The rest of the MAC is far behind. At DELAWARE things were so grim last spring that Coach Dave Nelson announced, "We are going to put extra emphasis on fundamentals." The Hens will have a good-size interior line, led by 240-pound Guard Herb Slattery, but Quarterback Tom Van Grofski, a good runner and passer, is the only old hand in the backfield. HOFSTRA will be respectable with Halfback Art Amelio and Ends Bill Knight and Bill Starr back but not quite good enough to bother the leaders. LAFAYETTE, which has won only one game in two years, has some hope: three bright sophomore backs, Bill Messick, Chris Yaniger and Joe Cossrow, who together gained more yardage in four freshman games than the varsity did in nine. LEHIGH's new coach, Fred Dunlap, has less and will have to scratch to match last season's 1-7-1 record.
It could be that as MAINE goes so goes the Yankee Conference. The Black Bears get the first shot at Massachusetts on September 18 at Orono, and they have the equipment to upset the Redmen. Coach Hal Westerman has 20 lettermen, and Linebacker John Huard, Tackle Vein Walker and End Al Riley head up a slight but sturdy defense. But where Maine is most dangerous is on offense. Quarterback Dick DeVarney, a quick little scrambler, throws the ball like a big leaguer (he completed 74 passes for 1,102 yards in 1964), and Halfbacks Paul Keany and Frank Harney are splendid runners. Massachusetts will have to be at its peak to trap the Bears.
Connecticut still lacks the size to challenge for the title. Coach Rick Forzano's biggest starting lineman is Tom Pope, a 205-pound tackle, and he is not the best. Jerry McWeeny, the other tackle, who goes only 190, is. Forzano says, "We're not big enough to run over anybody, so we'll try to throw the ball." That would be sound strategy except that his quarterbacks, Dave Whaley and Ron Westfort, do not throw too well.
Vermont bemoans the loss of 14 regulars, but Yankee foes have learned to beware of the Catamounts. They were 7-1 last year and Coach Bob Clifford has a way of surprising people. But this time the surprise may be that he actually is as bad off as he says. Graduation swept most of the backfield clean and left only a smattering of talent at tackle and end. About all the Cats have left is Rusty Brink, a scrappy 200-pound redhead who is the best center in New England, and some strength at quarterback. Jack O'Dea, back in school after a year's absence, will fight it out there with lettermen Scott Fitz and Bill Leete.
At RHODE ISLAND, Coach Jack Zilly has 18 players back but, aside from Fullback Bill Bryant and Guard Joe DeFalco, they are not very good ones. The Rams have a fifth-place look. NEW HAMPSHIRE finally settled its coaching problems by giving the job to Andy Mooradian, an assistant there for 16 years. This could turn out to be more of a punishment than a reward. The Wildcats are so slow that Mooradian painfully admits he will have to resort to sweeps and power plays to move the ball. That sounds like Ohio State talk, and New Hampshire is no Ohio State.
Lately it has been reasonable to assume that AMHERST would win the Little Three Conference championship. The Lord Jeffs have done just that three times running, and Coach Jim Ostendarp is sitting pretty again with most of last year's unbeaten team. For openers, he has Halfbacks Ed Bradley and Bob Ryan and Fullback Ron Hoge, who, among them, gained 1,079 yards rushing and scored 14 touchdowns last season. But WESLEYAN and WILLIAMS are not exactly bankrupt, either. Wesleyan will be hard to get through, with 230-pound Center Alex Spoehr and 220-pound Tackle John Zywna heading up a big line. Williams lacks backs but two of its linemen are enough to make anyone, even Amherst, cringe. Tight End Pete Richardson, 6 feet 4, 225 pounds, is an adept pass receiver while sophomore Bill Drummond, another 225-pound wingman, is so good that the varsity voted him on its 1964 All-Opponent team for his fierce play in scrimmages.