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Some are brash enough to insist Royal was simply too stubborn to embrace the current rage (the I formation), not to mention the rules committee's gift to the rich: platoon football. "They can't convince me that all our misfortunes were caused by not platooning," says Royal. "We fumbled five punts last year. What has that got to do with platooning?" As for the I, Royal snaps his fingers at such nonsense. "Trends are bunk. You know who wins football games? Angry people."
Without a doubt, Royal is an angry person. He also is about to platoon all-out for the first time in his life and has abandoned the faithful old wing T for, egad, the trend. Never one to go at anything haphazardly. Royal hired Broyles's old pupil, Freddy Akers, and handed him the offense. Akers wasted no lime in shifting Quarterback Greg Lott to wingback (shades of Harry Jones), partly because Lott is very fast and partly because sophomore Bill Bradley (see box page 82) has come to play quarterback. Not that Bradley will be lonely for classmates. No fewer than eight sophomores have won starting positions this fall.
Quicker than you can say "wham, ooph, blooy" everyone will know whether that "feeling" TEXAS CHRISTIAN Coach Abe Martin has this season means a championship or a quick 0-3 record—wham, ooph and blooy meaning Nebraska, Ohio State and Arkansas. People have gotten out of the habit of really noticing TCU of late, but as an assistant coach noted laconically: "We win those first three and I guess they'll know about us." Coaches never never talk that way unless they know something. In this case, they know that sophomores Ross Montgomery and Norman Bulaich have arrived. Montgomery is a 6-foot-3, 210-pound fullback who has reeled off a 9.6 hundred. Bulaich, a tailback, is two pounds lighter, three inches shorter, a tenth of a second slower—and he hits harder. And what does Abe Martin think? "Talent isn't so much till it does something," is what he thinks.
If you have a notion to run against the Frogs, well, why not? The defensive line is light and will give a yard here and there, but if it's a pass you are thinking of, forget it. The secondary of Frank Horak, John Richards, Cubby Hudler and Paul Smith has experience, speed and is the best in the SWC. It may be good enough to carry TCU right into the Cotton Bowl.
For the last seven games in 1965 Terry Southall watched BAYLOR play from high in the stands, tending his broken foot. It was one very good reason why the Bears lost five of those games and, until this spring, made Coach John Bridges squirm at the thought of 1966. Then, the very first time the best passing quarterback in the SWC got his hands on the ball during the spring game, he threw himself and his fragile right ankle at right tackle. Bridgers nearly fainted, but when Southall popped up after the play the sighs of relief swept Waco like a zephyr. Southall is fit.
Baylor's offensive line is only adequate, and the runners scare nobody—which bothers Bridgers not at all. What will be asked of them this fall is to hold off pass rushers long enough for Southall to loft one of his beautiful tosses to End Tommy Smith, a quick, sure senior, or John Westbrook, who is one of the two Negroes playing varsity in the SWC this season. Westbrook is a 9.6 type and will bear plenty of watching.
Baylor's volleyball-style of play, however, will be only half the show this season. Guard Greg Pipes, a 230-pounder being boomed for All-America, and Dwight Hood, a 240-pound tackle, make a try up the middle a very discouraging business indeed. And also right in the center of things is a 240-pound sophomore named Earl Maxfield. Opponents will find it much more productive to pass than run on Baylor. The secondary is young, untried and irresistible for any team with an adequate quarterback. The best one, alas, belongs to Baylor.
It will doubtless come as a shock to some four million fans who saw HOUSTON'S Warren McVea drop the ball six times on national television last season, but the young speedster is very nearly as super as everyone said he was before that opening-game disaster. The Cougars came to life with four games to go, and all but three of the people who did it are back. Quarterback Bo Burris will pass often and with the advantage of a lesson learned last year: "There is no way," he says, "you can overthrow McVea."
There does not seem to be any way to throw against Houston, either. It was tried last year, and Gus Hollomon, Dick Spratt, Bill Hollon and Jim Berger intercepted nine passes. So try running and see what happens. Paul Otis, Carl Cunningham and Dick George are back, and nobody did very well against that bunch, either. Coming or going, the Cougars can beat you.
For a gent who has lost 29 games in four years, Hayden Fry has made quite a thing of adversity since coming to SOUTHERN METHODIST—SWC coach of the year in 1962 after losing eight games and a trip to the Sun Bowl in 1964 with a 4-6 record—which makes you wonder what a winning season would do for him. This is the year to find out. Linebacker Billy Bob Stewart fixed his TV set last spring with a short right jolt to the image. It shattered the screen, but the set worked. Fry calls that "direct action," and he'll take it from Stewart on or off the field. "You don't have to worry about Billy Bob being up for a game," said Fry. "He's up for practice." The man who plays next to him is Jerry Griffin, who may be the second-best linebacker in the SWC.