Nobody in the AAWU is going to tangle with the Bruins this year without getting mauled. There are 25 lettermen back—and Coach
finds himself stacked three deep at every position, for there are excellent sophomores too. All-conference Center Harry Baldwin is the whip in the rangy, fast line, and the best of a tough linebacking corps. Shifting Guard Marshall Shirk to tackle smooths out the only wrinkle in the line and adds a high-speed blocker. There is, however, some indecision at tailback. Should UCLA start Bill Kilmer, a strong-arm passer—41 completions for 702 yards last year—but a stodgy runner, or Bob Smith, a remarkable sprinter with a sick arm? The uncertainty ends here. Ivory Jones, 208-pound path-clearing blocker, is at quarterback, and Gene Gaines is at wingback. Skip Smith, a ripping runner with a 6.7-yard rushing average, switches to fullback, and Marv Luster, the leading pass receiver in 1959 with 22 catches for 366 yards, returns optimistically at end.
1959 RECORD: WON 8, LOST 2
The only team to beat Washington last year, USC is back with another burly horde. The lineup is not quite as pat as last year's, but the cause is an abundance of material, not a scarcity. Once again the Brothers McKeever will range far and wide, Marlin at end—although there is some talk of moving him to fullback—and Mike at guard. Line-wrecking Tackle Dan Ficca, recovered from an ankle injury that kept him out of the starting lineup, adds real strength. Headed by Luther Hayes and George Van Vliet, the end squad, even without Marlin, is so deep it might be the best in the country. Center Dave Morgan, an unerring linebacker, completes the impressive line. New Coach
replaces the split-T with the multiple T to take advantage of the speed of five good halfbacks. Returning lettermen Jerry Traynham—he gained 583 yards last year—and Lynn Gaskill are likely starters, but they might be nosed out by Sophomores Ken Del Conte, Nick McLean, or Jim Bates, a 197-pound, 9.4 sprinter.
1959 RECORD: WON 5, LOST 5
Some years it is their offense that distinguishes the Utes, other years it is their defense, but rarely do they combine the two. This is a defensive year. Sixth in the nation last year in total offense, Utah has lost almost all its starting backs and ends and stands now like a motorless car. Coach
Ray Nagel's line is hardest where it should be—in the middle. Center Ed Pine is a quick-stepping, poleaxing linebacker, and Guard Tony Polychronis at 255 pounds is unmatched for size or aggressiveness. Last year's smart-moving Center Harold Warfle shifts over to left guard to complete the hard core. The ends and tackles are strong, with brusque 227-pound Tackle Ken Peterson the standout. Lettermen Terry Nofsinger and All-America junior college transfer Dick Hafen—the quarterbacks—may be the brightest stars in a lackluster back-field. Neither Halfbacks Gordy Lee and Jerry Overton nor Fullback Bill Howard are big enough or fast enough to muster a consistent running game.
1959 RECORD: WON 5, LOST 6
It is not just another year for the Aggies. The schedule favors them, with the strong teams—Utah, Wyoming and New Mexico—coming near the end when, presumably, the Aggies will be strongest. Then, too, there are 20 lettermen back along with a raft of transfers and a hardy bunch of sophomores. Four 240-pound tackles are milling about, but Merlin Olsen, wanted by the pros, and Clark Miller, a junior college All-America in 1959, will start. The ends too could hardly be called featherweights. Bill Dahme is 205 pounds, and Sophomore Lionel Aldridge, 210 pounds. The middle of the line dwindles to college-boy size, although Roger Fisher, 220 pounds, will replace offensive Center Larry Anderson at linebacker. Coach
John Ralston's backfield is not big, but everybody in it is hard to catch. Halfback Tom Larscheid scored 60 points last season, half of the touchdowns coming on rushes, half on passes. The passing, with Quarterback Mel Montalbo throwing from the variable T, should be reasonably good.
1959 RECORD: WON 9, LOST 1
The path of a Rose Bowl winner is not always strewn with roses, the Huskies will discover this year. Every team on the schedule will be pointing for them, but this is one team that doesn't upset easily. Coach
likes those tall, rangy players with whistle-quick reactions, and he has at least a first-team supply of them, led by Tackles Barry Bullard, 225 pounds, and Kurt Gegner, 205 pounds. The rest of the linemen, Center Roy McKasson, Guards Chuck Allen and Bill Kinnune, and long-loping Ends Lee Folkins, and John Meyers, are almost as good. The backfield plays like a gang of wild opportunists. Brilliant Quarterback Bob Schloredt is adept at finding the errant defender out of position and quick to take advantage of him. Halfback George Fleming is a pirate. He steals passes from defenders, cuts in when he is expected to go out and whips away from tackles when he should be caught. But Fleming is in danger of having his place stolen by Sophomore Charlie Mitchell.
1959 RECORD: WON 6, LOST 4