Friday, May 16, 2014

1960 Buffalo Bills Outlook

"The Buffalo Bills will be handled by Frank 'Buster' Ramsey, the former molder of stout Detroit Lions' lines. Buster is backfield rich and hopes some of his young collegians can click immediately. Particularly bright prospects are Penn State's Richie Lucas, Frank Finney of Brown and Tommy O'Connell, who was the Cleveland Browns' No. 1 T-man before he retired from NFL action. Other backs expected to get steady employment are Maurice Bassett and Billy Kinard, a couple of ex-NFLers."

-1960 Pro Football Handbook

"An old-pro look makes Buffalo's re-entry into professional football promising: the Bills are one-two as a preseason favorite in the AFL. The Bills, carrying pro football back to a town that was a solid entry in the old All-America Conference, have the most professional look in the AFL. Owner Ralph Wilson has owned stock in the Lions. General manager Dick Gallagher was a valued assistant to Paul Brown for many years. Head coach Buster Ramsey built that terrific defense during Detroit's championship years.
And the Bills, more than any other club, thoroughly canvassed the country for men with pro experience and dredged up some good ones. Gallagher persuaded Tommy O'Connell, who piloted Cleveland to an Eastern Division title in 1957, to forget about coaching at Drake and become a quarterback again. He's only 29. Maurice Bassett, Cleveland's regular fullback before Jimmy Brown, is also in the fold.
It's too bad they can't use one of Ramsey's assistants actively, for Jack Butler was the outstanding defensive back in pro ball for several years at Pittsburgh until bad ankles persuaded him to become a strategist this season. There'll be other secondary veterans with experience, though- Bill Kinard of Green Bay and Bill Atkins of San Francisco. Old pros appear at offensive end, too, in Tom Rychlec of the Lions and Dick Brubaker of the Cardinals. Dan McGrew, a center, and LaVerne Torczon, a linebacker, have played in the NFL.
The Bills didn't neglect young blood, either. In the draft they nabbed Richie Lucas, Penn State's All-American quarterback, a fine talent any place in the backfield, offense or defense. Harold Olson carries 250 pounds at tackle and was the equal of the more publicized Lou Cordileone at Clemson. Bob Pepe was a fine end at North Carolina State, and check a kid named Elbert Dubenion of Bluffton College who was caught in a contract squeeze between Canada and Cleveland last year that kept him out of pro ball. He's a halfback who has scampered the 100 in 9.5.
The Bills have already earned enough respect to be ranked with Houston as a preseason favorite in a new circuit where assessment is difficult."

