Black quarterbacks achieving higher profile
The days when black quarterbacks were typecast as runners first, passers second, and felt forced to pursue pro jobs in Canada, are ending. Given more opportunities to throw the ball in college, blacks have begun to achieve a higher profile in the National Football League. Doug Williams, of course, became the pace setter in this regard last January when he led Washington to a Super Bowl victory and was named the game's most valuable player. This season the Philadelphia Eagles have made history by employing two black signal callers, veteran Randall Cunningham, and rookie Don McPherson, Syracuse University's Heisman Trophy runner-up last year. Besides Williams and Cunningham, Warren Moon of the Houston Oilers is a starting black quarterback. Other blacks, meanwhile, have begun to take their places more frequently on NFL depth charts and in college programs, indicating that in the next decade any vestiges of stereotyping at this position could disappear. Two routes to the end zone
This year's Sun Bowl in El Paso, Texas, presented a stark contrast in offensive philosophies. Alabama went to the air frequently, Army hardly at all, in an exciting game won by the Crimson Tide, 29-28, last Saturday.
Bowl MVP David Smith, the Alabama quarterback, completed 33 of 52 pass attempts, while his Cadet counterpart, Bryan McWilliams, threw just five times and completed none.
Would Army have won if it passed more often? Probably not judging from past results. Since going to the run-oriented wishbone offense in 1984, West Point has a record of 25-1 in games in which it passed six times or less. The loss to Alabama, therefore, was the first inflicted when Army stuck closely to its game plan.
The Cadets, by the way, return their entire starting backfield next year, a talented group that conceivably could win ``Four Horsemen on the Hudson'' plaudits before they graduate. Touching other bases
Louisiana State's Tiger Stadium is widely acknowledged as one of the hardest places for visitors to play, a reputation confirmed in a poll of major-college coaches last year. A notoriously noisy crowd makes it difficult to concentrate. The biggest roar this season may have come near the end of the Auburn game, when LSU scored a touchdown that gave the Tigers a 7-6 victory. The ensuing noise actually registered on the school's earthquake-detecting equipment. Except for that one-point loss, Auburn would have been undefeated heading into the Sugar Bowl against Florida State. The Seminoles also suffered a single defeat, but by quite a different margin, namely an embarrassing 31 points in their season opener against Miami.
Oklahoma State just missed becoming the first school to have both the national rushing and passing champions in the same season. Heisman Trophy winner Barry Sanders ran away with rushing honors, and quarterback Mike Gundy was a close second to Washington State's Timm Rosenbach in passing efficiency. All three players return next year for their final college seasons, but Sanders and Gundy will be working behind a brand new line. The current starters are all seniors.
Boston Celtics guard Dennis Johnson has decided to scrap his habit of dribbling the ball the number of times he's been in the National Basketball Association before every free throw. The 13-year veteran realized he was flirting with a 10-second shooting violation, so has gone to taking 3 dribbles, which is his jersey number
The most frequently used football in college play is the Wilson F1001, and it may stay that way as long as the coaches have any say. Royalties from the sale of the ball are donated to the national retirement fund for college coaches. Wilson Sporting Goods Co. has even gone a step further in buttering up this group of clients by stamping each ball with the fund's official logo.