July 17, 1960

The Raiders held only a brief workout today and while the players took a breather, Tribune sports editor Alan Ward took some time to take stock of the team and head coach Eddie Erdelatz, in particular. According to Ward, Erdelatz was, above all, energetic and organized, determined to get the most out of every moment of practice. Faced with the impossible task of putting a cohesive team together in just a few short weeks, he worked his players extremely hard.

As one unidentified player put it, “Erdelatz is a tiger. I’ve been in pro football, but workouts were never like this. Before I came to camp I wondered if I’d get in shape by the first of September. I’ll be ready by July 31 (the date of the preseason opener against Dallas).”

While Erdelatz was a task master on the practice field, he was a man of few rules off it. He did impose an informal 11pm bedtime, asked his players not to smoke in public, and placed some restrictions on meal choices, but otherwise left it up to his players to govern themselves. “They’re men, not kids, and I treat them as such,” he explained, “We have no official curfews, no policing. But I’ve let the players know they owe an obligation to the team, to the game of professional football. But most of all, to themselves. They’re a fine bunch. We’re behind schedule, but we’re catching up. We were the last club in the league to get started, but neither I, nor the public, will be ashamed of their effort when play is commenced.”

Oakland Tribune

July 16, 1960

Hard work continued at Raider training camp. As the first week came to a close it was evident that getting the players in shape was the first goal of the coaching staff. Eddie Erdelatz was happy so far. “We’ve got our toughest week behind us now,” he said, “I’m satisfied with the improvement and I think we have accomplished our mission this first week. These players want to play and they have a great attitude, which is very important. They are hearing me, so to speak, and from what I observed they like this type of camp. After one week I think we have good backfield speed, which will improve as our timing is perfected. Our line has average speed, but again, this will improve as the big guys get into better shape, and the squad is beginning to work as a team.”

Tom Flores, who was the early frontrunner for the starting quarterback position, and end Charlie Hardy were standout performers on offense, while Wayne Crow and Tony Teresa were looking good on defense.

Still, the injuries kept coming. This time around it was running back Brad Myers. Myers, who hadn’t been mentioned in previous reports, was a 6’1″, 195-pound back out of Bucknell. He ended his collegiate career as the Bison’s career leader in rushing yards and points and made honorable mention Associated Press Little All-America in 1952. He was picked in the ninth round of the 1953 draft by the Rams and had a nice rookie season, but went into the army afterward. Upon returning to Los Angeles in 1956, he couldn’t quite regain his old form and an injury ended his season early. He was traded to the Steelers, but was cut in camp, then ended up with the Eagles in 1958, but played sparingly. Now with the Raider, he joined the many players who had succumbed to a muscle pull and was unable to practice for now.

There was also one defection on the day. Idaho end Walt Denny (misidentified in the Tribune as Idaho State end Jim Denny, of whom there is no record) decided he had had enough and left camp voluntarily.

Bucknell football media guide
Oakland Tribune

July 15, 1960

Most of the news out of Raider camp was about injuries. While the team had revised its estimate of the time Jim Woodard would be out downward to about a week, end Ron Beagle was facing the possibility of calling it quits due to a knee injury of his own. Beagle had hurt the knee a year earlier while playing for his service team at Camp Lejeune and had had surgery, but the old injury had flared up in camp and was not responding to treatment. Beagle worried that his time was up. “A pro club doesn’t carry an injured player too long,” he said, “It just isn’t financially sound.”

Head coach Eddie Erdelatz, who had coached Beagle during his days at the Naval Academy said he would “give him every opportunity, because when he’s right he’s tops.”

While Beagle considered his future, two more players left camp voluntarily. Brothers Clark and Dave Holden left together without giving a reason, but it was generally thought they were going to be in the next batch of cuts anyway.

On the practice field the coaches made a minor adjustment in the offensive lineup moving Billy Lott from halfback to Dean Philpott‘s fullback spot and installing Ray Peterson in the vacant halfback slot. Meanwhile, tryouts for the placekicking and punting duties continued and had come down to a competition between linebacker Larry Barnes and defensive back Bob Fails, both of whom were showing well in practice.

Oakland Tribune

July 14, 1960

Head coach Eddie Erdelatz announced that halfback Wayne Crow, who was now fully recovered from an ankle injury suffered a few days earlier, would likely play on defense for the Raiders. Blocked at quarterback by Tom Flores and Paul Larson, and slower afoot than Buddy Allen and Billy Lott, the current pack leaders at halfback, Crow would be utilized most effectively at cornerback.

Meanwhile, practice went on. Flores, who had been slowed recently with a pulled muscle, was thought to have the upper hand over Larson at quarterback, but Larson was working hard to keep up, putting in extra time at the end of sessions. Not that this came without its costs. During one such workout with Larson, end Irv Nikolai turned an ankle and was not at full strength thereafter. Other injured players were tackle Cloyd Boyette, victim of a muscle pull and guard Charlie Kaaihue with an injured ankle. But the most serious injury so far belonged to defensive tackle Jim Woodard. Aggravating an old knee injury, Woodard, according to the team, could be out several weeks recuperating and was due for a more thorough examination to determine the extent of the damage.

Erdelatz attributed most of the injuries to a lack of conditioning and was frustrated at how they hampered practice. “It’s hard to schedule (a) scrimmage because the injuries prevent us from running the squad in teams. Today, for instance, we wouldn’t have had enough men to stage an effective scrum.”

There was one departure from camp when guard Tom Cousineau left for personal reasons. Erdelatz said he didn’t expect further cuts until at least the 16th.

