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December 03, 1952 - Image 9

Resource type:
Michigan Daily, 1952-12-03

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Underpublicized Linemen Make Backs
Look Good, Go Unnoticed Themselves

Costly Injuries Reduced
By Good Grid Reserves

Southern Cal Favored To Beat Badgers

Assocate Sports Editor
A triple-threat halfback is only
as good as the men up front.
Unfortunately tns Iact is easi-
ly overlooked and invariably the
halfback gets headlines at the ex-
pense of the blockers who cleared
the way.
S* *s
IT IS ALSO TRUE that the de-
fensive team seldom gets the at-
tention paid to the attacking pla-
toon which makes the touch-
downs. Michigan had its over-
looked heroes just as did most oth-
er college elevens this fall.
Treated in summary fashion
in game covers and passed by
in feature articles, the hard-
working, seldom-praised grid-
der deserves some mention be-
fore we wrap up the season.
First place on any list of this
sort belongs to Michigan's stel-
lar pivotman Dick O'Shaughnessy.
The rugged, accurate-passing
Irishman played almost every
minute the Wolverines had the
ball without a single poor pass.
The timing and precision so im-
portant in the single wing at-
tack require consistently perfect
passes from center. The Seaford,
N.Y. junior supplied just that all
season long.
* s *
IN ADDITION to putting the
pigskin into play, O'Shaugnessy.


did a yeoman job of opening, up
holes in the enemy forward wall.
Art Walker, a sophomore de-
fensive tackle from South Ha-
ven is another member of the
Maize and Blue grid corps who

for Michigan, and Balog helped
Walker lower the boom on visit-
ing runners.
Guards Don Dugger, Bob
Timm, Ron Williams, and Dick
Beison followed the Michigan
tradition calling for light but
fast guards.
Rugged and hard-charging de-
spite lack of weight, Beison and
Timm bore the brunt of Wolver-
ine over-the-middle power thrusts.
Dugger and Williams, along with
Bob Matheson, put fight and guts
into the defensive platoon.
* * *
DEFENSIVE ends Captain Tim
Green and iron-gripped Gene
Knutson provided Coach Ben
Oosterbaan with one of the fin-
est such duos in the nation.
Enemy runners had a hard
time turning the Michigan ends,
and were usually forced inside
toward the linebackers. Their
slashing tackles stopped more
than one enemy speedster.
Linebackers Rog Zatkoff and
Laurie Le Claire, both seniors, will
be sorely missed come next fall.
Zatkoff has been such a consist-j
ently fine performer over the past
three years that fans tend to take'
him for granted. LeClaire joined
Zatkoff at linebacker two seasons
ago. His heads-up play contrib-
uted greatly to Michigan's top de-
fensive record.

There's always a curious satis-
faction that one can get after a
football season by sitting back and
figuring "what would have hap-
pened if . .
Perhaps one of the most popular
speculative departments has to do
with injuries. But figuring just
how important a hurt suffered by
one of the members of the squad
is quite difficult.
* * *
OF COURSE, during the past
season the Michigan grid squad
received more than its share of
physical blows, but the job turned
in by reserves who were fired up
after finally getting their collec-
tive chances may have outweighed
the loss of top operatives.
Rough blows to consider came
rather regularly during the sea-
son. First Ralph Stribe was tak-
en out of action in the Stan-
ford game with a hip injury
and stayed sidelined for the rest
of the year.
Bob Hurley, who got a chance
to show his wares at Palo Alto
and proved a potent runner, had
some Northwestern Wildcats
pounce on his vertebrae and he
ended the season as a spectator.;
Jim Balog, the constantly improv-
ing junior tackle hurt his ankle in
the Purdue game and couldn't
play against Ohio State.

ENDS JOHN Veselenak and Jim
Bates twisted knees and became
hospital cases in mid-season, and
as a clinical coup de grace, Don
Oldham broke his leg in the first
half of the Ohio State game. Just
when Oldham had come into his
own as a pass defender in the
waning minutes of his collegiate
career, he was hurt and the Buck-
eye pass combo of Johnny Borton
and Bob Joslin took their cue with
great dispatch.
Despite all of their hurts, it
might be said that the Wolver-
ines came off quite well, with
new faces replacing the old and
achieving excellent results.
Tackle Herb Geyer, halfback
Tony Branoff, fullback Dick Bal-
shizer, safety man Dan Cline and
defensive halfback Stan Knicker-
bocker were a few of the.perform-
ers who stepped in and turned up
with top-flight performances.
They did such a good job in
fact, that it is dubious if any of
the operatives they replaced
would have done better.
As far as injuries go, Michigan
fans don't have much to speculate
about, so it looks like the "what
would have happened if" club
might just as well ponder on
something else.
How about "what would-have
happened if we had used a foot-
ball with handles on it?"
What then huh?

Southern California is probably,
the strongest team to represent
the Pacific Coast conference in the
seven years of the current Rose
Bowl agreement with the Big Ten.
The Trojans will rank as solid
favorites to defeat Wisconsin. The
Badgers fell before U.C.L.A. by two
touchdowns, while Southern Cal
edged the Bruins 14-12.
* * *
THE FAVORED position accord-
ed the men of Troy is a direct re-
sult of the comparative showings
the two squads made against the
common opponent U.C.L.A.
Several years back, someone
tried the same system while pre-
dicting a California victory over
Michigan. The Bears of Pappy
Waldorf had crushed Minnesota,
a team which held the Big Ten
champion Michigan squad to a
7-7 tie.
Cal was unbeaten, Michigan had
lost three, it was in tlo bag
thought the fans on the coast. But
there was something that escaped
the good followers of Western foot-
ball: namely that although a Big
Ten champ may not go West with
as good a record as the coast en-
try, the fact that a team has man-
aged to weather the storm of six
Big Ten opponents stamps it as
worthy competition.
* * S
JUST IN CASE any memories
need refreshing, Michigan spoiled
California's clean slate with a 14-6

defeat. Many asked "How come
Minnesota had been able to tie
Michigan after being slaughtered
by California?" The Gophers knew
the answer.
To them, the Cal game was
just another Saturday afternoon
scrimmage, but the battle with
their ancient enemies the Wol-

verines with the Little Brown
jug* at stake was the big game.
So far the script has been the
same for six straight Rose Bowl
games. The experts have it figured
that 1953 will be the first devia-
tion, but the very same experts
said the very same thing when the
Wolverines went West.


-FOR -
B-15 Air Force

.. . forgotten man
turned in regularly outstanding
performances this fall. Playing
in all nine games,' the powerful
defender was hard to trap.
* * *
BIG DICK Strozewski, junior
Jim Balog and Ben Pederson
rounded out the Wolverine start-
ing tackle corps. Pederson and
Strozewski opened up the holes



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