Heisman Trophy Candidate - Some schools, Southern California for example, seem to specialize in turning out great tailbacks. With Brigham Young University the last few years, it has been quarterbacks. The Cougars currently have three alumni, Gifford Nielsen (Oilers), Marc Wilson (Raiders) and Jim McMahon (Bears), playing in the National Football League. And now they have another top passer the pros are scouting on a weekly basis in 6 ft. 1 in. southpaw Steve Young, the great-great-great grandson of the Mormon Leader after whom BYU is named.
Most NFL scouts can't seem to decide whether they like this senior's throwing arm or his ability to scramble best. So far this year, BYU's opponents have had almost no success in containing Young, who has led the Cougars to a 7-1 record and a spot in the Top 20 in both major wire service polls. He did his thing again Saturday, too, passing for two touchdowns to set an NCAA record for most consecutive games throwing a TD pass (19), then scrambling for a one-yard score with 11 seconds left to lift his team to a 38-34 victory over Utah State.
It was mostly like that last season, too, when as WAC Offensive Player of the Year, Steve completed 62.7 percent of his passes for 3,100 yards and 18 touchdowns.
Part of Young's success, of course, can be traced to the Cougars' consensus All-America tight end, Gordon Hudson, who caught 67 passes in 1982 and always seems to have this wonderful game-day rapport with Steve.
While Young hasn't had nearly the early Heisman Trophy publicity of Nebraska running back, Mike Rozier, for example, Steve's candidacy suddenly has the look of a player capable of changing voters' minds between now and the end of the season.
Baltimore's Pitching Philosophy - One of the hallmarks of Baltimore's World Series victory over Philadelphia was how stingy the Oriole pitching staff was with its walks. Baltimore starters didn't allow many free passes to first base, and pitching coach Ray Miller later explained why. Said Miller: ''Unlike most big league clubs, velocity isn't the first thing our scouts look for in a young pitcher. Actually we're more interested in kids with good deliveries and good control who also have good movement on the ball. Then, when we do bring this kind of youngster into our organization, we tell him to work fast, learn to change speeds, and get off the mound so that we can score some runs. However, don't let the words 'change speeds' fool you. We're not talking about the routine changeup but the ability of a man to change speeds on all of his pitches so that he can constantly keep opposing hitters off balance.''
That Rocket Power in Houston - Despite his size, 7 ft. 4 in., 230-lb., and his enormous potential, center Ralph Sampson the No. 1 draft pick of the Houston Rockets, will need time to adjust to the rigors of pro basketball. Sampson had nights during the exhibition season (for example, against Portland when he hit only four of 16 shots) that suggests that he may want to establish his offense closer to the basket. Right now Ralph's biggest asset is his mobility plus the fact that he hooks well with either hand. What Sampson's game probably needs most at this point is time to develop; something the Rockets claim they are willing to give him, but something the fans and the press aren't apt to be so patient about.