- TOP PLAYERSOffensePABLO S. TORRE | August 20, 2012
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The men of Troy are plotting a reversal for their Big Six rivals. Their plan is to counterattack with a dazzling offense, then make off with the Rose Bowl plans while the others count broken hopes. It might work. The Trojan attacking weapons are impressive. Quarterbacks Pete Beathard, a slippery runner and accurate passer, and Bill Nelsen, who does both almost as well, will aim their shifting T passes at End Hal Bedsole, a 6-foot-5 230-pounder who can run patterns with anyone, while Halfback Willie Brown runs to the outside. USC will be really impressive if Fullback Ben Wilson, a smashing 225-pounder who underwent a knee operation last spring, is back in shape. However, the defense needs some tightening. Coach Johnny McKay hopes to find help among his sizable junior college transfers. The most likely candidates: Larry Sagouspe, a 227-pound linebacker, Armando Sanchez, a stocky center, and Tackle Gary Kirner.
CONCLUSION: If the uncertain defense develops quickly enough, those Trojan backs will give Washington a race to Pasadena.
Coach Ray Nagel is far from bashful when it comes to appraising his Utes: he flatly calls them the best ever at Utah. Nagel's reasoning appears sound. He has the linemen for his lay-'em-out game and, in Gary Hertzfeldt, a quarterback who passes with the best. Dave Costa, a 245-pound tackle, is reputedly the most feared lineman in the West; 221-pound Pat Stillman, the other tackle, is only a shade less destructive; End Marv Fleming, who packs 225 pounds and stretches 6 feet 5, has the long, grasping arms to gather in passes; and Roy Jefferson, a lean sophomore with good hands, brings security to the other end. On the attack, Hertzfeldt's precise passing and sturdy Fullback Doug Wasko's inside-tackle bursts will assure ample diversification for Nagel's multiple T. The only apparent weakness is at halfback, but nimble transfers Sam Wicks and Mike Davis are expected to take care of that small problem before too long.
CONCLUSION: Despite Nagel's refreshing frankness, the Utes still must meet Wyoming. Nagel hasn't beaten the Cowboys yet.
Last year the Aggies led the nation in scoring and rushing defense, were second in total defense and third in total offense and rushing. There has been no tailing off, either in number or quality, of linemen and backs. Coach John Ralston has so many good ends that it was no trouble at all to release 235-pound Lionel Aldridge for duty at tackle, where he will share the exacting blocking chores with 260-pound red-shirt Bill Williamson. A firm middle, led by 235-pound Jim Smith, will discourage most ballcarriers. The attack is just as forbidding. Fullback, the key to Ralston's variable T, has durable Charlie Claybaugh and Larry Campbell, a 220-pound transfer, for sheer power and Ray Harward for speed. Quarterbacks Bill Munson and Jim Turner can flip short passes or run, while a bevy of light-footed halfbacks—Terry Cagaanan, Larry Bryan, red-shirt Darrell Roberts and transfer Dick Austin—are available for outside runs.
CONCLUSION: That 229-pound line will be a terrifying sight for Aggie foes. Ralston can expect another fine season.
A fence-mending year over, the Huskies are ready to corral the Rose Bowl. After all, they haven't been there in two years. Coach Jim Owens once again has the kind of linemen he likes so well—tall, rangy and mobile—and the fast, overpowering backs for his almost fanatic ball-control game. Among the best of 23 returning lettermen are such linemen as Ray Mansfield, a burly 235-pound center, and Rod Scheyer, a bushwhacking 212-pound tackle. Owens has made some adjustments designed to jog up his swing T. Fullback Jim Stiger, last year's leading rusher, and Halfback Bob Monroe have switched jobs, and Charlie Mitchell, the zippiest runner of them all, takes over as the man-in-motion wingback. From that position he can bedevil the opposition even more with his swiftness and exasperating sleight of foot. The quarterbacking looks better since sophomore Bill Douglas, a poised passer and runner, moved ahead of Pete Ohler.