Monte Deere (12), Oklahoma's quarterback, is a good passer but the Sooners have no capable replacement for him and the possibility always exists that while he runs the wing T offense—and he runs it quite a bit—he might be injured. Accurate though he is, Deere still likes to call running plays, sending Fullback Jim Grisham (45) straight ahead and Halfback Joe Don Looney (33) on slants.
Bear Bryant's Alabama team has stood fast for 24 games without allowing an opponent more than one touchdown. Linebacker Lee Roy Jordan (70) is probably the most valuable player on the team, although Slotman Joe Namath (12) has been getting more of the attention. Namath has completed 52% of his passes and commands the offense, which, in Bryant tradition, utilizes the man in motion on almost every play.
Other players to watch and what to watch for: Look for Oklahoma Wingback Virgil Boll (39) to get the ball on reverse plays. Deere will try to hustle Alabama off side with long counts and check-offs at the line of scrimmage. Alabama's Namath might not be as free to throw as he was late in the season if his team gets behind. Don't be surprised if Bryant reverts to his old self inside Alabama's 20. But whatever he does, it is not likely to be enough.
LSU OVER TEXAS
Neither Coach Chuck McClendon at Louisiana State nor Darrell Royal at Texas believes that the passing game is here to stay in college football and thus the Cotton Bowl becomes a game of one strong defense against another. LSU gave up an average of 3.4 points per game during the season. Texas, by comparison, was munificent, giving up an average of 5.9, and thus a well-planned safety might win this game. "We must be," says Royal, "the most criticized undefeated team in history," and that criticism came because Texas has often been a dud offensively. Royal relies on running and kicking but lacks a breakaway runner. There is a certain indecisiveness surrounding the Texas quarterback situation and Royal may use three: Johnny Genung (14), Duke Carlisle (11) and Tommy Wade (17). Wade is the best passer of the three and the only one whom Royal will allow to pass in his own end of the field. LSU uses a slot T offense with the halfback flanker cutting back to the line of scrimmage. The big problem with LSU's passing has been the receivers—they drop too many. Defensively LSU has not given up a touchdown by running in its last 16 games (it gave up four TDs this year on passes). LSU is willing to give up the short pass and make the tackle instantly. When the Tigers are near their goal, however, they step in and stop the short pass. Jerry Stovall (21) is a powerful halfback with good running balance and is regarded as a better goal-line runner than Billy Cannon. Stovall is also LSU's best pass catcher, a fine punter (37-yard average), a good defensive back and fine at returning kickoffs (41.6-yard average). Lynn Amedee (11) is the quarterback and also the field-goal and conversion kicker. He made five of eight field-goal attempts and 18 of 20 conversions.
Other players to watch and what to watch for: Texas has the best pair of linebackers in college ball in Johnny Treadwell (60) and Pat Culpepper (31). Texas quarterbacks will sprint out instead of passing from the pocket, and they will bring the ball down and run with it instead of gambling with a pass to a partially covered receiver. Texas uses an eight-man front and is deft at stopping traps. Fullback Ray Poage (33) has been bothered all year by injuries but is still good for short gains. LSU can be stung by the pass. The key defensive linemen are Tackle Fred Miller (78) and Center Dennis Gaubatz (53). Miller is excellent at rushing the passer. LSU should win.