-Murray Olderman, Sports All-Stars 1960 Pro Football

"Up in Buffalo they will tell you in rapid-fire order that the resurrected Buffalo Bills have the biggest coach, the finest rookie, the fastest halfback and the best team in the American Football League.
There is no argument on the first count. Buster Ramsey weighs in at 260 pounds and the outspoken Bills' pilot should be one of the really colorful characters in a league striving desperately for just that quality.
As for the rest:
Richie Lucas of Penn State is the prize rookie and the Buffalo boosters may be right again. He can make this squad at any one of three positions- quarterback, halfback and defensive halfback. There seems to be some question as to his passing accuracy but he does a workmanlike job and when he runs the option they'd better keep out of his way.
The Bills undoubtedly had to bid high to land Lucas. He was the NFL Redskins' top draft selection this season, and All-Americans come high on the open market. But the feeling in the Buffalo front office is that this quiet, almost shy young man, who is a master of the rollout pass option, can develop into one of the top drawing cards in the league.
As an added argument, the 6-1, 183-pounder was one of the country's top collegiate pass defenders last year. He is a vicious tackler in the secondary and could handle the team's punting in a pinch.
Elbert Dubenion is the speedster out of Bluffton College, and certainly his 9.5 time in the 100 supports that contention. But Buffalo fans had better wait awhile. Last fall Dunebion hurt his knee and it cost him a shot with the Browns. When he checked into summer camp, he hadn't played a game in over a year. He can run- but he'll have to prove it.
Now for that 'best team' tag. The Bills rate as a top contender for division honors. Ramsey has chosen his talent cautiously and well. He coaxed quarterback Tommy O'Connell out of the head coaching job at Drake and back into pro football. O'Connell, who passed the Browns to a divisional title in 1957, is the quarterback of record. His availability opens the way for Lucas as a passing halfback if Ramsey wants to get more artillery into the attack.
He also has a 205-pound fullback named Merlin Priddy, who is billed by the Buffalo publicity machine as 'the greatest second-string fullback in the history of college football.' That may be overstating the case, but it is true that Priddy had little chance to show to advantage as an understudy for All-American Jack Spikes at TCU. Once out of Spikes' shadow last year in the Cotton Bowl, however, he wound up with the award for most valuable player.
Rounding out the class of backfield talent that checked into summer camp was Maurice Bassett, the ex-Browns fullback trying for a comeback. The 220-pounder lists his age as 29 (which may be a cautious accounting) and his return to form is by no means certain. A sound Bassett could really add to an already talent-rich backfield situation.
The end corps has good experience. Two NFL vets, Dick Brubaker (Cards) and Tom Rychlec (Lions) are the top hands, with a talented pass-catching rookie from North Carolina State named Bob Pepe as a challenge to the seasoned duo.
The same is true of the defensive secondary where NFL recruits Billy Kinnard (brother of Mississippi All-American Bruiser) and Billy Atkins are sure starters. Atkins will also handle the punting and place-kicking. He averaged 41 yards a boot with the 49ers so there seems to be little difficulty ahead there.
Ramsey's chief headache is centered about the interior line. Key rookies up front include 'Dangerous' Dan McGrew (Purdue center- 238 pounds), Jerry Ward (Dayton guard- 238 pounds) and Bob Sedlock (Georgia tackle- 295 pounds). There is also a 240-pounder from Nebraska named LaVerne Torczon, who is listed as an end but will probably wind up with an assignment in the interior line.
The rest of the line picture is gloomy. But Ramsey is peculiarly suited for his task. He compiled a brilliant reputation as a defensive coach with the NFL Lions. His proteges include Jack Christiansen, Joe Schmidt and Yale Lary.
They have been waiting 11 years for pro football to return to Buffalo and if the defense jells, the Bills could be a winner the first time out. Certainly, this club will have drawing power.
'Lucas will make this league,' enthuses Bills' publicity man Chuck Burr. 'He'll be the most colorful player in it.' He may be right."

-Jerry Izenberg, 1960 Dell Sports Magazine Pro Football


1960 BUFFALO BILLS PRESEASON ROSTER
Birtho Arnold (T) Ohio State
Bill Atkins (DB) Auburn
Maurice Bassett (FB) Langston
Ed Bowers (DB) Syracuse
Bob Brodhead (QB) Duke
Dick Brubaker (E) Ohio State
Gary Cobb (G) Miami (Ohio)
Ed Coffin (HB-FB) Syracuse
John Conger (T) Appalachian State
Albert Lee Crow (T) William & Mary
Ray Davis (FB) Detroit
Elbert Dubenion (HB) Bluffton
Dick Evans (E) VMI
Willie Evans (HB) Buffalo
Frank Finney (QB) Brown
Bob Finkowski (HB) Iowa
Russ Goings (G) Xavier
Joe Guido (HB) Youngstown
Darrell Harper (HB) Michigan
Billy Kinard (DB) Mississippi
Gerald King (LB-G) Kent State
Tony Latell (E) Dayton
Richie Lucas (QB) Penn State
Archie Matsos (G-LB) Michigan State
Dan McGrew (C) Purdue
Chuck McMurtry (T) Whittier
Ed Miller (G-LB) East Kentucky State
Ron Miller (E) Vanderbilt
Ray Moss (LB) Tennessee
Mike Muehlbauer (G) Notre Dame
Chuck Muelhaupt (G) Iowa State
Dave Nichting (E) John Carroll
Tommy O'Connell (QB) Illinois
Harold Olson (T) Clemson
Pete Opolka (FB) Buffalo
Vince Palyan (FB-LB) Dayton
Jim Payne (G) Clemson
Bob Pepe (E) North Carolina State
Merlin Priddy (FB) TCU
Dennis Remmert (LB) Iowa State Teachers College
Charlie Rutkowski (T-DE) Ripon College
Tom Rychlec (E) American International
Charles Santos (FB)
Joe Schaffer (T-G) Tennessee
Tom Schulte (E) East Kentucky State
Bob Sedlock (T) Georgia
Jim Sellars (LB) Cortland State
Art Smith (FB-HB) Cortland State
Jim Sorey (T) Texas Southern
Phil Svetich (FB) Drake
George Tardiff (T-G) St. Benedict's (Kentucky)
LaVerne Torczon (E) Nebraska
Joe Trivisonno (FB) Ohio State
Jerry Ward (G) Dayton
Bob Williams (G) South Carolina State
Frank Wyde (T) Cornell
William Zavaldi (LB) Western Illinois

