Quite naturally, Michelosen responds that if it is a wonderful job of altering an offense, it is the job he would have done anyway, that he "absolutely" would have made the same sensational use of his material. He claims that basically his offense is the same as last year's—and it is, too, with the exception of wider use of slotbacks (open and tight), man-in-motion plays for both halfbacks, the halfback-to-quarterback pass, more roll-out options, the double wing (as used for the first time against West Virginia), a tackle-eligible play and a few little doodads like that. Sometimes the man in motion arrives behind the fullback just as the play begins, and presto! the I formation. "The big thing, of course, is that this year we're catching the ball," says Michelosen, who does not like to confuse the issue.
Michelosen is a quiet, stolid man, a gentleman coach who is much appreciated by his players. He has had two bowl teams in eight years but has always managed to draw fire. One Pitt squad spent an evening prowling the campus a few years back when it was rumored that Michelosen would be hanged in effigy. Effigies went up as soon as the team went to bed. Regardless of the often repeated charge, Michelosen has not clung to the Sutherland style in all those years. It would have been foolhardy: football has come too far since the 6-2-2-1 and 7-diamond defense of Sutherland's day. Nevertheless, Michelosen's split T—one year it was called the "sentinel T," but that was a ruse—always had the aura of the Sutherland single wing and its ground-hugging single-mindedness.
Michelosen played for Sutherland and coached under him and for years could not quite get the great man's image out of his eyes. Dr. Litchfield removed it for him.
In Pittsburgh's spring game, Michelosen's response to the prompting was to have his team throw 53 passes, 24 of which were completed. But there were no touchdowns, not until the final play—and then on an intercepted pass. "Looks like the only thing John can open up is his icebox," said a former Pitt player who saw the game, but he failed to take into account the springtime absence of Mazurek.
Fred Mazurek is the principal difference in the Pitt team. Michelosen says so, and the players agree. Jim Traficant, last year's quarterback, was a drop-back passer who had trouble getting the ball away, a poor runner and a personality problem. ("I made two mistakes in life," Traficant once said. "Coming to Pittsburgh was the first, staying here was the second.") Mazurek, on the other hand, is an exceptional roll-out passer—not so much because of his arm as his running ability—and is seldom trapped for long losses. He is adored by his teammates. They call him Mr. Moto—he is a squared-off 5 feet 10, with olive skin and a glistening little-boy smile—and they marvel at his good deportment. "He swore once at camp and three players told me about it," says Beano Cook. Michelosen thinks enough of Mazurek to play him at safety and let him receive punts. He is a junior and calls a good game, but do not be deceived. When he gets in a bind he looks to Michelosen for signals, "and when he makes a mistake," says Halfback Martha, "he looks for forgiveness."
What makes Mazurek especially effective is the balance of the Pitt attack. "Pitt's not a lot of razzmatazz," says California Coach Marv Levy. "They just execute better than they did before, and they have more threats. You can look wide-open on a quarterback sneak if your quarterback is Jimmy Brown." Halfback Martha, the team's second leading runner (214 yards in 33 carries), is an ex-quarterback himself who can throw on the run. His clutch 46-yard touchdown run beat West Virginia in the fourth quarter. Power boy Leeson is the first Pitt fullback to gain more than 1,000 yards since Marshall Goldberg of the 1938 Dream Backfield.
Halfback Eric Crabtree, a sophomore, is possibly the best outside threat. He plays on the second unit, but the second unit gets in as much time as the first and is quarterbacked better than adequately by Kenny Lucas, brother of the former Penn State All-America, Richie Lucas. The Pitt ends catch well, the tackles are big and strong (both Ernie Borghetti and John Maczuzak have been drafted as futures by the Kansas City Chiefs), the guards are very fast and the team attitude is one of total dedication. "We think alike," says Fullback Leeson. "Not a selfish bone among us."
Litchfield sits in the chancellor's box with his own special scorecard. It gives each player's number, height, weight, age, quality point average, college board score, school and ambition. He helped foster an extraordinary agreement among Pitt, Penn State and Syracuse—they exchange scholastic progress reports—and it pleases him that Leeson is doing well in predental studies, Mazurek and Martha in premed, Captain Al Grigaliunas and Tackle Maczuzak in engineering. Maczuzak has an ulcer from worrying over his grades.
Grigaliunas, a very tough Lithuanian whose father was killed by the Russians and who as a child escaped from a Red concentration camp with his mother, is a natural fulfillment of the chancellor's idea of what the team captaincy is all about. Grigaliunas had arrived on campus with a ducktail haircut and pleated shoes and wanted first off to be pointed to the pool hall. "But I quit playing pool," he says, smiling. Excellent in class, Grigaliunas has a 3.6 average and is 4.0 in the respect of his teammates. "He is the kind of guy who can whip your fanny if you get out of line," says a buddy, "and if he can't, at least he'll try." Grigaliunas was elected unanimously. He hasn't had to whip a fanny yet.
The University of Pittsburgh sits nearly "in the lap of the district of Oakland, its Cathedral of Learning—French Gothic inspired, but not very much—rising 42 stories to dominate the landscape. Frank Lloyd Wright called the Cathedral of Learning the greatest keep-off-the-grass sign he'd ever seen. Chancellor Litchfield, in his seven years at the university, has pushed $156 million in building programs, adding a little Italian Renaissance here, some contemporary there, trying to tie it all together with gray limestone. Rising like scouring powder cans at the west side of the campus are the stark new cylindrical dormitories known as Ajax, Bab-O and Comet. Oakland, meanwhile, shudders at Litchfield's every move. "Today Oakland," they say, "tomorrow the world."