Any time a coach loses 17 lettermen he begins to think about retiring. Vic Fusia has other ideas. Richly endowed with sophomores, he hopes to win the Yankee Conference title. At least five will start, the brightest of them being Quarterback Jerry Whelchel, a tricky runner and accurate passer who will give Fusia's T considerably more mobility than it had a year ago. Leo Biron, another first-year quarterback, has been shifted to left half, from where he can pass or run. This leaves Sam Lussier, who gained 609 yards and scored six touchdowns last year, and Fullback Ken Palm, a straightaway plunger, to tend to the ground game. On the line Bob Burke, a strong 225-pounder, moves in to help 230-pound Paul Graham at tackle. Dick Bordelais will team with Paul Majeski at end to give the Redmen two fine pass receivers. Peter Pietz, a vicious blocker and linebacker in spring practice, takes over at guard.
CONCLUSION: The young Redmen will make mistakes, but not enough to keep them from challenging Connecticut.
One would think that 18 returning lettermen and an influx of eligible freshmen would be enough to guarantee Coach Ray Whispel peace of mind. True—except that two of his four missing starters are Quarterback Rollie Houseknecht and Halfback Charlie Kuntzleman, who, between them, accounted for 75% of the Mules' total yardage last year. Without them, the offense could be hopelessly ineffective. Sophomore Lynn Rothrock will try to take up the slack at quarter, but Dean Lowe, a loping runner and pass catcher, and Dave Brown, an elusive sophomore, will have to scratch out most of the gains on the ground. To further complicate matters, the same small defenders who gave up 223 points last year are back. They will have to show startling improvement to keep opposing backs from pouring through the line. The sturdiest—Tackles Ron Barlok and Sam Beidleman and Guard Dan Poust—aren't quite good enough.
CONCLUSION: Even with sophomore help, the lowly Mules are in over their heads in the tough Mid-Atlantic Conference.
Navy's spring practice field resembled Gettysburg after Pickett's charge. The Middies started with 66 able-bodied seamen, but lost 23 with injuries along the way. By now most of the bruises and broken bones have healed, and Coach Wayne Hardin is prepared to enjoy his riches. He is three deep in good quarterbacks, three deep in fullbacks and there are ample running backs and high-spirited linemen to help them move the ball. In fact, there is so much talent that T Quarterback Ron Klemick, who was the country's fourth best passer last year (he completed 84 of 183 for 1,045 yards), could lose his job to Bruce Abel. Fullbacks Dick Merritt and Nick Markoff are in danger of being chased to the bench by sophomore Pat Donnelly, a 195-pound line-crusher who scored 10 touchdowns for the plebes. The line is tough. Tackle Ron Testa, a strong 224-pounder, and Guards Vern Von Sydow and Steve Hoy are the best men there.
CONCLUSION: The battle-hardened Middies have plenty of everything to challenge Penn State for the Lambert Trophy.
Some serious backfield losses have given Coach Chief Boston reason to be concerned about his lonely end offense. Most of all, he needs a quarterback to pitch to the far-out end, Chuck Grzbielski. The most likely choice is Bob Klimasewski, a rangy sophomore. If Klim can spread the defenses sufficiently with his passes to let fast Halfbacks Dan Serieka and Jim Edgerly exploit their outside speed and if Coach Boston can find a plunger to fill the empty fullback slot—but those are too many ifs, aren't they? The line is more comforting. Although not big, it presents a solid front on defense and is quick enough to set the wing T in motion. Tight End Dick Benz and the 200-pound tackles, Bob Weeks and converted Fullback Fred DiQuattro, have the strength and skill to be firm with opposing linemen, while Barry Stiber and Paul Harvey, a hard-blocking sophomore, will do a lot to relieve the uncertainty at the guards.