In his nine years at Ohio State, Bruce called all the plays, but Cooper called none in his debut. Instead, he let offensive coordinator Jim Colletto run the attack from the press box. "T tried to stay out of it and not foul it up," said Cooper. Greg Frey, the Buckeyes' sophomore quarterback, completed 12 of 17 passes for 141 yards and one touch-down, and he did not throw an interception.
Last year, Washington's offensive line averaged 281 pounds from tackle to tackle. But the Huskies also finished a disappointing 7-4-1, largely because the Washington blockers were only pulling their weight on the junk-food line. "These guys had a lot of beer and pizza at midnight," says offensive guard Brett Wiese, who weighs 284 but has just 10.8% body fat. "A lot of guys couldn't hang on in the fourth quarter."
Enter the Coach Don James Diet Plan. Since February, offensive linemen have been required to file daily meal plans and weigh in regularly. Those who forget have to ride a stationary bike for 30 minutes at 5:30 a.m. The regimen has worked. The offensive line now averages 274 pounds, and that mass has more muscle. "We're looking good," says center Bern Brostek, who dropped from 290 to 265 and reduced his body fat from 18.6% to 14.4%. "We're going to meet some girls."
And maybe win more games. In Saturday's 20-6 defeat of Purdue, Washington scored a touchdown and a field goal in the fourth quarter with drives of 54 and 35 yards. Fullback Aaron Jenkins, who rushed for 162 yards on 24 carries, gave the credit to the offensive line. "They started talking and getting everybody ready to go," he said. At the very least, they weren't out of breath.
After only 250 people attended Kansas's spring practice game, the Jayhawk athletic department was understandably worried that Memorial Stadium might become the Midwest's largest echo chamber this season. So for Kansas's home opener against Baylor last Saturday, some 15,000 tickets that normally go for $13 apiece were bought at a discount by a food distributor and given away free with the purchase of grocery items from local stores. The handout helped build a crowd of 43,200—the Jayhawks averaged only 24,533 for last season's six home dates—but Kansas blew a late 14-6 lead and lost 27-14.... Two views of the night: "I hate night games," said Iowa State coach Jim Walden before his Cyclones beat Tulane 30-13 in a game that began at 6:10 p.m., "because I hate being nervous. Playing at night gives me five more hours of going to the bathroom and puking." However, Notre Dame coach Lou Holtz was pleased to be playing his opener against Michigan at 9 p.m. "It gives us more time to mature," he said. His older and wiser Irish beat the Wolverines 19-17 in the season's first big thriller.
[This article contains a table. Please see hardcopy of magazine or PDF.]