The Courier-Journal from Louisville, Kentucky on August 27, 1972 · Page 177
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The Courier-Journal from Louisville, Kentucky · Page 177

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Louisville, Kentucky
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Sunday, August 27, 1972
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Page 177
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THE COURIER-JOURNAL i TIMES, AUGUST Jt, m ''" 13' EMntuelf State has talent lacks depth By EARL VANCE Courier-Journal & Timet Staff Writer If knocking on wood helps ward off evil spirits, don't be surprised if Kentucky State University football coach Leroy Smith winds , up with a set of sore knuckles this season. It's not a lack of talent that bothers him. In fact, he's loaded with starters. The thing that bugs Smith is the constant threat of the injury bug. What do you do to keep it away? "I'm going to be knocking on wood from beginning to end this season," Smith said the other day while pondering his team's outlook this fall. "We should do well if we can stay healthy. We have veterans at every position, but we're thin on reserves; they need experience." Smith has 72 players in general and one in particular whom he would like to keep free of injury. "If anything happened to our quarterback," Michael Jackson, we'd be in trouble," Smith continued. "We play a pro-type offense and Michael does a great job the way, he ran for seven touchdowns and threw for 16 more in directing Kentucky State to an 8-2 regular-season record, the school's best since 1937, and a berth in the Orange Blossom Classic where it lost to powerful Florida A&M 27-9. As for Smith, he's looking for an encore to last year's outstanding season. When he took the head job at Kentucky State two years ago he inherited a team that had gone winless in nine games the season before. He guided the Thorobreds to a 3-6 record in 1970 while building the team that bowled over opponents last season. And he's still building. Thirty men who won letters last fall are returning, including 16 of his 22 starters. Of the 16, eight are on the offensive team and eight on the defensive unit. One of Smith's more important tasks will be to rebuild a running game of the sort that clicked so well last year. Back, of course, is Jackson, but gone by graduation are standout running backs, Willie Rodgers and Marion Quinn. "I think we have three men who can amply take up the slack caused by their loss," said Smith, "They are Mike Beckham, a junior; Ken Chenault, who transferred from Middle Tennessee; and Norman Young, a 205-pound junior college transfer from Washington, D.C." And, of course, he still has veteran James McKinney, a senior who has seen much action in his previous seasons with the Thorobreds. Ronald Brown, a 6-foot-4, 245-pound senior tackle is expected to anchor the offensive line with help from 230-pound junior guard Steve Baldon and 225-pound Richard Dodson, whom Smith regards as the finest small-college center in the nation, The key man on the defensive team once again is 6-4, 245-pound Wiley Epps, who is" being watched with interest by several professional teams. Epps, a senior linebacker, has led the team in tackles the past two seasons. Last year he was credited with 131 unassisted tackles, 127 assists and he had four pass interceptions. "Epps is undoubtedly our most purely talented player," Smith said. "He's quick and hard-hitting and his hands have to be the quickest of any linebacker in the country as shown by his four interceptions. If he doesn't make all the All-American teams this year and isn't drafted by the pros in the first round. I'll be surprised." "And I can't say enough about the two white boys (Kentucky State is predominantly black) from Valley High in Louisville who are doing such a great job for us," Smith went on. "Ronio's pass rush is the best I've seen and Butch really does a job behind the line." "Romo" is Norman Romagnoli, a do. fensive end, and "Butch" is Butch Walker, both juniors. Andy Neloms, a 6-4, 240-pound defensive tackle who was the team's second leading tackier last season, also is back. Another bright spot is the defensive secondary, which has three returnees. They are Michael McGuire, a senior who grabbed nine interceptions last season, Charlie Oliver and Royce McKinney. With their help last year, the Kentucky State secondary held opponents to an average of only 73.2 yards through the air per game, 10th best in the nation. Thin on reserves "I see us as a strong team, but thin on reserves," said Smith by way of summary. "I'm pleased with what I've seen so far. When