The Palm Beach Post from West Palm Beach, Florida on January 1, 1977 · Page 29
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The Palm Beach Post from West Palm Beach, Florida · Page 29

West Palm Beach, Florida
Issue Date:
Saturday, January 1, 1977
Page 29
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Mercury: Season With San Diego 'Chaotic 'Sometimes some of the guys would get a hose . . . and spray everybody they could. Hey, there were guys who had to go home in their sweats because their stuff would disappear for two or three days.' Mercury Morris First of two parts By CHARLIE NOBLES Cox Newspapers Wrlttr After seven seasons as a Miami Dolphin, Mercury Morris this season was exposed to life with another National Football League team. The running back spent part of his time doubled over in laughter, part angry over his role as a substitute and part wondering how two franchises could be so different. "Looking at it objectively ... I hate to say it, but the difference was . . . things (at San Diego) were run on a professional level, but not what I was used to," Morris said. "I mean, at times I had visions of being the head coach out there." He laughed. "Of course, I was ready to take over the ship on a moment's notice." Morris, who still makes his off-season home in Miami, said there was a distinct lack of continuity in his work day at San Diego. "Our meetings would end at 11:30 and we wouldn't practice until 1:30," he said yesterday at his South Miami home. "That was too "Needless to say, the 6-8 I spent there was a much better situation than the 6-8 I could have gone through here," he said. "The situation was relaxed, to say the least. "We had an abundance of black ballplayers, 32 I think. Depending on whose eyes you're looking through, it might have been an over-abundance. But, nevertheless, that part of it I really dug, because we never did have a whole lot of black ballplayers when I was here." Morris has no particular affection for the Chargers' coaching staff, particularly head coach Tom Prothro, and he's not reluctant to discuss it. "When I first go there, they started changing my stance. I said, 'Hey, wait a minute. It's not like I'm in my second year.' They were really hip on fundamentals, too. We did a lot of college drills. Stuff like the monkey roll which I didn't do because of my knee. If I wanted to do some monkey rolls, I'd join the circus," Morris said. Turn to MORRIS, D3 much free time, especially since we had so many young guys." Some of them would play cards to pass the time, he said, but others would be busy thinking up pranks like taping guys' shoes to the wall pipes, dumping ice water into an occupied bathroom stall or hiding players' street clothes. "Sometimes, some of the guys would get a hose, bring it inside and turn it on . . . spray everybody they could. Hey, there were guys who had to go home in their sweats (sweatsuits) because their stuff would disappear for two or three days." Morris said it was also fairly routine to see the team's defensive players either wrestling informally or playing touch football. Another thing he found drastically different were fines. "If you're late for a practice or meeting, you get fined 50 cents a man a minute," he said. "With 43 guys, that adds up in a hurry. I was late for my first meeting ... and my last. The first one cost me $239. Hey, down here, they gave the fine money to charity. Out there, we had a weekly party with it. From 5:30 until . . . "It used to take the guys two days to recuperate ... by then it was gametime. Man, the guys used to love it when somebody was late. They'd see him coming in and they'd start clapping and saying something like, 'We're having lobster this week because Eddie Bell is 17 minutes late.' " While Morris doesn't mind admitting the Chargers' situation was "chaotic," he said he prefered it to going through a losing season with the Dolphins. Mercury Morris . . .too much joking f The Palm V. Post-Times Clipboard, D4 3or S v SATURDAY, JANUARY 1, 1977 SECTION D Vnn Blocked Punt Helps Nebraska Top Texas Tech HOUSTON (UPI) - Kent Smith blocked a punt and Nebraska quarterback Vince Ferragamo threw a 23-yard