NEWS AND NOTES
PACKERS WANT MORRALL IF THEY CAN LAND HIM
NOVEMBER 25 (Milwaukee Journal) - Lisle Blackbourn will make Earl Morrall, Michigan State's fine quarterback, his No. 1 choice in the annual NFL draft to be held at Philadelphia Monday morning. The league, breaking with precedent, will hold both the bonus draw and the first three rounds of the draft at this time. The rest of the draft, involving 30 rounds for each team all told, will again be held at the league meeting in January. "We need a lot of things," Blackbourn said, "but, most of all, we've decided, a quarterback - if we can get him. Rote needs help. It's just too much to ask him to continue to carry the load as he has." Three clubs remain eligible in the bonus draw - the Packers, Cardinals and Steelers. All others already have had this free choice which opens the draft meeting. Lot determines which team gets it. While both the Steelers and Cardinals have said they do not particularly care to win the bonus choice this year because of what they described as a dearth of good material, Blackbourn said he wanted it in the worst way. "We've got to have it to get three men out of this meeting," he said. "Our third draft choice in the regular draft belongs to Los Angeles in the deal we made for Tom Dahms. We've really got only two picks." Also high on the list from which the Packers will pick their men are halfbacks Hopalong Cassady of Ohio State and Art Davis of Mississippi State and tackle Norm Masters of Michigan State. Blackbourn will scout the San Francisco 49ers against Baltimore in Baltimore Sunday, then go to Philadelphia. Green Bay will make its next start against San Francisco at San Francisco a week from Sunday. Trapper Stephenson, veteran center who retired after last season, was recalled by the Packers Friday to replace Jim Ringo who was injured in Detroit Thursday.
STEPHENSON HURRIES TO PACKERS' RESCUE
NOVEMBER 26 (Milwaukee Sentinel) - Dave (Trapper) Stephenson, a 30-year old center who played six years of professional football before retiring last season, hastened to the Packers' cause Friday. Coach Liz Blackbourn talked Stephenson into reporting to San Francisco Monday, where the Packers will start a week long drill in preparation for their December 4 contest with the 49ers. The Packers proved Thursday that they were in drastic need for an offensive center replacement when veteran Jim Ringo was taken out in the second quarter on a stretcher. Rookie linebacker Tom Bettis, who never centered a ball before, had to take over and the Bays immediately went to pot. "X-rays show there is no structural break in Ringo's back," Blackbourn reported. "And there is no internal injury. It appears to be a tear in the lumbar region." Blackbourn revealed he would not add Stephenson to the active list immediately but wait until Ringo's condition is more certain. "Stephenson was called because we figure he could fit into our picture sooner than anyone else," said Liz. "He knows our system from last season. We couldn't expect that from anyone else." Ringo wasn't the only injury. Quarterback Tobin Rote was knocked out in the second quarter and had a severe headache the rest of the game. Fullback Howie Ferguson had such a bruised shoulder that he couldn't put on his coat after the game. Linebacker Billy Bookout, who was racked up in the 49ers game, played sparingly. Injuries had finally caught up with the Packers. "I have a feeling we can come out of it," Liz philosophized. "Warm weather should heal our aches and pains. If Ferguson is ever to get over his ailments this season the time is now." Blackbourn explained the over-abundance of fumbles, saying, "It was a Thursday ball game, there was no time to get over the bumps and bruises from last Sunday's game. I don't think either the Lions or the Packers were ready after a four day rest. They had a bruiser with the Bears and we have the same treatment from the 49ers. The cold weather had nothing to do with it. It was a perfect football day." Blackbourn emphatically believed if Billy Howton could have hung on to Rote's sure touchdown pass in the fourth quarter the tide would have changed. "We would have been tied then, and I'm sure we could have come through." A missed assignment in the line allowed Lew Carpenter to romp 49 yards to put the Lions ahead, 17-10, in the fourth quarter. "We used a tight 5-4-2 defense, with the secondary up close," pointed out Liz. "I'm not going to tell you who missed his job, but by the time the hole closed Carpenter had knifed through and was away. It was a once in a year touchdown."
