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HERMAN HICKMAN SAYS: This makes the second year of formal league competition and round-robin play in the Ivy League, and it's getting pretty hard to judge the caliber of play of the eight teams as a whole because of the lack of an intersectional schedule. It must be remembered also that there is no spring practice. However, I do believe that the Yale squad of 1956 and the Princeton squads of a few years ago would rank close to the top in any conference. As for this season, here are my assessments of the various squads, listed in the order I pick them to finish.
Princeton, with its finest group of sophomores in a long time, has the best all-round team. The Tigers are deep in good backs, with such outstanding veterans as John Sapoch, Fred Tiley, Hewes Agnew and Tom Morris. Two brilliant sophomore threats are Dan Sachs, who is hailed as the best prospect since Royce Flippin, and Dick George, a left-hander who may take over at wingback. Up front, the line will be led by Tackle Bob Casciola and Guard Dave Grubb. A bevy of up-and-coming sophs are going to have plenty of chances to fill in some of the other spots, but the line may be the Tigers' weakness, if any. Coach Charlie Caldwell always brings his tricky single wing along slowly, so Princeton will be very tough for the last five games.
Cornell, man for man, is as good as any team in the league, although Captain and End Gerry Knapp was a severe loss during the first week of practice. Knapp, it was discovered, had a chronic shoulder injury, so the doctors advised him to give up contact sports lest it become permanent. Two veteran halfbacks are Bob McAniff and Irv Roberson, the latter possibly the most dangerous runner in the league, and there is speed at fullback with Bob Hazzard. A strong frosh team from last year will supply depth. Quarterback Tom Skypeck is still a question mark, but sophomore Emil Bolha could take over.
Brown has pretty much of a veteran team—the same one that did so well in the last four weeks of the 1956 season. However, they lack the usual depth and cannot stand too many injuries. Quarterback Frank Finney was outstanding as a sophomore and there is plenty of speed in Backs John McTigue, Dick Beland, George Gorgodian and sophomore Bob Carlin. Tackle Gil Robertshaw, the best in the league, leads a competent line. This may be Coach Alva Kelley's best team in his seven-year tenure at Brown, which must be rated the league's No. 1 dark-horse threat.
Dartmouth is still rebuilding and sorely needs a good quarterback to handle Coach Bob Blackman's V formation. Sophomore Bill Gundy, although he will lack experience, could do the job. There is good speed in the backfield with Jim Mueller, Jim Burke, Dave Bell and Don Klages. The interior line, led by Guard Joe Palermo, will be strong, but the ends will be weaker due to the graduation of those two outstanding flankers, Monte Pascoe and Ron Fraser. Soph Sam Bowlby could be outstanding at tackle, and his classmate John Crouthamel is earmarked as possibly the best running back on the squad.
Yale, one of the outstanding teams in the country last fall, finds itself with veterans in only three positions: end, quarterback and guard, where Captain Jack Embersits, the lone regular returning, operates. The rest of the starters will be inexperienced squadmen and rising sophomores. Charlie Griffith and Alex Kroll, regulars at guard and center respectively last year, are out of school and lost for the 1957 season for scholastic reasons. Dick Winterbauer, who alternated with Dean Loucks for two years, will be the best quarterback in the Ivy League. Mike Cavallon and John Pendexter are outstanding at the two end spots. But the big question mark is the backfield; Al Ward and Dennis McGill just cannot be replaced. Tom Lorch looks set at one halfback and Fullback Gene Coker is recovered from the injury that kept him on the sidelines last year. The big drop in strength at Yale comes after the first team.
Pennsylvania had a poor defense last year, but with a large majority of their squad returning I feel sure that over-all improvement will be seen. They might run more unbalanced T, with their best passer, Frank Riepl, up under center.
Columbia lost Quarterback Claude Benham from last year's squad, and new Coach Buff Donelli will have a tough time replacing him. His son, Dick Donelli, looks like the outstanding candidate at this position. Returning is Ed Spraker, the Lions' best running back in the last few years, and he is sure to receive plenty of help from a Buddy Young type of sophomore named Harvey Brookins, who has been the sensation of the early workouts. Coach Lou Little, now in well-earned retirement, couldn't do it with Benham. I don't see how Donelli can do it without him.
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