touchdown pass to Chuck Malito on the next play to vault the Cornhuskers to a 27-24 Astro-Bluebonnet Bowl victory over the Texas Tech Red Raiders last night. Ferragamo, one of two brilliant quarterbacks in the wild offensive game, threw another touchdown pass, and workhorse Nebraska tailback Richard Berns scored twice to help the Cornhuskers roar back from two 10-point deficits for the victory. Texas Tech, 10-1 during the regular season, took its lead as running back Billy Taylor caught two touchdown passes from quarterback Rodney Allison and rushed eight yards for another. Tech specialist Brian Hall kicked a 28-yard field goal in the first quarter but missed on 32 and 37-yard attempts in the second half which would have tied the score. Each team scored in each of the first three quarters but the fourth quarter was scoreless as Nebraska held on for its third post-season victory in the four year reign ci head coach Ted Osborne. Ferragamo, the eventual offensive hero in a game which featured many standouts, almost gave the game away in the first half when two of his mistakes resulted in Texas Tech touchdowns. With Nebraska leading, 7-3, early in the second quarter, Ferragamo was hit from the blind side and he fumbled. Tech defensive end Richard Arledge recovered at the Nebraska 32 and four plays later Taylor caught a 14-yard touchdown pass. Late in the second quarter, Nebraska lost the ball again on Fer-ragamo's poor pitchout. Again Texas Tech converted the mistake. Four plays later Allison found Taylor for a 11-yard touchdown pass. Nebraska trailed 17-7 at that point with 2:14 left in the first half, but Ferragamo passed 24 yards to Dave Shamblin and 22 yards for a touchdown to Mark Dufresne to cap an 80-yard drive and bring the Cornhuskers to within three points at half-time. Tech scored first in the second half on Taylor's 8-yard run, but Nebraska roared back again from a 10-point deficit to score on Berns' 18-yard run and Ferragamo's pass to Malito. Ferragamo passed for 183 yards. Berns led all rushers with 119 yards. AP Wireptwte Texas Tech Tailback Billy Bailor Gets Tripped Up by Nebraska's Dodie Donnell Streets of El Paso Paved With Aggies 'They have artificial turf at ihe Texas A & M stadium so the Aggie Homecoming Queen can't graze on it.' Florida center Robbie Moore Tech Neb 21 49-164 232 II 14-24-0 47 2-2 1-5 First Downs Rushes-Yards Passing Yards Return Yards Passes Punts Fumbles-Lost Penalties-Yards 24 42-191 193 3 15-23-0 3-34 3 4-1 2-21 the game was today, there is no way he could play in it. "He just kind of twisted it and we felt he'd be farther along than he is. But now, I'm very concerned that he'll be able to make it at all. Right now, we're just keeping our fingers crossed and looking for an Indian medicine man. "Wes Chandler and Tony Dor,sett were the two most exciting players in college football this year and certainly without Wes, we're not as effective a football team." The thing about it all, the Catch 23, is that Texas A&M was No. 2 in the nation against rushing and if Florida's air arm is weakened, Jan. 2 could turn into a lengthy day for the Gators. Turn to GATORS, D2 By BOB BASSINE Post Sports Editor EL PASO, Tex. Around this vast state they don't tell Polish jokes. Or Italian jokes. Or Jewish jokes. They tell Aggie jokes, which go something like the one University of Florida center Robbie Moore came up with yesterday morning. "They have artificial turf at the Texas A& M stadium," he said, "so the Aggie homecoming queen can't graze on it." This is a very undiplomatic move, since Texas A&M already is a quite solid favorite over the Gators in Sunday's 42nd annual Sun Bowl football game. It would be downright disaster if the Aggies themselves weren't walking around telling each other, "Hey, did you hear the latest ..." And there are thousands of them on the streets at this border city of the extreme southwest tip of Texas. But Florida coach Doug Dickey isn't getting many big ha-has out of it all with the game rapidly approaching. Dickey acts more like a man who hopes they don't all go home telling Gator jokes. His problems, indeed, appear large. His Gators have been less than sensational at stopping