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December 07, 1975 - Image 11

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
Michigan Daily, 1975-12-07

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

Sunday, December

t'age rE

Blue,
By BILL STIEG
Fear of the unknown.
As much as any runaway vic-
tories or Big Eight champion-
ships, fear of the unseen has
kept the Oklahoma Sooners near
the top of almost everyone's list
of all-time great football teams.
Because of NCAA probation,
the Sooners haven't been on na-
tional TV in three years. That
lack of exposure has added to
their mystique and has made
rumor one of the more reliable
sources of information about the
team.
OKLAHOMA. Yes, we've
heard of that bunch. Don't they
have ,a halfback who runs a
nine-flat hundred, moves like
O.J. and breaks tackles like
Jim Brown?
And its offense-it's supposed
to run the flashiest, trickiest
Wishbone in the U.S.A., right?
Michigan will be lucky to find
the ball, let alone tackle whoev-
er's carrying it.
And those defensive linemen-
we heard they're twice as big
and twice as fast as Bubba
Smith.
There's more than a grain of
truth in these rumors. Oklahoma
has an excellent halfback, Joe
Washington, who is part of a
powerful wishbone attack.
Those defensive linemen, too,
may well deserve the all-Amer-
ica honors that sportswriters
have given them, virtually sight
unseen.
BUT THIS year, unlike last,
the Sooners are not number one
in anyone's poll. They're "only"

tests
third in the AP, mainly because
of a sloppy loss to Kansas and
a few near-misses.
They're heading into the Or-
ange Bowl with a 10-1 record
and the Big Eight championship
trophy, thanks to a 35-10 win ov-
er previously unbeaten Nebras-
ka.
It was a reassuring win to the
scores of writers and coaches
who called Oklahoma the best
in the country at the season's
start. Reassuring to Coach aBr-
ry Switzer, too, though the Soon-
ers' chronic fumbling made the
victory harder than it might
'have been.
Oklahoma fumbled 58 times in
11 games this season - 5.3 a
game. It lost 24 of them, mostly
because of the risky Wishbone
offense.
THE AESTHETICALLY-pleas-

Sooner

Barry Switzer

i

ing Wishbone-T alignment putsj
the fullback directly behind the{
quarterback and two halfbacks
behind and to either side of the
fullback. The quarterback can
give to the fullback, pitch to a
halfback or run himself.
Only seven years old, the for-
mation is used extensively in
the Southeast, Southwest, and
Big Eight conferences.
"It's the greatest innovation
ever for running the football,"
says Switzer. "It's effective be-
cause it was designed for three
options-the quarterback, full-
back or halfback can all run the
ball. It's probably produced
more yardage in the last few
years than any other offense."
Probably more fumbles, too.
"It's a high-risk offense, that's
for sure," said Switzer. "We
have several people carrying
the ball, and we pitch it around
a lot."j

Okla.
62
46
20
21
24
25
39
27
3
28
35

Season Results
Oregon
Pittsburgh
Miami (Fla.)
Colorado
Texas
Kansas St.
Iowa St.
Okla. St.
Kansas
Missouri
Nebraska

Opp.
7
1I

1v
17 ONE OF the people carrying
20 the ball is all-American Wash-
17 ington. He led the Sooners in
3 rushing with nearly 80 yards a
7 game. He is a spectacular run-
7 ner who turns, twists and hurd-
23 les for yardage.
27 "He's the best in America,"
10 says Switzer. "He's the most

elusive back ever to hold a
football in his arms."
Two powerful fullbacks, Jim
Litrell and Horace Ivory, split
time this season depending on
who's hurt or hot. Ivory was
OU's second leading rusher.
Elvis Peacock, one of the
great names in intercollegiate
football, is the other halfback.
Quarterback S t e v e Davis
makes the Wishbone go. He se-
lects which of the options to
take, and very frequently ends
up keeping the ball himself. Da-
vis, a licensed Baptist preacher,
Form
recalls
By MARCIA MERKER
A bowl game, what great fun,
eh? Certainly for the fans. Par-
ties, traveling, beachcombing,
warmer weather, parades, and
Disney World are part of nearly
everyone's itinerap. But to the
football player, the post season
finale is just more hard work
and no holidays.
The bowl boils down to a
money-raising function for the
football department. It is not a
paid recess for 100 in America's
Vacationland, but a hectic pub-
licity schedule spattered with
practices.
The Rose Bowl agreement
stipulates that the Big Ten team
must stay in Pasadena for a
specified length of time prior to
the game. During those ten days
or so, the bowl committee leads
the football teams through a rig-
orous schedule of conferences,
tours, dinners and practices.
As Tom Slade, Michigan's
quarterbaclk in the 1972 Rose
Bowl said about the 'business
trip', "If we had been on our
normal schedules, it would
have been better. They enter-
tained us like crazy.
"We 'had no time to think{
about football," he added.
"There were planned functions
and conferences. We ate three
big meals a day and got very
little practice in. So by the time
the game rolled around, we
were all fat and slow.
"I think what they should do
is practice at home for a couple
of days so that the players can
snend Christmas with their fam-
ilies-out there (Miami) for four
or five days, play the game and
then spend four or five more
lays out there partying."
Since theretis a month's de
lay between the regular season
culmination and the New Years

Day game, team practice is
gruelling.
"It was tough getting up for
the Rose Bowl after the long
wait," Slade said. "We had no
chance to practice."
While the Wolverines were
in "sunny Southern Califor-
nia" that winter, it rained 11
of 13 days. The team was for-
ced to fly to Bakersfield for
practice and even then wound
up in a gymnasium wearing
tennis shoes.
Just as the football team ob-
serves its buddies partying in
California for ten days, the fans
must sit and watch the gridders
play around for two and a half
hours on January 1. How does

the size of the Michigan contin-
gent effect the team?
"Michigan has the biggest
Alumni Association in the coun-
try. Anywhere where there is a
big city, there will be Michigan
fans around. It made no differ-
ence to us how big our crowd
was," said Slade. "It won't bo-
ther anybody at the Orange
Bowl. Michigan's got quite a
few alumni down there."
Although the Orange Bowl is
not quite the extravaganza of
the Rose Bowl, it will entail the
same hard work atmosphere for
the players and good times for
the fans.

erQB Slade

OKLAHOMA'S Joe, Washing-
ton jumps over an opposing
tackle this year. Washington,
who finished fourth in the
Heisman trophy balloting, led
the Sooners in rushing with an
average of about 80 yards per
game. Washington isn't the
only runner the Michigan de-
fense will have to worry about
in Miami. Oklahoma's power-
ful Wishbone attack boasts
four other runners

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The next Bowl quarterback

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