Davidson's fortunes will rise and fall with the readings on two medical charts those of two bright halfbacks, sophomore Tommy Worrall and Alex Gibbs, the team's leading ground-gainer and its best pass catcher last year. Both were laid low in preseason practice, and if either or both continue to be gimpy-legged, the effectiveness of Coach Bill Dole's tight T offense will be seriously cramped. Earl Cole, the sharp-passing quarterback (759 yards and eight touchdowns last season), may compensate for the undermanned running game, although the graduation of the first five ends on the 1961 team complicates matters. While no adequate replacement has been found for the tight end position, Steve Heckard, a 6-foot-3 sophomore, should fill the need at split end. Fortunately, the interior line, led by Tackle Eddie Crutchfield and Guard Russell Walls, is well balanced and should acquit itself neatly, while keeping the scores close.
CONCLUSION: The Wildcats have a continuing problem—getting along in bigger, faster company. They will always suffer some.
Bill Murray has what amounts to a coach's pat hand. Eight men from the first unit and six from the second are back from the 1961 championship team. So free has he been from the usual lineup anxieties, in fact, that he devoted the off season to inventing a new offense, the Duke T, which develops single wing power for his wide T formation sweeps. It might just be tailor-made for Jay Wilkinson, the punt return specialist who is now a left halfback. For the last two years the team has had the most effective passing in the country. It should again. Alternating at quarterback, Walt Rappold, the better runner, had a 56.3 completion percentage and seven touchdowns in 1961 and Gil Garner a 65.2 percentage and five touchdowns. Halfbacks Wilkinson and Mark Leggett, Duke's strongest runner, and End Pete Widener are the best of a large group of outstanding receivers. The line is light but first rate.
CONCLUSION: Duke will make a strong run for a record third straight Atlantic Coast championship and national ranking.
It is hard to gain in a conference jammed at the top with the likes of Ole Miss, Alabama and Georgia Tech, but Florida shows obvious signs of being ready for a big leap up. Thick with talent, the squad has been bunched into three equally powerful units. Coach Ray Graves favors powerful running and rigid defense. This he has with 12 good lettermen backs returning, a possible All-America guard in transfer Jack Katz and all-SEC End Russ Brown. Still standing between the Gators and a championship is the lack of one brilliant back. Graves hopes he has the man in Dick Skelly, a 207-pound halfback who has exceptional power and speed. If he does, Skelly will take the pressure off Quarterback Larry Libertore, the imaginative and exciting 138-pound sleight-of-hand artist who is a marvel on the option but whose passing under pressure has ranged from sad to worse. Last year he completed only 18 tosses and had seven interceptions.
CONCLUSION: Florida will be good enough to go to some bowl, and that is a move in the right direction.