"Bear gets an effort."
"Darrell believes in offense."
"Ara knows the name of the game."
America has come to know these men of vast mystique only too well by now. The big winners. The men of inventiveness and impact. Of quote and unquote. There they are now, pockmarking our dailies—veritable giants in half-column zinc—and looking concerned on television. They are star personalities on campus, their victories achieved more by their own sheer intellect and guile than by anything their cluster of potential first-round draft choices and assorted All-Americas might have done. There's Texas' Darrell Royal, the slick country prophet. There's Notre Dame's Ara Parseghian, the impassioned faith healer. There's Alabama's Bear Bryant, the drawling executioner. There's Ohio State's Woody Hayes, the cantankerous general. There's USC's John McKay, the wisecracking professor. There's Arkansas' Frank Broyles, the shrewd evangelist. There's Auburn's Shug Jordan, the gentlemanly war hero. There's Nebraska's Bob Devaney, the droll sheriff.
Among the things they have in common, along with a few others who are near them in stature—Duffy Daugherty, Ben Schwartzwalder, Joe Paterno, Paul Dietzel, Charlie McClendon, Bo Schembechler, Frank Kush, Doug Dickey—is a deep and unrelenting belief that the college game is better than anything mankind ever thought up, including the pro game. They also possess a taste for realism, and an urge for work. Listening to one is often like listening to any of the others, disregarding accents and punch lines.
"A good coach is a man who can do four things," says USC's John McKay. "He gets good players, has team morale, keeps up with technical trends and has the ability to communicate with his players. That first item is the most important."
Solely for reasons of revenue, the college coach finds himself debating his own game against the pros, which of course he enjoys.
"If the pros are playing a new game," says McKay, "they're doing something I can't see on Sunday. A guy runs down the field and you throw a pass. Their timing is more intense and they have better personnel, that's all."
"We play a faster and more exciting game," Woody Hayes insists. "Even to the point of passing. And I don't think there's any question that our defenses are more varied."
Darrell Royal has always wondered what would happen if a pro team ran a bunch of quarterback options and student body sweeps at all of the great pro cornerbacks. "All they have to play is the pass," he says. "You'd wear out your quarterback pretty quick, but then you could go buy a new one." Because the colleges are using both the drop-back pass and option football, Royal sees more offense on the field on Saturday than he does on television on Sunday. And thus, as Woody says, more defenses, too. But in both games, college or pro, a man wins or moves on—and some do both: Missouri's Dan Devine to Green Bay and UCLA's Tommy Prothro to the Los Angeles Rams. "The way to look at it," says Royal, "is not that they went to something better, but that the pros had to come to us to find people they wanted."