foot-4, 231-pound tackle. "If he stays healthy, he can be an All-America," says Elias.
What downed Navy a year ago was an ineffective offense. To jazz it up, Elias will vary his pro-style T with the I and go with his seasoned backfield, including junior Quarterback John Cartwright. Always a good scrambler, Cartwright is more poised and his passing has improved. He has good receivers, too, in Split End Rob Taylor, if he is eligible, and Flanker Tom Leiser, who switched positions, and Tom Shrawder, a sophomore end. Terry Murray, a shifty youngster who ran for 391 yards last year, and Carl Tamulevich, a 206-pound plunger who beat stubby Danny Wong out of the fullback job, will take care of the running.
Unfortunately, the backs will have to operate behind an insecure line. Aside from Skip Dittman, the hard-blocking 6-foot-6, 240-pound center, Tight End Reb Hester and Tackle Kit Ruland, the offensive wall is frightfully inexperienced.
Still Elias is sanguine. "I guess I'm the Walter Mitty of the coaching profession," he says. "I have delusions of grandeur. I always think we will win every game."
Whether his optimism is entirely justified may be discovered earlier than Elias expects. BOSTON COLLEGE'S Jim Miller, a master strategist, spent a busy spring plotting a major disaster for his old coaching buddy when their teams meet in the Saturday opener at Annapolis.
"We have to be in every ball game," says Miller candidly. "We have that kind of strength." The strength he refers to is a collection of the biggest and maybe the best linemen the Eagles have had since the glory days of Frank Leahy. The offensive line, from tackle to tackle, averages 240 pounds and the defensive unit is just as large. Offensive Tackles Dick Powers and Tom Sarkisian are 245 and 240, respectively; Guard Bob Hyland, a converted center and BC's best lineman, is 250, Center Mike Evans 240 and sophomore Guard Dick Kroner a mere 225. On defense, Tackle Doug Shephard is 6 feet 8 and 260. Ron Persuitte, the other tackle, is 240, and Middle Guard Bill Stetz goes 230. The ends are Len Persin, 240, and Gordie Kutz, 225. The nicest thing about them is that they are all quick and agile, and there are plenty more behind them.
There is also speed in the Eagles' backfield. Halfbacks Terry Erwin and Dick DeLeonardis, a 9.8 sprinter, are breakaway threats, and their backup men are Scatbacks Paul Delia Villa (he does 9.7 for the 100), a starter last season until he tore knee ligaments and underwent an operation, and sophomore Dave Bennett. The best of all, however, is Brendan McCarthy, the 215-pound fullback who runs inside or outside equally well. He ripped enemy lines for 891 yards as a sophomore and looks even better now.
But Miller, who favors a multiple smorgasbord of T and I, is prepared to concede that an offense is only as good as its passing game. "If you can throw the ball," he reasons, "anything ought to work." That is what troubles Miller. Ed Foley, last year's quarterback, is gone, and Dave Thomas, a much-heralded sophomore transfer from Duke who throws like an arrow in practice—they call him Dave the Dart on Chestnut Hill—still has to learn his way around. Experienced receivers are also scarce for the first time since Miller came to BC. The most promising of the newcomers is sophomore John Egan, a 6-foot-4 basketball player with the deftness associated with that sport. Another bother is the defensive secondary, where Tom Carlyon is the only returning starter.
What Miller hopes is that all that size up front will obscure the weaknesses. For sure, no one will stomp these Eagles, not even Syracuse or Penn State. They could turn the East's Big Five independents into the Big Six before the season ends.
Just mention DARTMOUTH around the Ivy League and almost everybody throws up his hands in despair. For good reasons, too. The Big Green, unbeaten last year and winner of the Lambert Trophy as the best in the East, is loaded again. And Coach Bob Blackman is back. There were hopes that he would take the bait Iowa offered last winter. He only nibbled, however, and the rest of the league will just have to put up with the black magic he brews annually. He spent the long hot summer devising new corollaries to the bewildering assortment of offensive and defensive sets he fancies. This fall opponents are likely to see some variations of the V, T and I and maybe even an unexpected defense or two. "You have to keep changing," says Blackman.
