The Tampa Times from Tampa, Florida on July 31, 1979 · 21
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The Tampa Times from Tampa, Florida · 21

Tampa, Florida
Issue Date:
Tuesday, July 31, 1979
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i rranic Klein iiiiMHr HP . Time is on fhe side : of Buc Danny Reece . There is in the current Buc camp the in teresting little battle for the starting right cornerback position. That's between Mike Washington, who's started there for 30 straight games, and Curtis Jordan, who has played at the corners and safey positions for four years. .. Then there's this other battle back there. It's between rDanny Reece and everyone else. Danny Reece hungers for a starting backfield spot but wouldn't want to give up his regular specialty returing punts to anyone else. . He doesn't want to yield even that dur- ing the pre-season schedule which starts Saturday night against Washington at1 Tampa Stadium. But he realizes this is a time for letting coaches see what the new talent can do under game conditions. "But, hopefully, they'll play me more this year," says Reece. "It's no longer just I t- a matter ot mak ing the squad. I know I'm as talented as any one. At 24 years of age, they can't say I'm too old, either. They say you reach your prime at age 25 or 26. I'm looking forward tn it. what. Danny Reece ever it is." He's the youngest of the four-year Buc veterans. Time is on his side. The goal is to be an All-Pro defensive back. Danny (for the Biblical Daniel) Louis (for Joe Louis, admired by father Lloyd, a one-time , Navy boxer) Reece has been aimed in the right direction from the start by very religious parents. ' - He was just past age 16 when he was graduated from high school (Banning High in Los Angeles). As an all-city selection at running and defensive back and with excellent grades,' he won a scholarship to Southern Cal. He'd gotten there so early by being skipped at the elementary and junior high levels. :.' He said it was his mother's prodding to stay so busy with athletics and academics that saw him move along so fast. , ; "I. was into the pros at age 21, so I never had any time to hang out with the tough guys in bars." , He was graduated at USC in regulation time but could have completed the f bur- i year course, with major, in psychology, in three years. He was carrying 21 units while earning All-America honors as a safety and return specialist. "I was permitted to get my major out of the way first and then take the other required courses, like four years of Spanish, 7 later." - Why psychology? - "Everything in life is correlated and psychology helps you recognize and un-, derstand why things are the way they are and why you do what you do. Getting out of high school at 16J4 I know I didn't un-' derstand myself. I was irrational so I went right into study of psychology at USC. , Reece carried 21 units straight through and could have graduuated in three years. Psychology is a great help in football or as an off-season account executive trainee with Bateman, Eichler, Hills and Richards ; . in Century City, Calif.' He's officially on leave of absence to play football. Eventually, he'd like to pursue that line of work in Tampa. Danny's bullish about the Buc chances i this year. ' "We're much stronger after three years together," he says. "Everyone knows each - other's moves now and this is a fine training camp. I think there's a more positive, attitude. ' .' .V. "We know we have the hitters back , there and this has been a time for more " , work on the finer points. "And it'sa hard training camp. A lot of teams work in shorts in the morning and pads in the afternoon. We're in pads for both workouts and it's going to pay off when . we play games here. .We're better ; prepared for the weather. The other .rguys'll die." . ':Z In the tough business of returning punts, Reece has had his physical set- -backs, but they've seldom kept hirn out of j action for long. His recovery rate is remarkable. In 1977 he went out of the Detroit game after being "wiped Out", on a ; punt return. Films showed a Lion knee Tslamming into the softest spot on the out-- ..' side of Reece's muscular thigh. It bal- 'I Mooned and doctors thought it was a frac-. ture. ., . " See KLEIN, page 3-C ' , " 1 miff .pff mvi$$sM i t - ' ' i ! f '"' ' il i " " " ' Fl f " ' ' : : rl Vlnors offer Ifiese fwo By RUSSELL MANLEY Times Sports Writer ' " ! ' . Ufa p - i - v - k ! if ' r " Y - ?- I.J , ft A A4- x f - i " I i - - r I l' K s 5 iliil f TJ1 o - .! ? Brill Loughlin TAMPA TIMES '. .r , -.. '- . v.