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THE DOPE: The Tigers have some of the sharpest claws on the West Coast and probably the softest defensive underbelly. Such a team makeup indicates high scoring football this fall in the San Joaquin Valley. COP's explosive offense is built around a halfback and a quarterback. The halfback, 5-foot-10, 190-pound Dick Bass, averaged 116 yards in his first four games last season as a sophomore, then suffered a knee injury. The knee now is repaired and Bass should again run wild. The quarterback is Tom Flores, fourth in the nation's passing yardage last season with 1,119, third in percentage with .575. His talents as a ball handler and tactician should make COP fans remember, if not forget, Eddie LeBaron. Flores will throw to a pair of massive ends, Farrell Funston, the country's ninth pass receiver last season, and Bob Denton. Now for the soft underbelly. Coach Jack Myers has only one starting interior lineman returning, 222-pound Tackle Bill Striegel. Myers is experimenting with sophomores, transfer students and last year's squadmen in an attempt to fill the four other line spots. Best bets to shore up this tottering stretch of wall are letterman Center Roland Rutter and transfer Guard Ken Castles.
SEPT. 21 at San Diego St., N (no game)
COLORS: Blue and gold
THE DOPE: The Blue Hens, always a power among the smaller eastern schools, had—for them—a mediocre season last fall. Coach Dave Nelson , who is credited with co-inventing the wing T used so successfully last year by Iowa, thinks this year's team has about the same potential as last year's—if his sophomores come through. The newcomers will have to provide much of the depth in the line and they are already counted on to give the backfield the greatest depth in Nelson's six-year tenure at Delaware. Larry Catuzzi, an able passer, will again direct the offense. Veteran Halfbacks Tony Toto and Denny Luker, who was cometlike in late '56, will join Catuzzi and Sophomore Fullback John Bowman in the backfield. Nelson feels the key to an improved team is a better defense and is not certain he will get it. The line is the big if. There Captain Joe Harvanik, a stout defenseman, has been moved from tackle to end. At the other end is sticky-fingered Ben Klingler. Guards Bob Jones and Jim Skander and Tackle John Pollack are the remaining veterans, and they will need plenty of help from sophomores to make Nelson's defensive hopes come true. If they do, it could be a Delaware year.
SEPT. 28 Lehigh (33-7)
COLORS: Cardinal and white
THE DOPE: The Titans, who have dropped out of Missouri Valley Conference competition this year, have a brand-new offense—the wing T—and any number of shiny new sophomores from whom Coach Wally Fromhart expects great things. Taking the most optimistic viewpoint possible, he says: "Our hustle will make up for our lack of experience." Nonetheless, it will be a big help if Quarterback Larry O'Dell recovers from a winter knee operation and Halfback Billy Russell stays in one piece. If they do, he has the makings of a sterling backfield, what with last year's leading scorer, Bill Dando, and Al Korpak back for another year. The sophomore backs should certainly be useful replacements for these regulars, but things aren't quite so rosy in the line. There, the sophomores will have to carry a heavier load, but they are large and eager and there is a smattering of experienced men to help them along, among them End (and Captain) Dick Chapman, the team's leading receiver and punter last year; Center John Carroll and Tackle Dick White. Fromhart has the makings at Detroit—but it seems the pot will have to simmer another season before he can satisfy the Detroit appetite for a winning season.