- TOP PLAYERSOffensePABLO S. TORRE | August 20, 2012
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- Faces in the CrowdJune 11, 2001
Although widely divergent in moods, temperament and coaching styles, these dedicated and successful men have at least two things in common. They have made a career of coaching football in what is traditionally the most competitive section of the nation, and their ultimate goal is identical—to make their teams the very best.
Everywhere in the corn-filled plains around Lawrence, Jayhawker boosters are buzzing about their backfield. It is a rough and in some ways odd foursome, with Fullback Doyle Schick, at 190 pounds, the lightest but the best blocker of the group. All-conference Halfback John Hadl scored 48 points last year, caught seven passes, averaged 45.5 yards for 43 punts, but he will switch to quarterback and make room for a long-striding TCU transfer, Bert Coan. However, if five yards are needed Hadl will hand off to Right Half Curtis McClinton, a 212-pound battering ram who averaged better than five yards a try in 91 attempts. Coach Jack Mitchell isn't sure about the line, where he has lost an end, a tackle and a guard. Transfers and red shirts back up Ends Larry Allen and Sam Simpson, Tackles Dick Davis and Stan Kirshman, giving depth to these positions. Fred Hageman returns to spread his massive 6-foot-5, 220-pound frame over the ball for another all-conference season.
New Coach Doug Weaver brought his guitar along with him from Missouri, and he will need it to strum away the blues. Last season the Wildcats suffered five shutouts. This year they may endure five more. There really isn't much that can be done when the linemen who will take over for the graduates, including new ends and tackles, are big and strong but move like tortoises. Center Al Kouneski and Guards Dave Noblitt, 5 feet 8, 205 pounds, and Marian Ray move about at a smarter pace, but they cannot range far enough to make up for inadequacies outside of their positions. In the backfield a return to a straighter T does not enhance the ball carrier's chances. Quarterback Ron Blaylock represents the only hope for improvement. He hit on 28 of 50 passes in 1959, and two of those were for touchdowns. He has strong receivers in Halfback Dale Evans (23 receptions, three for touchdowns last year) and Fullback Bill Gallagher, who had 10 catches.
Recently, Coach Trevor Rees was asked if he thought the 26 sophomores on the squad suggested a strong team for 1961. Rees's answer: "We can't wait that long." Only two of the sophomores will find their way into the starting lineup—Quarterback Jim Flynn and 200-pound Fullback Jim Fleagane. However, the second and third units will be thick with first-year men. The interior line—Guards Dick Barber (235 pounds) and Tom Darrah (215) and Center Art Young-blood (225)—is not porous, but the medium-speed ends most likely will be too slow to keep up with the increased traffic to the outside. The offense may show considerable scoring potential if Flynn is half the passer he is reputed to be. The running, although not powerful, is adequate with holdover Halfbacks Martin Grosjean (he had a 4.3 rushing average last year) and Ray Shaker, who scored 20 points, the best. But the offense lacks a breakaway threat and doesn't frighten the opposition with its long passing combinations.
This may be the year for good news in Milwaukee. Marquette, after some trying seasons, has a team worthy of the name. The one remaining barrier to success—and it is a tall one—is the schedule. Marquette will lose some of the very tough games, but it won't bore anybody in the process. Coach Lisle Blackboum has come up with a sophomore quarterback, Terry Zang, who can spot his passes on the tip of an outstretched finger. The most outstretched belongs to Zang's tallest teammate, 6-foot-7 Slotback George Andrie, last year's leading receiver (22 receptions for 357 yards). Two other sophomores, Dave Theisen, a this-away, that-away runner, and Fullback Mike Koehler give the slot T good balance. Nobody, not even Wisconsin or Indiana backs, will run willy-nilly over the strong interior line. All-America candidate Ken Shaffer and fellow Tackle Jeff Messerknecht will team with Guards Bob Wilkins, Herb Roedel and Center Dan Ferriter to form 1,100 pounds of stubborn defense.