Quarterback Mosley is a remarkable and versatile athlete. Last May, in the conference track and field championships, he was third in the long jump (24'9¾") and fifth in high hurdles (13.8). And like Dickey, he has yet to achieve all that is expected of him in football. He has size (6'2", 180 pounds) and a rifle arm—he completed 80 of 139 passes for 1,157 yards in '78—but until Wilson took over, he had always been a wishbone quarterback. "The passing scheme is new to him," Wilson said at the close of spring drills. "But he made real progress."
Fullback David Brothers returns, but the big news at that position is George Woodard. Literally. As a junior in 1977, Woodard bulled for 1,107 yards to become the all-time leading Aggie rusher. But Big George's weight ballooned with his stats, and by the end of that season he was up to 285 pounds. Then he broke a leg playing soft-ball, went to 305 and was dropped from the football team in 1978. Woodard missed spring practice this year, too, but by July he had shed 50 pounds, and Wilson invited him back to the squad. "Woodard is the ideal fullback for the I," Wilson says.
A&M's defense has a rebuilt secondary and smallish linebackers, but it is ferocious up front, especially at end, where Jacob Green sets up.
The seating capacity of the Aggies' Kyle Field is being expanded by 18,000 seats to 72,000, but the remodeling isn't finished yet. Originally the expansion was to be completed by Sept. 8, the date of the Aggies' home opener against Brigham Young. Then it was rolled back to Oct. 13 for the Houston game. But it rained heavily in April and May, work had to be halted, and all those extra seats have gone aglimmering for this season. That is especially bad news because any little bit of help A&M can get for its home games with SMU, Arkansas and Texas would be appreciated. And the roar of those extra Aggie fans would qualify as a lot of help. Even so, with Woodard reborn and Dickey flying, one bunch should be quiet anyhow—all those wishbone diehards.
Suppose Oklahoma dried up and blew away. Or dropped out of intercollegiate football. Does anyone seriously think that even then it would drop out of the Top 20? In six seasons under Coach Barry Switzer, the Sooners have been 62-6-2; that figures out to a .900 won-lost percentage, the nation's best in that span. What is surprising is finding the Sooners at the bottom of the Top Ten this season, especially since Heisman Trophy winner Bill Sims (page 34) will still be carrying the mail for them. Most years, that would mean a ranking no lower than No. 2, but the losses from the 1978 squad are too great a burden for even Sims to carry. No longer on hand are Outland Trophy winner Greg Roberts and 10 other stars who were gobbled up in the first 12 rounds of the NFL draft. Gone is Place-kicker Uwe von Schamann, who succeeded on seven of 11 field-goal tries and 59 PATs without a miss. Gone is Thomas Lott, whom Switzer calls "the best wishbone quarterback we've ever had at Oklahoma." In all, Switzer will open the season using four new players—three linemen and a linebacker—on defense and seven on offense, including four linemen.
The years of great Sooner quarterbacks are referred to as eras. There was the Bobby Warmack era and the Jack Mildren era. The Steve Davis era and, of course, the Thomas Lott era. Supposedly, 1979 will see the dawning of the Julius Caesar Watts era. J.C., as he is known, saw spot duty last fall, and hit on only 34.2% of his passes. However, Sooner fans need not despair quite yet, because as a senior at Eufaula (Okla.) High in 1975, Watts led the state in passing by throwing for more than 1,000 yards.
Two returnees left in the offensive line that helped Sims immensely in winning the Heisman are 242-pound Center Louis Oubre and 250-pound Guard Paul Tabor. A Tabor block cleared the way for Sims to romp for 42 yards and a touchdown against Missouri. Another, against Texas, sprung Kenny King for a 55-yard gain that set up Oklahoma's first TD. Guard Terry Crouch and 6'5", 280-pound Tackle Lyndle Byford, both redshirts, have good potential, but their presence does not erase the fact that Oklahoma has inexperienced blocking for a green quarterback.
The running, though, is strong and deep. In addition to Sims, there are David Overstreet and Freddie Nixon, both of whom averaged 6.5 yards a carry or more, and four blue-chip freshman backs, among them Stanley Wilson, a six-foot, 193-pound Los Angeles schoolboy All-America.
The secondary returns intact, and in rebuilding the rest of the defense around Tackle John Goodman, End Bruce Taton and Linebacker George Cumby, Oklahoma has a strong foundation. Cumby was the Big Eight Defensive Player of the Year in 1977, and last year he had 114 tackles and five interceptions. Cumby took one of those passes 40 yards for a touchdown. And who is going to push around Paul Parker, a 6'3", 290-pound freshman? He and junior college transfer Keith Gary are the likely starters at tackle. "We had our best recruiting year since 1975," says Switzer, and that was the class of Roberts, Lott, von Schamann, et al.