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October 13, 1966 - Image 9

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1966-10-13

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Great Combination:

Volk and the Pressure



The pressure cooker blows


stack when the heat becomes too
great. So do a lot of athletes.
But there are some rare indi-
viduals who seem, to thrive on a
tough situation. They love the tie
score, a stretch drive, the fourth-
and-one play, and the desperation
shot. They represent the anti-
thesis of the two o'clock hitter.
It was this type of person who
intercepted two passes and knock-
ed down a third in the fourth
quarter of the vital Ohio State
game two years ago to halt the
Buckyese and send the Wolverines
into the Rose Bowl. And it was this
same player who found himself
the last man between Tar Heel
halfback Dave Riggs and the goal
line two Saturdays ago. A diving,
picture book tackle brought Riggs
to the turf after a 73-yard jaunt.
Riggs shouldn't blame himself
o though.
'Mr. Clutch'

of player who does well in the
clutch, in addition to consistently
being good."
Wolverine defensive backfield
coach Don James agreed. "Volk is
the type of football player who
never gives up or stops trying."
On the gridiron, Volk looks
more nonchalant than Willie Mays
making a basket catch. Whether
he is fielding a punt, or hounding
the moves of a fleet Gene Wash-
ington, the senior safety takes
everything in stride. As an ob-
server noted at an early Michigan
scrimmage this season, "He shows
more poise than anyone on the
James has noticed this, too.
"He'll walk away from a big play
like nothing ever happened. He's
just not an emotional player."
Perennial Starter,
Starting since the first game of
his sophomore season, Volk feels
that experience helps give iim this
appearance. "Yes, experience is
definitely part of it," Yolk said
last night. "There's nothing spe-
cial that makes you have ice water
in your veins, though. Confidence
in yourself and your teammates is
another aspect. If you know the
other players are going to come
through for you, it puts yQu in a
much more relaxed state," he
He also believes there is no one
factor that leads to good perform-

ances in the clutch situation. "In
that play in the North Carolina
game, everything happened so fast
that I didn't have time to think,"
Volk said. "Your instinct to play
the game takes over and you hope

it'll lead you to do the right
Whatever it is that leads to
poise and pressure performances,
Volk seems to have it. Perhaps, a
contributing factor is the fact that
playing for Michigan was like a
dream-come-true for him.
"I'll probably remember that
first game of my sophomore year
with Air Force all my life. It was
band day, and there were those
thousands of people yelling and
"Ever since I was so high, I
wanted to go to Michigan," he
continued. "I always said I'd just
like to sit on the bench here. It
was a great thrill to play in that
He may have been thrilled to
play in Michigan Stadium, but
Volk has more than reciprocated
by making games a thrill to watch,
with his tackles and interceptions.
Despite the fact that he's become
as much of a fixture in the Wol-
verine defensive backfield as the
football helmet, the veteran senior
has some other gridiron talents
which he doesn't often get a
chance to display.
All-Around Player
Elliott called him "one of the
best all-around players on the
Concurring with the head coach;
James said, "He can do just about
anything. This is evidenced by his

play on every special team except making an interception. They
the kick-off receiving team." have to throw it in your direction."
Sitting nearby, offensive back- Luck?
field coach Hank Fonde overheard This evaluation brought a cry
and added, "He wouldn't be a bad of protest from Volk's teammate
boy to have back there either." and r o o m m a te, Stan Kemp.
Volk has also been given some "Luck," he laughed. "You should
work at offensive quarterback in have seen the interception this guy
practice, and could serve as a key made against Minnesota last year-
fill-in if an injury occurred. He reached over Ken Last's shoul-
Well aware of the defensive der, grabbed the pass with one
safety's offensive talents, Elliott hand, hauled it in, and took off in
commented, "Probably the only re- the other direction."
gret I have about Volk's career If it is luck, then fortune has
here is that he hasn't played on been very generous with Volk. He
offense, which I know he'd like to intercepted five passes his sopho-
do. It's just an unusual case where more year, and led the Big Ten in
if he wasn't so good on defense, steals with four last year,
he could play offense for us." In preparing to cover a specific
Volk realizes that defense has pass receiver, Volk watches for
become his major attribute."Sure major characteristics of an end's
becomde i majo attriut "Sur, play rather than detailed features.
it would be nice to run with the "We watch to see if he runs long,
ball every once in a while," he or stays basically with hook-and-
admitted. "If I was playing guar- out patterns," Yolk explained.
terback though, the only way I "Speed is another important thing
would be happy is to go both ways, you've got to be aware of."
something the quarterback doesn't
do in the Big Ten. Defense is my Private Practice
big suit. The only offense I'm Volk worked out with Clancy
thinking about is the other team's and Vidmer this summer, and feels
rights now." this helped to improve his play
But it isn't as if he never gets this season. "If you can cover
his hands on the pigskin. He runs Clancy, you can cover anybody,"
back punts, and in addition, Volk he stated. "Clancy has the best
has been known to grab an enemy moves I've ever seen, even better
aerial from time to time. than Hadrick of Purdue. As far as
According to folk, interceptions blazing speed goes, I'd have to give
are not all skill. "You have to work Gene Washington the edge in that
at it, but there's still some luck to category.
With the institution of the pro-