Dartmouth does have a few problems, but mounting an attack is not one of them. Any coach, even Bear Bryant, would be happy with the backs. For instance, Quarterback Mickey Beard, a whiplash passer, threw and ran for 1,094 yards and 15 touchdowns in 1965. Left Half Gene Ryzewicz, little but irrepressible, gained 1,213 yards running, passing, catching and returning kicks. Then there are Right Half Paul Klungness and Pete Walton, a strong 226-pound fullback. Collectively, this bunch accounted for more than 3,200 yards and 38 scores a year ago. Place-kicker Bill Hay, who booted 34 points after touchdown and three field goals, is also back and, for pass catching, the Big Green has Ends Bob MacLeod, son of the Bob MacLeod and well again after knee surgery, and Bill Calhoun.
If Blackman has problems, they are in the line where he has some patching to do. The offensive interior, with All-Ivy Center Chuck Matuszak, Tackle Hank Paulson and Guard Bill Sjogren all returning, is respectable, but the defense, where Tackles Roy Johnson, Jim Eldridge and Bill Eggeling are the only experienced players, needs rebuilding. Fortunately, there are uncompromising types available for replacements. And if anybody has the idea that Dartmouth can be beaten by a passing game, forget it. Linebacker Norm Davis, a good one, and defensive backs Steve Luxford, Gordon Rule and All-League Wynn Mabry are all in their old places. It looks like another Ivy championship for the Big Green.
With everybody shooting at the Dartmouths, there is competition, however, and at least two teams, PRINCETON and Yale, will strike even Dartmouth as dangerous. The Tigers, of course, have an added incentive. They are still smarting over last year's only defeat, a 28-14 thumping by the new champions. Despite the loss of its stars—Tailback Ron Landeck, Kicker Charley Gogolak and Guards Stas Maliszewski and Paul Savidge—Princeton has enough good players left to be a strong contender. As usual, Coach Dick Colman has a spate of slick tailbacks to operate his modernized single wing, the most impressive being Bob Weber, a stylish runner. And the Tigers have a topnotch receiver in End Bill Potter. There is even another soccer-style place-kicker, Eduardo Garcia, who does it lefty. Along with Wingback Johnny Bowers and Fullback Dave Martin, plus solid blockers like Quarterback Chuck Peters and reserve Fullback Bill Berkley, also the league's leading punter, they will put plenty of bite into the Tiger attack.
Stopping people will not be a problem, either. Ends Larry Stupski and Walt Kozumbo, Middle Guard Lee Hitchner and Tackle Bill Gloyd, backed up by two large sophomores, 255-pound Dick Hantz and 240-pound Tim McCann, form the nub of another fine defensive line. The secondary is in good hands, too, with Hayward Gipson, Marty Eichelberger and Doug James back to swat down passes.
Yale Coach Carm Cozza showed the patience of a saint in his baptismal year. About the only thing that kept him going while his punchless Elis bumbled to a drab 3-6 record was the knowledge that help was on the way from an unbeaten freshman team. Happily, it is the kind of help that can make Yale an instant challenger.
Assistance was most needed for the attack, and Cozza can hardly wait to put the best of his new sophomores to work. The one who is counted on most is Brian Dowling (see box page 76), a highly skilled quarterback who can run, throw and kick. Another is Halfback Calvin Hill, a big, hardhitting runner who scored five touchdowns against the Princeton freshmen. They will move right in with Lettermen Court Shevelson, a nervy little darter, and Don Barrows, a tough short-yardage walloper. Cozza's T, so grim and unproductive last season, will be far more dashing.
Newcomers also give the front lines a more substantial look. Bruce Weinstein, a 6-foot-5, 240-pound tight end who can block and catch passes, will team up with Split End Bob Kenney, an excellent receiver. Pat Madden, another sophomore end, is good enough to play somewhere, probably on defense, where Middle Guard Rick Williams lends substance to an already strong interior. It has 245-pound Bob Greenlee, who should make All-Ivy, and 220-pound Glenn Greenberg, son of old-time baseball slugger Hank, at the tackles.
