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May 20, 1951 - Image 7

Resource type:
Michigan Daily, 1951-05-20

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UNDAY, MAY 20, 1951


Green Wins Morton Award To Head List of Promising




THE SPRING PHASE of Michigan's Western Conference football
title defense is over, and yesterday's scrimmage has started type-
writers humming.with comments and predictions on what to expect
from the Wolverine gridders next fall.
Actually there is little basis for any serious prognostication at
this time of year, especially under the system of head coach Bennie
Oosterbaan who is anything but a taskmaster in the vernal season.
We cornered the genial mentor after his white and blue
teams had battled it out for over two hours on the stadium turf,
and he served up an amazing assortment of generalities on his
observations. He was quite emphatic about his choice for the
Meyer Morton Award, however.
The trophy, which signifies the most improved player in spring
practice sessions, went to Merritt (Tim) Green, a junior end from
Toledo who won his letter with last year's Rose Bowl club.
Oosterbaan commended Green for his all-around performance
both on offense and defense. In addition to his mechanical ability
at blocking and tackling, his general attitude toward the game
has made him a standout among the flankers. He is a six-footer
and weighs 185.
Green follows Don Dufek and Roger Zatkoff on the Morton list.
* * * * -

the new men a chance to show what potential they have for future
reference. '
An analysis of the roster reveals that eight of the 22 return-
ing lettermen were in action this month. That shows why it's so
difficult to speculate from spring performances as to how the
Wolverines will fare as a team.
The fine details of the game were ignored to a great extent during
the past six weeks. Little attention was given to punting or kickoffs
or pass defense. Those elements receive their polishing in the fall
when practice becomes much more intense and concentrated.
* * * *
EvEN OOSTERBAAN had to admit that there have been some sig-
nificant indications coming out of early practice. The difficult
problem of replacing such backfield standouts as Dufek, Chuck Ort-
mann and Leo Koceski has been the most formidable.
At the tailback slot Captain Bill Putich looks particularly
good. He and rookie Don Zanfagna have been sharing that posi-
tion and quarterback all spring. Ted Kress, another sophomore,
also has done well at left half. All three are capable passers and
should provide some much needed depth in the key single-wing
Russ Rescorla and Dick Balzhizer split fullback duty for the
Blue Team yesterday. and neither is another Dufek although they
certainly show encouraging promise.
Rescorla kicked all five of his team's extra points and he figures
to handle the place-kicking next fall. He was an understudy to
Harry Allis in the last campaign.

IT WILL BE recalled that the right halfback spot was Michigan's
biggest headache because of a, series of injuries last year. The
many substitutions which resulted gives Oosterbaan a quartet of re-
turning wing backs with competitive experience. In yesterday's game
Don Oldham and Wes Bradford were the main attraction at right
half. Tom Witherspoon and Frank Howell are also set for action.
Practically the entire defense must be rebuilt since there are
only two veterans of the Rose Bowl returning, Tom Johnson and
Zatkoff. Coaches singled out several linemen as top fiighters in
the scrimmage yesterday, among them Emil Morlock, Wayne Mel-
chiori, Jim Balog, Dick Strozewski and Dick Belson.
Ends Bob Topp and Thad Stanford played well on offense and
should figure into varsity plans. Topp made a real circus catch of a
Zanfagna pass to set up the final Blue touchdown. Stanford put
forth obvious effort at his position to make up for any lack of exper-
ience. He snagged an aerial in the end zone which had bounded off
the hands of intended receiver Witherspoon to register six Blue points.
All in all the showing was quite successful and indicates that as
usual the Wolverines will be very much in the midst of things when
firing begins in the Big Ten. The champion still must be dethroned
and no one has been able to do it for four years now.
Present at the contest yesterday were such former Michigan
notables as Len Ford, now of the Cleveland Browns, Gene Derricotte
and Al Wistert.
Harry Stuldreher and his wife were also on hand to watch their
son, Harry (Skip) Jr. take his turn at quarter for the Blues. He
backs up the Putich-Zanfagna combination.


-Daily-Roger Reinke
* * * *
Both players went on to become bright stars after winning the spring
trophy as sophomores.
* * * *
AS LOCAL AND DETROIT newsmen gathered around Oosterbaan
outside the stadium, he expressed surprise that there was so much
interest in his early results. He explained to me the other day that
Michigan's off-season practice has traditionally been a rather informal
promotion by the coaches. There is no pressure put on outstanding
varsity players to report for spring workbuts.
He gave two reasons for not calling up the proven stalwarts, one
that it permits them to concentrate on school work at a critical
period before examinations. That fits in with the professed philosophy
of Michigan sports directors who place scholastic achievement in pri-
ority over athletic activity.
The second reason is purely psychological. He claims that
idle veterans get itchy to return to action when they see the
others slugging it out under the warm sun. Theoretically this
works them up to a high pitch for late summer and fall drills.
The system also allows coaches to stress fundamentals where they
do the most good-among the rookies and median players. It gives
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