The Lincoln Star from Lincoln, Nebraska on January 3, 1977 · Page 11
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The Lincoln Star from Lincoln, Nebraska · Page 11

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Monday, January 3, 1977
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THE LINCOLN STAR sports Monday. 1377 Page 11 Kiffin accepts Arkansas post Monte Kiffin is shown excited after his defense made a big play. Such enthusiasm is typical of Kiffin, who is joining the Arkansas staff. By Dave Sitter Staff Sports Writer Monte Kiffin, who earned the reputation of a defensive football coaching wizard because of his work as defensive coordinator at Nebraska, announced Sunday that he is leaving the Cornhuskers. The main architect of the Nebraska "BlackShirt" defensive unit the past four years, Kiffin announced that he had accepted a similar position at Arkansas under new Razorback coach Lou Holtz. "This has been the toughest decision of my life." Kiffin said. "But I decided at noon today (Sunday) that I was going to become the defensive coordinator at Arkansas." Kiffin's jump to Arkansas marks the second assistant coach to leave Nebraska in less than a month. Defensive backfield coach Warren Powers resigned Dec. 13 to become the head coach at Washington State. At that time, Kiffin was in the running for the head job at the University of Oregon. When Kiffin was not hired at Oregon, one of the reasons given was his lack of experience in more than one program. Kiffin, 37, who played at Nebraska, has spent his entire coaching career at Nebraska. He is m his tenth season as a full-time coach, eighth as defensive line coach and fourth as the defensive coordinator. After his two seasons as assistant freshman coach, Kiffin was the defensive line coach under Bob Devaney. When Devaney retired from coaching in 1971, Kiffin was named defensive coordinator under present Nebraska head coach Tom Osborne. "Going to Arkansas gives me a chance to see how things are handled in another program," Kiffin said. "It will mean that I will have worked under three different coaching philosophies with Bob Devaney, Tom Osborne and now, Lou Holtz. "Going to Arkansas and the Southwest Conference puts me into a different area of the United States," Kiffin continued "I'm pretty well known around the Big Eight Conference and the Midwest, but in other places Monte Kiffin isn't that well known. I think this exposure will help me become a head coach someday." Kiffin said Holtz, who replaced retiring Frank Broyles as the Razor-back's coach, contacted him a couple of weeks ago about the possibility of going to the Fayetteville, Ark., university. On Christmas Eve, before Nebraska departed for Houston and the Astro-Bluebonnet Bowl, Kiffin flew to Fayetteville to visit with Holtz and look over the Arkansas facilities. "Arkansas has a lot of tradition like Nebraska," Kiffin said. "It's not like-going somewhere like TCU. The situation is much like Nebraska because it's the only major school in the state, the fans are rabid football fans and there is no professional sports to compete with in the state." Contacted at his home Sunday afternoon, Tom Osborne said he was "naturally disappointed to see Monte leave. I think he is one of the top defensive coaches in the country He has done a great job for me since I've become head coach. "I just think that Monte felt he had been here long enough and felt like it was a time to make a move " Osborne said some people might speculate that there were internal problems between himself and Kiffin, but that it wasn't true. "I have all the respect in the world for Monte and there is absolutely no problems between us as far as I know," Osborne said. "I'm sure it will be similar to the Vince Ferragamo thing in the Fiesta Bowl last year where some people won't believe me, but I'm telling you exactly how I feel." Kiffin seemed anxious to quell any notion he was leaving Nebraska under unhappy circumstances when he said, "I appreciate everything Tom Osborne has done for me, he's a fine person to work for and I am very appreciative of what he has done for me along with Bob Devaney and the people of the state of Nebraska " Noting the difficulty in making the decision, Kiffin said, "Saturday night was one of the longest nights of my life trying to decide what to do. "It was like being in the last two minutes of a game