Thursday, October 14, 1982
The Michigan Daily
USFL brings Keller back to Mic
By RANDY BERGER
After 11 years, former Michigan
defensive end Mike Keller has finally
No longer is Keller terrorizing quar-
terbacks as he did from 1969 to 1971 for
Michigan during the first years of Bo
Schembechler's regime. Instead he is
faced with just as enviable a task, that
of assistant general manager of the
Detroit Panthers of the newly-formed
United States Football League.
"I JOINED the Panthers mainly to
get back in the Midwest and I felt at my
age it was a good opportunity to take,"
said Keller, who started three years for
During his 11-year hiatus from
Michigan, Keller was trekking his way
across the country; first as a player
and then as a scout. After starting
three years at defensive end, Keller
was drafted by the Dallas Cowboys in
the third round in 1971 as a linebacker.
"I was really a linebacker in college
but Bo always called us defensive en-
ds," stated Keller.
AFTER playing two years for the
Cowboys, one of which was spent on the
injured reserve, it seemed that Dallas
was trying to*phase "Keller out of
"While on injured reserve, Dallas
started utilizing me as a scout," he
said. "The next year I was cut and I
became a full time scout for seven to
From Dallas it was on to Seattle as
Keller joined the newly-formed
Seahawks as a talent scout in 1975. In
1978, Keller was promoted to assistant
KELLER occupied that position up
until two months ago, when the oppor-
tunity to come back to Michigan as
assistant general manager of the Pan-
thers popped up.
"I was convinced that the USFL was
a viable league," explained Keller. "It
had tremendous ownerships, not only in
Detroit but in all the cities.'
Despite the fact that the Panthers do
not as of yet have a stadium, uniforms
or a logo, Keller is confident that the
stance, except for one, all of the Detroit
Lions' quarterbacks came from the
free agent market."
Another difference that distinguishes
the USFL from its predecessor is that
the league has signed two major
television contracts. ABC plans to
televise a game of the week on Sunday
afternoon while ESPN will televise
games on Saturday and Monday nights.
"THE GAME will be packaged as
similar to the NFL as we can," stated
Keller. 'The talent will be so close that
the average fan won't see any differen-
Even with the TV contracts, one still
has to wonder whether the USFL can
generate enough interest. The season
runs from March to July and comes at a
time when baseball is in full swing.
However, according to Keller, studies
have been made that indicate people
who watch football in the fall will watch
it in the spring.
"A study by ABC showed that 70% of
those people who went to football
games in the fall would watch the USFL
on TV and that 60% of those people
would go to the games.
"FOOTBALL IS extremely popular
and people can't get enough of it.
There's nothing going on in the early
spring," stated Keller. "Baseball
doesn't start until the second week of
April so we'll have six weeks of play
before then and by that time we should
have races establishing."
Right now, fans certainly aren't get-
ting enough football thanks to the NFL
strike. Thus, one would think that the
NFL strike would benefit the USFL, but
Keller feels it will have the opposite ef-
"The strike is detrimental to sports
overall. I feel that when football is
going on it generates enthusiasm for
the sport. With the strike, people are
becoming more apathetic towards it."
TO AVOID apathy, the USFL is going
a step further by trying to encourage
the teams to create more of a loc-t
"The owners want to retain a
regional identity so we'll be signifng
mostly players from Michigan,
Michigan State, Eastern and Central
Michigan," said Keller. --y
If that's the case, Michigan players
won't have to wait so long to return
Detroit franchise and the other nine
franchises in the league will avoid the
problems that plagued the now-defunct
World Football League.
"THE WFL failed mainly because
they tried to give out too much money.
They went after established players
and promised huge contracts two years
down the line.
"We want to develop with players
who either are marginal players in the
NFL, free agents, or college draftees,"
added Keller. "There are plenty of free
agents who try out for the NFL but
don't get the chance to play. For in-
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Pistons roll, 141
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By PAUL RESNICK
There was no doubt about it.
The Detroit Pistons were coming off a
106-98 victory over the World Champion
Los Angeles Lakers while the Cleveland
Cavaliers were trying to recover from
last season, which saw them finish with
the worst record in the NBA. As expec-
ted, the Pistons demolished the
Cavaliers, 141-108 last night in an NBA
exhibition game at Crisler Arena.
THE PISTONS were helped im-
measurably by 25 Cleveland tur-
novers-pzany of which led to easy
layups-and aided their own cause by
shooting 67 percent from the field.
In the first four and a half minutes of
the second quarter, the Pistons broke
the game open by outscoring Cleveland,
After a third-quarter surge by the
Cavaliers cut the lead to 12, the Pistons
blew the game open for a second time
and afforded coach Scotty Robertson an
opportunity for some sage remarks.
"Every team plays a little more one-on-
one when they have the lead," said the
Pistons head coach. "Good teams stay
with what got them the lead. We're
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Two Steak Dinners
Daily Photo by TOD WOOLF
Piston forward Kelly Tripucka scores two on a reverse layup in Detroit's 141-
108 exhibition victory over Cleveland in Crisler Arena last night.
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