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Under Ara Parseghian the Wildcats have fought formidably when not crippled. In some years, though, injuries have occurred so often that Northwestern's medical school could have interned in the trainer's room. This year Parseghian may have the problem licked with a new solution: plenty of good reserves. At quarterback, Tom Myers, one of the nation's best sophomores, should displace Tom O'Grady and Fred Quinn, both good. Fine Halfbacks Larry Benz, Paul Flatley and Bob Snider are being pushed by sophomores, of whom Jim Proffitt and Dick McCauley are the best. Even Fullback Bill Swingle, who scored three touchdowns (one 95 yards, an NU record) in his first varsity game last year and led the team in scoring and rushing, has competition. Jack Cvercko returns uninjured to a well-staffed guard position. Tackle, thanks to improved returnees and massive sophomores Mike Schwager and Joe Szezecko, is another strong point.
CONCLUSION: Northwestern's football machine has begun dispensing a new product—dark horses with no medical problems.
It wasn't too many years ago that you could read a silly headline like, "Irish Lack Polish," then sit back and watch Notre Dame polish off the best in the country. This year the Irish do lack polish. No one denies there are still some shiny parts: Fullback Mike Lind, an authentic line crasher who starts faster than "Six-yard" Sitko, missed three games in 1961 and still rushed 450 yards at a 5.2-yard average. Second Fullback Gerry Gray (4.2-yard average) is almost as good, but the ineligibility of Jim Snowden and Halfback Paul Costa demolished the back-field. Seven lettermen ends, led by Jim Kelly, and two good sophomores are capable, but they help illustrate the ND problem of more quantity than quality. Guard Bob Lehmann is adequate if unsupported and the tackles are inexperienced. Quarterback, where Coach Joe Kuharich cannot decide between Daryle Lamonica and Frank Budka, is an enigma but it is a key to moderate success.
CONCLUSION: The worst is over, and so are the good years. As much as Kuharich would like a big season, he isn't going to get it.
Meticulous Ohio never, ever makes a mistake. Well, almost never. Although last year was, relatively, a bad one for Coach Bill Hess's operatives, they had just one of 98 passes intercepted and were penalized only 18.7 yards per game, best in the nation in both categories. Equally painstaking is the offense, which Hess calls a "power T" (translation: "grind-it-out football"). Ohio averaged 3.4 yards per play, or exactly 10 yards and the length of a football every three downs. This season, with eight starters back, the cautious 'Cats may add a few football lengths. Returnees scored 13 of 16 touchdowns and 111 of 129 points in 1961 and did all the passing and receiving (52% complete for 742 yards). Add three fine backs, Bob Babbitt, Jim Albert and Jim Pontuti, to a huge, mobile line—notably Tackles Dick Schulz and Charles Nickoson, Ends John Trevis and Ken Smith—and what do you have? Mid-American fear.
CONCLUSION: For additional help, Kicker Jim McKee (6 field goals last year) is ready again. Hess does not need help.