and you are leading 14-13 and the other team is going for a two-point conversion and the win and vou have to decide what defense to call " Kiffin's resignation along with Powers' leaves two vacancies on the Nebraska staff. One is expected to be filled either late Monday or Tuesday by the hiring of Kansas' defensive coordinator Lance Van Zandt It is common knowledge that Van Zandt will be hired. But Osborne must wait until the University has fulfilled the federal laws of advertising the position vacancy. It would seem obvious, with the resignation of Kiffin. that Van Zandt would take over the defensive coordinator responsibilities But Osborne was not readv to admit that Sunda "I want to sit down with my staff and discuss some things," Osborne said Asked if Guy Ingles. Nebraska s freshman coach who is only on the staff on a parttime basis, had the inside track to fill the other vacancy, Osborne wouldn't commit himself "I have all the confidence in the world in Guy," Osborne said "But at the moment we don't have anyone with any experience coaching down defensive linemen I will probably wait until after the national coaches convention (10 days) before I make any decision " Osborne said he was not surprised by Kiffin's decision to leave, saying. ' I know he's been debating for a long time on what to do It's a gamble like anything in football. But he could gamble if he stayed at Nebraska, too " Kiffin. who praised all the athletes who have played defense for him at Nebraska, said "what some people don't realize is that what makes this so tough is that I'm a Nebraska native I sat in the knothole section 'high school seats) at Nebraska games as a kid. Nebraska people are so great Kiffin. who will head for the new position sometime this week with his wife. Robin, and their children Monte Jr . and Heidi, continued that. ' the hardest thing is going to be when I walk across the field at Memorial Stadium for the last time "When I walk out the door it'll hit me that I'm not a part of the Nebraska program anymore But I can't look back. I must look forward and I'm anxious to do everything I can for Lou Holtz and Arkansas University." NU faagers ready for South Carolina Probable Lineups SC (4-6) Nate Davis 6- lie Augustus !6-S' Bill Gause ;6 1 Radio broadcasts: KFOS kli'J and KFAB By Mark Gordon Staff Sports Writer Can South Carolina recover from a rugged contest against top-ranked Michigan in time for Monday night's game with Nebraska? That's the question surrounding Monday's 7 p.m. (Lincoln time) basketball game between the Gamecocks and Huskers which is NU's final nonconference game this season.' The match is set for Carolinar Coliseum in Columbia, S.C. Coach Frank McGuire's Gamecocks battled Michigan, ranked first by both major wire services, to a 90-36 loss Sunday afternoon at Columbia in a nationally-televised game. But the Gamecocks should be accustomed to competing with the nation's elite. SC has lost to national powers Alabama (twice. 90-67)' and Cincinnati (79-62). The Gamecocks meet Marquette University Saturday in Milwaukee. " Overall, SC is 4-6 with wins over Cal Ploy-Pomona (86-64); Furman (77-71): Georgia (74-73 in overtime) and Harvard (71-63). They also lost to Texas Tech (83-75). The Gamecocks, who lost 69-68 a year ago in Lincoln to the Huskers, have been paced by captain Nate Davis this season. The 6-4 senior forward showed his talents to a national audience when he hit 12 field goals and four of six free throws to score 28 points against Michigan. He hit 18 points against Nebraska last year. Jackie Gilloon, a 6-0 junior guard, tallied 27 points against Michigan. A pleasant surprise has been the play of 6-9 freshman center Jim Graziano, who was averaging 15 points early this season. He scored nine against Michigan. McGuire, in his 12th year at Columbia, has been satisfied with his team's progress. "We're coming along as well as expected," he said. "However, this is a very young team and our schedule is one of the toughest in the country. Our players are going to have to mature in a hurry." The Cornhuskers, meanwhile, are coming off a fifth-place . finish in, the Big Eight's Holiday Tournament in Kansas City. After an awful" 55-50 loss to Colorado, Nebraska regained form in wins over Iowa State and Oklahoma for an 8-5 record. NU coach Joe Cipnano isn't fooled by SC's 4-6 record. "Right now. South Carolina's win-loss