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What Penn State's depleted offensive line needs is a good menacing tackle, and 6'4", 249-pound Jeff Bleamer, one of the few bright spots in Paterno's dim spring, should more than suffice. He will be blocking for Tailback Walt Addie, who averaged a crunching 7.2 yards a carry last season as Cappelletti's backup, and Fullback Tom Donchez, who replaces the departed Bob Nagle.
Like Shuman, the opposition figures to do a lot more passing, since Jim Bradley is the only experienced defender in the deep secondary. Though the loss of a pair of All-Americas like Tackle Randy Crowder and Linebacker Ed O'Neil is not suffered easily, the return of Tackle Mike Hartenstine and Ends Dave Graf and Greg Murphy to the starting lineup should make the Nittany Lion defense almost as uncompromising as ever.
Summing up, Paterno says that since "we showed in the spring that we couldn't move the ball, we're considering some drastic changes to get more versatility. Every position needs a lot of work. Nothing is really solid except the kicking game, and even there we lose the man who snapped the ball for two years and our best return man."
Though they host a tough, nationally televised opener against Stanford next week, the Nittany Lions are thankful that four of their first six games are at home, where they have lost only twice in the past seven seasons. "Yeah," says Paterno, "that's a break—if we can play football." That question should be conclusively decided in the second half of the season in confrontations with Maryland, North Carolina State and Pitt, the three other teams along with Stanford that possess the potential to defeat Penn State. Anything worse than a 9-2 season would qualify as a "disastrous year."
Darrell Royal is worried about Leaks, not in his defensive line but in his offensive backfield. Roosevelt Leaks, who had become the second-leading rusher in Texas history by gaining 1,415 yards (and averaging 6.2 yards per carry) last year, tore most of the ligaments in his right knee during spring practice. A few weeks later Royal spoke at a Texas Medical Association dinner and admitted that the trauma had caused him to reverse field on spring training. "I think we have too much contact," said Royal, obviously a shaken man. "I'd cancel the whole spring to have that one fullback. Practice wasn't that important."
A number of Longhorn-watchers think that if Leaks cannot play, a freshman, Earl Campbell of Tyler, Texas, will wind up with the job. Campbell was one of the most pursued high school stars ever, and his admirers say that he will eventually surpass Leaks' records, but Royal keeps mumbling about junior letterman David Bartek and sophomore Pat Kennedy. Other people believe that Leaks' knee will be the subject of a faith healing sometime before next week, when Texas opens against Boston College, and that Royal's next medical speaking date will be at an Aimee Semple McPherson memorial luncheon.
In either event, the backfield should be better than the Longhorns presently admit. Marty Akins, the highly competent quarterback, returns, and so does No. 2 man Mike Presley, who ain't no hound-dog neither. Raymond Clayborn, who averaged 7.8 yards per carry last season, could be a sleeper to wake up the crowds. If Bartek does not move there, Joe Aboussie and Jimmy Walker are at least adequate at the other halfback spot.
Assistant Head Coach Mike Campbell demurs partially from Royal's new aversion to spring scrimmages. "I don't think you can teach a person to play the piano without having him hit the keyboard," he says. Stalwarts like Defensive Tackles Doug English (6'5", 250 pounds) and Fred Currin (6'4", 240 pounds), Linebacker Wade Johnston and Defensive Halfback Terry Melancon will again be reading enemy keys. Admittedly, Back Jay Arnold and Rover Gary Yeoman will be difficult to replace, but Linebacker Dave Nelson, Defensive End Rick Burleson and Tackle Cornell Reese looked sharp in spring practice and should help shore up the front fences.
On offense, consensus All-America Center Bill Wyman, who was responsible for many of the thruways Leaks traveled last year, will be sorely missed, as will Tight End Parker Alford, who was killed in an auto accident last month. But Wyman's younger brother Jim is a 6'2", 230-pound center and there is a striking family resemblance on the field. In any case, there are not many coaches around the country who would kick tackles like Rick Thurman and Bob Simmons or guards like Bruce Hebert and Will Wilcox off their teams.