Columbia, for the first time in three years, will have to go it without Archie Roberts, the league's best quarterback in years—perhaps its best ever. Oddly enough, Coach Buff Donelli thinks his team may be improved this season. Not at quarterback, of course, where Rick Ballantine is the likely starter. What encourages Donelli are 19 holdovers with game experience. For a change there is some depth at tackle and guard behind 230-pound Ron Brookshire, Terry Mulvihill and Dick Flory. The running will be better, too, with Halfbacks Gene Thompson, Bob Klingensmith, Bob Patton and Rich Brown, a little sophomore darter who, Buff says, "may be one of the most thrilling breakaway runners we've ever had."
Among the independents are some teams which are not too far behind Penn State and company. Although VILLANOVA's strong rushing defense—seventh-best in the country last year—has been decimated by graduation, the Wildcats are still good enough to equal or better last year's 6-2 record. For one thing, Coach Alex Bell's attack, a subtle mixture of T and I, is tricky enough to confuse would-be stoppers. Tom Brown, a fast, shifty fullback who roamed inside and outside for 515 yards in 1964, and Quarterback Dave Connell, who ran for five touchdowns and passed for five more, know how to score. But much depends upon how quickly large two-way interior linemen like 230-pound Tackles Harry Walter and John Fry, 220-pound Guards Lou Morda and Brian McDonnell and 215-pound Center Roger Agin learn their lessons.
Colgate, which supplied the most excitement the Chenango Valley has had in 30 years when it went 7-2 last season, has the makings for another fine team. Coach Hal Lahar, who likes a firm, disciplined defense and a tough ground game, has the players for both. Not many teams will move the ball far against aggressive defenders like 221-pound John Paske, who goes from linebacker to guard, Linebacker Ray Ilg and End Hap Clark. There is good depth behind them, too. The Red Raiders also have Halfback Marv Hubbard, a strong 205-pound sophomore who is a good pass receiver and runs, blocks and kicks exceptionally well. He will team with Tom Carpenter, last year's leading ground-gainer, who moves to fullback. And when Colgate elects to pass—which is about 25% of the time—Quarterback Buff Piatt is more than adequate.
Rutgers is another team with interesting potentialities. Coach John Bateman, a rotund, sad-eyed man with an astute football mind, has the linemen for a staunch defense and the runners for his tricky double-wing T. Linebacker Bob Schroeder and 230-pound Tackle Jerry Sertick yield yards grudgingly and Halfbacks Ralf Stegmann and Charley Mudie eat up yardage on the ground. Bateman needs someone to throw to his good receivers, Ends Bob Stohrer and Jack Emmers, who caught 43 passes between them last year. If Jack Callaghan, who is only 5 feet 9, can see around or over the big fellows he plays with often enough to complete passes, the Scarlet Knights will be hard to beat.
Buffalo, which has lived by the pass for so long, may have to learn to live without it this year. That is, unless Rick Wells, a sophomore quarterback, proves to be as good as the Bulls think he is. If he is not, Tailback Jim Webber, a steady runner, may be Coach Dick Offenhamer's entire offense. What could save Buffalo is its good defense. E. Greenard Poles, a stubby 225-pound tackle who hits fiercely and runs faster than most halfbacks, and Linebacker Joe Holly head up a strong, mobile unit that averages a neat 220 pounds.
Holy Cross and Boston U. would gladly settle right now for break-even seasons. Mel Massucco, who takes over for retired Eddie Anderson at Holy Cross, inherited 28 lettermen, but most of the best ones were graduated. He also, quite unexpectedly, lost two good quarterbacks. Mike Cunnion, an excellent passer, was declared ineligible, and Jack Lentz, who ran for 802 yards last year, underwent knee surgery. Now Massucco will have to go with senior Brian Flatley, only a fair passer and runner, and hope for the best.
At BU, Coach Warren Schmakel has 21 returnees back from a 2-7 team. Normally, it would be a promising start, but they gave up 213 points last year. Consequently, Schmakel concentrated on defense in spring practice. He also tried to stir up his offense, moving Dave La Roche to halfback and giving Tom Thornton, a fancy sophomore passer, a shot at Bob Kobus' quarterback job. The move might give the Terriers more bite.
The Middle Atlantic Conference will be no place for the faint-hearted. Any one of three teams—Gettysburg, which took the MAC by surprise last year, Temple or Bucknell—could win the title. GETTYSBURG'S Bullets, after shooting blanks for years, suddenly found a quarterback with a rifle arm—Jim Ward. He completed 90 of 177 passes for 1,233 yards and 17 touchdowns, is back for another fling with Coach Gene Haas's double-flanker pro offense and has good people to throw to: Flankers Dale Boyd and Tom McCracken and Ends Joe Egresitz and Dick Masin. Gettysburg also has outstanding runners in Rod Albright and Bob Nye. Up front, Guard Ron Brentzel and Linebacker Jack Costner give the middle a pleasing firmness. The only weakness is at tackle, but that does not bother Haas. He says confidently, "Our whole offense will be better. I look for another season like 1964."
Such shining optimism should breed clouds of pessimism at Temple and Bucknell. It does not. The TEMPLE Owls, who last year had their best season since 1945, again have some big guns to fire back at the Bullets. Quarterbacking Coach George Makris' pro attack is Joe Petro, a good passer. He has able receivers in Flanker John Fonash and Ends Ed Reinoso and Jon Czarnecki. For running, there is Fullback Paul Malatesta and Halfback Jack Stricker. Temple, however, will have some problems because of a miniature line—Guard Tom Bazis, for example, is only 5 feet 5 and 170 pounds—and skimpy interior depth behind the starters.
Bucknell, last year's Lambert Cup winner, will have a different look. One would think that a coach with a passer like Bill Lerro, who completed 98 out of 156 for 1,255 yards and 10 touchdowns, and a spectacular catcher like Tom Mitchell, a brilliant 6-foot-3, 215-pound end who runs zigzag patterns and snared 71 passes for 886 yards, would just sit back and let his star aerialists perform. Not Carroll Huntress, the new coach who formerly served as an assistant at Maryland. He has installed Tom Nugent's version of the I formation and is toying with the notion of replacing Lerro at quarterback with Bob Marks, who does not pass nearly as well but is much better at handling the roll-out option. The idea is to get more running into the Bisons' game.