Massachusetts, not so little anymore, is striking out for bigger game. The Redmen have added Dartmouth and Boston College to their diet. But Coach Vic Fusia, a well-ordered football man, is not about to tremble—not with Greg Landry in the lineup. A junior quarterback, Landry last year rolled up 2,037 yards in total offense, completing 62% of his passes (96 for 154) for 1,423 yards and eight touchdowns and running 614 more for nine scores.
Landry is not all U Mass has, either. Ends Bob Meers and Milt Morin, both high pro draft choices, are gone but their successors, Bill Carty and sophomore Bill Warnock, can catch the ball. And Don Durkin and Bob Detore, the halfbacks, have the outside speed to make Fusia's ball-control T devastating. Furthermore, the defensive line is big and mobile. Tackle Dick Qualey weighs a tidy 250 pounds while Ed Toner, the other tackle, End Paul Mlinar and sophomore Middle Guard Mickey Bailey are each 230. That kind of muscle can win the Yankee Conference title.
But first Massachusetts will have to get past defending champion MAINE, a team that ambushed the Redmen in the opener last year and went on to win the Lambert Cup. The Black Bears have lost their arm (Quarterback Dick DeVarney, who passed for 17 touchdowns) and their best receiver (Halfback Frank Harney) but Coach Hal Westerman has 25 lettermen and high hopes.
George Platter, although a good long thrower, is no DeVarney, so Maine probably will run more than pass. But the Bears will have to do it with an offensive line that averages a mere 186 pounds (Tackle Gerald Perkins is the biggest at 202, Guard Michael Hodges the smallest at 160) and a halfback, Paul Keany, who has a bad knee. What could save the season for Maine is a stout defense, led by Little All-America Linebacker John Huard, a sturdy 215-pounder.
The grumbling at PITT became a roar last fall when the Panthers stumbled through one of their worst seasons ever. They were bombed unmercifully by West Virginia 63-48, Syracuse 51-13 and Notre Dame 69-13, gave up 311 points and won only three games. So Pitt did the natural thing. It fired longtime (11 years) Coach John Michelosen and replaced him with Dave Hart, a personable young Navy assistant. Hart has no illusions about his task. "We have a long way to go," he admits, "but the situation is not exactly hopeless."
Maybe not, but it is close to it, at least for this year. Fortunately for Hart, seven of last year's "defensive" regulars are gone. But, unfortunately, so are Quarterback Ken Lucas, Halfback Eric Crabtree and Fullback Barry McKnight, who kept the season from being a total disaster. Hart has only a few first-rate players—Tailback Bob Dyer, Linebacker Jim Flanigan and Ends Mickey Rosborough, Bob Longo and Greg Keller—a handful of promising sophomores and an inexhaustible capacity for hard work. Ed James, with only 10 minutes playing time, is the quarterback in Hart's I and five starters will be sophomores.
Pitt's schedule, as usual, is murderous, and the Panthers will be lucky to win three games again. But the picture is brightening. Hart and his eager young staff recruited 33 freshmen. Too bad they cannot play now.
Not all the eastern independents are as badly off as Pitt. COLGATE, for one, is looking to a better year despite some unexpected summer losses. Coach Hal Lahar, who likes his defense firm and fully packed, is delighted with the look of Tackle Jim Schneider and Guards Marty Tripp and Peter Nagle, all around 230 pounds. Behind them is tenacious Linebacker Ray Ilg, who is 210 and almost as quick as his name. There is also plenty of motion for Lahar's wing-T. Sophomore Ron Burton is a splendid roll-out passer and runner, while Marv Hubbard, a muscled 220-pounder who slashed for 621 yards a year ago, is back to lead the running game. And if he shows signs of faltering, Ilg can help out at fullback.
Things are looking up at Boston U. and Holy Cross, too. BOSTON U. has 23 returning lettermen and the finest group of sophomores Coach Warren Schmakel has ever had. Some of the youngsters, like Bob Bossert, a 235-pound defensive end, Cornerback Fred McNeilly, Guard Rick Lepore, 205, and Linebacker Cliff Burton, 200, will get to play right away, and the rest will give the Terriers the kind of depth they have not enjoyed in years. There are other encouraging signs. Tony Gallagher, a punishing 235-pound end, heads up a defensive line that averages 232 pounds, and Bob Kobus and Jim Thornton are back to quarterback Schmakel's double wing-T—that is, if they do not lose out to sophomore Joe Saurino, a slingshot passer who threw for 10 touchdowns as a freshman. With luck, BU might even be 7-3.
