"Doc, I notice you're still smoking."
"Aw, Glenn, I've lived so long that everything from now on is just a bonus."
Blanchard and Davis. They are as different as two men can be, and yet it is almost impossible for those who remember them to say one name without the other. They are the Damon and Pythias, the Chang and Eng, the MacNeil and Lehrer of football. Indeed, though they rarely see each other anymore and live many miles apart, though they have followed entirely separate paths since they left West Point more than 41 years ago and were never really that close—they were in different battalions at the Academy—Doc Blanchard and Glenn Davis are destined to march in lockstep through time, inseparably bound by mutually extraordinary deeds. They will forever be what George Trevor of the old New York Sun called them long ago in a moment of matchless inspiration, Mr. Inside and Mr. Outside.
They were running backs who perfectly complemented each other, the one, Blanchard, a battering ram up the middle; the other, Davis, a wraith around end. Together they formed the most devastating backfield combination since the Four Horsemen of Notre Dame 20 years earlier. Individually, they rank among the finest backs ever to play college football. Their coach, Colonel Earl (Red) Blaik, now 91 and living in Colorado Springs, says, "There is no comparing them with anyone else. They were the best."
Ed McKeever, the Notre Dame coach in 1944, said on first watching Blanchard, "I've just seen Superman in the flesh. He wears number 35 and goes by the name of Blanchard." Davis was similarly extolled. "He's better than Grange," said Steve Owen, coach of the NFL New York Giants during the Blanchard-Davis years. "He's faster and he cuts better."
Bill Yeoman, the former University of Houston coach and a Blanchard-Davis teammate, told the
Los Angeles Times
only five years ago, "There are words to describe how good an athlete Doc Blanchard was. But there aren't words to describe how good Glenn Davis was."
Blanchard and Davis were consensus All-Americas in 1944, '45 and '46, the only three-time All-America backfield teammates. They won the Heisman Trophy in successive years, Blanchard in '45, Davis in '46—again the only members of the same backfield to achieve that distinction. In 1945 alone, they scored 37 touchdowns—19 by Blanchard, 18 by Davis—and since Army beat opponents by an average score that year of 45.8-5.1, they played barely half the time; Davis averaged only nine carries a game and Blanchard slightly more than 11.
Their skills were hardly defined by their sobriquets. Mr. Inside had the speed to run outside, and he frequently did. As Yeoman has observed, " Davis was so fast he made the rest of us look slow, so people forget how fast Doc was." Indeed, Blanchard ran 100 yards in under 10 seconds. He was also a superb pass receiver who, though Army seldom threw, caught seven touchdown passes (five from Davis) in his three-year career. Blanchard also punted, kicked off and occasionally kicked extra points. On defense (Mr. Inside and Mr. Outside were two-way players), he was a punishing tackier as a linebacker. He still holds the Academy three-year record for yards returned on intercepted passes (189), and he ran back two interceptions for touchdowns.
Blanchard also returned two punts for touchdowns. The year he won his Heisman, he averaged 7.1 yards on a mere 101 carries. He also won the Maxwell Trophy, and he became the first football player to win the Sullivan Award as the nation's finest amateur athlete. Blanchard is the only man ever to win the Heisman and the Sullivan. He dabbled in track and field his senior year and, with no previous experience in the event, was putting the shot close to 54 feet at a time when the world record was not yet 60 feet.
Blanchard was a superior athlete. Davis was an amazing one. In his four years at West Point, Davis won 10 letters: four in football, three in baseball, two in track and one in basketball. In his time, cadets were required to take a physical-fitness test that included such events as the rope climb, the 300-yard run the bar vault, the vertical jump, the standing long jump and the softball throw, as well as chin-ups and push-ups. A perfect score was 1,000 points. Before Davis the record score was 901� points and the average for all cadets, not quite 550. Davis scored an unheard-of 962�.