Craig Fertig was bitter: "The AAWU is nuts," he said. John McKay was bitter but more diplomatic. "This is the second year we have lost a vote to play in the Rose Bowl," he said.
The 1965 Trojan team is so good that it should not have to worry about any Rose Bowl vote. Garrett, Flanker Rod Sherman and 220-pound Fullback Homer Williams (if his foot mends) are among 20 returning lettermen, and McKay has so many impressive sophomores and junior-college transfers he is rubbing his hands together. "We've got more and better running backs than a year ago," he says without a coachly trace of modesty. "And now we've got the depth to rest Garrett and not be hurting." Bottomless lakes should be so deep.
Pat Mills, a junior who played only 40 seconds in 1964, replaces Fertig at quarterback. Just before the spring game McKay said, "Mills lacks experience, but in a throwing contest he can throw the ball as far as anybody." He then watched the youngster go out and complete 22 of 38 passes for 368 yards and three touchdowns. To make everything even rosier, USC has its largest offensive line in years, including two of the nation's finest ends in 220-pound Dave Moton and John Thomas. Chuck Arrobio, 6 feet 4, 245 pounds, and Mike Scarpace, 6 feet 1, 245 pounds, will be at the tackles. Jim Homan, 6 feet 2, 221 pounds, Harry Wells, 6 feet 1, 220 pounds, and Frank Lopez, 5 feet 11, 205 pounds, will handle the guard positions. Paul Johnson, 6 feet 1, 205 pounds, will start at center.
Jeff Smith, a 240-pound All-Conference end, and Safety Nate Shaw, who intercepted a third of the passes thrown into his zone last year, are among six regulars left on the defensive unit, and the Trojans will be improved here with help from fine young sophomores like 6-foot-6, 255-pound Ron Yary (see box page 70) and Tim Rossovich, smallish by USC standards at 220 pounds.
"I have always felt that the team with the quarterback is the team to watch," cautions McKay, referring not to his own Mills but to Dave Lewis of STANFORD. Because Lewis can punt and run as well as pass and because Co-Captain Halfback Ray Handley can run—936 yards in 1964 (seventh nationally)—Stanford is already pointing to October 16, the day it heads south for a showdown with USC in what should be the most important game on the Coast this year. "I think this Stanford-to-the-Rose-Bowl talk is not only premature," Coach Johnny Ralston says, "I might say it's disturbing. However," he adds, as uncoachly a man as McKay, "I'm not going to say it's out of reason. We've got depth and a scoring punch. I just hope we can hold 'em."
Stanford has 21 lettermen returning, losing only five men from its defense and four from the offense. Neither Indian line has the size of USC's, but both are swift, agile and experienced. Defensively, Co-Captain Gary Pettigrew and Mike Hibler return at the tackles, and Lettermen Al Wilburn and Roger Clay will step right in at the ends. Excellent replacements, sophomore Dave Nelson and junior Mike Pavko, take over for the men Stanford misses most—Safety Dick Ragsdale and Linebacker Jack Chapple. The offensive line is unchanged except for Tackle Ferg Flanagan, Guard Rick Derby and Center Jim Mills. Blaine Nye, a 235-pound sophomore, blocks so well he must fit in somewhere—probably at tight end.
Four lettermen start in the offensive back-field, where Lewis and Handley are not the only ballcarrying threats. Bob Blunt, a steady, 184-pound junior, is Handley's runing mate, and John Read, the 209-pound fullback, was second in team rushing last year with 307 yards. Terry DeSylvia has to be the best backup quarterback in the conference; he completed 39 of 71 passes for 451 yards in 1964. So if the Indians get past USC the path to the Rose Bowl is clear, right? Wrong.
Two weeks later they meet WASHINGTON in Seattle, and Coach Jim Owens' boys play for him as if each of them had the family mortgage to pay off. Owens admits his team will be tough—but that's not news anymore; just how good the Huskies will be depends upon how much they score (they did little enough of that in 1964) and how well Owens rebuilds a platoon that last year led the country in rushing defense (61.3 yards per game). Seven men—including All-America Guard Rick Redman, three All-Coast selections and three-quarters of the deep secondary—are gone from the defense. Returning are End Mike Otis (who will probably replace Redman at linebacker), Tackle Fred Forsberg, Linebacker Steve Hinds and Safety Ralph Winters, but help must come from lettermen drafted from the offense and from sophomores like Linebacker Brent DeMeerleer. Dick Wetterauer will take over for Koll Hagen at middle guard, Ron Clark replaces Jim Norton at right tackle and junior Jerry Williams steps in for Jim Lambright at right end. Some other linebackers who may play a lot are Clarence Pautzke, another sophomore, and Luke Novelli, a senior. Joining Winters in the secondary are seniors Al Libke and Jim Sartoris and junior Vince Lorrain.
Halfback Charlie Browning and Fullback Junior Coffey (who lost his job to Jeff Jordan midway through the season) are the only real losses from an offensive unit that only lacked, until the last four games, Quarterback Tod Hullin. Hullin, a 6-foot 185-pounder who can run and throw, started the seventh game, against USC, and took the Huskies to four straight wins. Washington is generally a slow starter, but with burly Ron Medved and 150-pound Steve Bramwell at the halves and the 205-pound Jordan at full to help him, Hullin could very well pick up where he left off. Up front there may be room for only one newcomer—6-foot-3, 235-pound Bob Richardson, a sophomore tackle from Kailua, Hawaii. Washington followers, who have suffered through two almost-seasons, have reason for optimism, if only USC, Stanford and—well, the whole schedule is tough.
Take OREGON'S Webfoots. They are the fourth AAWU team with reasonable expectations of playing in the Rose Bowl. The reason is not All-America Quarterback Bob Berry, who is gone after breaking every Oregon total-offense and passing record last year. Coach Len Casanova thinks he could have a highly dangerous team this season simply because Berry is about all the Web-foots did lose. Among 25 lettermen, Oregon still has its top three ground-gainers, four of its five top receivers and individual leaders in scoring, kickoff returns, punt returns and pass interceptions.