mostly defense in the pro leagues. No quarterback has dared throw
though. You've got to be a great too often against the experienced
passer to even think about quar- Wolverine secondary this season,
terback up there." but Bob Griese may break the pat-
Biggest Thrill tern. Volk thinks its partially be-
He still ranks the Ohio State cause of the reputation the Wol-
game in his sophomore year as his verine foursome has acquired.
greatest thrill at Michigan. "I've Charley Kines and Wally Gabler
got to go along with that. I'd like came back from the all-star games
to pull a couple of performances last winter reporting that Illinois
out like that now. Everything was players had termed Volk and corn-
riding on it, and I never liked pany "the dirtiest defensive back-
Ohio State to begin with. I want- field in the Big Ten." More than
ed to beat them so badly. It was a few members of the Illini squad
just perfect," he remarked. singled out Volk in particular.
IZt's not b s d: tu tpiifin to

"I was thiking only yesterday
that the fall semester of my sopho-
more year was my best," he re-
flected. "We went to the Rose
Bowl, my grade-point was a 3.2,
and I met my girl, Charlene
Laskey," he reflected.
Volk isn't easily satisfied with
his. own performance. "I've only
made one big play, that tackle in
the North Carolina game, in four
games. No interceptions yet either.
But there's going to be a few this
week against Purdue," he pre-

lb Ilut' 1i rUUU a 1M on;I LO
have. No one's really challenged us
yet," he laughed.
Volk always sets high goals for
himself. "I'd like to go to the Rose
Bowl again, lead the Big Ten in
interceptions, and not make any
bad plays to close out my Mich-
igan career."
And he's still trying to figure
out ways to improve. "Maybe I
should be playing more basketball.
The shuffle step helps to cover
receivers," Volk demonstrated.
"I have to put up with this all
the time," Kemp Joked.

It just happened to
Volk's type of play, a
situation where all the
bility rested on him.,

be Rick

--- --- -----------


Coach Bump Elliott commented
A on this feature of his star defen-
sive back yesterday, stating, "He's
always performed very well under
pressure. We've been more than
pleased with the way he's always
worked out for us. Rick is the kind



type Oklahoma defense this sea-
son, Volk believes there has been
only one major change in the pass
defender's duties. "Now, when we
cover a receiver, we concentrate
on him until he's made his final
cut. Last year, we keyed through
the receiver to the quarterback.
The new system may cut down on
the number of interceptions, but
it's much more of an advantage
to know the system if you play
pro ball," he pointed out.
Pro Prospect
This is a definite advantage for
Volk, then. As James said, "I think
Rick's playing career will extend
a lot longer than 1966. He's a good
pro possibility at a number of
positions. He's the all-around
player who can fit in almost any-
where, not only on defense. This
is important to a pro team with
a limited roster. I could see him
playing flanker, split-end, or even
outside linebacker if he put on a
little weight."
Football has become more than
just a game to Volk. "I'd like to
play professional ball awfully
bad," he admits. "I think I'd play
will roll it up

Friday, October 14 . .
. 314 E. Liberty Street
You must be 21

. 9-12
. .$1.75

Appearing at Eastern Michigan.University.
in the Green & White Series
Thursday, Oct. 13

8 P.M.
Price: $1.50

Pease Aud.
Tickets at McKenny
Union and at the door

You can hear Woody Allen on sub-
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Colpix album, Woody Allen Vol-
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=His shirt, incidentally, is one of
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Hathawayisadivision of The Warner Brothers Co.

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