The front four on defense—sharp little bulldogs who hound enemy offensemen—are Larry Shakel, Cliff Hancock, Jim Hight and Dick Weber. None weighs as much as 200 pounds. Coryell's theory of defense is to put the small, mobile men up front and set two bruising linebackers right behind them to torture anything that escapes.
Both of last year's linebackers, along with the entire defensive backfield, have graduated, yet Coryell feels San Diego is starting 1967 with a better defensive secondary than before. His linebackers will be Dave Thornton, a converted offensive guard, and either transfer Mike Meagher or Doug Fisher, a junior-college discus thrower. The backs will be Jim Crossley, Ambrous Jacobs, an upgraded reserve, junior-college transfers Nate Wright, Marty Stigner and Clarence Oliver, and John Beck, a punter.
If that sounds like so many unknowns, consider it another way. When the professional draft was over last winter, eight men from little-known San Diego State had been selected—which tied it for first as a training center for pros with little-known Notre Dame and Michigan State. Two of the Aztecs went as first-round choices.
One of those drafted was Quarterback Don Horn. Junior-college transfers Tom Williams and Doug Matheson are still fighting for his position, and neither has looked exceptional.
San Diego's fiercest challenge may be its schedule. To celebrate a nice new $27 million stadium with some nice new gate receipts, the Aztecs piled Tennessee State, Weber State, Northern Illinois, Montana State and major-college Utah State on top of their California College Athletic Association games. The Aztecs will be bloodied at least once.
"Parsons College? Where is that?" says 230-pound Parsons Linebacker Ralph Young, quoting himself. Two years ago that was Young's not altogether novel reaction to his high school coach's suggestion of a place to go to school. "When he told me ' Iowa,' I somehow had the place confused with Ohio," says Young.
But Young's trip to Parsons to see the college and meet Coach Marcelino (Chelo) Huerta was most satisfactory, and now pro scouts come to Parsons to see Young. "I'd spent my freshman year at Southern Mississippi and wasn't happy," Young explains. "I couldn't go to most of the major schools because I'd lose a year of eligibility. Parsons was small, but it seemed to be doing things first-class."
Parsons' air travel has been all first-class too, ever since Huerta chartered the passing arm of Daynor Prince, a quarterback from Marblehead, Mass. Prince has completed 58.8% of his passes for 35 touchdowns in three years. Flanker Allen Marcelin grabbed 40 of those for 725 yards and six touchdowns last year alone. Halfback Ed Tuttle, who gained 390 yards rushing, returns this season, and Frank Antonini, a 210-pound transfer from Kentucky, is expected to look good on the other side.
The line is no problem at all. Last year Parsons' offensive and defensive lines were as big as Michigan State's. That's still true. Tackles Barry Connors, Ron Kittle and Jerry Campbell are all in the 255-270 class. Connors and Kittle are seniors, but Campbell is a junior. He is, says Huerta, "the finest lineman at this stage of his career that I've ever coached."