THURSDAY, OCTOBER 21, 1965
THE MICHIGAN DAILY
rn3yA l LVL I
By GIL SAMBERG
So what's so different about
He doesn't look like a football
player? Well, who does nowadays?
He's 5'10," weighs 215 pounds!
and can run the hundred in 10
seconds? Well, did you ever see a
He's got a Mercury that looks
like the Fourth of July? Well, he
got it in an even-up trade for a
sports car and decided to paint it
red . . then blue . .. then
add some maize. . . It's just a
matter of taste.
He's in Structural Engineering
and carrying a 3.3 gradepoint
while doubling as a varsity full-
back? Well, his number's 33 and
it sounds good and ...
But all double-takes aside, Dave
Fisher is a football player who
loves the game and plays it hard
and well. Listen to him:
"I can't wait to get out on that
field. It's like you gave me a big
ice-cream sundae, or a pretty girl.?
I don't know. It's just that I love
to play. .
"I get psyched up for every,
game. I take them all seriously
because I don't like to lose. . .
"And you get out there and your
heart pounds faster, and then
they call your play. You get eager.
It's something that you just can't
express to someone. You've got to
feel it yourself."
Three Yards and a.. .
Fisher is a heavy-duty fullback
in the old Ohio State tradition,
an odd combination of balance,
power, and more speed than he
has any right having. And it's all
lumped together on a compact
"He can be a real workhorse
back," says Michigan head coach
Bump Elliott. "He's reasonably
fast getting up to the hole, has
good overall speed. But his biggest
asset is balance. When he gets hit
he can shake a man off and stay
on his feet."
Fisher figures that being short
affects him to varying degrees.
"Because of the way I'm built,"
he says, "I'm stronger lower to the
ground. When a big lineman has
to come down to get me he can't
use all of his power. He has to lose
Usually it's Fisher.
"But on the other hand, when
I have to block I can't be as effec-
tive trying to bring down one of
those big guys."
And it is here that we hit a
very sore spot. It is probably the
sore spot. Blocking a la Fisher has
never been used in instructional
films. From where he started
when he got to Michigan any way
he went had to be up.
As his father once put it,
"Blocking was not what they
wanted him to do in high school."
Back at Fairmont High in Ket-
tering, Ohio, Fisher, besides foot-
ball, played basketball and cap-
tained his track team as a sprint-
er ("My fastest time for the hun-
dred was 9.9, but that was about
15 pounds ago."): On his way to
a high school All-America rating
and MVP of the 1963 Ohio State
all-star game, his family realized
that they wouldn't be paying for
their son's college education.
It was the little things that told
them . . . like the fact that little
Davey never lost a yard on the
playing field (you remember how
he dislikes losing). And it always
seemed as if every college in the
country that enrolled 10 other men
wanted him to make use of their
Anyhow, they bought Fisher a
sports car in his junior year. "Well
one night I was out with my folks'
car (the Mercury) and I, uh, sort
of smashed it up a little," he tells
it. A little later he repeated the
stunt with the same car. "My Dad
just traded me that one for the
And after it had gone through
a few coats of paint and come out
of its red (and I do mean red)
period, Fisher gave it a blue look
in the beginning of last summer.
But by the end of the season it
had become a true Wolverine
But there was still the school to
choose. On this one it really went
down to the wire.
"I knew that I wanted to go to
a Big Ten school if I could," he
says. "My Mother got her Masters
in Music here, but she didn't put
any, pressure on me. My Dad
wanted me to go to Purdue.
Neither one of them wanted me
to go to Ohio State."
Almost a Buckeye
But Fisher knew about OSU,
and he knew about how they play-'1
ed their fullbacks. "Three yards
and a cloud of dust" appealed to,
him. Besides that, some of his
friends and a girl friend were
headed for Columbus come gradu-
ation. With less than two weeks to
go before he had to sign a letterj
of intent his family was still argu-
ing about a choice.
In -the end Jack Fouts (former
Michigan offensive line coach)
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FULLBACK DAVE FISHER powers his way through the Purdue
line en route to a first down in Saturday's losing battle against
the Boilermakers. The 5'14," 215-pound junior has led all Mich-
igan rushers this year with 238 yards in 63 carries.
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Of a Dead Soldier
Ron Zinn was a soldier. He grew up in Illinois, went to West
Point, and got shipped to Viet Nam. In Southeast Asia, he was just
one of many. He was an American with a rifle. He was faceless,
voiceless and meaningless.