Holy Cross's hopes ride on Jack Lentz, a freewheeling quarterback who ran 802 yards for a school record as a sophomore and then sat out last year after a knee operation. Without Lentz, Coach Mel Massucco played Russian roulette with his quarterbacks, starting five different ones, and the Crusaders bumbled to seven losses. With Lentz in shape, the Holy Cross attack should come alive. Now all Massucco has to do is find some tackles to go with Ends Pete Kimener and Dick Krzyzek, Center Dick Grise and Middle Guard Glen Grieco.
At VILLANOVA, things cannot possibly be as bad for Coach Alex Bell as they were in 1965, when his defense could not stop anybody, the offensive linemen knocked down only their own runners and the Wildcats won just one game. For one thing, he has more players to call on, and 235-pound Tackle John Fry and two-way End Paul Sodaski, his best defenders, will get help from Richie Moore, an agile 6-foot-7, 285-pound sophomore tackle. Bell's offense, a combination of split T and I, will be more versatile, too. Quarterback Gerry Bellotti passes adequately, and the running will be better with fast sophomores Denny Kelly and Frank Boal, the kind who can go all the way, to assist holdover John Kolmer.
It is bicentennial time at RUTGERS, and the nicest present for Coach John Bateman would be some large and rambunctious interior linemen and a good passer to fluff up his tricky double wing T. But, alas, Bateman probably will have to make do with what little he has. End Jack Emmers is a big league receiver, offensive Tackle Ron Kenny, a 230-pounder, can hold his own and Linebacker Bob Schroeder is adequate. But Fred Eckert, the likely quarterback, is a scatter passer, and the running of Charley Mudie, Ralf Stegmann, Don Riesett and Rich Capria, as good as it is, will not be quite enough to hold off Princeton, Yale and Army, three of Rutgers' first four opponents.
It is no coincidence that when Dick Offenhamer quit at BUFFALO, the ambitious Bulls brought in Doc Urich, an assistant at Notre Dame under Ara Parseghian. Buffalo yearns to go big time, and Urich's wide-open style fits in. He has the quarterback for it, too. Mick Murtha, smart, quick and an accomplished passer, is so good that he chased Rick Wells and Nick Capuana, last year's quarterbacks, to halfback. And Murtha can throw to Split End Dick Ashley, who runs pro patterns. Soph Halfback Steve Svec, big, fast and strong, and Fullback Lee Jones are also just right for Urich's I and pro T. What's more, there are some fine linemen—like Tackle Bill Taylor, when he recovers from an August appendectomy, and Guard Ted Gibbons—to spring them loose. But the Bulls will have to score a lot. The defense is new and shaky.
If the Ivy League has a dark horse, it is CORNELL. Especially if new Coach Jack Musick, who learned from Dartmouth's Blackman, borrows a few tricks from his old boss. Musick plans a wing T for the Big Red, but he promises "our attack will be from varied formations." Those variations might just shake up a few opponents. Quarterback Bill Abel spins a fair pass, Pete Larson and Ron Gervase can run and they will operate behind a seasoned line led by 230-pound Tackles Reeve Vanneman and Harry Garman. The defense, hopefully, can cover up its greenness with size. Guard Craig Gannon is 300 pounds while Tom Diehl, shifted from offensive guard to end, is 240, and Tackle Ted Lolakis is 230. The Ivys are going national.
Harvard's John Yovicsin moans about the loss of 17 lettermen, including a dozen starters from his two platoons, but Ivy Leaguers aren't listening. They are all too familiar with Yovicsin's talent for building staunch defenses, and he has a sound nucleus in 230-pound Dave Davis and 230-pound Skip Sviokla, a pair of smashing tackles, tough End Justin Hughes and Linebacker Don Chiofaro. The Crimson also has some good runners in shifty Bobby Leo and stubby Vic Gatto, an elusive 5-foot-6 sophomore. Only trouble is, they may have a time getting away. Like most Crimson quarterbacks, John Shevlin does not pass well enough to keep enemy defenses from massing and, aside from Steve Diamond, a blue-chip 211-pound tackle, Harvard's offensive linemen are mostly the inoffensive kind.
