- TOP PLAYERSOffensePABLO S. TORRE | August 20, 2012
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The likelihood is that the opposition will tighten up, for UCLA probably will be far surer afoot than aloft. Bolden will be a constant running threat on the option play. Tailback Greg Jones does not have great speed, but he is a driving type who breaks tackles well and last year averaged a most impressive six yards a carry. Behind Jones, for the moment, is sophomore Mickey Cureton, a homebred high school All-America who was sought by innumerable colleges. He is short and broad—5'9" and 185 pounds—moves in spurts and jerks, and is slightly faster than Jones. Fullback Rick Purdy is a sturdy blocker and good inside runner, and George Farmer, a junior, is the No. 1 wing-back over the fleet Hal Busby. Farmer, 6'4", 212 pounds, was the Bruin sensation during spring drills. In one scrimmage he scored on 56-, 67- and 13-yard runs, gained 154 yards in five carries and caught a barrage of passes. Prothro was impressed. "Ever since I've been here," he says, "we've been looking for a wingback who can run like a ballcarrier, receive like a split end and block like a lineman. Farmer can do all three."
Despite this talent in back, the UCLA offense has problems because there is trouble up front, where six of last year's linemen are gone. Prothro says that "the offensive line has to be rebuilt entirely. Oh, it's as good as what we lost as far as pure, raw, latent talent is concerned. But it is woefully lacking in experience and that is vital to springing our backs loose."
Tackle Gordon Bosserman is the only survivor from 1967. He will be surrounded by players who, except for Copeland, have seen little action. The most noteworthy of these are second-string Fullback Mike Garratt, who has been moved to tight end, and 221-pound sophomore Scott Steele, who will play the other tackle.
If the UCLA offense shudders to a stop, there is still Zenon Andrusyshyn, the German-born, Ukrainian-raised Canadian citizen who kicks soccer-style. Last year he averaged 44.2 yards on his punts—the best in the country—kicked 31 of 35 extra points and made 11 field goals. His foot means that UCLA is a scoring threat from anywhere inside of its 50-yard line.
Because of the uncertainties about the offense, it is well the Bruin defense is exceptional, perhaps the best in Prothro's four years at UCLA. Except for the deep secondary, where Halfback Mark Gustafson is the lone returnee, the defense is a seasoned, savage crew. The tackles are 249-pound Larry Agajanian, son of old pro Placekicker Ben, and 214-pound Floyd Reese. The ends are Vince Bischof and Hal Griffin—all of whom Prothro considers "better than anyone we had last year."
Prothro, following a national trend, is going to a 4-4-3 defense, and if anybody slips by his front line, the next quartet is a challenging one. On the inside are Mike Ballou and Don Widmer. At the corners are Dick Davidson and Kim Griffith. The best is Ballou, 6'3", 220 pounds, who is nicknamed The Cat (for his quickness, Prothro trusts, and not because of any resemblance to Jane Fonda). Ballou is considered better than Don Manning, UCLA's 1967 All-America linebacker.
Except for Penn State, it is unlikely that the Bruins will be pressed terribly hard in their first six games. But then, in a grim series of potential disasters, they must face Tennessee, Oregon State and Washington on the road and, for a painful finale, USC at home. And there will be no Great One to bail them out. Unless, by then, his name is Bill Bolden.
15 FLORIDA STATE
It's the same old Seminole team—50 yards and a cloud of Sellers
In Tallahassee, where much labor has gone into building the legend of Coach Bill Peterson, they swear that this story is true. It supposedly happened several years ago while an FSU alumnus who acts as a scout in Bear Bryant's backyard was driving Peterson deep into Alabama's iron-mining region for a look at two likely high school prospects. As they neared their target area, Peterson spotted a small school building that appeared to have survived a hurricane, but barely. Not a window was unbroken.