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August 04, 1978 - Image 15

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Publication:
Michigan Daily, 1978-08-04

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THE SPORTING VIEWS
Lion potential...
.. can Clark tap it?
By ALAN FANGER
Thank goodness for thick-skinned people.
Monte Clark has seen it all during the Detroit Lions training camp.
Athletes knocked down and all around, walkouts, holdouts, and other more
common training camp occurrences.
That's some burden on a man taking the helm of a ball club which for
seven years has fathomed the depths of mediocrity.
Clark seems to be rolling with the punches, however. He points to a
vastly improved conditioning program as one reason why his ball club will
be battling it out for the NFC Central Division title. After all, better con-
ditioning means better athletes, which means better player performance,
and so on.
No qualms with this argument. The Forzano-Hudspeth regime was
highlighted by a rash of knee injuries, 23 of which required surgery. There is
general agreement as to the origin of such an outbreak-unconditioned
athletes are much more susceptible to injuries in tender areas such as
shoulders and knees. This theory is non-exclusive, as Errol Mann will tell
you.
A certain standard has been applied to this year's Lion squad. It
revolves around the phrase "quality talent" and "untapped potential." This
is specifically directed at the offensive line, which in recent years has given
Lion quarterbacks about as much protection as the San Marino army.
Trouble in the trenches
Although it's quite refreshing to hear this new wave of optimism after
so many 7-7 and 6-8 campaigns, I'd label it a tad premature. It's been almost
eight months since we last encountered the silver and blue in a real game
situation, and lest our memories escape us, the Lions sport several Grade B
talents in the trenches. Craig "Hands" Hertwig and the infamous Mark
Markovich, who will never forget his many snaps over punter Wilbur Som-
mers' head are the leads among this cast of characters.
The offensive line shared the brunt of the blame for last season's misery,
and rightly so. It was considered a special occasion when Greg Landry had
adequate time to throw, and the defense was logging exhorbitant amounts of
playing time due to offensive impotence.
The real test for Clark and his staff lies in their ability to make the offen-
sive wall a viable unit, one which will get at least an average rating among
the other clubs. They're working against depth and raw talent, both of which
are running thin after the departures of Rockne Freitas, Jon Morris, and
Ken Long. Clark is an excellent motivator, however, and this should cushion
the personnel blow.
No doubt, this team can be a contender. Other than the aforementioned
problem, the Lions are blessed with a wealth of talent, particulary on defen-
se. I'm eager to see how rookies Luther Bradley and Al Baker perform, as
both are given good shots at earning starting berths. The offensive backfield
will be rejuvenated with the return of Dexter Bussey, who sat out half of last
season with a knee injury. There is some question as to whether Lawrence
Gaines can come back after three knee operations, but his loss will not
decimate any playoff hopes. Greg Landry has proven he's one of the league's
best quarterbacks (when given adequate protection), and is invaluable to
this team.
Can't play patsy cake
With a shorter exhibition season, Clark will have to hastily ready his
charges. Considering his get-tough philosophy, this should be an easier chore
for the Lions than most other teams. Saturday's pre-season opener with Buf-
falo will not substantiate any righteous claims about the upcoming season,
for the Bills, despite Chuck Knox's excellent track record, field a team which
nosedived to a 2-12 slate in '77.
In fact, Detroit faces only one playoff entrant in the month of Sep-
tember. Could this dispel any possibility of another shaky start? With Clark
at the helm, I'd have to say yes. He's one to make sure they avoid getting
sucked up by Green Bay or Seattle. Those players will be running out of fear
for their jobs.
Patsies aside, the Lions will have to escape with a win or two in head-on
clashes with the Vikings and Bears. One victory would mark an im-
provement over last season, when they were blasted twice by each club.
Monte Clark will have his patience tested this season, you can bet on
that. Optimism may beat record levels, but we have yet to see results. If the
unexpected occurs, Clark will have to brace his ears for the Silverdome jeers.

The Michigan Daily-Friday, August 4, 1978--Page 15
Watson fires 67 to
lead first round PGA
OAKMONT, Pa. (AP) - Tom Watson weather," said Stockton, who played
took advantage of rain-softened greens with Watson late in the day. He missed
to fire a four-under-par 67 - 12 shots only two greens and scored his birdies
better than Jack Nicklaus - ad on puttsof 7,12 and 12 feet.
establish the first-round lead Thursday TIED FOR third at 69, only two shots
in the weather-plagued PGA national out, were Johnny Miller, Lee Trevino,
championship. Dave Hill and Ben Crenshaw. Trevino,
"No question about it - it was a big once a winner and five times a runner-
advantage playing in the afternoon," up this season, played in the company
said Watson, who twice was held up by of Stockton and Watson and got close
the showers that threatened to wash out with a birdie on the final hole.
the round. Crenshaw, a runner-up in the British
"THE GREENS were holding well af- Open, had it four-under par at one time,
ter the rains. We could hit the ball right then bogeyed two of his last three holes,
at the hole." Watson said. The greens while Hill scrambled out of trouble with
here are known for their slickness. 11 one-putt greens.
But he was far from satisfied. "I'm not too pleased with the out-
"I'm going to the practice tee," said come," said Crenshaw. "Makingbogey
the tough-minded redhead who last on three holes, it leaves a bad taste in
season won Player of the Year honors your mouth. It's a good start, but I
and this season has clicked off three three-putted twice and that's just
Tour triumphs. throwing two shots away. Anytime you
"I played kind of sloppy. I kept it in shoot under 70 at Oakmont, it's not bad,
play, luckily, by getting some good lies but it could have been a couple of shots
in the rough. My putting was very good, better."
certainly the outstanding part of my "I HAVEN'T played well in two years
game." - and I didn't play well today," said
TWO OF THEM, for birdies, came Hill. "If I'd had my usual two-putts, I'd
from the 30 to 35-foot range. And it was have had my usual 76, 77 or 78. I'm just
those two, he said, that gave him a one- hoping to make the cut."
stroke lead over Dave Stockton, who Miller, mired in a deep, puzzling,
had a solid 68 on the rain-drenched, troubling slump, returned to the scene
6,989-yard Oakmont Country Club cour- of his greatest triumph and regained a
se. flash of the form that once made him
Stockton, twice a PGA champion and golf's Golden Boy.
runner-up in this year's U.S. Open, was Miller, who shot a 63 and won the 1973
the only man in the field able to escape U.S. Open in his last appearance at
without a bogey. Oakmont, had a share of the lead until
"We had a tremendous break in the he bogeyed the 16th and 18th holes

-ORLD CHESS CHAMPIONSHIP
GAME B-KARPOV WINS KORCRNOI (Black".

""ON

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i
xi
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Checkmate
Due to the overwhelming demand for more chess coverage on the sports pages,
the Daily presents the final board position of the eighth game of the world chess
championships between Anatoly Karpov of the Soviet Union and Viktor Korchnoi,
the self-exiled dissident formerly of the Soviet Union. Karpov gained the first
victory after seven draws after Korchnoi resigned on his 28th move. The first to
win five games will be crowned champion, and at this ra we will have the results
by Christmas.

00 * 1 1% ) I # % 't i , 1 - I v I T , 71 'T M

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