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Kapp didn't grab a helmet and position himself under the center during the scrimmage, but he did lope onto the field from time to time, kneeling in the huddle to discuss strategy with Torchio and his other quarterbacks. To many of the spectators, it seemed like old times having him out there in the middle of things.
At halftime some former Cal stars—including Tight End Joe Rose of the Miami Dolphins and Wide Receiver Matt Bouza, who spent part of last season with the 49ers—played a game of flag football. One of the flag ball coaches was Rod Franz, the university's only three-time All-America (1947, '48, '49), a guard on Pappy's first two Rose Bowl teams and a member of the college football Hall of Fame. Franz's appearance on the sidelines represented a return to the tradition Kapp is laboring to restore. This is the 100th year of Cal football, and the athletic department is pulling out all the stops to make this a memorable centennial. Both a book and a film, One Hundred Years of Blue and Gold, are scheduled for release this fall.
Kapp's return to the campus has proved to be a spectacular piece of promotional timing. He is, of course, a featured performer in the film, the leader of a Cinderella team. And his own sense of history is so strong that he has spent an unusual amount of time communicating tradition to his players. "Coach Kapp has taught us to appreciate the past," his tiny (156 pounds) wide receiver, Mariet Ford, says. "The alumni are starting to come back. They're showing up at our practices. It's a whole new atmosphere around here."
Kapp has had to work hard convincing the parents of high school recruits that Cal has a football tradition. The Wonder Teams of the '20s, the Thunder Teams of the late '30s and Pappy's Deep Freeze of the late '40s and early '50s are but distant memories to all but the most confirmed trivia buffs. What most parents remember about the university is the student revolution of the '60s. It's no secret, to be sure, that football recruiters from other institutions do little to disabuse parents of the notion that Berkeley is the seat of communist revolution in this country. Indeed, it is felt they encourage such talk. Would you want your kid to go to the Big Red Schoolhouse?
Kapp turns the image around to suit him. There may be Reds among the Blue and Gold, says he, but there is everything else, too. There is variety, inspiration. Invaluable experience is to be gained. That's what he, an All-America, found there. Would you want your kid to go to a football factory?
Take whatever you're given, and then wring everything you can out of it. That's always been Kapp's style. And if he's a novice at coaching, Kapp, armed with his experience, his playbooks and his enthusiasm, figures his critics are as far off the mark in evaluating his talents as all those NFL scouts were in the 1959 draft.
After the intrasquad game, Kapp played host at a barbecue for the spectators on an intramural field behind the stadium. It was a festive occasion. Musicians from the Cal band were on hand, belting out fight songs, of which the university has a plethora, and Kapp was everywhere, wringing hands, nibbling food. "We need some work," he said of the scrimmage. "But there was some hitting out there. We'll show up in the fall."
Kapp is speaking to Bay Area football writers in the Brick Muller Room at the stadium. Muller was the All-America end on three of Coach Andy Smith's Wonder Teams, which went five years, from 1920 through 1924, without losing a game. Muller was so loyal to the university that he never really left it, opening a medical practice in Berkeley and working in his spare time as a team doctor for many years. Brick Muller was a Joe Kapp kind of guy. Kapp is having fun with the press in the Muller Room, ragging the ordinarily straitlaced Maggard. "I made a deal with Dave, you know," he says. "Somebody sent me a half gallon of tequila when I got this job. I told Dave I wouldn't touch it." He rests a hand on the seated Maggard's shoulder. "One glass of wine is heavy with this guy. I told him I wouldn't touch it until we win the Rose Bowl." Kapp laughs boisterously. "But here's the deal. 'When I open it,' I told him, 'you gotta drink half.' " Maggard tries a smile. "Hell," says Kapp, looking down at him benignly, "Dave here doesn't know how much fun he's gonna have...."