- TOP PLAYERSOffensePABLO S. TORRE | August 20, 2012
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CONCLUSION: A somewhat softer schedule will help, but MSU still must face most of the old Skyline foes—and that's murder.
Coach Len Casanova finds himself in an odd predicament. He has one of the nation's fastest and best halfbacks in Mel Renfro, an All-America tackle in Steve Barnett and comfortable depth almost all over. Yet, because of a trying schedule, he is only hopeful. The 252-pound Barnett, 220-pound Ron Snidow, the other tackle, 220-pound Guard Mickey Ording, and 225-pound Center Bill Swain will provide a smothering defense. And the exciting Renfro, with his tremendous speed (9.6 for the 100), will power the fluid spread T. Renfro isn't the only Duck who can fly. Lu Bain is a 9.9 sprinter and transfer H. D. Murphy runs the 440 in 47.6. Even Fullback Jim Josephson is fast enough to be a wide threat. Casanova, however, still needs a quarterback to channel his swifties. Doug Post, who held the position last year, is inclined to make mistakes. The best may be Bob Berry, a daring sophomore who was out of school last year.
CONCLUSION: Despite softness at end and quarter, the Ducks will be stern on defense, exciting on offense—if Renfro stays fit.
For a man who was so confirmed a single wing disciple, Coach Tommy Prothro has swung way to the left. It began last year with the wing T. Now, with a line that may be more scrambled than scrambling, Prothro will spread his attack even wider. A slotback and split end will be on one side, a wingback on the other and talented Quarterback Terry Baker will roll out often on the pass-run option. The heart of the Beaver offense, Baker ran and passed for 1,230 yards last year. But he needs help. It could come from Left Half Leroy Whittle, who suddenly began to run hard in spring practice, and End Vernon Burke, a tall, 200-pound transfer red-shirt with good moves and very sure hands. The rest of the line is worrisome. Except for Guards Ross Cariaga and George Gnoss, it was swept clean by graduation. Center will be a weak spot and the new tackles, Jim Funston (225), Jeff Harris (203) and sophomore Dave Gould (235), have a lot to learn.
CONCLUSION: Without its usual strength up front, State will still hope for the best—which could be surprisingly good.
San Jose State
Last year's Spartans were a porous lot. Their line spread like syrup and their backs spent a good part of the time admiring the talents of enemy pass receivers. These idiosyncrasies cost them 27 touchdowns and would have been disastrous except that State had Chon Gallegos, the nation's No. 1 passer. Now Gallegos and his two favorite receivers are gone. Coach Bob Titchenal has been in this kind of a bind before. Usually he has managed to turn up a thrower. This year it could be Dave Bonillas or Rand Carter, a strong-armed junior college transfer, or Bob Kane who will provide the air support for Fullback Johnny Johnson's quick thrusts up the middle or Halfback Walt Roberts' outside runs. The prospects in the line are less promising. Outside of Tackles Walt Firstbrook (230) and Joe Gibbons (220) and Guard Bob Bass (232), there isn't enough bulk to meet the demands of a stepped-up schedule.
CONCLUSION: Junior college transfers will help tidy the defense, but without passing it will be truly a Spartan existence.