Pitt, needless to say, went up, up and almost away with a turnaround 6-4-1 record, the Panthers' first winning season in the past decade. Dorsett, the 175-pound teen-age flash, was the big difference. He gained 1,586 yards rushing—second only to Mark (Cellar among NCAA schools—and became the first bona fide freshman All-America back since the turn of the century. Majors, hip deep in all that will to win, was named Coach of the Year.
All of which introduces a new set of difficulties. While the Panthers were bent on living down their past year, they now face the equally formidable task of living up to their press clippings. Though any team that carried as many as 24 freshmen on its 52-man traveling squad could hardly be hurting for returning talent, it is true that Pitt's key losses were concentrated on the offensive line. Guard Reynold Stoner and Center Mike Carry should help to plug the gaps, but Majors insists that "I don't know what this year's kids will do. I'm not overawed by our offensive line by a long shot."
If not Majors, a lot of other people are impressed by the fact that along with Dorsett the Pitt backfield will again feature Quarterback Billy Daniels, a master scrambler who ran for 440 yards and 10 touchdowns last fall, and Fullback Dave Janasek, a punishing blocker who is proud to be called "GG," short for glorified guard. "If the best thing I can do for the team is block for Tony," says the 210-pound Janasek, "then I'll do it. I like blocking. It's nice to knock down a guy who's 30 pounds heavier and see him limping back to his huddle."
It would also be nice, says Majors, to have another good receiver to complement Todd Toerpar, and "I'd love to have one more defensive back fall from out of the clouds." In the defensive trenches Majors already has the answer to a coach's prayer in Gary Burley, a 250-pound middle guard who led the team in tackles last season.
Burley & Co. will need all the muscle they can muster this season to stave off Southern Cal, Notre Dame and Penn State, not to mention the upset-minded likes of Temple, Boston and West Virginia. If nothing else, the Panthers are delighted that no longer are people saying sniggering things like the turning point in a Pitt game is the opening kickoff.
Vince Dooley has not had a losing season in 10 years at Georgia, but the cartoon showing him walking on water while carrying Bear Bryant has not been seen much lately. The Bulldogs had a 7-4-1 record in '73, including a victory over Maryland in the Peach Bowl, yet the perfectionists were not satisfied. Georgia fans booed the team on a number of occasions, critics made fun of the "three yards and a cloud of disgust" offense and there were even a few DUMP DOOLEY bumper stickers around Atlanta after midseason back-to-back losses to Vanderbilt and Kentucky.
Dooley's teams have won two Southeastern Conference titles (1966 and 1968) and played in seven bowl games, but apparently he was not satisfied either. He put Offensive Coach Frank Inman in charge of recruiting and replaced him with ex-Vandy Head Coach Bill Pace, who was an assistant last year at Georgia Tech, of all places. Object: to install the Veer—"We hope to emulate Houston and North Carolina State," admitted Dooley.
It is a good time to retool an offense, for Georgia has a relatively easy 1974 schedule ( Alabama is missing, and that is almost like winning a game). In addition, there will have to be a new quarterback, since Andy Johnson has departed. There are four candidates: junior Ralph Page, who bailed Johnson out a couple of times last year; Dickie Clark, up from the frosh; Matt Robinson, who played mostly safety on the freshman team; and another sophomore, Ray Goff, who hurt his knee in spring practice but appears to be the best prospect of them all.
Elsewhere Georgia is talented and experienced. Horace King, who grew up in Athens not far from the football stadium (a la Fran Tarkenton), will do most of the running from tailback. He can pass and catch, too. Split End Gene Washington (at least the third fellow with that name to catch passes in big-time football) is one of the fastest Georgia players ever—he ran the 100 in 9.3 in high school. Last year Washington led the SEC in kickoff returns even though he broke his ankle in the fourth game and missed the rest of the season.