the men reported I ran them a mile to find out what kind of shape they were in. The backs had to do the mile in 5 12 minutes and the linemen in six. I'm happy to say they passed their tests." Kentucky State will open its season Sept. 9 at Oklahoma City against Lang-ston. The Thorobreds have only four home games, the highlight coming Oct. 7 in a homecoming clash with Lincoln (Mo.). It was Lincoln that administered one of the Thorobreds' defeats last season. Kentucky State will play six games on the road, including a Nov. 4 clash with Federal City in Robert F. Kennedy Stadium in Washington, D.C. And what kind of an encore does Smith hope to follow last year's big season with? "Wouldn't 9-1 or 10-0 be nice?" lie sighed. LEROY SMITH Has plans for an encore Kentucky Stale roster LINEBACKERS Player, Hometown TIGHT ENDS Player, Hometown Ht. Wt. Class Ht. 6-6 6-0 -t-f La Fred Tatom, Cleveland, Ohio Theodore Butler, Jackson, Miss. ... Wiley Epps, Washington, D.C. .... James McBride, Tuskegee. Ala. .. 63 5-9 Class Fr. Fr. Sr. Jr. Jr. Jr. So. Jr. So. Wt, 270 205 240 195 190 185 210 2)5 185 Walter McLain, Chicago 6-2 David Self, Starkville, Miss ... 5-10 Reggie Stephens, Lynch, Ky 6-0 Butch Walker, Val. Station, Ky 5-11 Ricky Wordlow, Louisville 6-1 DEFENSIVE BACKS Robert Burkes, Louisville .5-10 Ronald Dixon, Jackson, Miss 5-10 Karvell Howard, Philadelphia, Miss. 6-0 Peter Jackson, Jackson, Miss 5-11 Michael McGuire, Dayton, Ohio 6-0 Royce McKinney, Detroit 6-3 Charlie Oliver, Anniston, Ala -.5-11 Frank Oliver, Montgomery, Ala 5-11 of running it. He has fine speed and a great throwing arm. Besides, he's a senior with all that experience and both his backup men are freshmen. "Yes, I'd say the team will live or die with Jackson." Jackson proved his worth last year when he finished 11th among the nation's quarterbacks witth 1,999 total yards. Along So. Jr. Fr. Fr. Sr. So. Jr. So. 153 180 181 180 185 195 180 190 George Glass, Valley Station, KY. ... 4-2 Curtis Steward, Lynch. Ky. 6-3 Melvin Sykes, LexinBton, Ky o-4 SPLIT ENDS John Dede, New Orleans, La - 6-3 Leonard Harris, Detroit 6-3 Flournory Jeter, Montgomery, Ala. 5-10 OFFENSIVE TACKLES Ronald Brown, Pittsburgh 4-3 Allen Burton, Detroit .. . 6-6 Obbie Graham, Louisville 6-3 Marvin Robinson, Los Angeles 6-4 Robert Sanders, Jackson, Miss. 6 3 Ron Westmoreland, Corinth, Miss. 6-3 Collins Wilson, Mayfield, Ky. 6 3 OFFENSIVE GUARDS Steve Baldon, Louisville - 6-3 George Bridges, Orlando, Fla - 6-2 William Burks, Louisville 6-3 Roderick Johnson, Lexington . 6-2 Ronnie Moore. Maysville. Ky 6-0 Jim Oates, Frankfort, Ky. . 5-1 1 CENTERS Paul Cross, Louisville 61 Richard Dodson, Washington, D.C 6-0 Johnny Woodard, Miami, Fla 6-2 QUARTERBACKS Jimmy Dixon, Frankfort, Kv. 5-11 Michael Jackson, Washington, D.C. - 6-2 Larry Rumph, Orlando. Fla 6-1 RUNNING BACKS So. PUNTER James Mason, Lexington ... 4-0 220 PUNT-KICKOFF RETURN SPECIALIST Dick Garrett San Antonio, Texas 5-10 160 Sr. 192 218 210 IBS 210 ISO 230 255 220 255 215 210 212 ?30 220 235 240 208 212 530 225 195 160 190 185 175 190 190 190 ISO 190 200 205 202 185 180 205 180 165 185 230 200 220 205 225 210 225 245 240 2V0 236 250 245 Fr. Fr. Fr. Jr. Jr. Jr. Sr. Sr. So. Sr. Fr. Fr. Fr. Jr. Fr. Jr. So. So. Fr. So. Jr. Fr. Fr. Sr. Fr. Fr. Jr. Jr. Fr. So. Fr. Fr. Fr. Fr. Sr. Jr. Jr. Jr. Fr. So. So. Fr. Jr. So. Jr. Fr. Jr. Jr. Fr. Fr. Fr. Fr. Fr. Daryl Atkinson, Lynch, Ky 5-11 Michael Beckham, Lexinglon - 5-10 : o x-k. . urv i i v i m m im n w v ir-;' Alvero Brown. Tuskesee, Ala. 6-1 Aaron Byas, Corinth, Miss. 6-1 Ken Chenault, Lexinglon 5-11 Sieve Curley, Covington, Ky. . ... 6-0 Hilly Jo Grooms, Princeton, Ky. 6-1 Carlos Green, Ocala, Fla. 5-10 Reginald McCartha, Orlando, Fla. 6-1 James McKinney, Jacksonville, Fla. 5-10 Theron Stokes, Montgomery, Ala. ... 5-10 Norman Young, Washington, D.C. ... 6-2 FLANKERS Art Keller, Dayton, Ohio 6 2 Charles Mallard, Jackson, Miss 5-10 Danny White, Jackson, Miss 6-1 DEFENSIVE ENDS t ester Bradford, Phoenix City, Ala. 6-4 Homer Byers, Holly Spring, Miss. 6-1 James Crook, Anniston, Ala. 6-3 Cleveland Hudson, Starkville, Miss. . 6-2 Norman Romagnoli, Val. Sta., Ky. .. 6-5 Randall Williams, Orlando. Fla 6-4 DEFENSIVE TACKLES Ronnie Hayden, Nkhotasville, Ky. -. 6 2 Andy Neloms, Auburn, Ala 6-4 John Rawls, Ocala, Fla . . 6-3 Jerome Robinson, Jacksonville, Fla. 6-3 Clayton Tarpley, Orlando, Fla 6-4 Zack Thompson, Cleveland, Ohio ... 6-2 Sylvester White, Cleveland, Ohio ... 6-5 Staff Photo BUTLER linebacker David French (left) and defensive conch Dennis Nachand talk things over. Get RCA XL-lOOj viewing luxury j in a table model! 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