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There are 13 names that are important in the South, yet few people would know why they were important—or even who they were. The names: Jack Griffin, Marv Bass, Charlie Tate, Tonto Coleman, John Bell, Lewis Woodruff, Dick Inman, Jim Carlen, Jess Berry, Jim Luck, Spec Landrum, Billy Goodloe and Joe Pittard. States' righters? All-Americas? Public enemies? As a group, none of these. The men, all 13, are assistant football coaches at Georgia Tech. The very size of Coach Bobby Dodd's organization bespeaks the specialization in modern football. Each assistant coach has a job. Griffin is in charge of offense and handles the ends. Bass is responsible for the defense and particularly for the interior linemen. Tate guides the offensive backs. Coleman, in addition to being assistant athletic director, coaches the defensive ends. Bell drills the interior linemen on offense. Woodruff is regarded as one of the finest authorities on pass defense, and he directs the deep defensive backs. Inman instructs the linebackers. Carlen is the freshman coach and does a little scouting. Berry and Luck work with the B team and do most of the scouting. Landrum heads the recruiting program and occasionally helps with the freshmen. Goodloe is the top recruiting assistant and also lends a hand with the newcomers. Pittard is a physical education instructor, baseball coach and daddy-away-from-home for the freshmen.
But even these 13 are not the whole of Dodd's staff. Dodd has been head coach at Georgia Tech since 1945, and few coaches of major college football teams have had greater success than he. He knows the value of organization and organization men. Two years ago he added a new one, the 14th member of his staff. He is Roy Mundorff Jr., and he is not really an assistant coach. He is, rather, a sort of guard. Mundorff, in fact, is a first-string certified public accountant, and his job with Dodd is to keep track of substitutions. In this latest era of what, for lack of a better description, will have to be called 2�-to-3-platoon football, Mundorff may very well be the busiest man in the Yellow Jackets' entourage, figuring out who has been in the game, who is entitled to go in next and who will get the whole team in Dutch because he ran the water bucket onto the field and forgot to sign in with an official.
Clemson Coach Frank Howard, who has only five helpers and who likes to needle Dodd, laughs at this array of talent. "Bobby," he says, "has so many assistants he's havin' to red shirt 'em." But Dodd's staff is not really much larger than some others in the Southeastern Conference, where the average staff includes nine men. Florida and Auburn are runners-up to Tech with 11 coaches each.
Alabama's Bear Bryant has nine assistants and a dislike for this high degree of specialization. "We rotate between offensive and defensive assignments from day to day," Bryant says. "You simply get stale doing the same thing over and over." A number of coaches are in allegiance with Dodd's effort "to give every boy maximum attention," and some would gladly add more specialists if they could afford them.
Tech's Griffin has an additional off-field assignment. He supervises special study halls and makes certain that players in need of added instruction get it. This is Dodd's way of helping his boys meet classroom requirements.
The scholastic standards at Georgia Tech are higher than they are at several of the Southeastern Conference schools, but there has been a general tightening of the academic belt, and most southern coaches today recognize that their jobs are contingent upon the players getting passing grades. In 1955 an "academic advisement program" was launched at Louisiana State by new Coach Paul Dietzel and new Athletic Director Jim Corbett. Of the 700 boys who have been on scholarship since then, only 25 have flunked out—a remarkably low 3.6%.
In May the Atlantic Coast Conference voted to tighten academic requirements for basketball and football players receiving grants-in-aid of any kind. "With all these consolidated high schools the competition for making the team is keener," says North Carolina State's Earle Edwards. "College football is a lot tougher now too. Only the good boys who work hard make it, and this is making the game better and better. The coaching has also improved unbelievably in the past 20 years. Now kids know what you're talking about. We can ask more of the boys, and they are able to produce more.
"We still have to keep an eye on how our players do in the classroom. We tend to forget, though, that some animals can jump or run fast, and others can swim or fly. We know it, but we often forget that men were also made for varied tasks. You've got to remember that most good athletes are smart athletically—on the football field they can grasp what some classroom whizzes cannot comprehend. In the classroom some of the same athletes are below average. Some intelligent beings are just not capable of performing at their best under the type of work demanded in class.
"Like a lot of other students, some players need guidance, and it's our job to help them get it. Speaking about intelligence, if you're supposed to learn from your losses we should have a pretty smart team this year."
The smart trend in the Atlantic Coast Conference, known in recent years for its power plays, will be toward more passing. A more open offense is likely throughout the South, one that should make the game even more exciting.