--'...:- w.; : ; . " Drill kUUgnilfl Steve Christmas discusses catching strategy with his backup, Tampan Danny Sarrett Marsh's magical soccer show will end this season Steve Christmas and Danny Sarrett, who've crossed paths this summer as the two catchers on the Tampa Tarpon roster, offer a study in contrasts of the uncomfortable and uncertain road that is minor league baseball. . On the one hand there is Christmas, a two-year veteran of Class A ball who has always been able to hit and who has, in an alarmingly short period of time, made himself into a fine, defensive catcher. He's now considered among the top young prospects to succeed the legendary Johnny Bench behind the plate in Cincinnati, .. and will likely be playing full time for the Reds' Class AA affiliate in Nashville next summer. ; ', , .ii ... . - -.. v :; r '. : : J On the other hand, there is Sarrett, hopeful young local lad who made the Tarpons primarily on the strength of his defense and who knows he must improve with the bat if he is to have a future in professional baseball. His whereabouts in the coming years are much less predictable, as was graphically demonstrated early this week. . . ... Monday morning, the 20-year-old Sarrett hopped a plane to Eugene, Ore"., where his services are required behind the plate for Class A Emeralds of the Northwest League. The Emeralds need dependable defense at catcher to hold on to first place; and the Reds organization figures Sarrett will be better off playing every day in Eugene rather than continue spot duty here.' :. Tarpon manager Mike Compton isn't happy to see Sarrett go, since the Leto High grad gave him a bit of. local interest on the roster in addition to fine work be hind the mask. ' ' "I'm happy Danny will be playing every day," said; Compton, "but I'm selfish enough to wish we could keep him here to help us win the second half. I think he's a fine prospect, but he needs to improve offensively. Getting in the lineup every day will help." As for Christmas, well Compton will likely be say-, ing goodbye to him, too, before too long as the 21-year-old Orlando native nicknamed "Tree" moves along to vie with the Reds' other young catching prospect, Dave Van Gorder, a second-round pick in the 1978 summer draft who's in his second season at Nashville. Christmas, a left-handed hitter, and Van-Gorder could make quite a left-right combination for the Reds, and Compton says he wouldn't be surprised to see the two platooning in Cincinnati in the near future. ' Anything Steve Christmas accomplishes will be little surprise to those who watched his athletic career at Orlando's Colonial High. The 6-foot, 190-pounder gave the fans there double See MINORS, page 3-C Write no epitaphs for him. Shed no tears. . i Remember him as he was the last four years since coming from Fulham of the English Leagues, the most popular, the : most valuable and certainly the most charismatic athlete to nit the Tampa sports scene in many a year. v And remember him the way he'll be in his final Tampa Bay Rowdy testimonial game Sept. 14" at Tampa Stadium whether it be against an all-star team or another North American Soccer League team. All proceeds from the game will go to Marsh, a tradition brought to the U.S. from England. The NASL's and Tampa Bay's "Mr. Magic" has only a few rabbits left to pull out of the hat on the playing field. "I don't like to deal in nostalgia," said Rodney Marsh in the wake of Monday's announcement of his retirement at the end of the 1979 season. "My job coming here is done,", said Marsh, whose contract expires August 31. Ironically, he was named the club's player of the week Monday, his first such honor this year. ; "The way I figured it, I'm at 'the peak of my profession. I'm still playing magnificently.' It's better to quit now when people will say, "Why' instead of "Why not now.' For me, in my situation with the Rowdies, I want to go out in my peak. Whenever someone retires, as in my case, there can be surrounding circumstances." Marsh, who has 11 goals and a same number of assists this season, wants to leave the same way he's performed all his career as a winner. While the decision has occurred in the last 10 days, Marsh said Monday the decision was solely his and he ' wasn't pressured by the front office, which has on occasion attemped to have him exit gracefully in the past. Soccer Richard Mudry In fairness, the. Rowdies were to offer him a 1980 contract with a substantial hike in- salary. Marsh's agent, Ken Adam, was negotiating that pact until the last 10 days. Marsh said he delayed announcing his decision because he wanted to be sure he was doing what was best for him. i "I had several options open to me," he said of the surprise decision, "and I chose the best one for me." "Ken and I sat down and thought that if I have a testimonial game, I'd better go out. There is no doubt in my mind I could go out and have another great season. My knee (injured earlier this year), is 100 per cent