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September 22, 1953 - Image 13

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
Michigan Daily, 1953-09-22

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'TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 22, 1953

THE MICHIGXN DAILY

A
PAGE THIRTEEN

4 ~

New Rule Change t
ood forFootball
'M' Adjusts to One-Platoon Game; }! ::
Problems Arise at Other Schools

Wolverines Will Present
Improved Aerial Defense

- ....._

By IVAN N. KAYE
Daily Sports Editor
Last winter the N.C.A.A. rules
committee threw out the two-pla-
toon statute and returned football
to its pre-war level.
The new rule states that once a
player is withdrawn from the first
and third periods, he may not re-
enter the game during those quar-
ters. In the second and fourth pe-
riods the same holds true except
that during the last four minutes
of each, a player may go back in
the game if previously withdrawn.
* . *
THE GAME is thus returned to
the all-round player, and taken
from the hands of the specialist.
The accent in 1953 is on versatil-
ity and overall ability.
Oddly enough, it was Michi-
gan's Athletic Director .Fritz
Crisler, who as chairman of the
N.C.A.A. rules committee pre-
sided over the liquidation of the,
idea which he, himself popular-
Ized in 1945.
It was in October of that year
that Crisler, faced with the un-
happy prospect of meeting a na-
tional champion Army team, de-
vised the platoon system as a
means of conserving the sparce
manpower of a Michigan squad
which was composed mainly of
seventeen year olds.
* * *
THE TWO-PLATOON system
made history in Yankee Stadium
as the Wolverines, rated five touch-
down underdogs, played mighty
Army to a complete standstill un-
til halfway through the fourth
quarter. At this point, Army's tre-
mendous reserve strength finally
wore Michigan down, and Glenn
Davis ran for two touchdowns and
a 28-7 victory.
Army was held to its lowest
score all season. The New York
writers were amazed at the ef-
fectiveness of Crisler's two pla-
toons. From that point on, Mich-
igan became the pace-setter in
the new style of football.
Much of the success of the great
1947 national champion Michigan
team was traced to the, two-pla-
toon system which encouraged the
specialist. Crisler called his 1947
squad "A crowd," and the foot-
ball review said of Michigan's
team, "A collection of chrome-
plated, hand - tooled specialists
which. probably constituted the
greatest football team of modern
times."
. 9
A LOOK at the approaching sea-
son shows that Michigan, the
school which prospered so much
under the two-platoon system, will
not be hurt in the least by the
return to the old style of play.
Even in the days of the spec-
ialist;, Michigan players were
trained to play on both offense
and defense. This was done in
case of injuries to key players.
For example, last season full-
back Dick Balzhiser was used
almost exclusively on offense,
but he spent many practice
hours learning how to play de-
fensive halfback in case the oc-
casion would ever arise when he

would be needed in that ca-
pacity. It was this idea of train-
ing everyone in both phases of
the game that is now playing
off for the varsity.
At many schools where separate
teams were used for offense and
defense and where the practice
sessions were devoted to only one
phase of the game, there exist
some real problems. A great ball-
carrier may find himself on the
bench, playing second string to a
man who, though not quite as
adept at offensive football, is a
much better defensive performer.
AT EAST LANSING, Jim Ellis,
the Spartans' great safetyman,
who was heretofore only in the
game on defense, has been intall-
ed at halfback, where he must now
play both ways. Fortunately. for
Biggie Munn, and unfortunately
for Michigan State's opponents,
Ellis seems to be better on offense
than he was on defense, if such a
thing is possible.
Some coaches may not be as
lucky as Munn, and may have to
start a mediocre player who does
everything adequately in pref-
erence to a star passer who can-
not, for example, play defense.

INJURIES HIT MICHIGAN as centers Jim Bates (left) and
Dean Ludwig (right) have both been sidelined. Ludwig is out
for the entire season, while Bates will miss the first three games.
The injuries have hurt the Wolverines at linebacker where they
lack experience.

Injuries' Hit Bates, Ludwig;
Create Linebacker Shortage,

By PAUL GREENBERG
Associate Sports Editor
Ask any of the frantic grid
coaches across the nation and
they'll tell you that it's twice as
hard to get a team ready for that
opening game with the disappear-
ance of the familiar two-platoon
system.
Down at Ferry Field; where the
1953 model of the Michigan grid
machine is being assembled -
there's been a hubub of activity
ever since' the practice sessions
opened back on September second.
Coach Ben Oosterbaan and his
staff has been working with the
squad, drilling it on the compli-
cated Michigan single wing while
not forgetting the defensive angle.
ACTUALLY, except for the line-
backing spots where Rog Zatkoff
and Laurie LeClaire roamed last
year, the team racks up as strong-
er defensively. The pass defense, a
traditional Wolverine Achilles heel,
looks better with Dick Balshizer
and Tony Branoff at the halfs and
Ted Kress at safety.
The one weakness in the
Maize and Blue antiaircraft unit
is its lack of, height, not one of
the three defenders measuring
six feet.The Wolverine "dwarfs"
will be tested roughly right at
the start when the Washington
Huskies invade with their start-
ing end duo towering 6-5 and 6-8.
Through the line, Michigan is
powerfully situated. The first three
ends, Bob Topp, Gene Knutson
and Tad Stanford rate 'as excel-
lent two-way prospects. Topp,

rangy senior from Kalamazoo has
finally lived up to all of the great
notices he received as a high
sch'ool star and seems ready to re-
place the hard to forget Lowell
Perry.
* * *
HUSTLING and hard - knit
guards Dick Beison, Don Dugger
and Ron Williams will share the
majority of the work in the mid-
dle of the line with center and
captain Dick O'Shaughnessy.
O'Shaughnessy will also man qne
of the linebacking posts with quar-
terback Lou Baldacci.
Jim Balog, Art Walker, Don-
Bennett, Herb Geyer and Dick'
Strozewski will all draw plenty
of action in the tackle slots and
their size and talent gives line
coach Jack Blott plenty of depth
there.
The. backfield has also looked
strong and deep, although the
first quartet with quarterback
Baldacci, halves Branoff and Kress
and Balshizer at fullback will see
most of the action.
Branoff and Baldacci will do
both the punting and place-kick-
ing, either of them figuring as a
solid replacement for both Bill
Billings and Russ Rescorla, now
graduated.

A HEARTY I

WELCOME IS

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Michigan's pre-season football
practice has been marred by sev-
eral disheartening injuries to key
players.

i

Center and linebacker Dean
Ludwig has been sidelined for the
season with a head injury. He had
been one of the brightest stars all
through the spring drills and the
early fall sessions. His loss is es-
pecially serious in view of the line-
backing problem which finds
Coach Bennie Oosterbaan without
any experienced men at these vital
positions. *

I

is good if Baldacci and O'Shaugh-
nessy do not fill the assignment.
A number of Michigan play-
ers have been mentioned in the
various pre-season forecasts as
being outstanding prospects for
stardom in 1953.
Stanley Woodward, a top-notch
judge of football talent, has desig-
nated O'Shaughnessy as -an All-
America choice at center. Guards
Don Dugger and Dick Beison and
tackles Jim Balog and Art Walker
also came in for some praise in
various publications.

-

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