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At OHIO STATE, Coach Woody Hayes seemed sorry, even a little melancholy, when spring practice ended. He was like a kid who had had his new bike taken away from him for the summer. Hayes looked forward to the brightness returning in the fall.
Hayes' brightest things are some very large and experienced offensive linemen and a group of shiny sophomores he calls "the best I have had in 15 years." At least five, and maybe more, of these young Bucks will be in the starting lineup.
One sure to be is Dave Foley, the remarkable 242-pound tackle (see box page 69) who joins an offensive interior that includes Mike Current, 237 pounds, at the other tackle, Dick Himes, an aggressive 250-pound junior who has been moved to guard from defensive end, and Ray Pryor, 235 pounds, at center. The little guy of the mob is Guard Bill Eachus, a mere 218. With Billy Enders, a split end who can catch anything he can reach, and either Joe Jenkins or Nick Roman, both neophytes, at tight end, the line will be tough.
Ohio State's T, not really as cloudy and dusty lately as some people would like to believe, will be in relatively new hands. Halfback Bo Rein, more of a slasher than the nifty type and a good pass catcher, is the only starter back, but Rudy Hubbard, the left half, and Paul Hudson, a burly 210-pound fullback, played some last year. They are volatile enough but not exactly speed demons. Two sophomores, Gerry Ehrsam and Bill Long, are fighting it out for quarterback. Ehrsam is the stronger runner but Long, who throws a slightly better pass, probably will start.
"Everybody thinks we don't pass," says Hayes. "Well, let 'em think that—maybe we'll just fool 'em." Last year the Bucks did throw—22 times a game—but seldom when it really mattered. Then conservative OSU called on its stock-in-trade, the fullback up the middle.
The defense suffered a severe blow when Linebackers Ike Kelley and Tom Bugel and Middle Guard Bill Ridder departed. End Jim Baas, Tackle Gary Miller and sophomores will have to take up the slack while Himes may be called on for double duty. Even so, the Bucks are plotting an ambush for Michigan State in Columbus on Oct. 15. That one could decide the Big Ten title. "We'll have a darn good team, don't worry," confides Hayes. Nobody ever does, except other Big Ten coaches.
Purdue's Jack Mollenkopf is one who will not worry, since his Boilermakers do not play Ohio State. But they do meet Michigan State, and Mollenkopf does worry about the Spartans. "They'll be so tough to score on," he laments.
If Mollenkopf is right, then his team is in trouble; scoring is supposed to be what it does very well, chiefly because of Quarterback Bob Griese, one of the best college passers in the land. A master of the quick release, Griese has the rare ability to pick up his alternate receivers and then get the ball to them in a hurry. Last year, he completed 142 passes for 1,719 yards and 11 touchdowns. He also ran for four touchdowns and kicked 23 points after touchdown and five field goals.
"He's just fantastic," says Mollenkopf, and Notre Dame's Parseghian, whose team has to face Griese Sept. 24. In their game last year, Griese wrecked the Irish, completing 19 of 22 passes for 283 yards and three touchdowns. "It was just a question of mechanics," said Griese modestly.
The mechanics are all there again. Griese will pitch to Jim Beirne, who has switched from tight to loose end, Sophomore Marion Griffin, the new tight end, and Flanker Jim Finley. Between them, Beirne and Finley caught 62 passes in 1965. Unfortunately, though, there is a shortage of knowledgeable pass blockers. Guard Chuck Erlenbaugh is the only one back, and Mollenkopf has had to switch 235-pound Jack Calcaterra from middle guard to tackle to help out.