CONCLUSION: Excellent offensively, only nagging defensive weak spots keep this essentially strong team from ranking with the best.
The Spiders finished the 1960 season with only 18 substitutes on the bench. There are now 60 men on the roster, and in numbers alone the team is stronger. But Coach Ed Merrick has more than numbers. He has seven returning starters, including a dandy little halfback, Earl Stoudt, who catches passes and gains 4.5 yards a try. He also has a strong offensive line that pivots on Center Don Christman and Guard Ben Davis. Quarterback Mel Rideout completed 85 passes last year and should do even better with the return of End Art McGee and, best of all, the arrival of 6-foot-5 sophomore John Hilton. This combination gives Richmond a dangerous passing attack to go with the running of Stoudt and sophomore Fullback Larry Deco. The tackles had a sluggish spring but are likely to be prodded by sophomores, who supply depth.
CONCLUSION: With Army and Alabama replacing old rivals on the schedule, the defense won't learn fast enough this year.
Marvin Bass, taking over as new head coach, has shifted the offense from a split-T to a slot T, and would like to alternate three units, although he will probably have to settle for two. The light, fast Gamecocks cannot go too far—or too far awry. They have two good lines, especially on defense, and will use the wildcard rule to replace their short halfbacks with taller men in the secondary. But with no punter, no field-goal kicker, questionable passing and new plays to learn, this young team will have early-season troubles. Senior Quarterbacks Jim Costen and Dave Sowell played most of last year, along with flashy, erratic Billy Gambrell, leader in a free-for-all battle for the halfback positions. Nimble Tackle Jim Moss, the Jones boys, Guards Harold and John, and Center Dick Lomas compose much of a sound line.
CONCLUSION: Inexperience and lack of heft are too much of a handicap for Coach Bass to overcome in his first year.
Playing virtually the same schedule against uniformly improved teams, the Volunteers must develop a passing attack to better their Southeastern Conference ranking. Coach Bowden Wyatt's single-wing offense is ideal for the explosive talents of his red-haired senior tailback, Glenn Glass, one of the South's best broken-field runners, but Glass is no passer and none emerged from spring practice. To make matters worse, the top four ends graduated. The line also will be weak at guard, but an outstanding group of tackles, led by soph Dick Evey, plus a rich lode of centers means a solid ground game. The backfield is experienced and deep, and a fine sophomore, Mallon Faircloth, is ready to spell Glass at tailback. George Canale's 42-yard average makes him potentially the best punter in the kick-conscious SEC.
CONCLUSION: It will be difficult to improve on last year, especially that win over Alabama, even with the excellent running.