CONCLUSION: An Air Force without an air arm is going to have difficulty with the likes of UCLA, SMU, Baylor and Colorado.
The Cougars, generally the have-nots in the expiring Skyline Conference, will close out true to form. Coach Hal Mitchell, who replaced the fired Tally Stevens, is in much the same fix as his predecessor. Mitchell's position, in fact, may be even shakier than Stevens' because he is putting in the single wing and it will take time for the Cougars to adjust to the new system. Mitchell's most pressing chore is to find a tailback, and the choice lies between Eldon Fortie, a slim junior who has demonstrated some throwing and running skill, and Perry Ficklin, who quarterbacked the freshman team last year. Mitchell will experiment to find the right linemen. Only Kent Home, an immovable 270-pound tackle, and sturdy Mike Brady, who has been shifted from guard to center, are sure of their jobs.
CONCLUSION: Mitchell's most valuable asset this year may be a good kicker. The rebuilding Cougars will have to punt plenty.
Scholarly Coach Marv Levy will do a great deal of analyzing this year, but his inescapable conclusion must be that he has too much schedule and too little team. Except for Quarterback Randy Gold, who throws the ball with authority (he completed 56% of his passes for 696 yards last year), and George Pierovich, a power-driving 210-pound fullback, Cal is burdened with mediocrity almost everywhere. In the line, tight End John Papini, an adept pass catcher, and Roger Stull, the long-side guard, will hold their own, but the other small linemen will have trouble handling bigger opponents. Levy has varied his wing T with an unbalanced line and split end, and is hoping that Jon Mason and Alan Nelson, a pair of swift halfbacks who were blue-shirted last year, will help make Cal at least respectable.
CONCLUSION: Too thin, too small and too green, the Bears need more than Gold's passing to survive the murderous days ahead.
After his Rams fell into the Skyline cellar last year, Coach Tuffy Mullison spent a busy winter searching for more experienced laborers. He brought in 21 junior-college transfers, but the team structure is too flimsy to be put in sound working order this season. Last year's defense gave up a discouraging 240 points and the present model isn't much better, despite the return of Tackle John Keegan, a bruising 230-pounder, Guard Nick Kohls, a good small man, and End John Nelson, who can fend off blockers. There are backfield troubles, too. Halfback Brady Keys—quick, elusive and hard running—is good, but he is pretty much all by himself, and the Rams are in dire need of a quarterback. Unless transfer LeeRoy Gutierrez can help, Mullison will have to use Bill Berringer, whose passing is spotty at best.
CONCLUSION: Improve the Rams by 25% and you still have a team that is giving up 18 points a game. That's a cellar-type handicap.