In other news, assistant general manager Bud Hastings announced that former Cal backfield coach Wes Fry was named the team’s player personnel director. Fry was expected to be focused primarily on college scouting, but his most immediate task was to review camp cuts from the San Francisco 49ers and Washington Redskins. According to guidelines set up by the league, the Raiders had first rights among AFL teams to any 49er cuts and half of any players set free by Washington.

Oakland Tribune

July 13, 1960

Faced with an overwhelming number of hopefuls, the Raider coaching staff ran the players through a number of tests and drills, such as a timed 50-yard dash, and used the grades to make a first round of cuts. Sixteen players got the axe (counting three who left camp voluntarily), including the supremely confident Sandy Lederman, and George Washington’s Ed Hino, who was thought to be a leading contender for the quarterback position early on. The complete list is below.

Among the players who rated highest in the speed category were backs Buddy Allen, Alex Bravo, John Brown, LC Joyner, and Wayne Schneider, and end Dan Edgington.

At the quarterback spot, Tom Flores and Paul Larson appeared to be leading the field. Head coach Eddie Erdelatz said Tony Teresa, a fine two-way quarterback with San Jose State, would be playing halfback. Also garnering early praise from the coaches were halfback Billy Lott, defensive back Eddie Macon, linemen Chris Plain, Don Manoukian, and Don Churchwell, and ends Gene Prebola and Charlie Hardy.

The first crack at a possible starting lineup on offense was:

E Charlie Hardy
E Dan Edgington
T Chris Plain
T Don Churchwell
G Charlie Kaaihue
G Don Manoukian
C Jim Otto
QB Tom Flores
HB Buddy Allen
HB Billy Lott
FB Dean Philpott

Over in the trainer’s corner, Wayne Crow, the first training camp casuality, appeared to have recovered from his ankle injury and was expected to return to camp almost immediately. However, five other players were sent to sick bay with ailments of their own, including end Walt Denny (hamstring pull), halfback Jack Larscheid (hamstring pull), tackle Fred Fehn (unidentified muscle pull), defensive end Charley Powell (strained Achilles tendon), and tackle Jim Woodard (strained right knee). Fehn was expected to be out the longest, at two weeks. The other four were expected to miss no more than a few days.

Roster Cuts:

T Charles Bates
LB Tom Davis (voluntary)
HB Al Feola
HB Max Fields
HB James Hall
QB Ed Hino
HB Vin Hogan (voluntary)
T Curt Iaukea (voluntary)
HB Stan Jones
E Joe Kominski
QB Sandy Lederman
E Mose Mastelotto
QB Ron Newhouse
HB Andrew Pierce
E Gordon Tovani
E Willis Towne

Oakland Tribune

July 12, 1960

With the first day of training camp under his belt, new signee Sandy Lederman was undaunted by his competition at quarterback.

“If I get a good shot at the job,” he said,” I’m sure I can throw better than anyone in camp. I played against (Paul) Larson when he was at Cal and I figure I’m a better passer. I’m not just bragging. Paul is a great athlete, but he is more a halfback than a thrower. He runs a team real well and had a flair for signal calling, but when it comes to passing, and that is the big thing in the pros, I figure I have an edge. I don’t know too much about (Tom) Flores, but from what I saw in that first drill he can really wing that ball.

Read more “July 12, 1960”

July 8, 1960

With just a couple of days to go until the opening of training camp, the Raider brass shared some thoughts about the team.

Owner and general manager Chet Soda spoke about how far they had come in just a few months. “We had an office with two chairs and couple of telephones on the floor (in the beginning)”, he said, “but we didn’t have much chance to use the chairs. We sat on the floor keeping the phones busy attempting to catch up with the rest of the league.”

Head coach Eddie Erdelatz was just happy to make the acquaintance of some of his players, having seen only a handful of them play in person. “I hope most of them are strong enough to make us wince when we shake hands,” he said, “Even if it hurts, it will be an improvement over talking to them on the phone and working them into a system on paper. Now we will find out how the men will fit the system.

“Next year will be different and easier. We will know our players and the other teams. Our problem will be modifying and improving — much simpler than starting with nothing but two chairs and a pair of phones.”

As for early activity in training camp, Erdelatz explained that “we won’t have time at first for much instruction. We have to find those who can play and concentrate on them. Practice will be closed to the public for the first week or two. We can’t afford to waste a second because we have to be ready to play the Dallas Texans in Kezar Stadium, July 31.

“We know we obtained several men from the league pool who can play, but we have a lot to find out about most of the others. This is certainly one case when the lineup isn’t set in advance, when every position is really open.”

He felt that just about anything could happen once the season started. “We don’t know enough about what we have, or enough about the opposition, to be pessimistic,” he said. “The first few games will be interesting from a technical point. None of the teams will know just what preparations to make for the others. It will be a challenge.”

Erdelatz said he didn’t plan to be particularly strict about discipline in camp saying, “We won’t do any spying or have things like bed checks. Football at every level from Pop Warner league through professional requires sacrifice and if a player doesn’t realize this then he won’t do the club any good. This type of player can be spotted without bed checks and the like.”

The coaching staff planned to conduct morning and afternoon workouts each day.

June 24, 1960

The team announced that training camp would open July 11. The expected site was to be Santa Cruz on the north end of Monterey Bay. No official announcement had been made, but all signs pointed in that direction.

In other site news, the 49ers announced they had signed a ten year lease to play in Kezar Stadium following the 1961 campaign, meaning the Raiders would have to find another place to call home by then.

Oakland Tribune