The Orlando Sentinel from Orlando, Florida on December 29, 1979 · Page 43
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The Orlando Sentinel from Orlando, Florida · Page 43

Orlando, Florida
Issue Date:
Saturday, December 29, 1979
Page 43
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Sports Sentinel Star Orlando, Florida C Saturday. December 29, 1979 Financial McKay, Vermeil march to own drummers TAMPA Dick Vermeil and John McKay are men of short stature. If they were even shorter and lived in more magical fimes, one might be called "Happy" and the other "Grumpy." Dick, "Happy" Vermeil is a 43-year-old cheerleader, who looks younger than he is. He radiates enthusiasm. If he didn't have inordinate skill as a football coach, he would surely be the president of some team's booster club. Vermeil talks about "Eagle fever," and he means it. j John "Grumpy" McKay is a 55-year-old comic curmudgeon, who is the oldest coach in the NFL. If he didn't have inordinate skill as a football coach, he would either be a sensational stand-up comedian or a hermit atop Mount Everest. McKay says: "A genius in the NFL is a coach who won last week and the corollary is that a dumb S.O.B. in the NFL is a coach who lost last week." And he means that, too. Vermeil and McKay almost met Friday. Vermeil flew in from Philadelphia with his football team, did a few cheers and reported for a press conference. McKay had been interveiwed two hours earlier but was already somewhere on the front nine of his favorite country club. "I have things to do," said McKay. "I'm going to play golf and will probably do well because I'm all pumped up for this game." Vermeil just smiles at remarks like that. Jerry Greene Tm used to them." Today Vermeil will lead his Philadelphia Eagles against McKay's Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the first round of the NFL playoffs. Take no prisoners and all that. They have done battle before. A few years back, McKay was the resident builder of national championships at Southern Cal. They met when Vermeil spent a few minutes at UCLA while rapidly working his way up the coaching ladder from high school to junior college to college to pros, back to college, and to pros again. In 1974, McKay's Trojans defeated Vermeil's UCLA team 34-9 on the way to McKay's fourth national championship. But, in 1975, Vermeil got 25-22 revenge in the last regular season collegiate game for both coaches. McKay went to Tampa Bay and took four years to build a playoff team from scratch. Vermeil went to Philly and took three years to build a playoff contender out of a broken-down club. Amazingly, they claim to be friends. In fact, McKay calls Vermeil one of his four friends in the NFL. More than one caustic reporter has already expressed surprise at finding out McKay had that many friends. Perhaps opposites do attract. In any case, their mutual success is proof there is always more than one road to take to the top of the mountain. Vermeil, who probably helps Boy Scouts across the street, will say nothing derogatory about McKay. He praises McKay for his success. But, at the same time, Vermeil always gets that funny smile whenever someone mentions a caustic McKay one-liner. It's the kind of forgiving smile a religious zealot uses to blind you as he stands at your door with a handful of pamphlets. "I understand," says the smile. "You may be misguided, but I understand." Vermeil is a very nice man who can Greene, Page S-D 4 - - IK Ml til "4 5? A SOT II If 4 Stntlntl Star graphic ""f If you don't have one of these forget it. Bucs in deep water in tackling Eagles By JERRY GREENE Sntint Ster TAMPA Already farther from shore than anyone believed possible, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers head into the deep waters of the NFL playoffs today. Rated eighth in an eight-team field, the Bucs are among a pack of sharks. The patsies which dominated their schedule are gone, consumed during the 16-game season. Fins to the left, fins to the right, and the Bucs are the only bait in town. Today's visiting predators are the ' Philadelphia Eagles. A wildcard winner over Chicago last week, they sport a 12-5 record and are four-point favorites to beat the Bucs despite the urging of a sellout crowd at Tampa Stadium. The Bucs are 10-6 and NFC Central Division champions. Neither their record nor their title have generated any national respect. "When you've been oh-and-26, how can that be forgotten?" said Buc Coach John McKay, a year ahead of his promise to make the fledgling Bucs contenders in five years. "We now look upon that record with fondness, because many people still underestimate us." This will be the first time the Bucs have had full national television exposure. The players are fired up about proving to America that they are something more than a Odds: Philadelphia 4 over Tampa Bay Radio: WDBO-AM, 580 -TV: WDBO-6 When: 12:30 p.m. today Significance: Winner advances to NFC title game Johnny Carson joke. McKay isn't concerned. "I don't give a damn about our national TV image," said McKay Friday. "And I don't care about Philadelphia. I just worry about us." Understandable as the Bucs have been their own biggest worry all season. Mistakes on offense and special teams have been their Achilles' heel. Otherwise, the teams are remarkably alike. "I told our squad it will be like an intrasquad scrimmage," said Eagle Coach Dick Vermeil. Statistically, Tampa Bay has the edge even on offense. Most Buc fans would be amazed to discover -their sputtering offense actually gained 17 more yards than the Eagles 15 rushing and 2 passing. But Philadelphia used its yardage to score 66 more points. As Vermeil said: "Obviously, Tampa Bay hurt itself more than we did with mistakes this season." The strength-vs.