A MAN WITH A RECIPE
Last Friday Louisville coach Howard Schnellenberger was sitting in his office, in his football complex, in his hometown, talking about his team, his style and his quarterbacks. The only thing Schnellenberger didn't mention was his immediate future. He's a wise man.
He pulled on his pipe and said, "We plan to do here what Devaney did at Nebraska, what Wilkinson did at Oklahoma. Like Coach Bryant used to say—'I have the recipe." "
The people of Louisville want to know, the recipe for what? On Saturday night. Southern Mississippi pureed the Cardinals 65-6 before 20,647 of their hometown fans, most of whom were long gone by the fourth quarter.
The loss stunned even Schnellenberger. "I obviously did a terrible job of preparing this football team," he said after Louisville dropped to 2-2-1. "In 28 years of coaching I don't think I have ever witnessed anything as bad as what I saw out there tonight."
Four years ago Schnellenberger coached Miami to the national championship and then quit to work for the USFL Miami franchise, which never materialized. So he signed a five-year, $1 million contract with Louisville and led a 32-person wagon train of assistant coaches, trainers, wives and children north to turn the Cardinals' football program around.
Seven wins, 18 losses and one tie later, the natives have grown restless. To begin with, in Kentucky, if the ball isn't round, the game doesn't seem right—or, as Louisville athletic director Bill Olsen said last week, "You want to talk about basketball?" No. Olsen looked disappointed. Then he picked up a deflated football in a corner of his office with both hands and tossed it to his visitor. The ball had been doctored. It weighed five pounds. Olsen tossed over a basketball. Light as a feather. Olsen laughed and said, "You have to be strong to follow Louisville football."
At Miami, Schnellenberger accomplished what Bob Devaney had at Nebraska and Bud Wilkinson had at Oklahoma—he created an enduring power. In fact, current 'Canes coach Jimmy Johnson still relies on many of Schnellenberger's recruits; he may win a national title with them this year. Schnellenberger was expected to work the same magic at Louisville, and more than $2 million was spent to bring the Cardinals' football facilities into the latter half of the 20th century.
Louisville has but five seniors on its roster, and 42 freshmen. Five quarterbacks are redshirted. There are 25 Floridians, most of them underclassmen. In two years, the Cardinals might well be a winner, because Schnellenberger does have the recipe. The problem is that some people believe that he may not stay around to enjoy the meal. There were reports that he pursued the Atlanta Falcons coaching job after Dan Henning was fired last year. When you've been to the pinnacle, as he has, and when you have an ego the size of his, it's hard to believe that your talents can be contained in a 35,500-seat stadium.
Schnellenberger is said to be irked by complaints that he doesn't recruit enough in Kentucky. He played for Bear Bryant at the University of Kentucky, and he says that the Bear heard the same gripes when he coached the Wildcats. As Schnellenberger points out, Bryant moved on to Texas A & M.
Louisville's players still seem to feel that their day will come. In fact, their day came right after Saturday's pasting. "We will continue at 8:30 Sunday morning. Scrimmage," said Schnellenberger. "The world is full of fainthearted people, and we'll find out who the fainthearted people are now. The football players will be there tomorrow morning. The rest will be students.
"As I told them, they're a dog football team," concluded Schnellenberger. "But they're my dog."
Michigan running back Jamie Morris. Morris, a senior, rushed for 182 yards and three touchdowns on just 18 carries as the Wolverines beat Wisconsin 49-0.
The Oregon defense. It bent a few times but didn't break as Washington spent most of the fourth period in the Ducks' end of the field. Oregon stopped two late Husky drives with interceptions at the one-yard line and in the end zone as it pulled off a major upset 29-22.
Baylor strong safety Robert Blackmon. Blackmon, a sophomore, ran back two interceptions for touchdowns to provide the Bears' margin of victory in a 30-18 defeat of Houston. In the first period he grabbed a pass by Andre Ware at the Cougar 10 and danced into the end zone. In the third period he intercepted another Ware pass at the Houston 10. This time he dragged Cougar Paul Smith into the end zone with him.
