In a year when a nationwide NCAA record for rushing yardage was set, with wishbone attacks all over the place, the Golden Bears, with their drop-back passer, still managed to take the team total-offense crown. And no team ever will have a better balanced offense. Cal gained 2,522 yards in the air and 2,522 on the ground. That averaged out to 229 yards each way per game, which made the Bears pretty tough to beat.
It may be easier to beat Cal this year because Rivera and Muncie are both pros now. But—in a sense—so is Roth, at least in throwing a football. He again should drive defensive backs crazy with his long-range strikes to people like Wesley Walker, a 9.4 sprinter who topped the nation in yards per catch (23.3) and caught nine touchdown passes. Ed (Cowboy) Gillies will also help to replace Rivera, while a pair of straight-ahead brutes, Tom Newton and Paul Jones, will hammer away in place of Muncie. The defense is nothing to brag about—Cal's average score last year was 30-21—and only Linebacker Phil Heck made All-Conference. However, Coach Mike White has imported some monsters from the junior-college ranks to keep the seven returning starters company.
So, why isn't this team ranked higher? Mostly because of a schedule that has it opening on the road against Georgia, Oklahoma and Arizona State before the Golden Bears even get to USC and UCLA.
"It's hard for me to envision what they were thinking when they made this schedule up," says White, a go-get-'em type who graduated from Cal in '58, when the Bears won their last conference title. "But we should be one of the best prepared teams in the country, with five 750-play scrimmages last spring. We have some great trips to look forward to this fall. We're calling it our exhibition season. If nothing else, it will sure give Joe Roth his day in the sun."