mark is not that impressive, but that's because they have probably the toughest schedule in the country, which in the long run makes you a better team," he said. "Individually. Nate Davis and Jackie Gilloon are two of the better players in the country and Jim Graziano is one of the top freshman players in college today. For us to compete on South Carolina's home floor, we will have to play our most complete game all year." NU ventures into the Big Eight Conference season Saturday against coach Jack Hartman's Kansas State Wildcats in a 7:35 p.m. encounter in the NU Sports Center. Other Saturday league openers send Big Eight Tournament champion Missouri to Kansas, tournament runnerup, in the regionally- televised affair (3pm, channels 3-5 K Iowa State to Colorado and Oklahoma to Oklahoma State. Big 8 Standings Sports Signals y"., ' Virqil Pa-ker W L 9 2 9 3 8 2 0- 'aha -3 Kaisas Sta'c Tuesday's Games Iowa State at Drake Colo'ado at Las Vegas Wednesday's Games M S50j"i Southern at Olano-a Sta'e O'ianoma a' Oral Robe-ts Saturday's Games Kansas State at Nebraska, 7 35 p i NU Ssor Certe- Vissouri at Kansas, afternoon televis 3-1 O-lafto-na a Oklahoma State lo.va State at ColoraSo Franklin's field goals power Aggies, 37-14 El Paso. Tex. (UPI) - The winter weather " finally did what Florida's defense couldn't Sun-dav stop Tony Franklin's talented shoeless foot. Franklin. Texas A&M's barefooted kicker who is on his way becoming the top field goal specialist in NCAA history, boomed three three-pointers in the first half to lead the Aggies to an easy 37-14 Sun Bowl victory over Florida. The sophomore, who during the regular season broke the NCAA record twice in one game with field goals of 64 and 65 yards, added a national bowl record to his credit with a 62-varder Sunday. He added field goals of 39 and 33 yards and contributed two extra points before his foot finally gave out on the final PAT of the day. "My whole foot was numb from the cold by then." said Franklin in explaining the miss. "I just didn't feel a thing." For Florida, which lost its fifth straight bowl game, the numbness could nave come a little sooner. Franklin s three field goals helped the Aggies to a 164 half time lead and fullback George Woodard made the rest of the day miserable for the Gators with three second half touchdowns. Woodard. a bullish 250-pound fullback, scored on runs of one and three yards and caught a 15-yard scoring toss from quarterback David Walker. Franklin, wlio now has kicked 11 field goals from more than 50 yards, broke the previous bowl record of 55 yards set in last season's Astro-BJuebonnet Bowl by Texas' Russell Erx-ieben Franklin, the nation's leading field goal kicker this season with 29, is only a sophomore Aided by a 15-mile-per-hour wn.d, Franklin's long boot had plenty of room as it crossed the uprights to give the Aggies a 13-0 lead at that point midway in the second period. An awesome Aggie defense, ranked fourth nationally, came up with five Florida turnovers and dominated the normally explosive Gator offense in the opening half. The Gators, who led the Southeastern Conference in total offense in running up an 6-3 record, scored on a 29-yard end around by wide receiver Wes Chandler and a one-yard plunge by junior Terry LeCounte. F 1 o r i d a's offense, which crossed mid-field only once in the opening half, was ambushed both by the Aggie defense and an injury to senior quarterback Jimmy Fisher. It was the Aggies' seventh straight win and left them with a season mark of 10-2. Fiend Tuu A4M Penalties yarai -S.V-CG -an,i itM 0 VVa'kf ' 'fi HIj"li IND1V10U,L LEADERS -l -l 35 Tcv J.V,. WosOard . Buckeyes Big 8 champs? Miami (API - Woody Haves, celebrating only ms second coaching victory m his last six football bowls, said Sunday that his Ohio State team should be champion of (he rugged Big Eight Conference "It's a consolation bow in a Hayes said of the or- 27-10 Saturday night. u.ree of its previoas bowls tins "But it isn't for toe Big season, Nebraska in the Astro-Eight," Hayes hastily added. Blnebormet. Oklahoma State in "and we beat the Big Eight tri- the Tangerine sad Oklahoma champion We consider our- in the Fiesta, selves Big Eight champions " The nth-ranked Buckeyes The Big Ten had lost eight of ninth victory in 12 games in the nine bowls, including its last 1976 season broke bowl streaks four in a row. before the