-1960 Pro Football Handbook


1960 BUFFALO BILLS PRESEASON DEPTH CHART
Offense
QB- Tommy O'Connell (Illinois) 14, Bob Brodhead (Duke) 17, Johnny Green (Tennessee-Chattanooga) 18
HB- Richie Lucas (Penn State) 11, Joe Kublacki (Purdue) 43, Darrell Harper (Michigan) 41, Willie Evans (Buffalo) 28
FB- Maurice Bassett (Langston) 38, Wray Carlton (Duke) 30, Merlin Priddy (TCU) 32, Carl Smith (Tennessee) 35
SE- Dick Brubaker (Ohio State) 88, Bob Pepe (North Carolina State) 82, Dan Chamberlain (Sacramento State) 84
T- Harold Olson (Clemson) 74, Gene Grabosky (Syracuse) 78
G- Jerry Ward (Purdue) 61, Phil Blazer (North Carolina) 60
C- Dan McGrew (Purdue) 52
G- Chuck Muelhaupt (Iowa State) 70, Gary Cobb (Miami-Ohio) 66
T- Bob Sedlock (Georgia) 75, Don Chelf (Iowa) 77
TE- Tom Rychlec (American International) 81, Monte Crockett (New Mexico Highlands) 80
FL- Elbert Dubenion (Bluffton) 44, Tony Latell (Dayton) 86

Defense
DE- Mack Yoho (Miami-Ohio) 71, Charlie Rutkowski (Ripon College) 85
DT- Chuck McMurtry (Whittier) 73, Jack Scott (Ohio State) 76
DT- Jim Sorey (Texas Southern) 79
DE- LaVerne Torczon (Nebraska) 87
LB- Jack Laraway (Purdue) 57, Dennis Remmert (Iowa State Teachers College) 53
MLB- Archie Matsos (Michigan State) 56, Sam Sanders (Buffalo) 51, Bernard Buzyniski (Holy Cross) 55
LB- Joe Schaffer (Tennessee) 67, Ray Moss (Tennessee) 58
HB- Billy Atkins (Auburn) 20, Richie Lucas (Penn State) 11
S- Jim Wagstaff (Idaho State) 22, Ed Bowers (Syracuse) 21
S- Richie McCabe (Pittsburgh) 45
HB- Billy Kinard (Mississippi) 24, Jack Johnson (Miami) 42

K- Billy Atkins (Auburn) 20
P- Billy Atkins (Auburn) 20
KR- Joe Kublacki (Purdue) 43
PR- Joe Kublacki (Purdue) 43


1960 Buffalo Bills Profile Summary
Head Coach - Buster Ramsey

QB - Tommy O'Connell (Illinois) 14
HB - Richie Lucas (Penn State) 11
HB - Willie Evans (Buffalo) 28
FL - Elbert Dubenion (Bluffton) 44
TE- Tom Rychlec (American International) 81
C - Dan McGrew (Purdue) 52
G - Gary Cobb (Miami-Ohio) 66
T - Gene Grabosky (Syracuse) 78

MLB - Sam Sanders (Buffalo) 51
LB - Ray Moss (Tennessee) 58
LB- Joe Schaffer (Tennessee) 67
DB- Billy Atkins (Auburn) 20
DB - Billy Kinard (Mississippi) 24

K- Billy Atkins (Auburn) 20
P- Billy Atkins (Auburn) 20

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