- TOP PLAYERSOffensePABLO S. TORRE | August 20, 2012
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Too many white shirts
Bobby Boyd stood next to his locker dressing. He looked as though he wanted to stand in it, had his size permitted, to get away from the crowd pressing around him. He was just 19. His hands trembled uncontrollably as he worked the Windsor knot of his tie into position. The white shirt he had just donned was already mottled with nervous sweat, a reaction from his first big-time college football game. It was hard to believe that this pink-cheeked, scared youth had just helped Oklahoma roll over Pittsburgh 26-0 as though the big, lumbering Panthers were somebody's junior varsity. He had not scored, though he had gained admirably. He was typical of the legion of energetic neophytes rising to fill the gaps left at Oklahoma by the departed Tommy McDonald and Jerry Tubbs. He was talented. He had an unshakable faith in his coach, Bud Wilkinson, and he had learned the Wilkinson method as he would have learned a catechism. He seemed unable to understand the ease with which his team had beaten Pittsburgh. "Coach told us they would be the toughest team we would meet all season," he said. "We wanted to win, sure, but we didn't expect to, least not like this. Why, that Pitt line they were all writing about, I run tougher lines in practice!"
The youth and energy of Oklahoma got to Pittsburgh midway in the second quarter. Tiredness ate its way into the Pittsburgh line, although man-for-man the Panthers averaged some 18 pounds heavier. Every seven minutes a new Oklahoma unit, fresh and eager, would enter the ball game. Pittsburgh Coach John Michelosen had no spare unit. He had to stay with his front-line troops and watch as the fresh, white Sooner hordes breached the Pitt forward wall. John G. Zimmerman, with a long-lens camera, graphically caught these moments (above).
Clendon Thomas, Oklahoma's great halfback, realized Pitt had had it midway in the second quarter. "Their pursuit dropped off. If they didn't get us at the line, they just dropped off and left it up to the secondary."
Wilkinson, a restless perfectionist, was happy with the win, but at the same time discontented. "I was pleased with the line. But we're going to have to work harder, move faster. We have some tough games coming up." And his players, who continue to comprise the decade's finest football machine, heard him and nodded agreement.
However, Pittsburgh was the toughest opponent Oklahoma will face all year. The devastating results of this encounter indicate clearly that Wilkinson has another championship team on his hands, another Orange Bowl invitation (and victory) ahead and another rating as the best team in the country, for no opponent on the remainder of the schedule is likely to beat the Sooners.
It is a pity Oklahoma will not be coming up against one of the top Big Ten teams—Michigan, Michigan State or Minnesota—this season or next—or even against some of their more powerful neighbors in the South and Southwest. Perhaps such teams are the only true yardstick of the Sooners' potential. But New Year's Day holds out some hope. If all goes as it should, Oklahoma will then come up against an Orange Bowl opponent capable of providing true test of its skill. It would be interesting to see the Sooners really having to work for their victory.
Too many naval salvos
They sent 33 members of the Brigade of Midshipmen from Annapolis to Boston to help Boston College dedicate its new stadium last Saturday. All 33 put on football uniforms, and before the day was out each had had a part in piling up a 46-6 score that left Bostonians wondering whether they invited the right guests to the christening.