Fred Barofsky, the new quarterback, who was a good enough runner to play halfback occasionally last year, Hamilton, Stowers and Flanker Back Carl Woessner, a rugged 198-pound sophomore, can move the ball on the ground, which is where Dietzel likes to play his football. But there is a disturbing uncertainty that they can move it well enough to beat teams like Tennessee, Boston College, Notre Dame, Stanford and, of course, Navy.
If they cannot, Cadet followers may be treated to the unlikely sight of Curt Cook, the No. 2 quarterback and a strong-armed passer, flinging the ball from almost anywhere on the field. Even Dietzel, a genuine football conservative, is prepared for this eventuality. "I guarantee we'll startle some people when we line up on the five-yard line and throw a pass," he says. "Including me," adds Dietzel, with a grimace.
New NAVY Coach Bill Elias, who replaces Wayne Hardin, will be startled only if his team does not pass. He likes a wide-open, pro-type offense with split ends and flankers, and that is what he has installed at Annapolis. The defense will be just as wild with stunts, blitzes and anything else Elias can dream up to confuse the opposition. "What we want to do," explains Elias, "is attack even when we're on defense."
Pretty big talk for a coach who starts with a brand-new backfield and still is not sure who his quarterback is going to be. About all that Hardin left behind when he was fired was a handful of linemen and the usual Navy enthusiasm. That would be enough to discourage most men. But not the affable Elias, who endured four years at Virginia before coming to Navy and is so confirmed an optimist he honestly believes his green team has a chance to win every game.
The contending quarterbacks, Bruce Bickel and Phil Bassi, sound like a vaudeville act, but Elias is convinced that one of them, probably Bickel, who spins a fair pass and runs moderately well, will be able to handle his souped-up offense. After that, however, he just hopes. Steve Shrawder, Al Rood-house and Tom Leiser, routine runners all, are the ranking halfbacks, and Danny Wong, a stubby (5-feet-6, 192 pounds), thick-legged Chinese lad, is the fullback.
There are problems in the line, too. Aside from Harry Dittmann, a robust 6-foot-6, 247-pound center, Tackle Bob Wittenberg and End Phil Norton, the offensive line lacks the spit and polish to match Elias' ambitions. The defense is even shakier. Don Downing, a 227-pound linebacker, and Tackle Fred Moosally, the best players, will have to get some instant help from sophomores if Navy is going to stop anybody.
It does not take a trained psychologist to notice that little gleam in PITT Coach John Michelosen's eye these days. Obviously, he is relieved not to have Chancellor Edward H. Litchfield kibitzing his football coaching. The chancellor resigned last July and presumably his successor will be more concerned with getting Pitt out of its current financial difficulties than with football.
But now Michelosen has other worries. He insists that quarterback is not one of them because Kenny Lucas, a senior, is an excellent play caller and good passer. Lucas is a fair passer but he cannot run and this will limit the Pitt offense. Eventually, Michelosen may have to take a chance on sophomore Bob Bazylak, who lacks Lucas' know-how but is much better at scrambling. Both quarterbacks, fortunately, will have sophomore End Bob Longo to pass to.
The rest of the backfield is racy enough. Eric Crabtree, a fast, elusive halfback, is always a long-scoring threat. Bob Dyer, a squirmy 5 feet 9, is similarly talented, while Barry McKnight, who ran for 551 yards in 1964, is back at fullback.
Pitt's major problems are in the line. The offensive blockers, except for Guards Tom Qualey and Joe Novogratz, are not really devastating, and the defensive tackles also worry the coach. Jim Jones, at 265 pounds, is not exactly a panther, and Al Keiser, who plays the other side, is merely adequate. But there are some bright spots. Jim Flanigan, a rough, 220-pound middle linebacker, is good enough to have already impressed the pros, while Greg Keller, a 6-foot-3 sophomore end, is potentially good.