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Original Issue


The team may still be spellbound and The Great Pumpkin still aglow

Dee Andros is a large jiggly man with a round face, cherubic chin and sharp, pointed nose. When he smiles, which is often these days, his eyes crinkle and his face looks even rounder. He was christened Demosthenes Konstandies Andrecopolous by his Greek parents, but he changed his name because "even I couldn't spell it." Under any name, Andros would attract attention, in part because of his penchant for orange-Oregon State orange, of course. Andrecopolous (the name has to be tried once for size) leads his team onto the field for a game dressed in an orange sport jacket, orange socks, orange-and-black shoes and an orange-and-black-striped tie. His car is orange, his desk is orange, his bathroom is orange. Naturally, he has been nicknamed The Great Pumpkin.

If Andros is colorful, his football is not. He views the forward pass as an unnecessary adjunct to the game, an attitude that pleases his quarterback, Steve Preece, who last season compiled the worst passing record on the West Coast: 47 completions in 129 attempts, with 12 interceptions. "When we get fancy," says Andros, "we get behind." What he likes is disciplined ball control with the fullback smashing up the middle, halfbacks sweeping wide and the quarterback running the option. Andros rates his linemen more on toughness than skill, reasoning that a hard-hitting player is skillful. He tells his players, "It's no sin to get blocked, but it is a sin to stay blocked. Get yourself up off that ground like you're on hot coals. You can't play football on your knees."

Andros' Beavers were on their knees last year after losing to Brigham Young 31-13 in their third game, but they got up in a hurry to surprise second-ranked Purdue 22-14 and then, two weeks later, tied UCLA 16-16 after the unbeaten Bruins had taken Purdue's No. 2 ranking. Following that game, The Great Pumpkin roared, "We're tired of playing No. 2 teams. Bring on No. 1." That was USC, and the next week Oregon State upset the mighty Trojans 3-0 in the mud at Corvallis before 41,194, the largest crowd ever to see an athletic event in the state of Oregon. "That really warmed my heart," recalls Andros, whose Beavers went on to a 7-2-1 record.

Since then the excitement has been growing in Corvallis, a normally placid city of 35,000 (including the 14,000 enrolled at OSU) about 90 miles south of Portland in Benton County, which is so Republican that Alf Landon won there in 1936. Parker Stadium on the picturesque OSU campus has been enlarged from 33,000 to 41,000 seats and, unlike most schools where expansion means more paying fans, the number of seats reserved for students has been increased from 5,500 to 9,000.

What prompts this season's optimism is the presence of 36 lettermen, including 14 of 22 starters. Eight of these regulars are offensive players, including the entire backfield that accounted for 2,389 yards to lead the Pacific Eight in rushing in 1967.

There is neither razzle nor dazzle about the Oregon State offense, but sooner or later it tends to get to the end zone. It operates from a T with balanced and unbalanced lines and occasionally an I or a slot formation. This fall some pro offenses will be used just to confuse the opposition.

Quarterback Preece spent a hard spring trying to improve his passing, but he could hardly improve on the split-second liming that makes his work on the option play a thing of beauty. Preece knows exactly when to pitch out and when to keep the ball, and when he does keep it he runs very well. Halfbacks Don Summers and Billy Main handle the sweeps smoothly. In case all else fails and Preece decides to risk a pass or two, he will have a good receiver in Split End Roger Cantlon or sophomore Mike Biber, who might beat out Cantlon.

The big man, quite literally, in the OSU attack is Fullback Bill Enyart—they call him Earthquake—a 230-pound former linebacker who defected into the ranks of line buster. Enyart, a humanities major who has an excellent 3.81 academic average, tremored his way to 851 yards and eight touchdowns in 1967 and lost yardage only once in 201 carries. Andros says, "Everybody knows he is going to get the ball in tough situations, but what they don't know is which side he's going to hit." As befits a mover of men, Enyart is confident. "This is our year," he says. "I smell roses."

The offensive line is experienced, with Center John Didion, a 240-pounder, leading the way. With him are Roger Stalick and Kent Scott at the tackles, Clyde Smith and Rocky Rasley at the guards and Nick Rogers, who moved over from defensive tackle to play at tight end.

Though it is certain to lose Tackle Jess Lewis to the Olympics—he is a wrestler, as Purdue, UCLA and USC can attest—the Oregon State defense is strong, especially in the middle where Jon Sandstrom and 250-pound, 6'7" Bill Nelson take up a lot of space at the guards. Sandstrom was an All-America last year, and Nelson is nearly that good. Tackle Ron Boley is the only other returning starter up front, and Andros has had to make some position switches to fill the gaps. Jerry Belcher, a running back, is at end, while Mike Foote, who played end, has been moved to linebacker to team up with holdover Mike Groff.

If there is unrest in Mudville, as opposing coaches have called the Beavers' home ground, it concerns the pass defense. Andros does not like it when the other team throws the ball, either. OSU gave up 158 yards per game to opposition passers last season and it has the same defenders returning: Larry Rich, Charlie Olds and Don Whitney.

Because this team is so experienced, it may be able to avoid a problem that has hampered the Beavers for Andros' three years—a slow start. During this period the team has compiled a 5-9 early-season record and a late-season record of 14-1-1. "We've stayed up a lot of nights trying to figure out why," says Andros. In addition, the Beavers will be confronted with a difficulty that they are not accustomed to. With the Year of the Upset behind them, they won't be able to sneak up on any unwary foes.

"We'd better screw our heads on right, because it's harder to stay on top than get there," says Andros.

Last year OSU was a Cinderella team with a pumpkin for a coach. This year Cinderella is gone, but the pumpkin may still be magic.