That is a fairly scary statement, since A.D. scored five touchdowns against Cal and ran and passed for two in the Rose Bowl. He is best remembered, of course, for scoring six TDs against Notre Dame as a sophomore. He has the talent to become USC's third Heisman Trophy winner, following Mike Garrett in 1965 and O.J. Simpson in 1968. All Heisman voters should be in Pittsburgh on Sept. 28, because that is the day Davis will match fakes and footwork with the Panthers' talented sophomore, Tony Dorsett.
If Davis is not quite as durable at 185, it will not matter too much because McKay plans to give plenty of playing time to sub Tailbacks Allen Carter and Ron Jamerson (who played ahead of Davis in Pop Warner football in the San Fernando Valley). If that array is not enough to scare opponents, USC has Pat Haden, another in a long line of fine quarterbacks ( Pete Beathard, Steve Sogge, Bill Nelsen) and a first-class student who McKay says is the best at his position in the country. Not only that, the best college quarterback McKay has ever seen (and he played with Norm Van Brocklin at Oregon).
"There is no one even close, regardless of what people say," says McKay. "I've had them all, and I've seen all the All-Star games, coached in a lot of them, and Pat's the best. Anything you want a quarterback to do."
What Haden did last season was break three USC records, tie two others, lead the Pacific Eight in total offense and passing percentage and make Academic All-America with a 3.74 grade average in English. As targets this season he has the coach's son, Johnny McKay (not a Jr. because he has a different middle name), sophomore Flanker Shelton Diggs and Tight End Jim Obradovich, who excelled last season when he wasn't jumping offside. Haden, Davis & Co. will have some good muscular protection en route to various end zones, notably senior Center Bob McCaffrey, whose older brother Mike played for the Minnesota Vikings, and a sophomore "foreigner," Marvin Powell from Fayetteville, N.C.
California produces a large crop of fine football players, and McKay does not go talent hunting elsewhere without good reason. In the case of the following four defenders there was evidently ample justification: Tackle Gary Jeter from Cleveland; two-time All-America Linebacker Richard (Batman) Wood from Elizabeth, N.J.; Nose Guard Otha Bradley from St. Joseph, La. (which is near Lake
, of all places); and Tackle Art Riley from Phoenix, Ill., where he played football and basketball with Indiana's Quinn Buckner. The local kids are not bad either, including experienced Outside Linebackers Ed Powell and Dale Mitchell.
Three of the defensive backs were starters last year, the most interesting being Marvin Cobb, who started at shortstop on the championship baseball team and hit .329. He also plays pretty good classical piano and sports a high grade average, which, he says, "becomes even higher every time Coach McKay speaks at a banquet."
"Our primary goal every season is to go to the Rose Bowl," says McKay. He knows how to get there.
Some sports-minded universities would trade a physics lab, a homecoming queen and two vice-chancellors for the kind of football season Nebraska had last year. The Cornhuskers appeared twice on national television, averaged 76,000 in attendance for their home games (making Memorial Stadium, in effect, the third largest city in the state on those six Saturday afternoons), beat Texas in the Cotton Bowl to cap a 9-2-1 season and finished seventh in the final AP poll. Still, there was a bit of discontent in Lincoln, even a few scattered boos. A tie with Kansas for second place in the Big Eight and a 27-0 loss to Oklahoma were not as bad as a corn blight, but almost.
Second-year Head Coach Tom Osborne and his staff have made some changes to get more pep and punch in the offense. Tony Davis of Tecumseh, Neb. has been moved from I back, where he gained 1,134 yards in the regular season as a sophomore, to fullback. Normally, a Nebraska fullback is strictly a blocker, banging into charging linemen so many times that by season's end he is two inches shorter. Davis is a good blocker, but he will run from his new spot. He averaged more than 20 carries a game last year, and the coaching staff has no intention of shackling him. That means the opposition will have two runners to worry about now, not just the I back.