Bock- for both powerful con- eves resorted to a stinjrv de- lne Bowl, where his Big Ten ferences. fense and a switch in offensive co-champions beat Colorado The Big Eight had won all strategy to handle Colorado. ' ssm arW Texas A&M's kicker Tony Franklin kicks a 62-yard f ield goal against Florida. Selfish Reason Houston. Tex. - I had a very selfish reason for wanting Nebraska to win the Bluebonnet Bowl game here the other night. A Cornhusker victory, I figured, would end the football season. That's the joy of this sportswritmg racket About the time you are "up to here" with a particular sport, the season ends and you move on to something else. When another year rolls around, you're refreshed and eager for that sport to begin again Wouldn't a Nebraska loss to Texas Tech have also ended the season, you might ask? Not for a sportswriter! Four losses and a tie would have been the most games on the wrong side of the ledger for a Cornhusker team in 16 seasons. That would have meant a lot of letters from disgruntled fans all saying the same thing in different words - ' Fire the Coach'" The subject of football with stories covering the quality of the coaching and the play of the team (or the lack of gamei -would have dragged on until spring practice got underway. Unfortunately, even the victory over Texas Tech. the No 3 team in the nation, didn't seem to quell all the unrest among Big Red fans. Partially to blame was Nebraska's No. 1 national ranking at the start of the season. If the Huskers had been tabbed No 20 and finished in the top ten as this club surely will everyone would have been satisfied. A difference But. when you're selected to be No 1. anything les? than that becomes a disappointment to many I was disappointed this fail So were the coaches and players. But, there should be a difference between disappointment and dissatisfaction However, if I read the reaction of many, even capping the current campaign on the high note of a bowl game win wasn t enough The saddest commentary on the subject is the number of people who are apparently disgruntled because the margin of victory in the bowl game wasn't great enough When the time comes and maybe it's already here that a coach must worry about the point spread instead of just winning it's time to chuck the whole operation. Indiana's Lee Corso was quoted this fall as saying his job will never be in jeopordy even though he only wins two or three games a year as long as he beats the spread "My hate mail from the alumni is in direct proportion to how 1 do against the point spread." he said It's a terrible thing to admit, but if his club is expected to lose by 30. yet manages to come within 20. the alums win the bets and are satisfied despite a poor overall record Nebraska beat a higher-ranked team for its bowl ;ctor and a 9-3-1 record, yet Osborne's phone rang five mir.utes after returning to his hotel room The caller chewed him out for not trying a field goal on the last play of the game in order to beat the bookie's point spread Time to leave If and when any coach becomes influenced by such thmkme it's ume for him to get out of the game I know of a true case m point It was a small collece game about 10 years ago in North Carolina One club, favored by si. had a five -point lead witii just seconds remaining Time Out' A long field goal attempt was ordered A chance to win by eight' The bail was snapped The gun went off The kick slithered low and off to the side rolling down to about the five ardlmf The kirkrog team headed for the Sench In effect . 1be t? saymf to themselves Oh ell we tried to beat the spread But anyhow . we still won by five Wait a minute' Suddenly, the safeU from the other learn had scooped up the ball and was dashing down the field Touchdown' The favorites lost try one Served em right when we can i be satisfied with virtnrv -but have to worry about the sire of tne margin - it s time n take a long hard look at the whole purpose of lnterrcll'-ciale athMics As far as I m concerned the same can t said ffi a 't-'s 1 record and a top ten finish If a foothaii program which has produced 13 bow) teams in the last 15 stasons - including the last eight m a row with seven victories m those eight posl-sean games - isnt satisfactory, we had beitct re-mrnir our priorities m life N RRCH1V1 N IRCHIVE( EWSTVVPER F.WSPAPER-

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