Football: 1963 football preview

1963. Its Coach Paul Dietzel's second year as Head Coach of West Point Football. In this pre-season report, Jesse Abramson of the New York Herald Tribune gives a detailed description of the Black Knights and a new quarterback by the name of Stichweh--

The day after Army took that pasting from Navy for the fourth straight year, Paul Dietzel and his troops stopped for lunch on the mournful drive back to West Point. In a Jersey roadside restaurant the business of finding a new quarterback, some kind to answer to Roger Staubach, began.

"It wasn't a happy lunch," recalled Dietzel yesterday. "Every detail of that horrible debacle was, still is, firmly engraved on my mind. Rollie came to our table and said, 'Coach, I think I can do the job at quarterback; can I have a try at it?' And I said, 'You're dad-burned right you can have a try.'" The next day Carl Stichweh of Williston Park, L.I., who is Rollie, began warming up the arm which had been rusty since he quarterbacked Mineola High. On a handball court through the winter he played pitch-catch with Cammy Lewis, one of the three graduating quarterbacks and in the spring Rollie hammered down his claim to the job, proving he was a passer, completing 85 per cent (no one is that good in a game) and taking off as a runner on options.

As a plebe he had been converted to halfback for his speed; as a yearling last year he played defense with the Chinese Bandits while Army's offense sputtered (averaging only one touchdown in major action) for want of a Grade A passer. Stichweh, pronounced Stitch-way by all except Dietzel who rhymes it with that-a-way, is a blond six-footer of 185 pounds, the Phys Ed champion of the Corps. He may not be the complete answer to Navy's Staubach, but the QB problem is the one Army has to lick with new men.


In a Capsule New quarterback and health of ends are keys to improved offense, while Dietzel dotes on middle of interior line. Formation used: Flip-flop-split-end T with wingback. 1963 Schedule: Sept. 21, Boston U.; 28, Cincinnati. Oct. 5, at Minnesota; 12, at Penn State; 19, Wake Forest; 26, Washington State; Nov. 2, Air Force at Chicago; 9, Utah; 16. at Pittsburgh; 30, Navy at Philadelphia.


The Black Knights have, as an alternate who directs the second unit, another good runner with a fine arm. He is sophomore Curt Cook, square first name Shannon, a 6-1; 187-pound Oklahoman. With these quarterback rookies, plus seasoned hands everywhere else on the first team (some in new positions), Dietzel contemplates greater progress in the second year of his mission on The Plain. The first civilian non-graduate in the football chair at West Point knows that winning football games from Penn State, Pitt, Minnesota, the Air Force et al, is desirable but means nothing if the Navy game is lost. Since Red Blaik's unbeaten 1958 season, Army hasn't had a losing season, but it hasn't beaten Navy. The schedule is being improved, too. Army will be tougher, smarter, faster, vows Dietzel.

His chief concern besides quarterback is at end, not because he lacks talent there but because four of his top six ends missed spring drills and the first-string pair was re-injured at Camp Buckner before the squad of 70 returned to the academy this week. Army had trouble mustering sound ends last year. "Our offense, basic and simple last year, will be enlarged by half again as much," said Dietzel. "We'll throw more (Army averaged only 11 passes a game) and more successfully. Instead of a slot T, we have a flip-flop split-end T with wingback, the split-end and wingback always the same, left or right formation, which explains flip-flop." Gone are the Regulars, Go Team and the exotic Chinese Bandits with their coolie-hatted rooters, as two-way football, to Dietzel's regret, replaces three-team platoon operations now banished by 1963 rules.

Stichweh and Cook figure to get more backfield aid. Ken Waldrop at tailback is a walloping 198-pound ball carrier now running with authority. Rounding out the heavy-weight foursome are fullback Ray Paske and wingback John Johnson, solid, steady performers, Johnson a crack receiver and all strong on defense, a first requirement under Dietzel.

The breakaway runner Army has needed may have arrived in Tom Smith, tailback behind Waldrop, a 188 pound yearling from Kinnelon, N. J., outstanding athlete in New Jersey In his last year at Butler High. "He's like the good Army backs of years gone by," said Dietzel, recalling Bobby Jack Stuart and Gil Sptehenson from his earlier coaching stint under Blaik.

Dietzel's pride on a formidable line is the middle trio center Lee Grasfeder, guards Tom Cunningham and Dick Nowak, the line-backing stalwarts of the Chinese Bandits, now geared for two-way action. Cunningham had been a fullback. Nowak now deploys in the line of defense. They are tackling terrors.

At 202 to 214 pounds, they are not Goliaths, but, notes Dietzel, "they are as good as we've ever had and will match or outmatch any one we play." Ed Schillo, shifted from guard, and Bill Zadel, head a tackle corps that includes Chet Kempinski, Tom Kerns


Three-Deep ( Lettermen in Caps)

LE-CHESCAVAGE,Champi, Pfeifer
LG-CUNNINGHAM, Stowers, Dusel
(Kick specialist-HEYDT) 


and sophomore John Carber (6-4, 225), outstanding plebe lineman last year.

Bill Chescavage, coming back from a springtime knee operation, is the split end, Bill Sherrell, ex-tackle, the tight end. Both have to prove they can stay sound of limb. Dietzel has made a number of switches and is happiest over the shift of John Seymour, Army's top rusher (539 yards) from tail to wing- back, and Sonny Stowers from wingback to guard behind Cunningham.

"Spectacularly successful" Dietzel says after a week's appraisal. "Stowers will be really great as a guard." Another newcomer besides Smith, Cook and Carber who will be useful is Sam Champi, from Seton Hall Prep, at split end. Top Stories