This is one mule that may have to fly if anybody is to know it is around. Graduation took whatever weight there was in the line, and Coach Ray Whispell can thank his lucky hex signs that Quarterback Rollie Houseknecht, a slender pitcher who isn't too bashful to call his own number, is still around. Rollie celebrated his sophomore year by completing 55 of 149 passes for 860 yards. Behind him, nicely enough, is Sophomore Don Waggoner, who fired away with considerable success for the freshmen. The Mules' big problem is to find someone to catch the ball. Herb Owens is gone, and Ends Vince Rosso and Bob Butz, a converted guard, although otherwise able are not what you would call glue-fingered. Charlie Kuntzleman and Ed Yost, who appears to have recovered from a knee operation, will provide enough running skill, but the line, except for hard-charging 220-pound Tackle Fred Schwenk, who sat out last season, isn't up to giving the backs all the help they need.
1959 RECORD: WON 5, LOST 4, TIED 1
Navy starts with a lot—fleet-footed, squirmy Halfback Joe Bellino to spread the defense with his darts to the outside, and plunging Fullback Joe Matalavage to crack up the middle—but Coach
is rightfully apprehensive about his attack. Quarterbacks Joe Tranchini and Jim Maxfield, who together completed 118 passes last year, are gone, and the Middies desperately need a pair of steady hands behind Center Frank Visted. Hal Spooner, a lean 6-footer, and peppery little Harry Dietz, up from the 150-pound team, are the leading contenders. But neither is a Tranchini or a Maxfield. Navy lacks backfield depth, too, but Hardin is hopeful that the rapid development of several sophomores will make the line strong enough to partly offset this weakness. Sure-handed Gary Kellner and Larry Graham have come along fast to challenge holdover Ends Frank Dattilo and Greg Mather; and Vern Von Sydow, a quick, agile blocker, has replaced 1959 regular John Hewitt at guard.
1959 RECORD: WON 3, LOST 3, TIED 2
The Wildcats' claws have been clipped severely, and Coach Chief Boston will have all he can do to scratch out a win here, hold down a loss there. New Hampshire, in a word, is undermanned. Item: All-Yankee-Conference Quarterback Sam Paul, who threw nine touchdown passes last year, graduated, leaving New Hampshire without an experienced quarterback and passer who can operate the wing T. Item: 12 other lettermen, including three all-conference stars, got their diplomas in June. Item: big Dick Greatorex, switched from tackle to guard to take advantage of his speed and blocking ability, and Halfback Charlie Beach, the team's second-leading ground-gainer, have been declared scholastically ineligible. All of which leaves the tattered Wildcats with a smattering of 10 experienced hands. The only bright spots: Center Paul Bellavance, a superb linebacker and crafty blocker, and Paul Lindquist, bullish 235-pound tackle whose temper sometimes gets him into trouble.
1959 RECORD: WON 7, LOST 1, TIED 1
Just a year ago Penn was trying to find its way out of the wilderness, and the wolves were howling madly for Coach Steve Sebo's scalp. Both made it. The Quakers won the Ivy League crown, and Sebo, paradoxically, was fired. John Stiegman moved over from Rutgers and has installed his single wing. Fortunately, Sebo left behind some good football players, and Penn is not about to fall into penury. The fast backs of last year are gone, but George Koval, who throws a football far, and last year excelled at quarterback in the wing T, will be the tailback. Connie DeSantis, a superior blocker as a guard, has been moved to the quarterback post and will try to clear the way for Koval, Wingback Peter Shantz and Fullback Ed Shaw. Graduation took some fine ends, but Jen Greenawalt, an alert defender, is still around. All-Ivy Tackle Bruce Cummings is the best of the interior linemen—maybe even the best in the league—and center will be in the sound hands of Johnny Gillin.
1959 RECORD: WON 8, LOST 2
Quarterback Richie Lucas, who ran and passed for 1,238 yards last year, is gone, but Penn State isn't ready to quit—not just yet. Coach
has some first-rate players returning, and State has an excellent incentive—the new 44,000-seat Beaver Stadium, which will be dedicated Sept. 17. Engle has Galen Hall, who passes as well as Lucas and is only slightly less effective in running the option, and Don Hoak, a swivelly runner shifted from halfback. Roger Koch-man, the 200-pounder with genuine speed (he ran all over Syracuse last year), Jim Kerr and Fullback Sam Sobczak round out the back-field. The Nittany Lions have lost a lot in the line, and the interior blocking may lack some crispness. But Tackles Stew Barber and Jim Smith, both around 235 pounds, and squat, 205-pound Guard Bill Popp, brilliant on defense, are aggressive enough to satisfy any purist. Experienced ends, led by husky Bob Mitinger, a savage blocker and all-hands defender, will take good care of the outside.
1959 RECORD: WON 6, LOST 4