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September 19, 1980 - Image 12

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1980-09-19

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Page 12-Friday, September 19, 1980-The Michigan Daily

MARSH, SMITH SHINE IN PROS

Blue receivers

discover gold

in NFL

By RON POLLACK
Daily Sports Analysis
Second in a two-part series
Rags to riches. This is the situation
that Michigan receivers have found
themselves in when they enter the
National Football League and find out
that the forward pass is no longer con-
sidered taboo.
Despite Michigan's aversion to,
passing, their receivers have been en-
countering a great deal of success in
recent years. During the past few
years, Michigan has produced such
highly regarded receivers as Jim
Smith, Doug Marsh and Ralph Clayton.

In contrast to their running back
counterparts, Wolverine receivers can
lay claim to a starting spot in the NFL..
This major breakthrough comes in the
person of tightend Doug Marsh.
A year after the untimely death of
J.V. Cain, the St. Louis Cardinals draf-
ted Marsh in the second round of this
year's college draft. Last week, against
San Francisco, Marsh had a whopping
seven catches for 90 yards and a touch-
down. Following this contest, a 24-21
overtime loss, Marsh was tied with Pat
Tilley for the team lead in receptions.
Marsh, who ranks eighth on
Michigan's all-time list for pass recep-
tions, said "I've never been on a team

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which has so many offensive threats.
It's a hell of a feeling just being out
there with these guys.
"I came from a team which didn't
throw the ball much, so this is very ex-
citing for me. The biggest change in
coming to the pros has been adjusting
to a new system which is really totally
Greek to you at the beginning," Marsh
added.
Marsh is the only Michigan Alumnus
currently starting in a receiver position
in the NFL, but he might not be their
best receiver in pro football. Although
only time will tell, this distinction ap-
pears to belong to the Pittsburgh
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Steelers Jim Smith. His ability was
evident in last week's game against
Baltimore, in which he caught five
passes for 93 yards including the game
winning touchdown.
Smith, one of the most prolific
receivers in Michigan history, ranks
fourth on the Wolverine all-time list for
receptions and is second in receiving
yardage.
Yet, he still did not have as many
passes thrown his way as would befit a
receiver of his talent. This is not to say

... -

that the Michigan coaching staff sent
him into professional football lacking
any skills. Gil Brandt, Dallas Cowboy
vice president and personnel director,
said, "Michigan wide receivers don't
catch many passes in games, but in
practice they are taught their routes
and patterns extremely well. Thus,
when they become professionals they
are well grounded in fundamentals."
The Cowboys' analysis of Smith en-
tering the 1977 draft was, "great hands,
excellent speed to get deep, can catch
the ball in a crowd, athletic ability, runs
well after catch."I
With this type of an outlook, it is not
surprising that Smith has done well in
the pros, and he should get even better
once he gains starting status. But being
a member of the Steelers, this presents
a problem as Joe Gordon, Pittsburgh
publicity director, pointed out when he
said, "His only problem is the people
ahead of him (Lynn Swann and John
Stallworth). He could start for many
teams throughout the league."
While the 1976 season was the last at
Michigan for Smith, it was only the
beginning for Ralph Clayton. After two
years in the spotlight, the 1979 season
saw Anthony Carter steal a good deal of
his thunder. Even so, the fact remains
that Ralph Clayton had some very im-

pressive statistics. Clayton's 16 recep-
tions for 357 yards put him among t1
top five Michigan receivers in career
pass catches and receiving yardage.
The New York Jets' plans to move
Clayton's much needed speed to run-
ning back were temporarily postponed
during training camp when he was put
on the injured reserve with a stress
fracture of the ankle.
Smith, Marsh and Clayton were all
selected in the first three rounds of the
college draft. This is particularily in*
pressive when one takes into con-
sideration the following assessment of
Brandt, who said, "There are so many
great wide receivers around that it has
almost gotten to the point where people
are of the opinion that a wide receiver
can be found on a street corner. For in-
stance we got Drew Pearson as a free
agent and he was voted to the NFL
team of the 70's. Because of the over-
abundance of wide receivers, the
position is penalized in the draft a
more emphasis is placed on otheW
positions."
Considering the achievements of
Marsh and Smith, and the receiver of
the future in the person of Anthony Car-
ter, Michigan receivers' recent
tradition of NFL success should con-
tinue for years to come.

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Marsh

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Sammies 7, U Towers 'A' 0 (forfeit)
Men-o-Paws 6, Big Dogs 1
Bomb Squad 14, Black Sheep 2
Thunder Chickens 14, Rock Lobsters 10
Recreative
Pride of Blimpys 14, Air Force 11
Flots Am9, GiTCss 7
Fraternity
Sigma Chi 13, Zeta Beta Tau 3
Evans Scholars 5, Fiji 4 (under protest)
Residence Hall
House 'A' 17, 2nd Rotvig 6
6th Lewis 11, Frost 5
U Towers 7L 7. Wenley 'B' 0 (forfeit)
Hamilton 'A' 15, Huber Challengers i
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