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Sometimes they have it, and sometimes they haven't. Obviously it would be an overstatement to say COP is dead, but it lost eight starters, including three early pro draft choices—Halfback Dick Bass, Tackle Bob Denton, End Ola Murchison. Coach Jack Myers scurried about and rounded up 15 junior college transfers to add to 13 returning lettermen and 11 sophomores. As yet the transfers have not established themselves, and neither have last year's reserve center and a tackle. Fortunately, the guards are crisp and crushing. Left Guard Carl Kammerer, 245 pounds, returns after sitting out last season with a hip injury. Right Guard Willie Hector runs the 100 in 9.8 to lead the effective spread-T plays. None of the backs, a stouthearted if thick-waisted crew, measure up to Dick Bass. Halfbacks Ray Heinrich, 5 feet 9, 200 pounds, and Bob Cabanyog, 200 pounds, and Fullback Dick Scott, 195 pounds, run three yards at a clip but have trouble following fast-faking receivers.
This is a season of great expectations for the Buffaloes. Back are 27 lettermen, and partisans studying last year's lineup will spy only one change in the first two units. Still, there are some obvious weaknesses. Last season the tackles were so-so and moved through a limited range, while the lack of speed among the halfbacks left Colorado vulnerable to quick openers and deep passes. The team hasn't improved in this respect, but Guards Ken Vardell and Joe Romig and Center Walt Klinker have. Together, they blanket the line gaps and range wide for passes. End Bill Elkins, as lean as a winter longhorn, can cut down the interference and keep the play moving inside. This is an offense-minded team, however, and Coach Sonny Grandelius has packed Quarterback Gale Weidner full of variable-T formations. Weidner last year completed 100 out of 207 passes for 1,200 yards and seven touchdowns. Seven men caught 11 or more of them, and all seven are back for another try this year.
Colorado State has fallen on hard times. Coach Don Mullison must put together a team made up of juniors and seniors of limited ability who saw little action last fall. Those who win letters conceivably will do so by default. The line is made of large, but with two exceptions, unskilled players. The exceptions—230-pound Tackle Joe Keegan and 205-pound Guard Dick Harris. But their thumping tackles will persuade the enemy to pick easier—and plainly available paths—through State's defense. The backfield, happily, has scoring promise in returning first-stringer Bill Wade, who will handle the wing-T offensive. Wade hands off to highstyle Halfbacks Myron Pearson and Brady Keys. Pearson gains the yards, but Keys goes for the touchdowns. Keys missed the first eight games in 1959 when he broke his foot, but he came back to run 85 and 77 yards for touchdowns and throw a 52-yard scoring pass. In the hopes of springing his touchdown talent Mullison moved 250-pound Tackle Leo Reed to fullback.
The Pioneers are up a box canyon, and they are not apt to escape this year. Outrushed and outpassed in 1959, they had but one statistical advantage, and that in penalties assessed. They would like to have a lot fewer of them. Coach John Roning, in something of a desperation move, has forsaken the junior colleges as a source of replenishment for his bruised forces and is looking to unseasoned sophomores. Four of them—End John Crowley, Fullback Ray Perron, Center Dan Howard and Quarterback Ramiro Escandon—slip past upperclassmen and step into the starting lineup. Escandon has the greatest responsibility. His quick arm heaves are depended upon to raise the number of passes completed beyond last season's dismal 33.3%. Ray Perron is expected to add an up-the-middle threat to complement the elusive scoots of Halfbacks Arthur Neece (381 yards rushing) and Jim McDonnell. Even with strong sophomore support, however, the defensive line is built around the spirited play of Guard Gerry Smith.
After last year's all but disastrous campaign, Coach Neil Stahley is starting over and pretending it never happened. He is reshaping the Vandals and pepping up their tired ranks with a healthy infusion of sophomores. The sophomores had better learn how to defend. Last year's team gave up an average of 29.3 points a game. To reinforce the line, Ron Ismael, 6-foot-5, 220-pound tackle slides over to end alongside Tackle Darrell Vail, 220 pounds, while transfer student John Desmond, 244 pounds, becomes the starting left guard. Junior Varsity Center John Hanson takes a giant step into the starting lineup. Two sophomores, Bob Tennyson, 220 pounds, and End Ed La Roche, who is reportedly very fast, lend more character to a front line that had little last season. The backfield is a potpourri: Dawn Fannin, a twisting sophomore halfback; Gene Marrow, a promoted junior varsity halfback; Judd Worley, the only returning starter; and Sil Vial, a free-throwing substitute quarterback in 1959.