"I'm just thankful I'm part of a team with a Christian atmosphere," says Guard Randy Crouch.
"The Lord doesn't get much glory out of losers," says Wide Receiver Roger Carr.
It is Duron's philosophy that "if the Lord helps us fulfill our potential, we will win." Certainly the potential is there.
"If a person believes that 'God is on our side,' and it helps him play well," says Lambright, "then that's going to help the team. But another guy might think he has to bust everything that moves to be good. That's good for the team, too. Whatever it takes to inspire an individual's confidence is all right with me."
The 5'9", 200-pound McNeely prefers contact. "I'm the littlest, slowest guy out there," he says, "but I can't stand to get whipped." Defensive Tackle Fred Dean is just about the biggest, fastest guy out there, and he cannot stand to get whipped either.
One NFL player-personnel director called the 6'3", 220-pound Dean "the best defensive end prospect I ever saw." Dean understands what such a reputation can mean. "Every man is a dollar mark to me. I want to show people what I can do. It's just a common thing to go out and whup somebody." It is decidedly uncommon, however, to repel a 22-caliber rifle bullet shot into your side as if it were a rubber BB. That is exactly what happened to Dean when he was cleaning his gun one day last summer. The next day he was out on the school's track getting in shape for the football season.
"The defense tries to make us think they're tough," says Tackle Roy Waters. "I don't know how much of it is an act, but they are pretty convincing."
The offense is not without its sturdy figures either. Fine blockers like Tackle Pat Greer provide ample time for those long Duron-to-Carr passes. Carr averaged a nation's best, 25.5 yards per catch on 40 receptions. "Nothing excites me more than hearing our long play called in the huddle," says Carr, another outstanding professional prospect. "Sometimes I like the game to be close so they will throw to me even more. I don't think there's anyone who can stay with me."
Carr's game-breaking ability is not always needed on a team whose victory margin averaged 16 points. Precisely half the yards in the Bulldogs' delicately balanced offense came on the ground. Tailbacks Berteau and Charles McDaniel combined for better than 1,000 yards. As a freshman the year before, McDaniel accounted for 913 yards and 17 touchdowns by himself, both school records, and he may be back to that form after two injuries.
Equipped with such talent, Louisiana Tech's sternest competition usually comes on those afternoon practice sessions, when, as McNeely says, "the players hate each other and there's a whole lot of cussing and fighting." But there are adversaries of another sort who are never combated on the football field. Sitting somewhat menacingly only four miles away is Grambling College, which, like LSU and Tulane in South Louisiana, covets talented players also. "We've been pretty lucky this year," says Louisiana Tech Assistant Coach E. J. Lewis. "We got 11 players from the intrastate high school all-star game. That's what you need to keep it going."