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Modesty aside, Hayes will not hesitate to go with sophomores and he has a few good-great ones. Harold Henson covets the tailback position. He led the frosh in rushing and will fulfill a prophecy made by his father, who raised Harold on a farm 19 miles from Columbus, Ohio. "I used to take him up to the stadium each Saturday and tell him, 'If you do what I teach you, someday you can play here,' " recalls the elder Henson.
Another of the youngsters to draw the inevitable comparisons between himself and the fabled departed is Randy Gradishar, a junior linebacker. "He's not quite as vicious or fast as Tatum," offers Hayes. Even so, that is a compliment.
The Buckeyes will pick between Quarterbacks Greg Hare, a junior, and Dave Purdy, a sophomore. Hare started the last part of the 1971 season after regular Don Lamka joined the wounded list. But Hayes draws on memories of Rex Kern, a starter his sophomore year, when he speaks of Purdy. "He has an inner confidence that comes across," says Woody.
Among the linemen, John Hicks on offense and George Hasenohrl on defense are the blocks upon which the team is constructed. Each has a penchant for avoiding mistakes.
A history aficionado and ready dispenser of homiletic phrases, Hayes could be accused of living in the past by his steady stream of allusions to his 1968-69-70 teams that lost only twice. His office is decorated with favored references. Says one: THOSE WHO CANNOT REMEMBER THE PAST ARE CONDEMNED TO REPEAT IT. A warning, Big Ten. In Columbus, the past is moving back to the present and again the Rose Bowl beckons.
Overshadowed by the New Year's performances of Nebraska, Oklahoma and Stanford was that sweet piece of revenge that took place in the Cotton Bowl—Penn State's 30-6 humiliation of Texas. Surely you remember that 1969 business, Texas chosen No. 1 despite the fact that Penn State was also unbeaten. Well, last January the Nittany Lions made up for it, cracking Texas' Wishbone and limiting the Longhorns to two field goals, a strong defensive effort that should be repeated many times this fall. "We're almost as good physically on defense as we were in 1969," says Coach Joe Paterno. Seven starters return to handle Paterno's gambling defense, most notably Bruce Bannon, one of the country's best defensive ends. Geologist Bannon collects straight A's, rocks (he passed up every spring scrimmage in favor of field trips) and quarterbacks' heads, which are considerably shrunken after he gets through with them. Linebackers John Skorupan (who has 168 tackles in two seasons) and Tom Hull, End Jim Laslavic, Tackle Jim Heller and Deep Backs Buddy Ellis and Gregg Ducatte terrify sensible opponents. Linebacker Larry Ludwig and Defensive Halfback Steve Davis are pleasant new surprises.
The offense could be rugged, too, and a big reason is Quarterback John Hufnagel. "He is the best college quarterback in the country. Hufnagel can do it all—pass, run, handle the ball—and he is a leader," says Paterno, who has coached some pretty good quarterbacks in his years at Penn State. Running Backs Lydell Mitchell and Franco Harris are severe losses from an assemblage that produced 4,936 yards, but Fullback Tom Donchez, who started ahead of Harris in the Cotton Bowl and gained 5.7 yards per carry last fall, returns, as does Bob Nagle. John Cappelletti should be the starting halfback, and Walt Addie and Chuck Herd showed well in the spring. Paterno wants to keep the Cappelletti family happy. John's mother, Anne, brings the coach baskets of Italian food when she comes to home games. He sends her flowers in return.
An excellent set of receivers—Scott Skarzynski, Jimmy Scott, Joe Jackson, Dave Bland, Gary Debes and Gary Hayman—allows for an explosive, dramatic passing game. Guard Carl Schaukowitch, Tackle Craig Lyle and sophomore Tight Ends Dan Natale and Brian Masella give State something extra up front. If all else fails—and it isn't likely to—there is always Alberto Vitiello, the mustachioed, Naples-born, left-footed soccer-style kicker who broke all Penn State kicking records last year.
An index to the season will be the opening game next week against Tennessee, the only team to beat Penn State last year. The Lions will be out for revenge and we know what can happen when they want revenge.