The Southerners look harmless and ineffectual when viewed from afar. Yet for the past 10 years, Southern Miss has made a habit of either beating the big Southeastern and Atlantic Coast schools or narrowly losing to them. Most have finally gotten the message; they have eased off the schedule, and not a season too soon. A vigorous recruiter and a clever tactician, Coach Thad Vann's team should end within a game either way of last year's 8-2 record, this despite the loss of six of his 1961 starters. Vann has filled the chinks in the starting unit. Using rough-running Halfbacks Jim Havard and John Sklopan as his nucleus, he has installed capable Billy Coleman at quarterback and moved 6-foot-4, 215-pound Center Jerrell Wilson, one of the South's best punters, to fullback. Promising pro 220-pound Harold Hays returns at center, where he will have stronger assistance at the ends and tackles than he did a year ago.
CONCLUSION: Still designated a "small college" team, Southern will prove a comfort to the larger schools it won't play this year.
The Volunteers may well be in need of some volunteers themselves after taking on Auburn, Georgia Tech and Alabama in the first three weeks of the season. Coach Bowden Wyatt has a lot of experienced people, but he also has a spindly starting line that averages 192 pounds. Among his good starters are former Fullback Whit Canale (6 feet 2 inches, 205 pounds), who is now an end, and sophomore Guard Steve DeLong, whose red-dogging is expected to stiffen the Vols' poor pass defense. DeLong's immaturity could be dangerous to the offensive timing, however, and it is the offense where the Vols' real strength lies. Tailback Mallon Faircloth, one of the best backs in the country, completed 31 of 52 passes last year, eight of them for touchdowns, and gained 475 yards rushing. Wayne Waff, a sophomore wing-back with speed, should supply the zip required for the single wing reverses. He also will be a target on deep passes.
CONCLUSION: The tough early going will be too much for the sophomores, but the Volunteers will come on in the late season.
New Coach Tommy O'Boyle is either a brave man or foolhardy. Tulane plays four of 1961's top five teams, none of which is appreciably weaker this year. What improvement O'Boyle can expect consists mostly of losing to Alabama, Ole Miss, Georgia Tech and LSU by less than last year's combined score—147-0. His biggest aid in fending off the vicious Southeast (plus Texas) will be the 6-foot-2, 220-pound tackle-guard twins, Ernie Colquette and Glenn Holcombe. Sophomore Guard Buck Landry and End Buzz Moen are tough competitors, too, but the line collectively could use karate and still not beat the opposition. Fullback George Cortez, only a sophomore, could be the team's best back, which says something about the rest of the material. Halfbacks Gordon Rush and Terry Terrebonne are fair to adequate, and Quarterback Ted Miller could easily be replaced by sophomore Bob Boisvert or Ronnie Melton, both better passers.
CONCLUSION: If second-class power Tulane continues to schedule the atom-bomb set, there will be no future generations.