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Anyway, it all seems to be for the best. Having to face the Montana State Bobcats last Saturday, the players had been concerned they would work out all week at the Salt Lake City zoo. But Price was too bent over for such nonsense. Happily, the Bobcats were cuddly, and Weber won for the first time in a month, 24-3.
Earlier this year during freshman football practice at Nebraska, the offense put a man in motion. Coaches screamed—which is what coaches do best—for the defense to change its formation. The only player to make the right adjustment was defensive end Kenny Walker. Did we mention that Walker is deaf?
The 6'4", 215-pound Walker looks like a star in the making. Since arriving in Lincoln from Crane, Texas, Walker has asked only two concessions from the coaches: that they look at him when they talk so he can read their lips, and that they leave the lights on in film sessions for the same reason. Other than that, watch him play and marvel. In three freshman games he has graded at 85% to 90%. Says freshman coach Scott Downing, "Score 75% and you'll be a winner."
An art major who has been deaf ever since a high fever took his hearing when he was two, Walker learns the entire defense so he will know where every player is supposed to be. He also reads the lips of the strongside linebacker to get the basic defensive alignment. Then he turns to the safety to pick up his signal for secondary coverage. "He's not an oddity," says Downing. "He is a tremendous player who is very aware of his surroundings."
The Cornhusker staff is to be commended, too. Realizing Walker's talents, three Nebraska coaches have learned sign language. Says Downing, "He's a load physically. And when you look at him, boy, his lights are on."
TAKING THE HIGH ROAD
Wallace Wade, who died last week at 94, was the last survivor of a glorious era of larger-than-life coaches—Stagg, Rockne, Yost. Wade coached 16 years at Duke in two stints between 1931 and 1950 and before that at Alabama from 1923 to 1930. He put together a 171-49-10 record and took his teams to five Rose Bowls.
Wade, however, should be remembered most for his attitude toward the game. "I felt it was beneath the dignity of a Duke University head coach going out and patronizing some high school youngster," he once said. "I knew where the good football players were, and if they wanted to get a good education and come to Duke, I'd have them sent to my office. I'd look them in the eye and say, 'Let's get one thing straight right now. Duke can do a lot more for you than you can ever do for Duke.' "
BAD TIMES IN BATON ROUGE