Now that two-a-days were done the players had time to indulge in a little team promotion. With an afternoon practice scheduled, the Raiders bused from Santa Cruz to Jack London Square in Oakland to participate in a “Welcome Raiders” parade. The front office expressed satisfaction with their local popularity in general and said tickets for the Texans game, a benefit for the Children’s Hospital of the Eastbay, were selling briskly with more than 20,000 already sold, according to PR man Gene Perry.
Head coach Eddie Erdelatz said the team appeared to have been inspired by the event and looked particularly crisp and spirited during their workout. Only non-contact blocking and tackling drills were performed, as the coaches hoped to prevent further injuries before the game.
Their hopes weren’t realized, though. Middle linebacker Tom Louderback, who was practicing with a bruised shoulder, exacerbated the injury and was pronounced doubtful for the upcoming contest. On the other hand, the Raider quarterback picture brightened immeasurably when Tom Flores was able to return to practice following treatment of his pulled calf muscle and third-stringer Bob Webb was seen on the field as well.
Looking ahead, the team provided a provisional depth chart for the game that included few surprises, aside from the absence of Flores and Webb. On the offense, Chris Plain and Don Churchwell were at tackle, Lou Byrd and Ron Sabal were at guard, and Jim Otto was at center. At the ends were Alan Goldstein and Gene Prebola. In the backfield behind Paul Larson were Buddy Allen, Tony Teresa, and Billy Lott.
On defense, the front four consisted of Carmen Cavalli and George Fields at the ends, Joe Barbee and Ramon Armstrong on the inside, Louderback at middle linebacker, flanked by Billy Ray Locklin and Bob Dougherty. In the defensive backfield were Joe Cannavino, Alex Bravo, Eddie Macon, and LC Joyner. Larry Barnes was the placekicker, while the punting job was up for grabs among Barnes, Wayne Crow, and Bob Fails.
The Raiders suffered a significant blow on the last day of two-a-day practices. Quarterback hopeful Tom Flores, in a neck-and-neck contest with Paul Larson for the starting job, went down with a pulled calf muscle. Trainer George Anderson wouldn’t put a number on how many days he might miss and head coach Eddie Erdelatz was faced with the possibility of having only one quarterback, Larson, ready to go against Dallas. Third-team signal-caller Bob Webb was still out with a bad knee and Tony Teresa was firmly installed at halfback.
The team had seen fewer new injuries in recent days, but Flores’ setback was a reminder that luck could change. Others who could miss game action because of injuries were defensive end Charley Powell, who was definitely out for the contest because of his strained Achilles tendon, and guards Charlie Kaaihue and Don Manoukian who were still being treated for pulled muscles.
With the preseason opener just a week away, the Raiders took a break from the two-a-day practice schedule and held only a brief stretching session allowing the squad to recover from yesterday’s scrimmage. For a couple of players, though, the respite was going to be a bit longer as the team cut halfbacks Carl Gordon and Wayne Schneider, reducing the player count to 52. The Raiders still had another month to get down to the league’s first mandated roster limit of 43 on August 23.
Off the field, Chet Soda hired former Oakland Oaks and Stanford University public address announcer Stan Easterling to occupy the same post at Kezar Stadium.
The Raiders held their second scrimmage of camp and this time owners Don Blessing, Ed McGah, Chet Soda, and Wayne Valley were there to observe. Tom Flores led the first-string “gold” squad while Paul Larson ran the second-string “blue” team. Observers thought Larson’s group performed slightly better, with Larson showing a knack for the bootleg run, but also thought both units showed real improvement since the first scrimmage, four days ago. Head coach Eddie Erdelatz singled out offensive linemen Wayne Hawkins, Jim Otto, and Ron Sabal, along with cornerback Joe Cannavino, for praise, and thought the defense in general showed good speed to the ball.
“It was a better scrimmage than last Tuesday”, according to Erdelatz, “but overall I would have to say it was just fair. The running was improved but we dropped too many passes. The defensive line pursuit was fine. We are getting better in all departments and, considering the short amount of practice, we don’t look too bad.”
The Raider coaching staff began to turn their focus toward the first preseason game, against the Texans. To that end, head coach Eddie Erdelatz added a final set of plays to the offense’s playbook so Tom Flores and Paul Larson could work with the complete offense installed. The defense was still working with just two of the planned four defensive sets and the full defense wouldn’t be in place until the regular season opener against Houston.
In injury news, the team finally gave up any hope that defensive lineman Jim Woodard would recover from his knee injury in time for the start of the season and sent him home to Texas. That decision left Carmen Cavalli in possession of a starting defensive end spot.
With the first preseason game just ten days away, the Raiders were still far from deciding on a first-team quarterback. Both Tom Flores and Paul Larson were proving to be highly accurate passers in practice and were making the coaching staff’s decision as difficult as possible. A favorite target of both men was Tony Teresa, the former San Jose State quarterback, who had recently moved from defense to offense. Head coach Eddie Erdelatz said the move was only temporary and was intended to give Teresa experience at multiple positions.
