WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 9, 1949
THE MICHIGAN DAILY
By BOB SANDELL
Sports Night Editor
MINNESOTA'S DECISIVE and surprising rout of Iowa's Hawkeyes
last Saturday may quiet a lot of the squawking that has been
heard from Gopherland the past few weeks, but whether it is enough
to save Coach Bernie Bierman's scalp is another question.
Following the successive losses to Michigan and Purdue, Min-
neapolis newspapers were deluged with letters from irate fans
who blamed everybody from the. sports writers to the Gopher's
water boy for the two disasters. Naturally Bierman came in for
his share of criticism. In fact, there seems to be quite an active
"anti-Bierman" organization that has been getting stronger and
more outspoken than ever this year.
Long before the first pigskin was ever tossed out onto the practice
field last August, Minnesota's football fans had figuratively already
bought their Rose Bowl tickets and were planning for the trip to
Pasadena. A long overdue Western Conference title was practically
in the bag. And they had reason for their optimism, too.
No less than 28 lettermen, 23 of them seniors, answered Bier-
man's first call for practice last summer. A sophomore, Dick Greg-
ory, appeared to be the scat-back that Bierman had been looking
fbr for several seasons. When the Gophers, paced by All-American
candidates Leo Nomellini and Clayton Tonnemaker, nearly blew
their first four opponents right off the field, it looked as if the
"Golden" boys were on their way.
It was a typical Bierman team with a huge line that was being
compared with the greatest in college history. It relied on sheer pow-
er to bowl over its opponents, a system which had worked pretty well
for Bierman before the war. He was getting away with it again this
year until' an aroused Michigan outfit showed him that modern foot-
ball is played with a little more than line plunges mixed with an oc-
casional pass and end sweep.
* * * *
TYPE OF OFFENSE, by the way, is the big bone of contention
of Bierman's critics. One fan was enraged by the "deception" of one
particular play in the Michigan game when, with fourth and four on
the Wolverine eight yard line, a straight buck by Kuzma was called for
against a line that had been giving very little ground that afternoon.
But worse, it has been reliably reported that some of the players are
not satisfied with the way the team is being run.
Even in the modern era of unlimited substitution, Bierman
has not made any basic changes in his style of slowly grinding
out yardage and hoping to wear down the opposition with. a bulk-
ing line. It worked in the days of Bruce Smith and George Franck,
but the trend today is that if you can't move the other team, you
go over or around them, or better yet-hide the ball from them
until you've got it in their defensive backfield.
The stigma .of seven straight defeats by Michigan is just about
all loyal Minnesota fans can take. A good share of them are after
Bierman's hide, and the only thing that might save him now is a
trip'to the Rose Bowl for the Gophers. Even so, it appears to be a pret-
tysafe bet that there will be a new man to guide the destinies of the
on,e fabulous Northmen next year, a man with a type of offense to
put the Gophers back on top of the gridiron heap.
M' Grid ders'
For Saturday Tilt
Three weeks ago an Indiana
football team took the field against
an unbeaten Pittsburgh eleven
that was rated a two touchdown
favorite to beat the Hoosiers.
But when the game was over,
the score stood 48 for Indiana and
14 for Pittsburgh in one of the
greatest upsets of the 1949 foot-
ball season. In their two succeed-
ing games, however, the Hoosiers
were given a thorough working
over by Wisconsin and Illinois,
and the Pittsburgh game became
"just one of those things" to most
COACH BENNIE Oosterbaan,
however, hasn't forgotten the fate
which befell the Panthers on that
October afternoon in Bloomington,
Ind. "The Pittsburgh game," said
the Wolverine mentor, "showed
what Indiana can do when they
start clicking. We can't afford to
underestimate them this Satur-
A repetition in the Indiana
game of the impotent offense
displayed by the Wolverines in
the second half of therPurdue
game coupled with a strong
case of overconfidence could
well provide a stumbling block
to Michigan's bid for its third
consecutive Western Conference
title, so Coach Oosterbaan isn't
allowing his charges to forget
that Pittsburgh game either.
There wasn't any sign of "let-
ting up" in practice at Ferry field
yesterday as Oosterbaan ran his
Wolverines through a long scrim-
mage session. Both defense against
BOB VOKAC, Night Editor
the Indiana offensive attack and
a polishing up of the Michigan
single wing offense were stressed
in the rugged drill that lasted well
* * *
THERE HAS been considerable
speculation that wingback Leo Ko-
ceski would return to action
against the Cream and Crimson
Saturday, but Oosterbaan, while
not denying the possibility, stated
that the speedy back's seeing serv-
ice in the Indiana game was still
Defensive guard Lloyd Hene-
veld's knee injury also lists him
on the "doubtful" side for Sat-
Fullback Dick Kempthorn has
completely recovered from a head
injury sustained in the second
quarter of the Purdue game and
the 195 pound defense specialist
saw considerable action both on
offense and defense in the practice
THANKS - Mack Suprunowicz looks appreciatively at the giant
trophy awarded him by sports admirers of Schenectady.
* * *P
Home Town Grop Gives
Recognition to S-uprunowiez
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By TED PAPES
Among the many forms of ac-
claim afforded to young sports
celebrities, there is probably none
which surpasses recognition by
home town folks.
Such was the honor bestowed
upon Michigan's basketball whirl-
wind, Mack Suprunowicz, last Fri-
day night by the townspeople of
Schenectady, New York. At a lav-
ish banquet Mack was designated
the co-winner of the Schenectady's
Most Valuable Athlete title along
with Lt. Jim Scholtz, who set two
world records in the hammer
throw while at West Point.
THEY WERE named by a com-
mittee of local press and radio
men as well as representatives of
the award's sponsor, the Mount
Pleasant Athletic Club. Each year
selections are made on the basis of
who contributes most toward put-
ting the city on the sports map
nationally. "Supy" was nominated
for his stellar play in Western
Phil Rizzuto, fiery shortstop
of the World Champion New
York Yankees was the principal
speaker at the affair which in-
cluded talks by the Yanks' pub-
licity director, Jack Farrel, and
It was a fitting sendoff for Su-
prunowicz who is about to embark
on his fourth and last basketball
campaign for the Wolverines. He
is the captain of this year's squad
and probably will be the nucleus
around which coach Ernie McCoy
will build his offense.
S * * *
LAST SEASON he was Michi-
gan's leading point-maker, and
much depends upon his resuming
that role with the current cagers.
He is a master of the fast break
and a constant threat from any
point on the floor.
He ,,olds Michigan's individual
scoring mark for a single game, 28
points against Purdue last winter.
Suprunowicz was the spark that
touched off a drive to a Wolver-
ine Big Ten Championship under
Ozzie Cowles in the 1947-48 cam-
paign, and was a big reason why
Michigan finished third in the
NCAA playoffs that season.
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