...AND SATURDAYS GOATS
The Oregon State defense. USC piled up 582 yards against the Beavers en route to a 48-14 victory. Trojan quarterback Rodney Peete threw for 249 yards, and Steve Webster gained 132 on the ground. "The offense didn't play that well," said Oregon State coach Dave Kragthorpe, "but the defense gets the prize." In their four games—one of which they won—the Beavers have given up 184 points.
The Iowa offense. The Hawkeyes gained only 31 yards rushing in the first half against Michigan State—and the worst was yet to come. The Spartans, who received quite a chewing out from coach George Perles at halftime, stuffed Iowa backs for minus-47 yards rushing in the second half. That adds up to a net of minus-16 for the game. Michigan State, which trailed 14-7 at the half, won 19-14.
MEET THE PRESS
•After San Diego State was beaten 25-20 by Oregon, Aztec coach Denny Stolz stalked the press as they started circulating through the San Diego State locker room, mocking their questions and telling at least one of his players he didn't have to talk.
•Last season the wit and wisdom of Colorado nosetackle Kyle Rappold was a regular feature, entitled the Rapline, on the Buffaloes' weekly press sheet—and, subsequently, on opponents' bulletin boards. Before Colorado's game with Oklahoma, Rappold boasted, "If we don't beat 'em, we're gonna beat 'em up so bad that they lose to Nebraska." Rappold was mistaken; the Buffaloes lost 28-0 to the Sooners, who beat Nebraska 20-17. Now Colorado coach Bill McCartney has shut down the Rapline. He also told Rappold to shut up about Saturday's game against rival Colorado State. "Anything I say can and will be used against me," said Rappold, who dubbed the coach's censorship edict the Mac amendment. Silence was golden for the Golden Buffaloes, who beat Colorado State 29-16.
•Freshman quarterback Ronald Veal of Arizona, who was thrust into the starting lineup when No. 1 Bobby Watters broke his thumb and No. 2 Craig Bergman quit the team, had little to say to the press before Saturday's game against Bowling Green.
"Have you already been burned?" asked the scribes.
"Not yet," said Veal. "But sooner or later."
However, it was Bowling Green that got burned, 45-7, as Veal completed 9 of 15 passes for 164 yards, and ran for 134 yards in 23 carries for a new Arizona QB rushing record.
•Clemson coach Danny Ford has asked the press to stop making fun of his Tigers' cream-puff schedule. Ford has also requested that his grammar and syntax—chock-full of colloquialisms, double negatives and ain'ts—be cleaned up by the copydesk. Casey Stengel spins in his grave.
Mack and Watson Brown, the coaches at Tulane and Vanderbilt, respectively, are brothers with a close sense of kinship. Nevertheless, before their teams faced each other on Saturday, Mack, 36, and 16 months younger than Watson, put on his game face and offered only grudging praise for the opposition. "I'm supposed to say they're well coached," he said. "Mother called last night and told me I should." Well, maybe they are, but Mack's Green Wave beat Watson's Commodores 27-17.
Two Pac-10 coaches seem to have engaged in some rather curious reverse psychology. As 3-1 UCLA prepared to play Stanford, Terry Donahue said of his quarterback, Troy Aikman, who was leading the nation in passing, "He's a truly outstanding talent, but he can improve in a lot of areas." How many? Donahue enumerated: "His command of the team in the huddle. His understanding of the offense. His ability to call the right runs at the line. Finding receivers down under. His decision-making. His voice projection." Everything about Aikman's game was impressive—he completed 12 of 15 passes for 187 yards and two TDs and had almost perfect elocution—as the Bruins rolled over the Cardinal 49-0.
Things turned out quite differently for Arizona State quarterback Daniel Ford. "Danny has a lot to learn," said offensive coordinator Jim Colletto after Nebraska beat the Sun Devils 35-28 on Sept. 26. "He's a good college quarterback, but he's not going to win games for us. He's got to help us not to lose them. As long as he doesn't hurt us, we'll be all right." If Colletto was trying to light a fire under Ford, it didn't work. Against UTEP on Saturday, Ford completed two of six passes for 48 yards and an interception before being benched in the second quarter, even though Arizona State was ahead 21-10 at the half. His replacement. Paul Justin, took over as the Sun Devils went on to win 35-16.
