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September 19, 1966
The Miracle
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September 19, 1966

Jitterbugging To A Bowl

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If the last seems un-Schwartzwalderlike—and it does—the reason is wrapped up in a left-handed package named Jim Del Gaizo. Del Gaizo, a rangy sophomore, seems a sure bet to take the quarterback job away from junior Rick Cassata. He is a superb passer, short or long, and he will be aiming at some receivers: Little, Right Half Tom Coughlin and Ends Ed Schreck, Dick Towne and John Del Gaizo, Jim's twin.

The offensive interior line has a greenish tinge to it, but it is quick, mobile and hostile. Gary Bugenhagen, a 240-pound tackle, has been switched from defense to offense, and 255-pound Dave Johnson, a sophomore, will be one of the biggest guards in the country. The other starters are 225-pound Harris Wienke at inside tackle, Bill Benecick at guard and Tom Rosia at center. What worries Schwartzwalder is his defense, which yielded much too easily in 1965. It has good size, though, and the player who could help spruce it up is End Herb Stecker, out most of last season with an injury.

The big tests come early—Baylor and UCLA in the first two games. But, like all true-blooded Orangemen, Schwartzwalder also fears PENN STATE even though his old feuding buddy, Rip Engle, has retired, turning over the head coaching job to his longtime assistant, Joe Paterno. "That Paterno is a smart coach," says Schwartzwalder, "just like old Rip. And besides, he's got some football players."

Nothing has really changed at State, except that Paterno, who always had a big hand in Engle's manipulations, is less lugubrious than his old boss. The Lions are just as big, just as broad and just as potentially dangerous as they were under Engle, and they have their best crop of sophomores in almost a decade. But that's the trouble, most of the good players are young.

Penn State's losses were heavy. Only 14 lettermen return, but one of them is Jack White, the quarterback who was granted an extra year because he sat out a season after transferring from Florida. Another is Split End Jack Curry. Between them, they smashed almost every school passing record. White completed 98 passes for 1,275 yards and Curry, a little string bean of a fellow, caught 42 of them. Bill Rettig, the No. 2 fullback, is back, too, and there is a whole bevy of sparkling sophomore runners.

But the key to Penn State's potential is Roger Grimes, a towheaded fullback turned tailback who runs with the bounce of a Jim Brown. Or did—before he suffered a knee injury in the second game last season, then came down with mononucleosis. Grimes reinjured the knee playing basketball last winter, had surgery and missed spring practice. How quickly, or if, he regains his form could determine just how the Lions will play the game this fall. With Grimes at his best, Penn State will have a sophisticated attack, mostly I. Without him, Paterno may go back to the old wing-T and rely more on White's passing.

Another problem is the offensive line, where Paterno will have to fill the gaps with newcomers and players who have been switched from other positions. The tackles are big—juniors Rich Buzin and John Sain were both close to 260 pounds in the spring—but not quick or agile enough to satisfy Paterno.

The defense does. It is big, fast and combative. Mike Reid, a 238-pound sophomore fullback who was moved to middle guard in the spring, looked like a man who had played there all his life as he merrily banged heads. Flanking Reid are two huge tackles. 260-pound Dave Rowe and 238-pound Mike McBath, while Bill Morgan and Tim Horst, another first-year find, will man the ends. Behind them are Linebackers John Runnells, Jim Litterelle and Jim McCormick and a tight secondary composed of Mike Irwin, Tom Sherman and Safety Tim Montgomery.

"We'll have to depend upon our defense to keep us in ball games," says Paterno, beginning to sound a bit like Engle. "But if it breaks down anywhere, I'm afraid we're in for a long year." He protests too much.

Army has already had its big surprise—the sudden departure last April of Paul Dietzel and the appointment not much later of Freshman Coach Tom Cahill in his place. The shock of those fireworks may light a rocket under the offense, which consisted mostly of duds and hangfires last season. Cahill's specialty is moving the ball, and the more flamboyantly this is done the better. Says he: "It's fine to keep the other team off the scoreboard, but you better get up there yourself."

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