STARS IN MY CROWN
The slowly rising wave of criticism directed at the absolute dominance that college football coaches hold over their teams slopped a little higher last week with the word that Air Force Academy Coach Ben Martin is awarding his players stars for outstanding accomplishments on the field—intercepted passes, recovered fumbles, a large number of tackles, and so on. The stars are in the form of decals that are pasted onto the player's helmet. Remember how you felt back in the first grade when you did a perfect page of capital As and got a shiny gold star pasted in your book? Can't you just see a 220-pound middle linebacker writing home and saying, "Dear Mom, guess what? I got a star for gang tackling today!"
THE INSIDE TRACK
?Consensus in Baltimore is that Johnny Unitas has gone back because 1) his protection is not what it used to be, 2) his receivers are not as good as they used to be, 3) opponents have studied his moves and are no longer surprised at such tricks as double or triple pumping.
?Furman, which produced the nation's top scorers in All-Americas Frank Selvy and Darrell Floyd, is not giving any basketball scholarships this year. It's a matter of economics at the hard-pressed Baptist institution.
?At least three Big Ten schools reportedly are casting covetous eyes at the Big Eight's two most successful football coaches so far this season—Dan Devine of Missouri and Bob Devaney of Nebraska (see page 75).
?A new rule in college basketball this season is aimed at the big man. If a player swings his arms excessively—as strong rebounders almost always do—he'll lose the ball out of bounds, even if he doesn't make physical contact.
A 13-year-old Canadian horse named Blue Beau jumped a 7-foot 1-inch barrier at the National Horse Show in New York's Madison Square Garden last week to win an event called the International Puissance. This was honor enough, but as often happens with superior athletes it wasn't so much the victory that made Blue Beau the crowd's favorite as it was the way he did it. Unlike most horses, which go straight up and over the wall like an old-fashioned scissors-style high jumper, Blue Beau seems to have studied the technique of Valeri Brumel, a seven-foot high jumper of a somewhat different species. As he lifted toward the height he had to clear, Blue Beau twisted his hindquarters horizontally in a sort of equine western roll and nipped his heavy legs over the fence way out there, to one side. It looked clumsy, compared to the straight-up style of the other jumpers, who float proudly through the air like four-masted schooners with all sails rigged, and as Rider Tommy Gayford said, "It can scare you if you're on him."
Of course, Stan Musial has an unorthodox batting style and he's a champion, too. Like Blue Beau.