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October 21, 1987 - Image 45

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1987-10-21

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A New Quarterback
Steps Into the
Miami Sunlight
All he has to do is 'make something happen'

erhaps never in the history of college
football has one team been blessed
U with a succession of quarterbacks like
Jim Kelly, Bernie Kosar and Vinny Testa-
verde. Excitement at Miami has been
building for a decade. And after Kosar led
the Hurricanes to a national championship
three years ago, Miami became one of the
most-watched teams in football. Last year
the Hurricanes were ranked at the top of
the polls almost all season and favored in
their titantic championship matchup
against Penn State. They lost. Testaverde
left school. Miami's players and fans fell
} back to earth.
Steve Walsh was waiting for them.
Walsh is a bright young man-National
Honor Society and a high-school Academic
All-American from St. Paul, Minn.-and
he knows what people expect from him: "to
go out and win games." But he insists that
filling Testaverde's slot is not agonizing.
"Replacing Vinny is not really putting
more pressure on myself than I would nor-
mally," Walsh says. "I don't really think
about it too much." Besides, he says, "I
don't think they are going to heap all the
criticism on me if we lose or all the praise on
me if we win."
UM coach Jimmy Johnson agrees that
comparison is irrelevant. "I think it's real-
ly not fair to compare anyone to Vinny
Testaverde," says Johnson about his Heis-
man Trophy-winning former quarterback.
Walsh does not possess the natural

tools of Testaverde-the size
and strength, and the throwing
arm. But fans say Testaverde's
absence makes another im-
portant-and positive-differ-
ence. "It isn't Testaverde's
show now," says junior busi-
ness major Neal Bumgarner,
"it's the Miami Hurricanes'
show." Teresa Mallea, a UM
freshman who watched 'Canes
games as a Miami high-school
senior last fall, expresses a sim-
ilar view. "Because of all the
attention paid to Testaverde,"
Mallea says, "it seemed like he
wasn't a student anymore."
Walsh, a sophomore in eligibil-
ity (he is a third-year student),
is still no celebrity and less like-
ly to be than Testaverde. He
calls his own leadership style
"not outspoken, but more qui-
et" than Testaverde's.

Passing muster: Steve Walsh at practice

Lost stars: Walsh actually
faces a tougher job than Testaverde had
last year when the 'Canes fielded a team of
battle-tested veterans (some would suggest
war veterans after a series of well-publi-
cized brushes with the law). The two sea-
sons under Testaverde were in a sense dis-
appointing: in successive years Miami lost
bowl games that, had they won them,
would have meant a national champion-
ship. A host of stars is gone from the 1986

squad, including three who were National
Football League first-round draft choices,
Testaverde, tackle Jerome Brown and full-
back Alonzo Highsmith. Testaverde was, of
course, the first selection in the draft. Now
at Tampa Bay, he joins in the NFL his two
star Miami predecessors, Kelly of Buffalo
and Kosar of Cleveland.
Because Miami was stripped of so much
talent, less was expected of this year's
team, not just by fellow students but
by the rabid boosters of the city who are
harder to please. Walsh had to make his
debut as a starter in a nationally televised
game against bitter rival Florida. The un-
tested Miami quarterback outpassed his
heralded Florida rival, Kerwin Bell, and
led the 'Canes to a stunningly one-sided
31-4 victory before a sold-out Orange Bowl
crowd of 77,224. Afterward, coach Johnson
underlined the obvious in noting that
Walsh had gained the confidence of the
team. Now, all he has to do is put in
three years pleasing the fans. What does
Bumgarner expect of Walsh? "When it's
third down and eight, he's got to make
something happen."
PATRICK MCCREERY in Miami

ROBERT L. SMITH CLEVELAND BROWNS DAN HELMS--DUOMO
On to the NFL: Buffalo's Kelly, Cleveland's Kosar, Tampa Bays Testaverde

OCTOBER 1987

NEWSWEEK ON CAMPUS 13

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