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John Underwood
November 15, 1965
He is Ron Landeck, he belongs to Princeton and he leads an incendiary attack that has made the Ivy Leaguers the best team in the East
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November 15, 1965

This Tiger Is Not In The Tank

He is Ron Landeck, he belongs to Princeton and he leads an incendiary attack that has made the Ivy Leaguers the best team in the East

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Gogolak approaches the ball from an angle, whiplashing his leg and kicking off the instep. Advantages over the conventional straight-on snap-kick are these: he generates more speed and therefore more power (most good American kickers are twice Gogolak's size), and kicking off the instep gives him a much smaller margin of error than off the toe.

Princeton fans cheer for Gogolak like crazy, and some confess to feeling cheated when a Tiger attack does not bog down and a touchdown wipes out a field-goal try. Gogolak came to Princeton by way of a letter of recommendation—his own. He wrote to three Ivy schools, telling how he was Pete Gogolak's brother (Pete kicked for Cornell and is now with the Buffalo Bills) and though he had not had much chance in high school in Wilton, N.Y., and "cannot kick as far as Pete, I am very accurate inside the 30." He weighed 128 pounds and tried to play end on the Princeton team his freshman year, but after risking his life for a few days he took Coach Colman aside and suggested, politely, that he would rather set records kicking field goals than breaking bones. He has been a specialist ever since.

Gogolak is irrepressible. He calls his holder, Quarterback Bob Bedell, "the man with the golden finger," and he says, "Thank you, Mr. Colman, for the opportunity," each time he is sent in to kick. He also kicks off, but he does not try to make tackles. He has, however, been known to pile on a few times.

When he is skylarking around the Princeton practice field—he never, never leaves early—he practices his passing, hoping for the day he is called on to pass off a fake field goal. "I got a new grip," he chirped last week, and threw a flutterball end over end upfield. He says he also has dreams of picking up a fumbled snap and running 40 yards for a touchdown. "What if you get creamed as soon as you pick it up?" he was asked. "That's not in the dream," he replied.

Cornell tried to stop him with a five-man pyramid defense—two men standing on the shoulders of the other three—but even that did not work. Gogolak gets the ball away with terrific speed and uncanny finesse, and he is proud of his ability. A few weeks ago he was invited up to a New York Giant game and came back shaking his head. "Gee, Mr. Colman, the Giants missed three field goals," he said, "and one from the 17-yard line."

There is a noticeable atmosphere of selflessness and sacrifice on the Princeton team, what Backfield Coach Jake McCandless calls "an unmatched morale brought about by the fact that these guys are out here because they want to be, not because they have to be." Blocking Back Bedell came to Princeton as a T quarterback but, just for the chance to play, asked to be moved to blocking back, never again to handle the ball except as a pass receiver. "I never in my life blocked anybody before I came to Princeton," he says. He is now a fine blocker. End Cashdollar, inspired by Bill Bradley-at-Princeton stories, was a bust as a receiver until he started running patterns at home and got his sister to throw him passes by the hour.

Colman, who inherited the job and the single wing when Charley Caldwell died in midseason of 1957, says Princeton started getting good a few years ago when he stopped worrying about outsmarting teams and started trying to outhit them. His starting line now averages 15 pounds a man more than it did five years ago, and it is true that the single wing is a power offense with plenty of double-team blocking and traps and sweeps that appear to send 10 men, six coaches and the entire freshman class ahead of the ball carrier.

But Colman is now the only major college coach still using the single wing (he likes to point out that Clarence Stasavich of East Carolina State was voted small-college coach of the year last year using the single wing), and he really juices it up. Timing is vital in the single wing, and the Tigers execute beautifully. For diversion they shift and split and run from a tailback-fullback version of the I, all in good clean fun and all designed to make it impossible for an opponent to adequately prepare for Princeton and the single wing during that one week before the game. It is impossible. Colman says he would like it just fine if nobody ever went back to the single wing. "And besides, it gives one a chance to be an expert at clinics."

Colman says he is a conservative guy and doesn't really go for all this passing Landeck has been doing, "because when you put that ball up in the air it's a gamble. But I just can't control my quarterbacks. I'm not as young and tough as I used to be."

Landeck threw beautifully at Harvard. He completed 15 of 23 for 177 yards and, with the advantage a tailback has of picking up his receivers from the moment the play begins, he quickly discovered a flaw in the Harvard defense. Harvard can be terribly grudging in the line, and Princeton figured to throw. But Harvard guessed the throwing would go mostly to the short man in the flood zone as Landeck rolled out. So Harvard linebackers played too tight and never really protected against the middle man, Cashdollar, and Cashdollar hooked and slanted and squared in and squared out, and every time he did he was an easy hopper for Landeck's passes.

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