A tough kid (the AFL's Houston entry) has moved into town. The Cougars dropped out of the Missouri Valley Conference to try life as an independent, and they are set to battle cross-town rival Rice and the new American Football (pro) League for customers. Coach Hal Lahar will use a slot and spread T to utilize unusual quarterbacking and the jolting running of Fullbacks Charlie Rieves (4 yards a carry in 1959) and Jim Kuehne (4.5). Don Sessions (32 of 66 passes for 407 yards) was a midseason discovery last year, but he may be supplanted by Larry Lindsey, a converted end. Sophomores Gene Ritch and Mike Carew and lettermen Ken Bolin (4.1) and Don Mullins will man the halves. Carew is a dangerous all-round performer. Danny Birdwell centers a line weak only at guard but strong at tackle, with distinguished Juniors Joe Bob Isbell and Murdoch Hooper, and solid at end, where huge Errol Linden (6 feet 5,246 pounds) is planted. A tighter pass offense is another asset.
1959 RECORD: WON 8, LOST 2
Spring marked the beginning for new Coach
and the end for 15 letter winners. Teaff, who still has 12 holdovers, expects to have his boys do more running now that Quarterback Terry O'Brien and his slingshot arm are no longer around. Much of the ball carrying will be delegated to Joe Baxter, a 200-pound fullback. Last season, as a freshman, Baxter was second on the team in rushing with 386 yards. Filling O'Brien's spot in the T offense will be Jim Sadler, a converted halfback and good passer, who ran the second unit a year ago. There is excellent speed at the halves, with George Bridges and Donald Davis set to cut loose at any time. Bridges, a senior, has all-round ability. Davis, a sophomore, augments his fleetness with a deceptive running form. Clearing holes for these runners will be Guard John Thomas, a junior with a strong and persistent style that should make him a standout. Allyn Barnett is an alert center and linebacker, and Doyne McIver a bulky and bruising tackle.
1959 RECORD: WON 7, LOST 3
The Lobos won seven of their last eight and were just beginning to play a consistent victory melody when graduation stopped the music. Bob Crandall and Don Perkins (eighth and ninth in major college rushing last year) graduated, and the imaginative Marv Levy was lured to Berkeley, where he will coach California. Bill Weeks, his replacement, will again use the dazzling wing T. Billy Brown (fifth nationally with 740 yards rushing and first with a 7.8 yard average) leads the crescendolike ground wave that was third in the U.S. Bobby Santiago, despite his slight stature (5 feet 8, 155 pounds), gives every promise of surviving the campaign brilliantly. George Friberg, whose long passes are true to the mark but whose short ones need polish, will run the team. He will get help from Jay McNitt, and both can run. Another weapon is Eddie Beach, third nationally among place kickers with 34 points. Tackle Frank Gullick will rock ball carriers and rally a line that will rely on rookies for reserve strength.
NEW MEXICO STATE
1959 RECORD: WON 7, LOST 3
This is your team, Coach
: From a squad that was second in the nation in scoring and third in total offense you have Quarterback Charley Johnson, who last year ranked first in the U.S. in touchdown tosses, second in total offense and tied for fifth in completions. At the halves you have Pervis Atkins and Bob Gaiters. Atkins, whose jet-like bursts are becoming part of Border Conference legend, topped major college figures in three categories—punt returns (15.1 yards a try), scoring (107 points) and rushing (975 yards at a 7.5 average). Against North Texas State in the Sun Bowl, Gaiters ran everywhere, leading all runners with 123 yards and setting up a 28-8 win. At fullback is Bob Jackson, a 220-pound junior college sensation. Up front you have two men who will carve their initials into the list of the best in your league—End E. A. Sims and Guard J. W. Witt. And there is Lou Zivkovich, a 225-pound tackle, who won't be forgotten by those who play against him.
NORTH TEXAS STATE
1959 RECORD: WON 9, LOST 1
This Green and White squad may be black and blue at season's end, but it won't be made red-faced by any team. It is true Coach Odus Mitchell has lost all but one starter, Tackle Joe Oliver. It is also true he has never finished worse than second in 14 seasons in the MVC. He is an excellent coach, and he has some exciting material. No one would quibble about having Bob Duty (24 of 50 passes for 411 yards as a part-timer last year) at quarterback, or Art Perkins, who smashes his 210-pound frame through the enemy for almost five yards a carry. And who could be unhappy with the halfbacks—Terry Parks (6.6 yards a try in 1959 plus five interceptions) and Billy Christie (a phenomenal 10.4 yards)? They are light. They are whirlwinds, too. Although the losses were heavy the Eagles will have an all-letterman starting line. The crisp blows of Tackle Bill Kirbie and the improved pass catching of End Dick Hamilton rate them as standouts on a line that is in trouble only at guard.
1959 RECORD: WON 1, LOST 7, TIED 2