Coach Bill Murphy's building program resulted in the school being recognized last year as a place where major football is played. With at least two lettermen returning at every position, the Tigers are confident they will remain worthy of their new status. The offense is solid on the ground, where the team moves three yards for every one gained through the air. The key to last fall's overwhelming scores was, indeed, the astounding rushing of regulars like Russell Vollmer (8.8 yards per carry), Jack Carter (7.3), John Griffin (5.1) and Jerry Reese (5.1), but particularly Quarterback Jim Wright, who led the squad with 5.2 yards on 109 tries while also completing 40 of 82 passes. Two big tackles, 245-pound Bill Hudson and 230-pound Dick Lucas, are solid foundations for a line with small guards and strong defensive ends.
CONCLUSION: The harder schedule won't strain a team of State's deep resources unduly, not when it also has a solid kicking game.
The Hurricanes might be blowhards, but this season they have reason to be. Their backfield has four men who averaged over four yards a try last fall—Fullback Jim Vollenweider and Halfbacks Nick Ryder, Ron Fritzsche and Eddie Johns. Johns completed 54 of 91 passes as the 1960 quarterback, but starts at left half now since sophomore George Mira throws better. The school's finest quarterback prospect in years, Mira hails from, of all places, the state of Florida (as do only 20% of his mates). With passers like Mira and Johns in the same backfield, Coach Andy Gustafson is doubly fortunate in having Ends Bill Miller (26 catches) and Larry Wilson (14). The line, led by Guard Bill Diamond and Center Bob Dentel and standout defensive End Frank Reinhart, is made of superior stuff, too.
CONCLUSION: The schedule is as challenging as any in the country, but Gustafson's Miamians should be able to handle it handsomely.
This flower of the Deep South shows no sign of wilting. Ole Miss lost eight starters from the team that repeated as Sugar Bowl champions, yet has two lettermen ready at every position. Coach Johnny Vaught is the proudest of his big, fast line, which features Guards Billy Ray Jones and Bookie Bolin, 240-pound Tackle Jim Dunaway, End Ralph Smith, who caught 11 foes for 97 yards in losses last year, and Center Fred Lentjes, fully recovered from a broken arm. Last year's starting backfield is gone, but this is not the calamity it would be at some other schools. Paced by senior Fullback Billy Ray Adams, who has yet to lose an inch running, players who gained more than 1,000 yards last season are ready to step in. Art Doty is the only proved receiver for Doug Elmore and Perry Lee Dunn, but others will learn.
CONCLUSION: The Rebs' one worry is that they will become jaded by success. With good sophs coming up, that isn't likely to happen.