Penn is another team that could make life uncomfortable for the favorites. The Quakers, not so peaceful anymore since Coach Bob Odell took over, attack vehemently from the I, and they have the backs for it. Quarterback Bill Creeden, a zinging thrower, and Wingback Rick Owens are a formidable pair, while Tailback Bill McGill steps lively. But Penn's linemen are small, even by the old Ivy standards.
About all Columbia and Brown can hope for is to stay out of the cellar. COLUMBIA, where Coach Buff Donelli has been under fierce alumni attack, is in for another lean year. Quarterback Rick Ballantine, passing or running, is just ordinary and, except for Ends Leo Makohen and Gerry Zawadzkas, Guard Dick Flory and Defensive Back Bob Hast, the other returning Lions are not likely to scare anyone. Sophomores could help, though, and Donelli is counting on them. BROWN Coach John McLaughry, for a change, has size and depth at the tackles, where Albin Moser, 6 feet 5 and 200 pounds, and Leon Jalbert, a 230-pound sophomore, head up a five-man contingent. But, without Bob Hall, the league's No. 1 passer, the Bruins' offense will be skimpy. Sophomore Quarterback Jack McMahon is simply no Hall. Fortunately, Punter Joe Randall, who averages 40.9 yards, is back. Brown will kick a lot.
One team that could upset the probabilities in the Yankee Conference is VERMONT. The Cats have 27 lettermen, more than enough to spread over two platoons, and almost everybody, including Middle Guard Joe Soldano and End Bill Van Bennekum, is back from the defense that held foes to a measly 86 yards a game rushing last year. But Coach Bob Clifford needs a quarterback to run his spread—he calls it a "simplicity T"—and some fast runners to help Halfback Dick Hebert.
The rest of the Yankee Conference is still playing catch-up. CONNECTICUT has a new coach, former Columbia aide John Toner, and two solid defensemen in Halfbacks Gene Campbell and Dave LaLima. But the Huskies, who belie their name these days, lack a quarterback. RHODE ISLAND and New Hampshire will play the game with sophomores. Indeed, over 40 of the 50 candidates at Providence are newcomers, and some of the linemen are big enough to match the Green Bay Packers. Coach Jack Zilly's offensive interior averages 225 pounds, and the defensive middle, sophomores all, goes 230. The best of the new backs is Owen McEntee, a fierce 227-pound fullback who crashes lines like a small tank. NEW HAMPSHIRE, weary of being pummeled, brought in Joe Yukica, another of Blackman's Dartmouth assistants. Yukica took a bleak look at his seasoned players and benched most of them. A dozen sophomores are contesting for Wildcat starting positions, and three of them—Bill Phillips, Tom Kasprzak and Les Wilson—are in the backfield, along with Bill Estey, a pint-sized (5 feet 6, 140 pounds) junior quarterback who throws a nice pass and, for his size, is quite a little runner.
The unpredictable Middle Atlantic Conference is shoulder high in contenders. Bucknell could win the title again. Or Hofstra. Or even Temple. BUCKNELL lost its quarterback, Bill Lerro, and two star receivers, Tom Mitchell and Ron Kinsey, who between them gathered in 92 passes, and ordinarily that would be enough to discourage the Bisons. But they were left with a firm defense, and Coach Carroll Huntress has another able marksman—Bob Marks—to run his swinging I. HOFSTRA's chances rest with Don Gault, a lanky quarterback who is attracting pro scouts. He completed 158 passes for 2,134 yards and 20 touchdowns last year. If Coach Howdy Myers can find some new catchers to replace Ends Frank Coffey (56 receptions) and Bill Starr (52), the Flying Dutchmen can soar to the top. TEMPLE is sitting pretty with quarterback Tom DeFelice, two outstanding receivers in End Ed Reinoso and Flanker John Fonash, a smallish 9.8 sprinter who had 41 catches last season, and an experienced defense. What disturbs Coach George Makris, however, is that these same defenders gave up 210 points in 1965. The Owls, obviously, will have to mend some fences to have a chance at the title.