It wouldn’t be a camp report without injury news and today was no exception. Middle linebacker Tom Louderback and defensive end Larry Barnes each sustained mild shoulder bruises and would probably have light duty for a few days. More seriously, end Ron Beagle and defensive lineman Jim Woodard were entering their second week off with no end in sight. But on the plus side, halfback Jack Larscheid had fully recovered from his hamstring pull and guards Don Manoukian, Charlie Kaaihue, and defensive lineman Charley Powell were expected back on the field any day.
American Football League commissioner Joe Foss was in town today to visit the Raiders’ training camp in Santa Cruz. Upon inspection, he said the facilities were on par with what he had seen during his visits to other teams. He was also satisfied with the team’s season ticket sales, saying the reported sale of 8,500 was in line with other teams: well behind the Chargers at 18,000, but far ahead of the tail-enders like the Texans.
In player news, further examination of third-string quarterback Bob Webb’s knee revealed that the injury was not as severe as originally thought. Initial reports suggested he had torn cartilage and would need surgery, but now the team thought he could be back at practice in a week.
Meanwhile, head coach Eddie Erdelatz was still moving pieces around on the depth chart. With Marv Lasater gone, Erdelatz moved LC Joyner up to take his place. Newly-signed Tom Louderback was shifted into the starting middle linebacker spot formerly occupied by Larry Barnes. Barnes would now put in his work at left defensive end. On offense, Erdelatz moved second-teamer Brad Myers from halfback to fullback.
Fully a week into training camp, the Raiders held their first scrimmage and head coach Eddie Erdelatz was cautiously pleased. “For the first time out it wasn’t too bad,” he said. At quarterback, Paul Larson looked a sharper than Tom Flores, completing 11 of 21 passes with many of the incompletions coming from receiver drops. Flores had a rougher time, connecting on just 5 of 14, throwing three interceptions. Third-stringer Bob Webb got off to a good start, connecting on the longest play of the day, an 18-yard pass to Charlie Hardy, but disaster struck when he went down with a knee injury. Trainer George Anderson said he may have torn cartilage and could need surgery, which would shut him down for the year. At other positions, tight end Gene Prebola, defensive end Carmen Cavalli, and cornerback Eddie Macon looked particularly good. Observers thought the defensive line played well as a group, but Erdelatz downplayed it, saying, “The defense is always ahead of the offense at this stage of the game.”
Once the scrimmage was over, it was time for another round of cuts, reducing the number of players in camp to 56. On their way out were tackle Cloyd Boyette, halfback Purcell Daniels, halfback Wes Fry, Jr., son of Raider player personnel director Wes Fry, Sr., tackle Willie Hudson, a former honorable mention AP Little All-American for Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo, who was in camp without a contract after getting cut by the Chargers, and Hudson’s former college teammate, tackle Rich Max.
Long Beach Press Telegram
After a day’s rest, the squad returned to practice to find a newcomer in their ranks. Tom Louderback, a 6’2″, 230-pound guard/linebacker out of San Jose State. A two-year starter for the Spartans, Louderback made second-team UPI All-Coast in 1954. He was picked in the tenth round by the Redskins in 1955, but didn’t make it out of training camp and spent the rest of the year with Hamilton in the Canadian leagues. He signed with the Browns a year later, but joined the US Navy before the season. Mustering out in 1958, Cleveland cut him in September, after which he earned a starting linebacker spot with the Eagles, where he spent the next two seasons. He was now in Oakland to try his hand with the new league.
Meanwhile, two more players left camp. Citing personal reasons, backs Marv Lasater and George Blanch packed their bags and departed. The Raiders had had high hopes for Lasater, offering him a nice bonus to sign, but once in camp his lack of speed seemed to doom his chances to stick. Blanch had been installed on the third team and probably got out the door just before the headsman arrived.
On the field, head coach Eddie Erdelatz continued to push his charges hard and was very pleased with what he saw. “If they keep coming at this rate,” he said, “we’re going to fool a few teams.” Erdelatz was generous in his praise for members of the offensive line including tackle Chris Plain, guards Don Manoukian and Ron Sabal, and center Jim Otto. Defensive secondary members Alex Bravo, John Brown, LC Joyner, Eddie Macon, and Tony Teresa, were also mentioned by name as were receiver Charlie Hardy and defensive end Carmen Cavalli.
Over in sick bay, Charley Powell‘s strained Achilles tendon had healed enough to allow him to practice, but linebacker Buddy Alliston had pulled a groin muscle and took Powell’s place on the bench to recuperate.
Eureka Humboldt Standard
Hayward Daily Review
Long Beach Independent
Long Beach Press Telegram
Lubbock Morning Avalanche
Ukiah Daily Journal
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.”