For the fifth straight year the Green Wave will try to ride over the .500 mark, but chances are the broad sea walls of the Southeast Conference will contain it again. Although 18 lettermen return, they do not include the right quarterback or halfbacks, and the schedule unhappily lists meetings with five of the best teams in the conference. In an effort to spread around what talent is available, Coach Andy Pilney has moved two centers, Larry Thompson and Nat Kiefer, to tackle and guard, leaving John Chaisson, a fine linebacker, as the only tested center. Gus Gonzales, the strongman of the line, is a tough middle guard and an accurate blocker. The ends have speed, but lack experience as receivers, so the offense will again focus on ball carriers Bill Ary (6.3-yard average last year), Gordon Rush (4.2) and Adrian Colon (4.0).
CONCLUSION: The team is strong defensively but its crushing schedule will prove too much for it, as it has in the past.
Spring practice in Nashville was eminently worthwhile. It produced a fine pass-receiving. corps, a strong defense and some first-class sophomores. All are needed, for last season was the first ever in which the Commodores failed to win one Southeastern Conference game Coach Art Guepe and his twin Al now have five good ends, led by Dan Boone, whose injured knee kept him out last fall, and Bruce Hammer, as well as a proved quarterback, Hank Lesesne. Lesesne stole the job as a sophomore and finished fifth in total offense in the SEC Mike Reese and Bill Corbin moved from guard to help Bill Thomas reinforce a shaky tackle squad, while Center Cody Binkley will again be one of the South's finest. Fullback Jim Johnson has lots of experienced running mates, and sophomore Sam Sullins is a booming punter.
CONCLUSION: A rebounding team with 24 lettermen, Vandy has good sophomores, a balanced offense and oodles of incentive.
A loss to William and Mary in their first game will make the Cavaliers the losingest team in college football (29 in a row), but young Coach Bill Elias, fresh from a year at George Washington (where he was Southern Conference Coach of the Year), has other goals. During a fruitful spring practice, 27 returning lettermen scrambled for positions and only three seniors made it—Quarterback Stan Fischer and Tackles Ron Gassert (6 feet 3, 235 pounds) and Bill Kanto. So did two sophomores, Fullback Bruce Perry and End Myron McWilliams, and four juniors, End Joe Kehoe, who caught 34 passes good for 378 yards last year, and good running Halfbacks Carl Kuhn, Tony Ulehla and Ted Rzempoluch, who, working together, could develop a fair running attack behind Guard Bob Rowley.
CONCLUSION: The Cavaliers can set a record without trying, but this team will try—and may not set a record at all.