1963 Old-Timer’s Game

Jun 01, 2013

by Rex Lardner...

John Huarte and Daryle Lamonica have much in common: they are of approximately the same stature and appearance, they are from California, and they will be the opposing quarterbacks in the 33rd annual Old-Timers' game, tomorrow afternoon at 1:30. However, there is one pronounced difference between the two. Lamonica is a seasoned, poised   college quarterback, having gained finesse in three years as an Irish field general; Huarte, on the other hand, has only five minutes of playing time to his credit. Tomorrow, the promising passer meets his first real test, a test which could answer the vital question: Who is to be Notre Dame's quarterback in 1963?  At the beginning of spring practice, Coach Hugh Devore was confronted with three basic problems: the quarterback situation, the absence of depth at the tackle and center positions, and the difficulty of adjustment to the new, pro-style offense. These problems, Devore feels, have all been more or less worked out. In Huarte, the varsity mentor feels he has a gifted player with "a remarkable passing arm. He showed us poise in the Pittsburgh game last fall when he completed three passes in the closing minutes." Huarte will be backed up by Denny Szot and Sandy Bonvechio. Guard Jim Carroll has been switched to center to bolster the position. Norm Nicola, Bill Bums, and Tom Kostelnik are all pressing Carroll. With the addition of 470 pounds from two sophomores-to-be, Mike Wadsworth and Dick Arrington, the tackle positions have also been strengthened. The first team pair is two Chicagoans, Gene Penman and Nick Etten. Devore says the change to a flanker back offense was made "to utilize better the great pass-catching ability of left end Jim Kelly." Last season this potential All-American caught 41 passes, 11 in a single game, both Notre Dame records. At the other end is junior Tom  Goberville; playing second string are Dave Pivec and Bob Papa. One guard position will be filled by another possible All-American, Captain Bob Lehman; converted tackle George Bednar is at the other. Ken Maglicic and Mike DiCarlo are currently on the second team. In addition to Huarte, the starting backfield will have two other relative newcomers. Jack Snow, an end last fall, will be at the flanker back with Jack Simon playing behind him. Freshman Pete Duranko, a 220- pounder of the Nick Pietrosante type, will handle the fullback chores. Joe Farrell is scheduled to start at the other running-back position. Behind the latter two are Bill Pfeiffer and Joe Kantor; promising freshman halfbacks are Nick Eddy and Bill Wolski. The Alumni squad, which has won only seven times in 32 games, will include Bill "Red" Mack, a 1961 graduate who is now a flanker back with the Pittsburgh Steelers. Also playing will be Bill Wightkin, an ex-Chicago Bear and left end on the Notre Dame championship team of 1949. In quarterback Lamonica, the Old-Timers have the Most Valuable Player of last year's East-West Shrine game and a future Buffalo Bill. Other seniors who will probably play are center Ed Hoerster and halfback Ed Rutkowski (who have also been drafted by the Bills), halfback Frank Minik, fullback Gerry Gray, and ends Brian Boulac and Dennis Murphy. The co-captains of the 1961 Irish, Nick Buoniconti and Norb Roy, are also slated to make an appearance. Bill Earley, a onetime backfield coach under Frank Leahy and Terry Brennan, will guide the veterans; Devore has assigned his third and fourth teams to the Old-Timers' roster. Just as John Huarte is facing his first real test, so is Devore: summer long conjecture on the 1963 season will be based on tomorrow's game. The Scholastic
 

Problems and Potential

By Terry WoIkerstorfer

ALTHOUGH THEY displayed a number of apparent strengths — and weaknesses — in the Old-Timers' game, far and away the most impressive characteristic of the 1963 Irish was their size, especially in the backfield. Even for a team which traditionally boasts big lines, the 220-pound-average starting seven is bigger than usual. But in the backfield, where Notre Dame fans have grown accustomed to such pintsized heroes as Angelo Dabiei'o, George Sefcik, and Frank Minik. next fall's team will be immense. The first-string threesome of running backs Pete Duranko (see cut at left) and Joe Farrell and flanker-wingback Jack Snow averages an awesome 210 pounds; they are backed up by second and third stringers who average a phenomenal 200: Joe Kantor (190), Bill Wolski (205), Bill Pfeiffer (195), Larry Mauch (200), Jim Rakers (200). And Jack Simon (210).

Duranko was without doubt the most impressive individual in the spring game.  He gained nearly one hundred yards on 13 carries; he picked up the longest rushing gain of the game, a 27-yard blast off right tackle on the first play from scrimmage; and he slashed for two touchdowns, from eight and six yards out. Though he lacks exceptional moves, his size, speed, and tremendous leg drive make him an outstanding straight-ahead runner, and potentially one of Notre Dame's best fullbacks. Farrell, who proved himself last season when he finished second in rushing, averaged over four yards per carry on eight tries in the Old-Timers' game; along with Duranko, he gives the Irish a Packer-type Big Back backfield which should be devastating inside the 20. Two problems were apparent in the backfield, however: lack of a seasoned quarterback, and lack of a break-away running threat. John Huarte, admittedly, showed great potential as a passer: he hit on seven of ten attempts for 138 yards and one touchdown, and never threw a really bad pass; in fact, he had one dropped and another caught just out of bounds. Sandy Bonvechio showed poise, Denny Szot handled the team well, and Bill Zloch proved to be an excellent runner.  But none of the four showed all the assets of a good quarterback: good arm. Ability to fake and handle the ball well, reasonable running ability, poise, confidence, and leadership. Painfully obvious, too, was the lack of a real break-away running threat, a halfback who could go all the way from any field position; a spectacular runner who has exceptional speed and/or moves, who is gone any time he turns the corner or breaks into the secondary. In the line, most positions are well manned. At end. there is quality and quantity. Jim Kelly, if he  semonstrates the form he showed last fall, will be one of the nation's top pass catchers; Tom Goberville's blocking has improved  tremendously, and he remains an excellent defender; and Dave Pivec is developing into an exceptional receiver — his catch of a 12-yard pass from Huarte turned into a 37-yard touchdown play. At guard. Captain Bob Lehmann is a bona fide All-American candidate, and his defensive play is superb. Converted tackle George Bednar is coming along well, and Wayne Allen. Ken Maglicic and Mike DiCarlo are more than adequate. Centers Jim Carroll. Norm Nicola, and Tom Kostelnik should be a match for almost anyone. At tackle, however, there might be a problem: there are several good tackles — Nick Etten, Dave Humenik, Gene Penman, Mike Webster. Dick Arrington — but none of them has yet developed into a topflight college starter. More broadly, although the Irish blocked and tackled crisply, they were playing the Old-Timers, and their line charge, especially on defense, left something to be desired. The quarterback problem, however, could be solved either by Frank Budka's return next fall or by the continued development of Huarte. Szot, Bonvechio. or Zloch: the hoped-for comeback of Don Hogan or that of Ron Bliey should give the Irish some outside running; and the minor crisis at tackle could work itself out during preseason practice. All things considered, Notre Dame has the potential for a winning team in 1963.


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