When he died last July, no one cared in the Eastern world and
no one cared in the West. There was no cry of mourning in America;
no flags were lowered to half mast, and few headlines carried his
name. He was just another good kid who lost his life in a dirty
war. Too bad.
Ron Zinn was born to walk, not to creep and crawl behind
enemy lines. If he was born to battle, it was against the Russians
in the Olympics, not against a guerrilla in the middle of a
Ron Zinn was the greatest walker in American history. He ex-
celled in that funny looking sport where people have to stride like
ostriches to make sure their heels hit the ground before the balls of
their feet. He finished sixth in the Toyko Olympics, and he was
the first American to beat a Russian.
There's something strangely gentle about being a walker. A
boxer hits people and a football player tackles them. A lawyer
needs to be tough on cross examination and fruit peddlers find
satisfaction in throwing overripe peaches at meddlesome youngsters.
But a walker is different. All he does is walk. Nothing can
be more detached from war. It's the first skill an infant learns
and it brings tears of joy to a mother's eyes. It's the simplest
and safest method of transportation known to man. The greatest
threat to a walker is a corn.,.
In some countries Zinn would have been idolized. His death
would be a national tragedy.
He wouldn't have been allowed to serve in a war because his
talents would have been deemed too valuable to risk losing.
America, however, is a democracy., Everyone goes. Married men
and bachelors, bearded folk singers and opera stars. In fact if you
try protesting, they just get more anxious to draft you.
So Ron Zinn the walker got no special privileges and went
with everyone else. That's the way it is when democracies wage
Now he's being given an award posthumously. It's not a purple
heart or a silver star. After all, he really didn't do anything that
special. He just got killed.
No, he's only getting an award from the Amateur Athletic Union
for being the best amateur athlete in Illinois last year. Nothing
special, just a plaque or a trophy his parents will accept for him.
There must be smoother and more pleasant paths for a walker
to follow than the one way road from America to Viet Nam.
brought him to Michigan.
"I guess I was the worst blocker
that ever came here," comments
Fisher. "I know it was one of the
reasons I didn't play much last
year. The other reason was that
I was never in shape. I could only
practice two or three times a
week because of afternoon engi-
neering labs. And it's very easy
for me to get out of shape because
of the way~ I'm built. Even this
year I didn't feel really good until
the Georgia game.
"But as far as my blocking goes,
this season I've been working at
it every spare minute I've got. I
know I have to improve."
Getting the Feel
Elliott thinks that Fisher has
been making real progress. "It's
experience which makes him bet-
ter," explains the coach. "Last
year he just wasn't in enough to
get the, experience he needed. I
think he had his best game last
week against Purdue.,"
Fisher makes it clear that he
feels he owes everything he does
to the coaches: Elliott, Tony Ma-
son, and Hank Fonde. "They've
really been my ;greatest inspira-
tion. I think I'd give my right arm
for them. Coach Fonde works with
me on blocking. Mason is always
with me, teaching me about run-
ning, and really giving me the
confidence I lacked last season."
But here he is in the middle of
a season full of unexpected de-
velopments. He tries to explain it:
Salvage the Rest
.."When we started out we want-
ed to win them all. Well, that's
over. But we're really out to win
the next five, and that's no bull.
"It isn't a matter of not being
able to go to the Rose Bowl.- It's
just that last week we finally
jelled. You, can go along making
fumbles, being sloppy, not playing
like a team, and then suddenly...
Well, you know you can't really'
put your finger on it. If you could
you'd be the greatest coach in the
"Last year we were lucky. We
started to put it all together in
the Air Force game, real early."
His future is open. He is study-
ing structure in Engineering
School and hopes to go into Busi-
ness Administration later so that
he can eventually become a con-
sulting engineer for a large com-
pany like Bethlehem Steel or
Pittsburgh Plate Glass.
But there's still football.
"Sure, I'd love to play pro ball
if I got the chance," he admits.
"But I'm not making any plans,
that's for sure.
"Football has really been such
a big part of my life. . . . Ever
since the eighth grade I've been
out there every day and I love it.
I have to wonder wyat it would
be like without the experience."
A couple of years ago he had
to make a tough decision.
"I knew right away that I'd
never regret my choice," says
Fisher. "I got a chance to visit
Dartmouth and Harvard in the
East, and I'm sure that Michigan
is as good academically. In my
heart I really believe that it's the
greatest school in America.
"The guys on the team are the
finest I've ever met. When I go
in I really want to do well to show
my appreciation. I want to make
"I know I'll really feel it when
I leave Michigan."
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