The defense recorded five shutouts last year and, although graduation losses have changed the four-four front to a wide-tackle six, it should again be strong. The widest and best of the tackles is Dave Puriefory, a 245-pounder who runs the 40 in 4.6. End Will Foster and Back Darrell Mossburg are other capable defenders for the Hurons.
There is talent and depth at every position and a schedule that brings six of nine opponents to Ypsilanti. When the choir is also in town, there should be some big weekends for Dr. Sponberg.
The winner of the Ohio Valley Conference should be in line for national recognition this year and a good choice for that honor is Eastern Kentucky. The Colonels came very close last season but were upset in the final game 16-13 by Morehead State to finish 8-2 and fall short by mere percentage points. There were only four seniors on that team, all of them offensive linemen. Coach Roy Kidd has gone to his stockpile of defensive talent, highlighted by Tackle Wally Chambers and Linebacker James Croudep, and made changes which should once again give Tailback Jimmy Brooks plenty of romping room. Brooks gained 1,013 yards as a freshman, 1,102 as a sophomore and 970 as a junior, and how many backs do you know who rush for 4,000 in a career?
Brooks is one of the few Eastern players who came to Richmond on a full scholarship. Of the 12 starters on last year's offensive team (two fullbacks alternated) only one other had any kind of financial aid until he proved himself on the field.
"A player can go into spring practice without a cent and come out of it with a full grant by working his way up to the first unit," says Kidd, who must treat his 50-scholarship limit like a fussbudget housewife. "Our spring practices are really something because these kids know it can mean bread in their mouths."
Kidd's formula has worked so well in his seven years as coach that the college-division football team at Eastern has succeeded the university-division basketball team as the big sport on campus. And in Kentucky that's no small accomplishment.
Jacksonville State University is not the same school where those seven-footers play basketball. This one is in Alabama and until recently the school was consistent only in its ability to play losing football, which went right along with its reputation as the "Friendliest Campus in the South." Last fall it stopped being friendly. In a frenzied rush from mediocrity, Jacksonville State won all nine regular-season games and defeated Florida A&M 21-7 in the Orange Blossom Classic. With 18 starters returning, all of them coached by a Bear Bryant prot�g� of the early 1960s, mind you, the Gamecocks should again win more games than friends. Coach Charley Pell has so much material that he must talk about "overconfidence and complacency" when looking for something to complain about.
The offense last season averaged 32.5 points and 392.8 yards per game behind the passing of Quarterback Doc Lett and rushing of Tailback Boyce Callahan. The 158-pound Callahan was an exceptional freshman, gaining 1,293 yards and scoring 11 touchdowns. The defense returns everyone, including Linebacker Gary Godfrey, the Mid-South Conference MVP. It allowed only 10.4 points per game and forced a turnover once every five plays. Against Western Carolina the secondary came up with 10 interceptions, an NAIA record. With all this comes Placekicker Danny Kemp, who made nine of 15 field goal tries and scored 63 points.