- TOP PLAYERSOffensePABLO S. TORRE | August 20, 2012
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California, which yielded 213 points in 10 games last year and which has shut out just one opponent since 1957, has decided that a good offense is no defense. To get itself one, Cal hired away the Washington Redskins' defensive coach, alumnus Ray Willsey, and along with its new attitude of defensive attack, it has the players. They are, notably, Guards Ron Calegari and John Garamendi (AAWU heavyweight wrestling champ), Tackles Jim Pinson and Roger Foster, Middle Linebacker Jim Phillips and fast End Mike Gridley, 54-foot shotputter. Since there are not many good substitutes, this line must stay healthy. If it does, there are backs to exploit it: Halfback Tom Blanchfield, substitute Jim Blakeney, rangy Flanker Loren Hawley, sub Jerry Mosher and little Fullback Tom Relies. And then there is Quarterback Craig Morton, Bearishly estimated to be the nation's best passer. Morton, throwing to his favorite target, End Jack Schraub, is enough to panic anyone. If the Bears can hold the opposition to fewer than last year's 1,514 aerial yards and if young players develop at a normal rate, downtrodden California could rise as high as third in the AAWU.
John Ralston of STANFORD is that football rarity, a coach who loves to recruit. Such men are dangerous. They have a habit of taking over a consistent cellar contender, lulling a league with one bad year and causing enormous trouble when their own recruits start playing varsity. By more than sheer coincidence this is Ralston's second year at Palo Alto, the Indians' record last year was a disappointing 3-7 and they now seem likely to finish in the AAWU first division. Exactly how likely depends in large part on a new pair of quarterbacks, transfer Terry DeSylvia and sophomore Dave Lewis, a genuine Indian, and on sophomores and transfers in the line. If all come through, Stanford's 1963 record could be reversed.
Gordon Queen may be forgiven for feeling unappreciated. After all, he tied for first in the nation last year with 16 touchdown passes and accounted for 1,297 yards, yet he might not be OREGON STATE'S starting quarterback. Trouble is, Coach Tommy Prothro has switched to a power I formation, requiring the Beaver quarterback to run more, and Queen is no Ellery on the option. Marv Crowston is a better runner, and so are sophomores Paul Brothers and Bob Grim. No such uncertainty bedevils Tailback Charlie Shaw, a 210-pound hurdler, while Booker Washington and Cliff Watkins are set at fullback and floater back. Although Oregon State's losses were in the line, the Beavers retain a pair of good, big tackles in Ken Brusven and Rich Koeper and excellent linebackers in Jack O'Billovich and Dick Ruhl. If California and Stanford do not achieve their full potential, Oregon State will rise above them.
Oregon, unhappily, has lost all but one of its six best rushers, including the celebrated Mel Renfro, and all four of its top receivers. This represents a net loss of 1,237 yards rushing and 1,328 yards receiving. It also represents a new call for ingenuity by a team already noted for its dashing offenses ( Oregon has averaged more than 300 yards and more than three touchdowns per game over the last five years). Whatever Coach Len Casanova conjures up to neutralize his losses, he must use Quarterback Bob Berry (101 of 171 passes for 1,675 yards and 16 touchdowns last year) as its chief ingredient. Halfback Dennis Keller, the only other back with more than two minutes' experience, outstanding Center Dave Tobey, Defenseman Oliver McKinney, Tackles Lowell Dean and Pat Matson and End Ray Palm will have to add their bit. After them, prospects rest on a flock of mighty downy Ducklings.
The Lobos of NEW MEXICO have won every Western Athletic Conference title since the inception of the league—all two of them—and see no reason to curb their appetite now. Particularly voracious is a line led by big, bad Tackle Wayne Tvrdik, who has no weaknesses anyone knows of. Dave Hettema, with good speed, strength and blocking reach, is an excellent match at the other tackle. The happily named Glen Troublefield and fellow Guard Steve Byrd are tough enough, as are versatile Jack Abendschan at center and Ends Gary Plumlee and Mario Marianni. They will enable New Mexico, primarily a running team, to pass more. The Wolfpack backfield is fleet. Quarterback Stan Quintana, says Coach Bill Weeks, has improved 100%. Considering how good Quintana looked netting 256 yards on the ground and completing almost half his passes last year, that is 100% impressive. Just as impressive are Tailback Joe Harris or the wingback combination of Claude Ward and Orvey Hampton plus Fullback Chuck Kelly. Aside from these gentlemen, all New Mexico has is a lot of depth.
With a 4-6 1963 record and the loss of Quarterback Gary Hertzfeldt (1,205 yards total offense), UTAH might appear to be headed straight out of the Promised Land. On the contrary, Utah may not beat New Mexico, but the Redskins will offer a serious challenge. Allen Jacobs, with the running characteristics of a Wasatch mountain landslide, gained 564 yards from fullback last season. One halfback, Ron Coleman, rushed 393 yards and another, Andy Ireland, rushed 271. Even at quarterback, Pokey Allen is considered a better runner and leader than Hertzfeldt. None of these backs matches End Roy Jefferson, however. Besides excelling at defense and offense, catching and running, Jefferson kicks off, converts points and kicks field goals. Utah may have been the toughest 4-6 team in the West last year. Expect something more like 7-3 this season.
Not all Arizonans in the news this fall will be members of the class of 1932. Down at Tucson some 50 young men, ARIZONA classes of 1965 to 1967, are dedicated to the proposition that moderation in pursuit of victory is no virtue. The mere fact that 22 of them are senior lettermen would not be so impressive were not the likes of John Briscoe scattered among them. Briscoe is an honor scholar, a student leader, a nice fellow and a good center and linebacker. Jim Oliver and Rickie (Flea) Harris are mighty useful halfbacks, yet Floyd Hudlow will probably move from defense to replace Oliver. Gene Dahlquist, who passed 252 yards as an alternate quarterback, may be pushed aside by Lou White, and Larry Fairholm furnishes all the expertise needed at defensive half. Two sophomores, Tackle George Tijerina and Guard Joe Escalada, sound like a pair of border towns and reportedly are just as tough. Add them all together, and you won't dismiss Arizona's chances on the basis of early polls.
Utah State will be the most dangerous independent in the West, a state of affairs that should occasion no surprise. The Aggies were national leaders in scoring and total offense last year, and have ranked high in both for the last four seasons. State also outgained opponents by 202.8 yards per game, best in the nation and a record that linemen like Rich Zecher, 245-pound tackle, and Veran Smith, 230-pound guard, anticipate continuing. They will be helped tangibly by Tackles Chuck Bray (250 pounds) and Jim Harris (265), Guard Bob Broughton and Center Jim Bowen. Flanking all this brawn is a pair of fine pass-catching ends, John Mathews and Jack Hannum. Halfback Darell Steele can also catch passes, but he is even better at carrying all the way. If Fullback Craig Murray and Halfback Marv Kendrick can come back from a year of injuries and if either sophomore Ron Edwards or transfer Ron Stewart can take charge at quarterback, the Utags will look like a very good WAC team. Unfortunately, the conference still will not have them.
There better be nothing wrong with the youth of America, or Coach Frank Kush of ARIZONA STATE University is in trouble. ASU is so inexperienced Kush thinks green is a primary color. Gone, taking an 8-1 record with them, are nine of last fall's offensive 11, including the entire backfield. Even so, the Sun Devils are feared around the league as a sleeper. If Arizona State does have hopes, they revolve around Quarterback John Torok, Halfbacks Gene Foster and Ben Hawkins, End Jerry Smith, Guard Bobby Johnson and Tackle Frank Mitacek. Aside from them, all the Devils have are a lot of promising sophomores.