"Scrimmage, scrimmage and more scrimmage."
That's soccer coach Ken Hosterman's formula for rounding his Penn State booters into peak condition for next Saturday's opener with West Chester. And that's exactly what the Lions have been doing all this week, drilling under game conditions in a effort to get razor-sharp for the always-tough Rams.
"We have a better squad than we've had in several years," Hosterman said yesterday. "Now it's a matter of finding the 11 players who can work together best."
The Lion mentor, starting his eleventh year as head coach, said that about 45 candidates have reported for workouts, he has pretty well narrowed the squad down to two teams.
Top contenders for starting positions are fullbacks Bill Manke and Mickey Mastil, halfbacks Harry Kline, Ray Dacey and captain Dieter Heinze and forwards Al Miaga, John Katona and Al Jacobson.
Another player slated to see plenty of action is senior Al Schattschneider, who was injured in last year's opener with West Chester and was out the rest of the season.
Nazir Talib, leading scorer on the freshmen team last year, could give State's attack a big shot in the arm. Another sophomore with a chance at a starting role is Mike Kirschner, who is battling veterans Jay Robbins and Stu Ross for the goaltending job.
Still another newcomer to the squad is Al Cashie, a native of Trinidad, whom Hosterman rates as a strong candidate for a halfback post.
The Lions have been hampered by a weak attack in the past years but this year the accent is on offense.
"We haven't had enough shooters in the last couple years," the veteran Lion coach said. "But we don't have that problem this season so our offense should be stronger."
The Lion booters aren't neglecting defense, however, as they have been working on defending against the three-back system used by West Chester.
Next Saturday's game, to be played on old Beaver Field, will start at 11 a.m. instead of 2 p.m. as listed on the University calendar.