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CONCLUSION: One stylish passer and an end would make this a complete team. Only half complete now, it should win half its games.
"Loaded!" Houstonians have been warning people about Rice this season. Undoubtedly the Owls are richly endowed but they will be sorely tested by seven straight Southwest Conference games. Fortunately for Coach Jess Neely, there is a sizable senior squad to draw on and a reservoir of conservative tactics. Nongambling Rice lost the ball on fumbles only seven times in 1960 and had only 11 interceptions. Although the offense is spirited, with Quarterback Bill Cox (45 completions for 80 attempts) handing off to all-conference Fullback Roland Jackson or pitching out to Halfback Bob Wayt, it is not spectacular, and the Owls' real strength lies in their line, where End John Burrell (20 receptions and three TDs) and Tackle John Cornett (6 feet 4 and 240 pounds) operate like the All-America candidates that they are.
CONCLUSION: This is Rice's 50th year in intercollegiate football, and the school wants it to be a golden one, but, oh, that schedule!
The once ripsnorting Mustangs have been broken. Last season, while suffering five shutouts, they failed to win a game. The prospects this year, viewed in the most optimistic light, are but slightly improved. With the exception of Left Guard Ray Schoenke, who last year blocked three punts, there is hardly a firm spot in the lineup. This is particularly so in the line, where Coach Bill Meek will have to do some fancy innovating. But the backfield has a make-do quality, too, and is not likely to improve on last year's average 3.1 points scored a game. Meek, whose job is in jeopardy, may be starting five rookies: Halfbacks Tom Sherwin and Bill Gannon, Tackle Jim Freeman, Quarterback Jerry Rhome and Center Mike Kelsey. On them rest his hopes for an improved fall.
CONCLUSION: Bill Meek might well be a casualty as the Mustangs stumble up from last to next to last in the conference standings.
Last spring there were mutinous mutterings from the rest of the Southwest Conference when the University of Texas rounded up 50 of the state's swiftest schoolboys. They won't be ready for another year, but they won't be particularly needed either. The 1961 Longhorns will be a quiet team. They will stick closely to their unspectacular field-position tactics despite having some pretty spectacular players in the backfield: Quarterback Mike Cotten, Fullback Ray Poage and Halfbacks Jimmy Saxton and Jack Collins. Saxton, a quick dipsy-doo runner, averaged 5.4 yards a try in 1960. But it is defense, Coach Darrell Royal believes, that will win games for Texas, and there are ample replacements for the five graduated line starters, with Center Dave Kristynik and Tackle Don Talbert the most imposing.
CONCLUSION: Deep and conservative, Texas will play a waiting game—most likely successfully—hoping for the smaller clubs to wear out.