healthy. I don't feel in the slightest that I'm lacking at all. Physically and mentally, I'm very, very strong." "It was a very emotional thing,"-said Adam of his talks with his client and good friend. "In the initial stages, he Wasn't sure. We talked days on end." Yet, said Marsh, the full impact of his decision, will not hit him until the days of Sept. 14 draw nearer. "It's a very, very sad day for me," he said, the usually infectious grin on his face turned downward in dejection and seriousness. "I've had four tremendous years in ' Tampa. The reality of the decision came Sunday, but until I knew it was being announced, it didn't hit me. I hadn't fully committed myself until I did it here. The thing I find difficult to digest in my mind about the retire- rnent is the fact I'm still doing it well And, sure, said Marsh there have been second thoughts, sleepless nights and uneasy days during the last fortnight, v "The decision is not in keeping with me," he continued. "When I make a decision, it is usually clear cut." Apparently this one was not. "And I'm not sure I've made the J right decision even now," he said after the noon press conference. "It could backfire. But its irreversible. I don't want to finish my (playing) career anywhere else." . How will he and the team handle it as the playoffs draw closer? Will "Win One for Rodney" become a rallying point? "I've known about it for the" games against Chicago and Detroit," he said, "and I've handled it so far. The closer it gets to the date, I'm sure it will be harder for me to deal with." ; Marsh told his teammates Monday following the morning workout. Surely they will be thinking about it this morning on the way. to .Washington, D.C. for .Wednesday's game agairfst the Diplomats. "I think it will have a tremendous affect on the squad," said the veteran and club captain, "especially the younger players." . v "It looked like total shock to me when I told them." It is easy to understand the hurt . those players such as Perry Van Der Beck, Wes McLeod, Winston DuBose, Farrukh Quraishi and such must have " felt.' :;v. : : J Marsh's knowledge and friendship has been invaluable to them both on and off the field. See MARSH, page 3-C w '--'j-"-w-'viftiir . Rodney Marsh won't be scoring on headers or performing other magical soccer tricks after this season. New Bucs to dirty uniforms against Redskins By FRANK KLEIN . ? Times Sports Editor . Whatever the Tampa Bay Buccaneer roster total amounts to by Saturday night, you can expect to see all the Bucs in action against the Washington Redskins. They won't all be among the first or second 22 but . special teams coach Phil Krueger says they likely will be called to duty on special teams the fellows who trot, on for punt and kick return in other kicking situa tions. ' ' W ' ; v: ' Some of the regulars who work with such units may not be called upon so Krueger and others can evaluate. the new players. .-' ' '- : If it came down to a fourth-period case of win or lose, the Bucs likely would go with the proven ones. - ' "We know who are already established as' special teams performers, the people like Danny Reece, Paul Harris and Rik Bonness. So now we get to look at different players, people coming off injured reserve. We'll use Jerry, Anderson, and the new people like Tony Davis (who won most valuable player honors with the Cincinnati Bengals in 197? as a special teams man). "We wont have to use Larry Mucker. We know what he can so we'll try Reggie Owens out there and see what other rookies, like Dave Logan and George Yarno, can do covering kickoffs." ' ' Buc special team strength has improved over last year.- -...;- .' " -: . Karl Farmer, who joined the club late last year, had been an outstanding special teams man with the Falcons. Tight end Jim Obradovich is another. ' Obradovich is also the backup punter behind rookie Bo Adkisson now that veteran Dave Green is out for at least eight to 10 weeks after tearing the Achilles tendon in his right leg. 3 There's plenty of emphasis on special teams work in' the Buc camp as the pre-season opener approaches. ' Doing the holding this season for kicker Neil O'Do-' noghue are quarterbacks Gary Huff and Mike Rae. : The Bucs have been practicing with three backs deep for kickoff returns, as they had in the 1976 season..' It will probably be George Ragsdale, Isaac Hagins and Henry "Varoom" Vereen, the rookie from Nevada-Las Vegas..',.; v ;:4 V;: '? Dana Nafziger will snap on punting downs and Charley Hannah will be back to do the same on field-goal at-tempts. . v-v ' j; :'". v. c 'f.:V,.". The punt returners, in addition to the reliable Reece,; will be Davis, second-year man Mike Lefenseller and Vereen...-.. . '. ... ; . - - 1 T i

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