The Cal State Long Beach 49ers, unlike last season, will be an experienced team in 1985 with 15 starters back from a team that finished 4-7 but nearly upset UCLA and Arizona.
Quarterback Doug Gaynor, who passed for 3,230 yards and 16 touchdowns, will again have Charles Lockett as his top target. Lockett caught 75 passes for 1,112 yards and was an honorable mention All-American.
Other returning receivers are Troy Ory (42 catches in '84) and tight ends Greg Locy (31) and Rick Triguerio (17). Impressive in last Saturday's intrasquad game was flanker Kwante Hampton, a junior who started as a sophomore at Oregon.
Fullbacks Mark Templeton, the 49ers' top rusher last year (5 yards a carry), and Martin Sartin return, along with tailback Glenn Witherspoon, who broke his leg after three games in 1984.
The offensive line should be improved with the emergence of 300-pound junior tackle Joe Iosefa as a leader. At center will be senior John Stapleton, who was named to the all-Pacific Coast Athletic Assn. team last season.
The 49ers averaged 22 points a game in 1984 but gave up 27.4 points.
The defensive strength is in the line, where all four starters return--ends Thomas Hensley (all-PCAA) and Chuck Meierbachtol (PCAA second team) and tackles Anthony Jackson and Mark Faust.
Last year's top linebackers, Marc Bevilacqua and Kevin Junior, graduated, but seniors Kevin Moore and Gino Marchese are the kind of leaders Coach Mike Sheppard likes.
All-PCAA defensive back John Hendy is gone but Sheppard is impressed with free safety Roger Beavers from Porterville (Calif.) Junior College and hard-hitting Anthony Reynolds, a senior cornerback.
The place-kicker will be sophomore David Caylor, who has consistently out-kicked UCLA star John Lee at ex-pro Ben Agajanian's kicking clinics in Long Beach. Agajanian guarantees Caylor will kick a 60-yard field goal.
Area Players Signed
High school players from the area signed by the 49ers were linebacker William Amelong of L.B. Wilson, offensive lineman Rich Barrios of St. Paul, punter Gene Lemmers of St. John Bosco and Poly wide receivers Michael Roberts and Nathan Venson.
Unlike last season, when the 49ers had to face UCLA, Oregon and Arizona in the first month of the season, there are no Pac-10 teams on the schedule. Non-league opponents will be Eastern Washington, Boise State, Tulsa, Hawaii and San Diego State.
The opening game is Sept. 7 at Veterans Stadium against Utah State. Other PCAA teams coming to Long Beach will be Fresno State, New Mexico State and San Jose State. The 49ers will try a new time for home games: 6 p.m.