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The Miami defense, led by No. 89, the 6'8", 222-pound all-everything, Ted Hendricks, should be impressive. As everybody from Miami to Miami Beach will insist, this is Hendricks' year for the Heisman Trophy, and that opinionated minority just might prove right if Miami has an exceptional season. Tate has indicated he even plans on using The Mad Stork on offense, which won't hurt the towering defensive end's chances in the balloting. Hendricks came to Miami as an offensive end and was thrown one pass during his sophomore year, which he dropped. In the last two years he also has dropped 247 enemy runners (Hendricksphiles count such things) and recovered eight fumbles. In 1967, against Pittsburgh, he blocked a quick kick and ran it back to Pitt's 16, setting up a touchdown; against Virginia Tech, he enabled Miami to get its winning score by slamming the ball out of the quarterback's hand and then recovering it 20 yards farther down-field, and against Tulane he twice stole the ball from Quarterback Bobby Duhon.
"If you don't believe he's good," says Tate, "then just ask any quarterback we've faced the last two years."
Coach Ray Graves of Florida says, "Hendricks is the only player I know who could make All-America at four positions."
"Four positions?" someone said to Tate. "I wonder if one of them just might be quarterback?"
"I dunno," said Tate, thoughtfully, "I dunno."
Can the Big Ten stand another year of listening to: 'Punt, John. Punt!'
Not long after John Pont's Rose Bowl football team had become Indiana's greatest export since Wendell Willkie, the coach was given a Day in his home town of Canton, Ohio. After the usual cornet-band serenade and crêpe-paper-parade type of thing, there was a banquet attended by, as John put it, "all my old friends and their wives—steelworkers, shopworkers, just ordinary people." Concerned that the $5-a-plate fee for the affair might be a bit much for ordinary people, Pont mentioned the price to a man with him on the dais. He replied, "Yeah, it's a little steep, John, especially when you figure a year ago they might not have paid $1.25 to see you."
Well, the fickle flame of fame did light up John Pont and his Hoosiers last year, and with it came a full quota of $5 banquets, Coach of the Year prizes and all the old-saw awe that Americans reserve for Horatio Alger legends come true. Pont's 1967 Big Ten co-champions were indeed zero-to-zillion heroes in the moldiest penny-dreadful mold.
The tale has been oft told and retold this summer in the flickering glow of Indiana campfires and chafing dishes: of the old days around Bloomington where Ye Olde Regulator and the Stardust used to resound with hurrahs after the Hoosiers had held Minnesota or Ohio State or Michigan to a mere five-touchdown margin. Of John Pont's arrival in 1965 after Indiana had won only 27 of 90 games over 10 years. Of intrepid John's unrelenting courage in attempting to stamp out the easy acceptance of defeat at IU. Of how after two years of encouraging his boys to "Think Win," he had amassed a 3-16-1 record. Of how, dramatically, out of the rags rose riches in the form of last season's 9-1 record and Rose Bowl trip.