Both of Georgia's starting offensive tackles, the starting right guard and the flanker, Amp Arnold, are gone, but the Bulldogs should still field a better offensive line than last season's. Arnold will be replaced by Lindsey Scott, who split time at split end with junior Chuck Jones. Jones now takes over that position by himself, which means the receiving is in good hands. Left Tackle Jeff Harper graduated, but sophomore Guy McIntyre, a redshirt reported to be better than Harper, will step in. Jimmy (The Mountain) Harper takes over at right tackle. Harper's nickname says it all; he is 6'5" and a rock-hard 270 pounds.
With Eddie (Meat Cleaver) Weaver anchoring the defensive line, and linebackers Nate Taylor, Will Forts and Tommy Thurson all back, Georgia's first line of defense is solid. It is in the secondary where the 'Dawgs are most vulnerable. Two starting cornerbacks, a safety and a roverback have graduated, and though the contenders for those spots are all promising, none can be called experienced.
If Georgia is to have any hope of defending its championship, Walker and Belue will have to be as good as last season, and maybe better. So how 'bout them 'Dawgs? Not too shabby.
One of the few things that remain from the Panthers' 10-1 season in 1980 is the chewing tobacco. "I don't understand it myself but almost the whole team chews that stuff," says Offensive Guard Emil Boures, who doesn't indulge himself. The habit was particularly appropriate last year when the Pittsburgh defense, recognized as one of the finest in history, chewed up offenses and spit them out like so much used Red Man. That defense gave up just 1.6 yards per rush.
Gone, though, are nine defensive starters, seven of whom were selected in the first five rounds of the pro draft; in addition, four of the six senior offensive starters were picked before the fifth round. The whole package added up to a drafting record unmatched in recent collegiate history.
But hang no black bunting yet. The Panthers have, among other things: 1) an impressive offense led by junior Quarterback Dan Marino; 2) one of the most respected coaches in the country in Jackie Sherrill, who is 39-8-1 in four years at Pitt; and 3) a schedule concocted by a pastry chef. The Panthers play six home games, including the season finale against archrival Penn State, the only legitimate Top Ten team on their agenda. "One thing I do know about this season," said Defensive Coordinator Serafino Fazio, "is that we're competitive with any team on our schedule."
Another thing Fazio knows is the defensive strategy he'll use to compensate for the loss of his entire front five, including All-Universe Hugh Green. "What we've done is simply send out an appeal to the offense," says Fazio. And the offense heard it, particularly Marino, a football camp instructor during the summer who has thrown for 25 touchdowns and 3,289 yards in just 11 starts. "This year it's going to be our turn," says Marino. "We're going to stress ball control." That might be a good idea, the Pitt offense having turned the ball over 54 times last season.
Marino will throw mainly to sophomore Dwight Collins, who had a spectacular freshman season with 30 catches for 827 yards (27 average). He'll work behind an outstanding offensive line anchored by Boures, who has been temporarily switched to center, Tackle Jimbo Covert (6'5", 279) and, possibly, freshman Bill Fralic, a 6'5", 265-pound tackle considered by many the nation's top recruit.
On defense, only senior Linebacker Sal Sunseri and sophomore Free Safety Tom Flynn return, but they'll try to uphold the honor of Heisman runner-up Hugh Green and Co. "We took Hugh's techniques, the way he fought off blockers and other things, and made our training films from them," says Fazio.