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The sons have also risen
Mike DelNagro
September 29, 1980
Dartmouth Quarterback Jeff Kemp (left) and Receiver Dave Shula, offspring of famous dads Jack and Don, are proving they are chips off the old block and tackle
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September 29, 1980

The Sons Have Also Risen

Dartmouth Quarterback Jeff Kemp (left) and Receiver Dave Shula, offspring of famous dads Jack and Don, are proving they are chips off the old block and tackle

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Shula is also a connoisseur of drills. Two years ago at the Dolphin camp, he came across a receiver training film created by former Colt Raymond Berry. Shula brought a print back to Dartmouth, and Yukica has added the drills to Big Green practices. For example, a quarterback throws a pass to a receiver whose back is turned. The quarterback yells, and the receiver turns and catches the ball a split second before it smacks him in the head. "It teaches your hands to catch a ball that your eyes don't really have enough time to see," Shula says.

Shula's shortcoming is speed. A 4.9 is his best time in the 40, making him the slowest among all the players who carry the ball for Dartmouth. But if it weren't for Shula's speed—or lack of it—he probably wouldn't be a Big Green player. In high school he was recruited heavily in Florida, and he signed a sectional letter of intent with Florida State. But his relative slowness afoot had him worried. At Shula's request, an assistant coach of his team at Chaminade High in Hollywood, Fla., sent an unlabeled film of Shula to some friends at Penn State and asked them their opinion. The reply was: "Could be a dark horse, but he might do better at a smaller school." Soon afterward, Shula signed on with Dartmouth. And what if he were 6'2", and 198 pounds with 4.5 speed? "No question," Shula says, "I'd have gone to Notre Dame."

Still, he hopes to play football. One night last summer he was sitting with his dad on a patio of the family home in Miami Lakes. Don had been talking negatively about a rookie receiver who, he mentioned, had done "only" a 4.75 in the 40. "Well, why should I even bother?" Dave asked. "Who's ever going to give me a look?"

"Somebody will," Don replied. "You've proven you can catch the ball. You've consistently gotten open. Folks will always call you slow. And you'll always have competition from somebody faster. But if you work hard...."

Dave has always asked his father questions about football. "He was happy that I was so fascinated by the thing he did for a living," Dave says. "A lot of nights after dinner I'd take out one of his diagram pads to draw up plays and pass routes. He taught me a million things." Not so Jeff Kemp. Jack Kemp was always interested in Jeff's football, but other than teaching him such basics as the proper way to grip the ball, he seldom spoke of specifics.

"We talk a lot," Jeff says, "but usually what he wants to know is whether my state of mind is positive. He talks about having a sense of destiny. He says, 'Work hard, hang in there and your chance will come.' Or he'll say something like, 'In bed at night, do you visualize yourself out there, I mean really close your eyes and see yourself quarterbacking the team, play-by-play, going down the field?' Once I told him, 'Yeah, Dad, but along about the second quarter I fell asleep.' "

Off the field, Shula and Kemp are members of the same fraternity. Beta Theta Pi, and they're cut pretty much from the same cloth. Last winter, as part of a work-study program, they took jobs in Washington, D.C. and shared an apartment in Alexandria, Va. Shula, a history major, worked as a research assistant on the House Banking, Finance and Urban Affairs Committee under Congressman Bill Stanton of Ohio, a longtime friend of the Shula family. Stanton also helped Kemp get work at the American Bankers Association.

Kemp kids Shula about his over-achieving, about always coming up with another new drill. Shula thinks Kemp is innately smarter than he is, a more gifted athlete, but a guy who could work a little bit harder. He kids Kemp about the sloppy way he keeps his room. Just before leaving for Washington, Shula went to Kemp's room and found him asleep with about four layers of clothing covering the floor wall-to-wall. Five minutes later, Kemp was up, packed and down in the lobby. "How'd you pack so fast?" Shula asked. "Easy," said Kemp. "I drew a line down the middle of the room. All the clothes on the side by the window, I left for my roommate."

Kemp thinks he's as driven as Shula but more relaxed. Oh, sure. Last Thursday night in Hanover's 5 Olde Nugget Alley, Shula sat in a back room, head bent over a piece of paper, drawing pass routes. Kemp was out front near the bar, talking with a coed. He was telling her about how his roommate just got a pilot's license and about how tomorrow morning they were going to rent a Cessna, take it up and buzz the campus. Which they did.

Kemp and Shula also differ in their opinions of what it's like to be the son of a famous father. "I hope people respect me for being Dave, not Don's son," Shula has said. He remembers, not so fondly, a moment after one game when the Dartmouth athletic director came up to him, stuck out his hand and said, "Great game. Congratulations, Don!" Kemp, however, never ceases to be impressed by his father. "The man's incredible," he says. "I'm proud when people call me his son."

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