THE GRASS IS GREENER
To explain the Big Ten's woes in recent Rose Bowls, some folks in the Midwest have settled on the Turf Alibi. Ever since Michigan and Ohio State, the Big Ten's most frequent representatives in Pasadena, installed artificial playing surfaces—Michigan in '69, Ohio State in '71—the conference has lost 16 of 19 games to Pac-10 teams. Fifteen of those 18 Rose Bowl hosts play on grass. This has some Big Ten coaches ready to call Lawn Doctor. "When our artificial turf wears out. we're going to grow grass," says Iowa coach Hayden Fry. whose Hawkeyes lost 45-28 to UCLA on the well-manicured Rose Bowl grass in 1986. "Every time we go out to play on the West Coast, we look like we're running in mud and it looks like they're on skateboards."
Michigan's Bo Schembechler, who has a 1-7 Rose Bowl record, demurs. "I don't think that the turf is a legitimate excuse for losing," he says. "Hayden may just be talking. Grass isn't practical in this climate. Some of the great games we've had on artificial surfaces would have been played on slop."
Another possible explanation for all those Big Ten losses is proffered by Arizona State coach John Cooper, whose Sun Devils beat the Wolverines 22-15 in last January's Rose Bowl. He posits the Halter Tops and Hollywood Theory, which holds that those farm boys from the Midwest simply can't handle the distractions of sunshine, bikinis and glitz in Southern California.
DUM QUOTE OF THE WEAK
Houston coach Jack Pardee offered this assessment of the two freshman quarterbacks—the Cougars' Andre Ware and Baylor's Brad Goebel—who faced each other in the Astrodome Saturday: "Neither one is not nearly as good as they're going to get."
Kansas State coach Stan Parrish thought he had a good idea. He figured he would get some extra fans to show up at KSU Stadium on Saturday, and they just might see the Wildcats win for the first time in nine tries. After all, Tulsa, also winless this season, was the opponent. So Parrish sent copies of the same letter to the college and local newspapers. "Being negative is easy," he wrote. "Being positive takes conviction. Our team needs your support to help us become winners." His team needs more than that. Although 28,400 spectators showed—Kansas State's largest crowd in a year—Tulsa won 37-25....
"I know it's the American way to say you always have a chance," said Iowa State coach Jim Walden before his Cyclones got blown away 56-3 by Oklahoma, "but it's also the American way not to lie." Still, the Sooner starters displayed unseemly cockiness. After running up a 32-point lead in the first half, the first-stringers sat on the bench in their sweatpants throughout the second....
Holy Cross was supposed to play Yale on Saturday, but the Crusaders backed out of that commitment, leaving Yale with an open date. As it happened, Hawaii had a hole in its schedule as well and invited Yale to Honolulu. Hope the Elis enjoyed the beaches. Hawaii's Heikoti Fakava scored five touchdowns as the Rainbows won 62-10. In 116 years of football a Yale team had never traveled so far or been beaten as badly.
Will Schnellenberger soon be leaving his new Kentucky home?
PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
Air Force quarterback Dee Dowis, a sophomore, ran 19 times for a school-record 241 yards as the Falcons beat Utah 48-27. With 672 yards, he's the WAC's top rusher and No. 1 ground gainer among the nation s quarterbacks.
Pacific cornerback Ruben Harper, a junior, tied a PC A A record with four interceptions as the Tigers, outgained 344 yards to 294, beat New Mexico State 23-7. Harper ran 92 yards with one interception for a touchdown.
Texas Tech's Tyrone Thurman, a 5'3", 130-pound junior kick-returner, ran back a punt 74 yards for a touchdown in the Red Raiders' 27-21 upset of Texas A & M. It was his third career punt return for a TD, tying the SWC record.