- TOP PLAYERSOffensePABLO S. TORRE | August 20, 2012
- TAMPA BAY buccaneersENEMY lines WHAT A RIVAL COACH SAYSJune 28, 2012
- Faces in the CrowdJune 11, 2001
Yeoman has two serious problems. Four of the first five games are away, and Quarterback D.C. Nobles has graduated. The Cougars will be run by David Husmann, whose father Ed played defensive tackle in the NFL and AFL. His backup is Chuck Fairbanks Jr., son of the New England Patriot coach who once was on Yeoman's University of Houston staff. Husmann and Fairbanks played a total of 29 minutes behind Nobles last year.
At least they will have talented men to give the ball to. They can hand it to Donnie (Quick Draw) McGraw, who rushed for 556 yards and a 6.2 average; Reggie Cherry, who scored 12 TDs and averaged 5.9 per carry; or Marshall Johnson, who does the 40 in 4.3. Or the quarterbacks can fling it to one of the team's top eight receivers, all of whom return, and three of whom averaged better than 19 yards a catch last fall.
Helping the backfield veer in the right direction is an offensive line that returns intact save for one man. It is headed by Pulling Guard Val Belcher and a 280-pound sophomore, David Brooks. In fact, there are two 280-pounders up front, Brooks and Everett (Big) Little.
"Brooks, along with Little, could give us the physical strength that we haven't had in some time," says Line Coach Billy Willingham. "A spring of very hard work, a good conditioning program this summer and natural maturity made David a better prospect in '74."
Houston is still an independent, not being allowed to compete for the Southwest Conference title until 1976. And SWC schools do not seem anxious for '76 to arrive. Rice, the crosstown rival, is the only league school scheduling the Cougars this season. The rest of the schedule is not much tougher, with Arizona State this week, Miami and Georgia the major hurdles. Houston may not be 11-1 again, but it will not be much worse.
In the bayou country of Baton Rouge folks like to say that shambling, amiable Charles McClendon is "the kind of man who never meets a stranger." If so, then 1974, with 40 of his 58 lettermen returning, including every last running back who wore a purple and gold uniform last fall, looms as one big reunion of the friends of Cholly Mac.
That being the case, it would also be reasonable to assume that all McClendon has to do this time around is stick with a good thing, namely LSU's reliable old I formation, and watch it get better with a little help from his friends. But as McClendon is the first to admit, a lot of things can become outmoded twixt the hand-off and the hole. While en route to a 9-2 record last season LSU got burned often enough by new variations on the old formations as to be twice warned. In a game in which standing pat often means losing ground, McClendon has countered with his own variation on a theme: if you can't defense it, steal it. So when LSU debuts against Colorado at home next week, Tiger fans will get their first look at what McClendon calls "planned improvisation," more commonly known as the Veer.
A prime requirement for the Veer is good running backs, and LSU has a lot of them. Brad Davis, who needs but 404 yards to better Billy Cannon's alltime LSU career rushing record of 1,867 yards, and such classy costars as Steve Rogers, Lora Hinton, Terry Robiskie, Brian Zeringue and Ken Addy are being billed as the finest contingent of running backs to inhabit the Baton Rouge campus since the Bengals first began to play football in 1893.
But with so much talent returning, it was perhaps inevitable that the Tigers would suffer at least one crucial loss. That occurred in June, when senior Mike Miley, LSU's all-purpose quarterback, signed with the California Angels and went off to play shortstop for their El Paso farm team. Now LSU must find a replacement for Miley pronto. Top contenders are senior Billy Broussard, Mi-ley's alternate last season, and sophomores Don Griffin and Carl Otis Trimble. Trimble, a converted tailback who scored 10 touchdowns in five Baby Bengal games in 1973, is rated as just the kind of flashy, versatile threat the Veer needs.