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In a move that seems indicative of a growing emphasis on the running phase of the game, Danny House, the Southern Conference's leading pass receiver as an end last year, has been converted into a halfback. House looked good handling his new assignments this spring, and he will get help from Russ Cotton, Grant McRorie and Jerry Sheffield, all letter winners. Best of the fullbacks are a pair of solid juniors, Bob McAllister and Graham Allison. Directing the T attack will be Duncan Morton and Tee Redding, both wiry and capable quarterbacks. Center Tom Simpson (225 pounds) is a distinguished member of the line for two reasons: he hits hard and is the only experienced lineman who weighs over 200. Coach Bill Dole expects to take advantage of the more liberal substitution rule, using one unit on offense and another on defense. A great deal of his hope rests with such sophomores as Center Joe Ainsley, Quarterback Kent Tucker and a pair of swift halfbacks, Alex Biggs and Bob Cordle.
The Blue Devils did not get a passing grade (they had their first losing season in 13 years) in 1959. One obvious reason is that the passing game was not fully exploited. They completed just 53 throws for an average of 67 yards a game, and this year Coach Bill Murray will again rely primarily on running. His halfbacks, Joel Arrington (444 yards at a 4.8 average last year) and Jack Wilson (376 and a 3.9 average) are hard to bring down. Jerry McGee will be at fullback. When the Blue Devils do pass, usually it will be Don Altman throwing. His first college pass went for a 58-yard touchdown last fall, but he was given little chance after that, completing 19 of only 30 passes for 214 yards. If allowed to throw more this season he may keep the defense off balance. Guard Art Browning, a fine field goal kicker and the best of the linemen, is the lone returning regular from tackle to tackle. He will get help from End Tee Moorman and Dwight Bumgarner (6 feet 6, 225 pounds), who moves from end to tackle.
A coach with a five-year contract should have nothing to worry about, yet Ray Graves starts his first season with plenty to ponder. For instance, how will he fill the gaps at end? And what will he do about his decimated backfield? Well, he should get help from End Bruce Starling, a sparkling newcomer. A head injury will keep Tackle Danny Royal, the Gators' classiest and most effective lineman, out of uniform. Graves still has one good tackle, Ronnie Slack. At center will be hard-charging Bill Hood, the team captain. Calling the plays will be Larry Libertore, a 5-foot-8, 138-pound sophomore who is a tricky sprinter and a deft executioner of the option. Bobby Dodd Jr., son of the Georgia Tech coach, is the best safetyman and a good quarterback candidate. Best of the returning rushers are Halfback Don Deal and Fullback Jon MacBeth. Possibly the brightest hope in the backfield is Richard Skelly, who was voted the best freshman back in the SEC. Skelly, a 200-pounder, doubles as a booming punter.
New Coach Bill Peterson , former LSU offensive line coach, will have to search for the silver lining in the clouds that have come his way. He was hoping for a sparkling clear offense. However, the pride of his backfield, Jack Espenship, was pirated away by the pros, and he had already lost Halfback Fred Pickard and Quarterback Joe Majors by graduation. To take up the slack, Peterson has installed what he calls a "flexible T," which combines wing-T and pro-type maneuvers. At the controls will be Charles Alexander, a sharp passer of whom big things are expected, and Eddie Feeley, a daring runner. Best of the receivers is Halfback Bud Whitehead, who was seventh nationally last year with 31 catches. Ends Jim Daniel and Tony Romeo are also good targets. Thanks to some bulky newcomers from last year's unbeaten freshman squad, the Seminoles will no longer be plagued by a lightweight line. Unfortunately, most tackles and guards are untested and will have to gain experience under game pressure.
Like a bank robber, Coach Bob King needs a fast getaway man. Absence of such a runner or, for that matter, any experienced quarterback will cut the effectiveness of the offense. Fortunately, the line is expected to be even better than last year when it helped the Purple Hurricane register the most impressive statistics in rushing defense and total defense in the Southern Conference. Larry Jepson is a strong linebacker and perhaps the flashiest center in the league. Marv Behlke and Joe Monti, a 240-pound transfer from Southern California, are hard-to-fool tackles. Tom Walter and Bill Newman are good defensive ends, but there is a need for receivers who can catch Quarterback Billy Canty's long passes. There is also a need for competent backs. Brad Fowler is the only halfback who did much ball carrying last year. Working at fullback will be the two top ground-gainers—George Angelica, who last year gained 453 yards at an average of four yards a try, and Tom Campbell, who carried 50 times at a 5.2 clip.