"Sure, the ingredient of running is still there. But your blocking and tackling—by the whole 11 men—is basic. It's like making vegetable soup. You gotta start in with that soupbone and some vegetables; then you put in some bay leaves, some salt and pepper and other things to make it a tasty dish. In football, you start out with blocking and tackling, and then you add your quickness and your running and reading blocks and deception and stuff. You take a team like Bud Wilkinson's Oklahoma team. The way those boys tackle and block they could run every play from punt formation and still have a great record."
"So what's wrong with college football nowadays?" Evashevski was asked. "What's wrong with it?" he repeated incredulously. "Why, nothing's wrong with it. Except that we need more of it."
Overemphasis on overemphasis
The visitor persisted: "There must be something wrong with it, Evy."
"Well, now that you pin me to the wall," the coach said, "I'll tell you what's wrong. Overemphasis is overemphasized. There is no overemphasis in college football; yet everybody talks as if there is. What we've got is underemphasis.
"When I went to college at Michigan, you used to hear about football players driving convertibles and wining and dining. Well, the only thing I ever got out of Michigan was a one-year National Youth Authority job at $15 a month. But all the fellows around my neighborhood kidded me. Whenever I bought a new suit, which was seldom, they would assume an alumnus bought it for me. That's the feeling that's permeated the thinking of the American people. And the result is that football has been wrongfully de-emphasized.
"The NCAA allows us 20 days of spring practice. Our season starts in September and we're through by December. So football lasts about three, four months in all. Now take your other sports in college. In track, they run cross-country in the fall, run indoors when it snows, then they go outside in the spring and they wind up with nine months of track, and some of them go to individual meets in the summer. This is fine—I'm all for it. But why should football take the rap? Football is a wonderful game. If a young man wants to play football he should be allowed to, whenever he wants to.
"We've become too stereotyped in our thinking about football. A few scattered evils and bad practices have caused too much of a curtailment by your faculty people. Why, we've had track teams in the Big Ten where the runners were from Australia, Finland and Canada. We have swimmers in the Big Ten from Hawaii and New Zealand, and there isn't anything said about it, because it's not football.
"But can you imagine what would happen if Notre Dame went out and got two kids from Australia and one from Hawaii and they got a Russian in there, and then they went out to play football for the Fighting Irish? They'd never hear the end of it. It's getting so you can't bring a ballplayer from any farther than your bordering states, or you're accused of buying talent."
The toughest job