-strength battle will be when Philadelphia's offense faces Tampa Bay's defense, ranked 24 No. 1 in the NFL in most significant catagories.' . The key here is Wilbert Mont- gomery, who gained 100 or more yards in seven games this year for the Eagles. Vermeil makes it clear he wants to run on the Bucs, and Montgomery is the only running threat they have but he's a great one. I'd like to run 42 times and pass " said Vermeil. "That would be perfect. I can't think of a game in three years that we've run 40 times and lost." , Buc stats support his plan. Tampa Bay opponents rushed 40 times or more in just four games this year and the Bucs lost all four. And the Buc defense held foes to less than 30 rushes in seven games and won six of those. If Montgomery can't run, Ron "Polish Rifle" Jaworski must pass. And if the Eagles must pass, they'll look for 6-foot-8 Harold Carmi-chael, who will be opposing BuC cornerbacks Mike Washington (6-feet-3) and Jeris White (5-feet-ll). "I played basketball," said the reticent Washington, "and I think we can stop him." The Eagles also will look for tight end Keith Krepfle over the middle and, on third downs especially, running back Billy Campfield. Philadelphia has a veteran line 1 A J4 i : J 3 ; ' '' If J r:i'i rl ' - if At I .... ,. . .-. . I 1 " " "' " Aitocimd Pun bum, Past s-D Eagle Coach Dick Vermeil, in contrast to Buc Coach John McKay, is a cheerleader. 'Jordham' glad end in sight By BILL BUCHALTER AtMcutt Sporta Editor MIAMI It's the last hurrah. The final friendly confrontation. A fateful, fleeting, frenzied moment of nostalgia that can never be taken away, replaced or repeated. It's the final football game for the two-headed Florida State quarterback Wally Jim Jordham. No hints. No words. No stepping to the front to determine the starter for Tuesday night's Orange Bowl showdown with Oklahoma. Just the last time Jimmy Jordan or Wally Woodham will share the quarterbacking duties in Florida State's unusual, unique two-QB system. And, perhaps not surprisingly, it brings a sigh of relief to Woodham, Jordan and Bobby Bowden, the coach who created this four-armed puzzle for defenses to solve. Truthfully, honestly," Woodham began, "we've had to live with it and it hasn't been easy. It was espe cially hard at first as sophomores. North Carolina nips Michigan in Gator V,. " U, Pagt 5-0 Florida State All American Ron Simmons works out in Orange Bowl preparation. UnMtd PrmlnferiMtiOMl JACKSONVILLE Quarterback Matt Kupec led underdog North Carolina on a 97-yard scoring drive in the third quarter Friday night and a fired up defense forced four Michigan turnovers in the final pe riod to give the Tar Heels a 17-15 Gator Bowl victory over the Wolverines who failed on a two-point conversion try with 1:28 left to play. Kupec completed six out of seven passes including a 12-yard touchdown strike to wide receiver Phil Farris with 2:19 left in the third quarter to give North Carolina its first lead in the bowl game. The drive, which consumed more than six minutes, started back on the Tar Heels three-yard line following a tripping penalty on the return of a long punt by Michigan's Bryan Virgil. Michigan's hope for regaining the lead was thwarted in the final period when North Carolina came up with two pass interceptions and two fumble recoveries but Michigan did close within tying distance on a 30 yard touchdown pass from quarterback B. J. Dickey to Antho ny Carter. But the attempted two. point pass was broken up. The 14th-ranked Wolverines built ' a 9-0 lead before starting quarterback John Wangler went out midway through the second quarter with torn ligaments in his right knee. With Wangler, who completed six of eight passes for 203 yards while at the throttle, the Wolverines opened the scoring in the first , minute of the second period on a 20-yard field goal by Virgil and widened that lead with 9 47 left in the half on a 53-yard pass from Wan-pier to Carter, who was wide opett at the North Carolina 20 and streaked untouched into the end zone. However the Wolverines missed the extra point and that was the play which forced them to go for the two pointer late in the contest. Wangler was injured while being sacked back at the Michigan three-yard line and the next time North Carolina pot the bal' at the Michigan 43. the Tar HtV marched In for their first serve w'lh Doug Pas chal go'-, t! fin?! rd and Jeff lidyi s adding thp extra point to cut the margin to 9 7 with 4:46 left in the half.

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