The other MAC teams are far behind. At DELAWARE, Coach Tubby Raymond, who took over when Dave Nelson decided to retire to the athletic director's chair, has plenty of backs but he is desperate for good linemen. The only ones he has are Herb Slattery, a 238-pound middle guard, and End Mike Purzyicki. GETTYSBURG, without fancy-passing Quarterback Jim Ward, will have to rely upon its runners, Rod Albright, Bob Nye and Craig Markel, for its kicks. LAFAYETTE, after too many down years, should be better. Juniors Chris Yaniger, Bill Messick and Joel Cassrow will put some snap into Coach Ken Bunn's Leopards. LEHIGH, however, is still in big trouble.
To hear AMHERST's Jim Ostendarp tell it, the Lord Jeffs will be lucky to win a single game. "We're green," he complains, "and we have problems." If Amherst has any serious problems, they are fairly well hidden by Halfbacks Bob Ryan and Ed Bradley and Fullback Ron Hoge, a dandy bunch who ran for 1,423 yards and 21 touchdowns last year. That is the kind of offense that wins Little Three titles. WILLIAMS will go after Amherst on a wing and a prayer. The Wing is Ed, a marvelous runner who rushed for 1,139 yards and scored 15 times in 1965; the prayer is for a rebuilt defense that Coach Frank Navarro hopes will work. WESLEYAN, unhappily, is in no position to match its rivals. Only 15 players are back, its offensive line was swept clean and the backs lack speed.
Merriwell is back
It started slowly, because freshman games in the Ivy League are viewed with as much indifference as the well-organized cheer. First came the furtive whispers. "He's everything that Albie Booth was," said one graduate, looking nervously over his shoulder. "Reminds you of Larry Kelly, doesn't he?" said another in hushed conspiratorial tones.
By the time the Eli freshmen had played—and won—three games, curious alumni, students, a professor or two and any number of people who just admire good football players wherever they may fall, were coming to see Brian John Dowling run, pass, kick, intercept passes and tie his shoelaces. And by the time the last three games were played—and won—the varsity coaching staff was busy scribbling diagrams with an emphatic red circle around the quarterback.
It was that kind of season for Dowling. When the big, tough yard was needed, Quarterback Dowling simply called on Quarterback Dowling to get it. He usually did, plus seven more. But plunging was the least of the talents of the cool young fellow from Cleveland. Passing was more to the point. Dowling threw 11 touchdown passes and six of those came against Harvard and Princeton. Nor could anyone take great comfort when he went back to punt. In one game last fall, with fourth down and 11 yards to go on his own 28, Dowling managed to give every indication that all he had on his mind was putting foot to ball. So what happened? Dowling tore off 20 yards for what appeared to be a first down. It wasn't. Yale was offside. When Harry Jacunski regained enough of his composure to ask his prodigy why in the world he had run in the first place, Dowling answered, "Saw something in the defense, Coach." Jacunski sent him back on the field to punt, really punt. So he ran again, this time for 35 yards. "Saw the same thing, Coach," said Dowling.
Before anyone had a chance to recover from his football exploits, Dowling reported to the Yale freshman basketball team and casually scored 343 points, which averages out to 24.5 a game. With nothing to do in the spring, he went out for tennis, won his first two matches, then gave it up because his game was "not too good." He reported forthwith to the baseball team and drove in the winning run in his first game.
Ask any new coach what he wants most and there is a high probability he will vote for a stout lad who can run like a fullback, weighs in at about 240 and is inclined to be mean. That is exactly what Joe Paterno has in Mike Reid, middle guard at Penn State and Dowling's chief rival for sophomore honors.
Another who could be as good is a 6-foot 5-inch end with the ability to catch anything he can reach and then run away from defenders. Gary Steele, the first Negro to play varsity football at West Point, is what Tom Cahill got in his first season at Army, and if Cahill can find someone to get the ball to Steele, look out, Navy. Not that the Midshipmen are without their own bundle of destruction. Tom McKeon, a 6-foot-4, 230-pounder, will be right in the middle of things at defensive tackle.