GHOSTS OF SEASONS PAST
I have just read Dan Jenkins' tongue-in-cheek account of O. J. Simpson's fantastic career to date (The Pros Face a Dazzling Dilemma, Nov. 18). The comparisons of O.J. with Davis, Harmon and Grange, are somewhat startling, but Mr. Jenkins does not tell the reader that those men played 60 minutes of football. I wonder if the great O.J. would have those bursts of speed and acceleration if he got battered half of the game while playing defense, instead of being coddled on the sidelines while the defensive unit got its lumps and bruises?
Whoever prepared the chart, "Why O.J. Rates as the Best Runner of Them All," must have read an instructive little book of several years ago called How to Lie with Statistics. The basic measurement of a runner's competence, which is average yards per carry, was omitted. Using your figures for carries and yards, this works out roughly to: Glenn Davis, 8.6 yards per carry; Grange, 5.4; Harmon, 5.2 and Simpson, 5.1.
Syracuse University, the playground of fine running backs, has also produced some better gainers per carry than O.J. The late Heisman Trophy Winner Ernie Davis, for example, had about the same build as Simpson but was a fancier runner. He averaged 6.6 yards per carry for 2,386 yards in 1959-61. Jim Brown's average (1954-56) was 5.8 for 2,091 yards, while more recently (1964-66) Floyd Little averaged 5.4 yards per carry for 2,704.
O.J. is a great runner, but don't get carried away with his ball-carrying statistics.
ROBERT W. VIVIAN
We need new scouts, or maybe they are trying to hide Ron Johnson of Michigan.
Oak Park, Mich.
I was quite disappointed with SPORTS ILLUSTRATED's "confidential poll." The poll had one notable absence in the top 26 rated players. Stanford's Gene Washington, one of the nation's leading pass receivers, was not on the list. Any person who has watched Gene Washington this year will agree that he is certainly a very good pro prospect. He has great moves, was a member of Stanford's 440-yard relay team, and will catch any ball within 10 yards of him.
Maybe Gene Washington won't be among the first draft choices but, if not, those choices won't include the country's best pass receiver.
Los Altos Hills, Calif.
In your 1968 College Football Issue (Sept. 9) you had an article about Jack Mildren (In Pursuit of a Big Blue Chipper). Jack has now played three games on the University of Oklahoma freshman football team and has proved your excellent article to be correct. If you don't have access to a computer, here's what he's done: passing—40 of 62 for 768 yards; rushing—133 yards in 26 carries for an average of 5.1 yards per carry; total offense—901 yards (300-yard average per game). The OU frosh are undefeated, having beaten Kansas 55-20, Texas Tech 34-18 and Tulsa 77-7.
This proves you must know a blue chipper when you see one. Congratulations and keep an eye on Oklahoma in 1969.
FUN IN GAMES
First, I want you to know that the cows in Waddle, Pa. at times are more interesting and sociable than alumni (The Idea Is to Have Some Fun—And Who Needs to Be No. 1, Nov. 11). Secondly, I knew that Dan Jenkins was in the press box, and I didn't want to disappoint him on that fourth-and-one call.