Charlie Tate has a round face with billowing cheeks, and when he smiles his eyes disappear and he looks like the only living Malayan football coach. Because of this and his hearty all-out way of laughing—a Tate laugh sounds like a rapid pounding-together of bed slats—he is called Jolly Cholly. Cholly is jolly, too, when he is sitting around at the cocktail hour or rolling along in a golf cart. But when it comes to coaching football he is definitely not jolly. He is Dead Serious Cholly. Growly-gruff, inspirationally hard-nosed Cholly. He is one of those coaches bound to succeed because he puts all of him into the business of coaching football. He closes the door to his wood-paneled office at the University of Miami and just sits in there by the hour, thinking football.
Charlie Tate arrived at Miami in 1964, after five years assisting Bobby Dodd at Georgia Tech, but he had long been a devout Florida man. He played high school football in Jacksonville, was a star fullback at the University of Florida and had been highly successful as the head coach at Miami High. At Tech, Tate was known for his ability to attract Florida athletes. He still attracts them. The Hurricanes' three best players this year—Defensive End Ted Hendricks, Split End Jimmy Cox and Guard Bill Chambless—are all from Florida, and they are three reasons why Tate turned down an offer to succeed Dodd at Georgia Tech.
This year Miami should have its best team ever. With 17 of 22 starters back, it is an almost unabridged version of last season's Hurricanes, who finished 8-2-1, ranked ninth in the country and beat VPI in the Liberty Bowl. A major bowl would have been more appropriate because Miami had defeated three bowl teams: USC, Georgia and Florida. But in keeping with the trend of previous years, Miami blossomed late.
The Miami defense, which players call the Green Machine, is fiercely parsimonious. Last year it held Georgia to 42 yards rushing, and Georgia made its living as a running team. The defense carried the Hurricanes, and if it has to, it can do it again. Its prince is No. 89, the 6'7", 229-pound Hendricks (see cover), a sure All-Everything. He is large—too tall for the Army to draft but fine for the pro draft, thank you—fast and loose. When he bears down on a quarterback, arms and legs flailing, he looks like a ponderous, menacing bird. Teammates call him The Mad Stork. He seems spindly and has lifted weights this summer to put on 15 pounds, but his hands and arms are so strong that he can reach up and make tackles after he has been knocked down. End Coach Walt Kichefski has estimated that a leaping Hendricks presents a 14-foot obstacle for a quarterback to throw over. He also presents a 14-foot target to throw to, and that could happen. He came to Miami as an offensive end.
Hendricks is an excellent student, a physics major who rebuilds sports cars in the little spare time he has. Tate says, "He could be a Rhodes scholar. He could be anything. Listen, he could be governor." Hendricks says the fuss is exaggerated. One thing Hendricks is not is a good judge of ability.
The Miami defense lost two fine players by graduation, Tackle Gene Trosch and Halfback Tom Beier, but gets back Linebacker Ken Corbin, a 218-pounder whom the pros are after, outstanding Tackle Bob Tartarek (236), and the best deep defense in the South in Corner Backs Hal Carew and Rich Robinson and 160-pound Safety Man Jimmy Dye.
The Miami offense is less noteworthy. It is nothing unusual at best, and desultory at worst. Four times last season it could muster only one touchdown per game, and Bill Miller, the incumbent quarterback, had moments of despairing inconsistency. Miller is a self-made quarterback; he does not look like a football player and he is not naturally talented. But when he is good he is very, very good. Of the games he has started in two years, Miami has lost only two, and last year he passed for 1,114 yards and seven touchdowns. Like the team, he matures.
Miami's running attack will be sound with veterans John Acuff and Joe Mira at halfback, and Fullback Doug McGee, whose specialty is knocking himself out ramming into an opponent's end zone. But best of all could be a sophomore from McKeesport, Pa., Vince Opalsky, who is 6'2", weighs 205 pounds, covers 100 yards in 9.7 seconds and is a punishing and durable inside runner. There was a day last fall when Backfield Coach Ken Shipp said to Aculf, "Better go over to the freshman practice and watch Opalsky. He's the guy who'll take your job in 1967." Acuff scoffed. "No way, Coach, no way." But he went to watch anyway and returned with a chastened look. "What did you think of Opalsky?" asked Shipp. "Got a chance, Coach, got a chance," said Acuff.
Miami's pass-receiving is in the kind of hands that can help a less-than-best quarterback. There is Split End Cox, a 6'2", 225-pounder who is difficult to stop one-on-one, Flankerback Jerry Daanen, a swing man, Steve Smith, and Tight End Larry LaPointe. Last year Cox caught 41 passes for 627 yards. There is inexperience at offensive right guard and offensive right tackle, but Chambless (236), a premed student with a 3.2 average, is on a par with the best blockers in the country.
It may seem unlikely for Miami to reach its ninth game—against Notre Dame—un-beaten, because the Hurricanes have that history of blowing one or two easy ones a year. But this time their schedule is made to order for a strong finish, and if Miami comes on as well as it could, Notre Dame will have its problems. In anticipation of The Game, there has been a record season-ticket sale at Miami. Even the coaches are shaken up by the prospect. Ken Shipp was driving a friend over to play golf at Marco Island the other day and the conversation turned to Notre Dame. Shipp drove two miles past the golf course to the yacht club.