good running teams and the Aggies are among the best. The biggest thing on his mind right now, nowever, is the state of Wes Chandler's right ankle. Florida's star wide receiver twisted his ankle in practice Tuesday before the team left Gainesville. "I'll be there," Chandler said. "It might only be 75 per cent but I'm confident I will be able to play. And, to tell you the truth, I haven't been all that impressed with their pass defense. I think we'll be able to throw the ball against them." Dickey is not as confident on either point. "I don't think we'll know about Wes until just before kickoff," he said yesterday. "If Texas Tech 3 14 7 0 24 Nebraska 7 7 13 o-J7 Neb - Berns 1 run (Eveland kick) Tech - FG Hall 2( Tech - Taylor 14 pass trom Allison (Hall kick) Tech - Taylor 11 pass trom Allison (Hall kick) Neb - Dutresne 22 pass trom Ferragamo (Eveland kick) Tech - Taylor I run (Hall kick) Neb - Berns U run (Kick failed) Neb - Malito 23 pass from Ferragamo (Eveland kick) A - 48,618 Orange Bowl Lacking Flair But Ohio State, Colorado Dead Serious to acknowledge the game's troubles. Ohio State's hunk of granite, Woody Hayes, said, "We plan to treat it with as much enthusiasm as we would any game. We want to win. I think you'll find that it'll be a good game." And Colorado's Bill Mallory, who was bounced on Hayes' coaching knee when he was an assistant at Ohio State, was no less straightforward. When an inquisitor suggested the Orange Bowl was the "down" game of today's four "classics," he looked as if the questioner had just suggested that football had been invented by the Commies. "I don't think you'll find it to be a 'down' game," said Mallory icily. "We plan to play hard." Turn to ORANGE BOWL, D2 backdrop for Ara Parseghian's coaching farewell when Notre Dame beat Alabama. This year, neither team is ranked in the top 10 and at stake is the network's Nielsen rating. Aside from the provincial lather Miami annually works itself into for the game, indifference has been the most appropriate adjective directed toward the contest. Yesterday a few thousand seats were still unsold, despite the invitation to Ohio State over UCLA that was supposed to boost ticket sales. But the Orange Bowl Committee has lifted the television blackout, as the game will be broadcast in South Florida on Channels 5 and 7, even if not sold out. Naturally, though, neither coach is wont By RANDY SCHULTZ Pest Staff Writer MIAMI The Miami Chamber of Commerce has spent the past week trying to keep from going down for the third time. The weather has been more suited to a filming of "Wuthering Heights" than basking on the beach. The militant hotel workers have taken this week to picket. And finally, the city has been trying to give transfusions to an Orange Bowl game that has been shallow from the start. Tonight, as close to 8 p.m. as the Rose Bowl and NBC will allow, Ohio State and Colorado will meet in the 43rd game in the series. Last year, Oklahoma's victory over Michigan earned it the national championship. Two years ago, the stadium was the i (lb , vrrvn A M 111 :M l& )J fr Inside Today- Sugar llowl Cotton llowl Georgi" coach Vince Dooley figures his club is equal to No. 1 Pitt in just about every respect except one Tony Dorsett, the Panthers' record-breaking ground-gainer. The difference may be enough to give Pitt the bowl win and the national championship. Story, D2 Hose Bowl Michigan's Bo Schem-bechler is hoping his third appearance in this classic is the charm he's dropped two already. The opposition is the University of Southern California with star running back Ricky Bell to match up against the Wolverines' Rob Lytle. Stcry, D12. Is Maryland as strong as its 11-0 record suggests? Houston's Cougars will put the Terrapins to the test after surprisingly capturing a tie of the Southwest Conference title this season. Story, D2 I V , AP Wlrephote TARHEELED Kentucky quarter- Peach Bowl, won by Kentucky, 21-0. back Derrick Ramsey has his It was the first bowl appearance for progress halted by two unidentified Kentucky in 25 years. North Carolina linemen in yesterday's Story, D2 Dorsett Schembechler

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