It isn't often that a coach can muster a smile when his varsity gets clobbered. Cal's Marv Levy did, though—and added a little jig in spring practice as last year's unbeaten freshmen humiliated his 1961 starters 38-28. Hopefully, the best of the yearlings—swift Halfbacks Tom Blanchfield, Tyrone Price, Greg Palamountain and Dennis Peacocke, 225-pound Fullback Mike Epstein and agile 220-pound Tackles Ross Welch and Jim Pinson—will move up in a hurry to help old standbys like Quarterback Randy Gold, the lifeline of the scraggly Bears last year, Halfback Alan Nelson and Ends Ron Vaughn and Bill Turner. To stabilize the defense, Levy has remade the middle, shifting Guard Roger Stull to center and Fullback Jim Anderson to guard to team up with John Erby. He will make better use of his new backs by switching his wing T into a balanced line (more mobility that way) and his defense into the Oklahoma 5-4 (better coverage).
CONCLUSION: Everything would be just ducky for the Californians if it weren't for that oppressive schedule.
After 16 straight losses, Colorado State did what comes naturally. It fired Coach Tuffy Mullison and brought in Mike Lude, an impressionable young man who studied at the foot of wing T master Dave Nelson for 11 years at Delaware. Lude hasn't wasted any time. He rounded up 25 junior college transfers to augment 20 returning lettermen, switched players around in spring practice and began teaching them the fundamentals of the Nelson system. Unfortunately, he found more enthusiasm than skill. Except for Curtis Threatt, a smallish (205 pounds) tackle, John Cook, shifted from center to guard, and End John Nelson, the line is tacky. The offense is even less fearsome. With converted Fullback Bill Wrenn, an ineffective passer, at quarter, and Ken Cullars, the only back fast enough to break away, the Rams' best offensive weapon may well be punter Roy Schubert, who averaged 40 yards a kick.
CONCLUSION: Independents now that the Skyline Conference has folded, the Rams can feel consoled: they can't finish last.
Opposing teams did more than just scandalize the Vandals last year. They also persuaded Coach Skip Stahley to devote full time to his duties as athletic director. Now Dee Andros, a member of Bud Wilkinson's famed Oklahoma Class of 1950 (others: Darrell Royal, Jim Owens, Jack Mitchell), has assumed the headaches that go with Idaho football. His most pressing problem is the defense, which gave up 351 points in 1961: there seems little hope for immediate relief. Center Bob Ames and Guards Darwin Doss and Don Matthews can handle the middle, but inexperienced ends and tackles leave the outside vulnerable. The offense is better. Andros can call on fast halfbacks like Ron Kulm, Bob Johnson and sophomore sprinters Joe Chapman and Bill Boatright to stir up his multiple T, while the quarter backing should improve with junior Gary Mires, a good option runner, battling little Gary Gagnon, a better passer, for the job.
CONCLUSION: The Vandals haven't had a winning season since 1938. A still-spongy defense will keep their record intact.
There are enough returning lettermen left to give the de-emphasized Grizzlies a respectable appearance—on paper only. The trouble is, they weren't good enough to win for Coach Ray Jenkins last year and they probably won't be much better this year. Except for the ends, which will be adequately protected by Bill Bouchee and Dick Huse, the line will have more holes than a rusted strainer. The guards and tackles, even the experienced Jack Shevalier and Gene Moe, aren't big enough or mean enough to scare anyone and the incoming sophomores need time to learn. With an untested passer in Quarterback Bill Stack, Jenkins' only hope for survival lies with his running backs. Halfback Terry Dillon, Fullback Ron Werba and Pat Dodson, a lithe 9.7 sprinter who was injured most of last season, could stir up some real excitement—if they can escape the tacklers who are sure to pour through the Grizzly line.