CONCLUSION: Not as explosive as last year, the Texans have an old-fashioned powerhouse that could run over the Southwest.
Since 1958 football has been a painful experience for Aggie students. Not only have they stood through all home games—an old tradition—they have stood through one lackluster losing season after another. Now new Coach Hank Foldberg promises to free them from at least the losing side of their travail. He could even bring A&M the conference championship in his first year, just as he did with Wichita. More likely, he will have to settle for less. With the quarterbacking in question—John Erickson and Jim Keller are the best prospects but sophomore Jim Willenborg has better ability-the T offense can't be opened up more than a notch. The Aggies have three excellent fullbacks—Sam Byer (220 pounds), LeeRoy Caffey (220) and Jerry Rogers (210)—running behind an exceptional blocking center, 215-pound Jerry Hopkins. The guards and linebackers are very strong; they will have to be to make up for weaknesses at tackle.
CONCLUSION: A&M will have a winning season. It may even have more than that if Texas or TCU should suffer critical injuries.
Even though he has the biggest and perhaps the best quarterback in the country, 6-foot-7, 230-pound Sonny Gibbs, Coach Abe Martin says, "I intend to emphasize the running game." His reasons are three: Gibbs himself, Center Ken Henson and Fullback Tom Crutcher. The trio gives TCU so much up-the-middle strength a man would be a fool to ignore it. Gibbs not only throws well, he is a capable runner and a booming blocker. Crutcher, the second leading rusher in the SWC last fall, is an excellent blocker, too. Sophomore Henson, 250 pounds, could be the best center in the league. Martin has another reason for not passing: a dearth of experienced ends. The only certain catcher is Halfback Don Smith. As always, the Horned Frogs have those good, big linemen so necessary for a sound rushing defense. For a change, though, the tackles are not All-Americas, and this could hurt, since the defensive backfield is not quick.
CONCLUSION: TCU is a conference favorite. If it doesn't take the title, TCU will play merry hob with the other contenders.
When Tech joined the South west Conference in 1960, Coach J. T. King said, "We should reach the competitive level in 1963 or '64." Still a year away, Tech is showing signs of catching up with the forecast. Three lines, each probably equal to last year's starting unit, provide the team with a sound backbone for its back-bending early schedule. Save for a few exceptions in the backfield, none of the Raiders is particularly big, however. Regular Right Halfback Bill Worley, listed at a generous 160 pounds, is the squad's most effective all-round back. End Larry Jones is another good 160-pounder. At 190, Left End Dave Parks is, possibly, the finest receiver in the Southwest. Of the big backs, the best are Quarterback John Lovelace (6 feet 5 inches, 215 pounds), who gained 282 yards rushing and passed for 359 more in 1961, and Fullback Coolidge Hunt, a 205-pound workhorse who gained 486 yards.
CONCLUSION: Good sophomores, who will infiltrate the starting team by midseason, should give the Raiders a strong finish.