It is hoped that Cliff Brown will assume leadership of the offense, although he will have stiff competition from Tom Clements, who looked good in the spring game. Brown is a unique player: a black starting quarterback, the first in Notre Dame's history. Last season he was thrust into the role because of injuries to others. When he was good, the Irish were impressive. But when Brown was bad, as he was in the losses to Southern California and LSU, Notre Dame floundered. "Our whole offense last year was one big fumble on the five," growls Tackle John Damped". "We could have scored 40 points a game if we had held onto the ball."
Brown is working on improved balance and peripheral vision to help his passing, but the best way to take pressure off a quarterback is to have a runner who can lake the ball from him and do something positive with it. Notre Dame may have such a scatback in sophomore Eric Penick. "We finally got someone who can run a 9.5 hundred," says Tight End Mike Creaney. "He's like O. J. Simpson," adds Guard Frank Pomarico. "You just watch him and wait for something to happen."
The rest of the country will be watching Notre Dame. If the Irish can survive their first three games—Northwestern, Purdue, Michigan State—the youngsters may be seasoned enough to put the team back near the top.
12 ARIZONA STATE
Frank Kush has three major goals this season: to direct his Sun Devils to their fourth straight Western Athletic Conference championship, to win his third straight bowl game, and to keep Woody Green eligible—not necessarily in order of difficulty. Halfback Green was the ninth leading rusher in the country last season and one of only two unanimous All-WAC picks, but he was not a classroom whiz. Early last year he left the team and went home to Portland, Ore., citing family problems. Kush is not one to let a key player off the hook without at least an attempt to reel him back. He made a hurry-up trip to Portland and changed Green's mind. Today there is a chalkboard timetable in the ASU football office assigning various people to guide the star through the scholastic maze.
On the field he needs less help. Green (6'1", 196 pounds), a slashing-type runner, scored nine touchdowns and averaged 121 yards per game last season. He also has good outside speed.
Kush probably will accomplish his other goals, too. He usually does. He has a .780 winning percentage as a head coach (third behind Joe Paterno and Bob Devaney) and his ASU teams have posted a 22-1 record over the past two years. The one defeat was to Oregon State, which has beaten the Sun Devils five out of the six times they have met in Kush's era. They battle again this fall in Sun Devil Stadium. The first major challenge, however, is the nationally televised opener at Houston next week, and what the viewers see will be typical Kush, the multiple offense and the Oklahoma 5-2-4 defense. "We aren't going to make any changes," he says. "We've been using the multiple offense 17 years, and we just move it around to fit the needs of personnel. We are altering a bit in that we've always gone for the small, quick lineman. Now we're on a weight training program and this year will have the biggest line we ever have fielded."
Green is the main running threat, but the rest of the backfield starters return, too. Fullback Ben Malone, younger brother of ASU All-America Art, missed three games but still gained 863 yards and scored four TDs. Wingback Steve Holden scored a touchdown every seventh time he handled the ball. The attack will be directed by junior Quarterback Dan White, who took over the first-string job last year.
Many of the other starters will be new. Kush needs offensive tackles and some depth at center, and on defense he has lost the entire front wall except for End Larry Shorty (who happens to be 6'5") and all but one starting back. Kush isn't worried because he will use the younger players in the defensive line.
"Those Young Turks can go charging in with reckless abandon—and not get in the way of our ball carrier."