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Nonetheless, it was a truly awesome display of naval power. Although Coach Eddie Erdelatz used his reserves generously once the result began to become apparent, it was quite obvious that first-string Quarterback Tom Forrestal (left) is ready to lead Coach Erdelatz' split-T offense with impressive poise, judgment and finesse.
Any number of pigskin seers has picked this present Navy team as potentially the finest of Eddie Erdelatz' eight-year regime at the academy. What happened at Chestnut Hill before 28,000 local partisans and ex-King Leopold of Belgium went a long way toward confirming these predictions.
Back from the depths
Three gray flannel suits (banker's gray) squeezed into the noisy, jubilant, half-naked throng in the Houston dressing room underneath Rice Stadium. Spotting the object of their search, they threaded their way delicately through the musky sweat of the locker room until they stood before Hal Lahar, the Houston coach. Grinning, they greeted him with outstretched hands. "We just want to meet you and say hello," said one, for they were a three-man committee from the Sugar Bowl, sizing up prospects for New Year's Day.
As far as Lahar was concerned, it was much too early for such overtures, and the gray flanneled committee simply added to the already highly charged confusion as 45 husky Houston players shouted, laughed and sang to celebrate their 7-0 victory over Miami. Lahar mumbled a few polite words to the committee, then wandered off across the locker room, a Coca-Cola and cigaret dangling from one hand.
"It was just a situation of 45 boys who really wanted to win a game," said Lahar. "We got our share of the breaks and we made a lot of mistakes. The kids burned themselves out by the third quarter, but they just had enough determination that they went on anyway. They hung in there and took it."
Mike Michen, co-captain of the Cougars, echoed his coach: "There was no first string out there. It was just one big squad headed for a win."
Thirty feet across a ramp the subdued University of Miami players sat quietly stunned, finding it hard to absorb the reality of defeat. They were sitting thus when their coach, Andy Gustafson, rode into the room on a wave of sound.
"All right, over to the corner, over here. Come on, stand tall. I don't want any hang-dog looks around here," he roared. The squad broke toward the sound.
"Now stand tall and be proud. You had a tough night out there, but I'm proud of you. Now, we're going back home and build up that second team. You Charlie, you Gary, you Bill, you all did good out there. Now, who do we play next?" he asked.