Garrett, still in his uniform, came in to congratulate the UCLA team on its comeback—"It takes a great effort to do what you did," he said, and left with tears in his eyes—and Prothro told him he thought he was the finest college back he had ever seen. Later, Prothro lay flat on a table, with a Coca-Cola teetering on his chest, and softly drawled the answers to questions and accepted congratulations and love pats from the UCLA hierarchy. He has to stretch out that way, he explained, because he gets muscle spasms after a game. He said he felt very fortunate to win.
Beban or no, Prothro and his staff have done an excellent job with this team, and they did it without the sweeping personnel changes and massive redeployment of the kind Ara Parseghian had to make to bring Notre Dame back to power his first year at South Bend. The UCLA staff simply made the most of what it had, and paid attention to the tenets of the Prothro system. This coach "fights like the dickens" not to be cataloged as a third-down-punt and fourth-down-gamble man and he believes you latch onto fundamentals and authority "This is not going to be a democracy," he told the UCLA team the first day of practice. "When we swing into action, there won't be time for debate." He said half his Oregon State team quit that first year at Corvallis because they weren't willing to accept the program. At UCLA, where the attitude was make us as you please, just make us good, he lost only one boy.
UCLA has a final game with Tennessee on December 4, but that is now preliminary to the Rose Bowl and the second meeting with Michigan State. Michigan State is the best team in the country, and is better now than it was when it beat UCLA 13-3 in September. You have to think that against a team as physical as Michigan State, poor little old UCLA is capable of running up a huge deficit. You have to think 20 points, maybe 30. Poor, poor UCLA. And then, if you keep thinking, you eventually have to get to Gary Beban, and then you have to stop thinking, because all that does is confuse you.