After gaining 239 yards in the 1983 Fiesta Bowl as a Sooner freshman, Dupree quit the team after five games of his sophomore season because of conflicts with then Oklahoma coach Barry Switzer. In March 1984, Dupree signed with the New Orleans Breakers of the now-defunct United States Football League and played in 14 games. But in the first game of the '85 season, he tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee and was told he would never play again. Dupree went home to Philadelphia, Miss. His weight ballooned to 270 pounds. His marriage failed. He spent a week in jail for failing to make alimony and child support payments. Until last week, Dupree says, he hadn't stepped on a football field in 5� years.
Last January, he began working out again in earnest, for what will probably be his only shot at the NFL. "Every day I went out there and sweated and threw up, and I just said it's going to be worth it one day," Dupree says. In April he called his former USFL coach, Dick Coury, now the Ram quarterback coach, and asked if he could have a tryout if he got in shape. Coury said yes, and last week Dupree, now 26 and weighing 219 pounds, impressed Coury and Robinson enough to earn a contract.
Now Dupree will have a month to show the Rams if he can be the player he was for a short time at Oklahoma.
A RAID ON THE RAIDERS
Raider boss Al Davis was pacing in disbelief Sunday night, after the Bills had worked their fourth-quarter magic for the second week in a row. Buffalo scored 24 points in a span of 6:03 of the quarter—completing a 42-yard pass play, blocking a punt, recovering a fumble and stripping the ball from Raider wideout Willie Gault—to erase a 24-14 deficit and secure a 38-24 victory that knocked L.A. (4-1) from the unbeaten ranks.
"When the clock strikes four [as in fourth quarter], everybody's eyes light up," said Bills linebacker Darryl Talley. A week earlier, Buffalo scored 20 points in a span of 1:17 of the fourth quarter and defeated Denver 29-28.
BACK TO SCHOOL
Jet defensive coordinator Pete Carroll credits college coaches for spurring the move toward more wide-open offenses—and not just the run-and-shoot—in the NFL. "A lot of the ideas are coming from guys like Dennis Erickson at Miami and John Jenkins at Houston," says Carroll. Even the Giants, one of the most conservative teams in the league, are opening up their offense on passing downs, using three wideouts and usually putting backs Dave Meggett and Rodney Hampton in motion as slot receivers. Several other teams are using five-receiver formations with no running back in the backfield.
"Dealing with a passing situation, you want to get five guys out anyway," says Erickson. "Our thought is, by motioning the back out, you get five receivers in position before the ball's even snapped." By the way, Erickson is being mentioned by general managers as a future NFL coach.
THE END ZONE