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Mile-high hopes in high old Denver
John Underwood
October 22, 1962
Jack Faulkner, the youngest pro coach, has his American League team in first place—and the town in love with him
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October 22, 1962

Mile-high Hopes In High Old Denver

Jack Faulkner, the youngest pro coach, has his American League team in first place—and the town in love with him

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Martin taught the offensive line some basic truths about blocking. Speedie did the same for End Lionel Taylor, the best pass receiver in the league, and improved the catching technique of Tight End Gene Prebola. The defensive secondary was reinforced by the purchase of Bob Zeman of San Diego. Tripucka discovered he had still another fine receiver in Bob Scarpitto, formerly with San Diego; and by half time of the first game unsuspecting San Diego, the defending Western champion, was down 24-7. Mingo had kicked a 53-yard field goal, Tripucka had thrown two touchdown passes and the record 28,000 Denverites present (the Broncos must average only 22,000 to break even) were so possessed with the surprise of it all they stood and cheered for 60 seconds as the team left the field.

George Shaw, picked up from the Minnesota Vikings of the NFL when Van Brocklin became disenchanted with him, now spells Tripucka at quarterback. The Broncos throw 85% of the time—or six plays out of seven—but Faulkner would like to cut that down. "Cut it down?" said Speedie, the onetime Cleveland Brown end. "Let's throw more." It is likely, however, that with the return of Halfback Donnie Stone the Broncos will do more with a supplementary running game. They will need this ultimately to beat Dallas.

Faulkner, meanwhile, is never far removed from his small miracle. He talks football constantly. Flitting around Denver in his new Pontiac, he gets so preoccupied that his coaches say he becomes a menace. At dinner with friends, Faulkner can be seen drawing surreptitious Xs and Os on napkins and tablecloths. He goes back to the office nights to watch game films until he is bleary-eyed. His pretty wife Betty, who often finds him asleep on the sofa where he has flopped after a long day that went on into the night, once discovered him asleep at 5 a.m., his infant son John nestled in his arms, baby bottle clutched in his hand. "I guess," she said, "it is not always easy to work wonders."

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