HOBBYISTS MATCH WITS WITH PRO FOOTBALL TALENT SCOUTS
NOVEMBER 26 (Milwaukee Sentinel - Lloyd Larson) - Pro football club representatives will get together Monday to get a head start on their annual draft proceedings. First on the agenda will be the bonus selection, with three teams - Packers, Cardinals and Steelers - drawing lots for the right to get the right to an extra player. The drafting machinery will continue in operation through the first three rounds. Then a recess will be declared until the regular annual meeting in January. The purpose of the early selections, of course, is to give each of the 12 clubs a chance to sign its front liners before Canadian teams get into the act. Actually, the pro talent scouts - also coaches and owners relying on the scouts' opinions - could save themselves a lot of time and money if they would seek the help and advice of the Sullivan brothers, Jack and Joe, Milwaukee football enthusiasts. The Sullivans' hobby is to dig up and evaluate material for professional ball. They do it only for their own amusement and amazement. And what a job they do! Last year, for instance, 27 of the 47 college seniors they rated as the best in the nation were picked in the first three rounds of the draft. Five more went in the fourth round. They also put the finger on George Shaw as the logical bonus choice. Sure enough - Shaw was Baltimore's bonus selection. The hobbyists naturally do a lot of work. They subscribe to newspapers throughout the nation; study every football publication on the market, and contact every college and university from the smallest to the largest, as well as the pro clubs and league office. The volume of information, all of which has to be deciphered and judged, is terrific. Right now they, like the paid talent chasers who have the benefit of bird dogs in every section of the U.S., are ready with their early "book". They know exactly which players are eligible for the draft and they have a perfect line on those drafted in previous years. Which is something the pros don't always know themselves. The Sullivans' bonus guy this time is Earl Morrall, Michigan State quarterback, for they are absolutely certain of two things: 1 - Morrall can make it in post-graduate competition; 2 - Each of the three clubs in the running for the bonus shot (Packers, Cardinals and Steelers) need and will go for a quarterback. They figure the following should go in the first three rounds: First - Preston Carpenter, Arkansas back; Howard Cassady, Ohio State back; Joe Childress, Auburn back; Art Davis, Mississippi State back; Charles Horton, Vanderbilt back; Calvin Jones, Iowa guard; Joe Krupa, Purdue tackle; Jack Losch, Miami (Fla.) back; Henry Moore, Arkansas back; Bob Pellegrini, Maryland center; Don Schaefer, Notre Dame back; Ed Vereb, Maryland back. Second - Bruce Bosley, West Virginia tackle; M.L. Bracket, Auburn tackle; Hardiman Cureton, UCLA guard; Forrest Gregg, SMU tackle; Billy Kinard, Mississippi back; Earl Lunsford, Oklahoma A&M back; Joe Marconi, West Virginia back; Don McIlhenny, SMU back; Lenny Moore, Penn State back; Bob Moss, West Virginia back; Bob Pascal, Duke back; Mennen Schreiwer, Texas end. Third - Bob Burris, Oklahoma back; Jim Carmichael, California end; Leon Clarke, USC end; Frank D'Augustino, Auburn tackle; Gary Glick, Colorado A&M back; Sam Huff, West Virginia tackle; Fob James, Auburn back; Norman Masters, Michigan State tackle; John Paluck, Pitt end; Hugh Pitts, TCU center; Ed Rayburn, Rice tackle; Ed West, North Carolina State quarterback. Just in case you're wondering why some well-known names aren't on the list, the amateur talent sleuths offer some sample explanations that make sense and also show how thoroughly they go into things. Too small for pro ball: Sam Brown, 169-pound UCLA back; Bo Bolinger, 206-pound Oklahoma guard; Pat Bisciglia, 195-pound Notre Dame guard; Francis Machinsky, 209-pound Ohio State tackle, and Eddie Vincent, 171-pound Iowa back. Do not intend to play pro ball: Wells Gray, Wisconsin guard and tackle, and Bob Davenport, UCLA fullback. High on the list of sleepers (small college players and others not in the publicity spotlight) is Willie Berzinski, 195-pound La Crosse State back. Also rated a chance to succeed without benefit of a big buildup are Paul Goad, Abeline Christian back; Mel Siegel, 210-pound Washington University (St. Louis) quarterback; Wendell Taylor, Florence State Teachers (Ala.) back, and Paul Wiggins, Stanford tackle and prospective pro-defensive end. From all that, it's apparent the Sullivans really dig. Let's see how their list compares with the pros, whose combined talent chasing costs run into a lot of money, possibly hundreds of thousands of dollars.
PACKERS HAVE MONEY, NEED DRAFT 'LUCK'
NOVEMBER 27 (Milwaukee Sentinel) - Liz Blackbourn studied his Packer personnel the night before the Lion game in Detroit and named eight players who could make a championship team. They were quarterback Tobin Rote, halfback Veryl Switzer, fullback Howie Ferguson, ends Billy Howton and Gary Knafelc, linebackers Roger Zatkoff and Deral Teteak and safetyman Bobby Dillon. That pretty much tells why Green Bay hasn't the potential of a champion this season. Monday's NFL player draft, therefore, is the key to the Packers' progress under the Blackborn regime. "We need so much this time," said Blackbourn. "We need the bonus choice to get a good quarterback to take the pressure off Rote. I think Earl Morrall of Michigan State could be the answer." The Cardinals and Steelers also are in the bonus running with the Packers. Green Bay, though, will be short changed in the three round draft, owing the Rams their third choice for tackle Tom Dahms. "We've only got one halfback who is a real football player," added Blackbourn. "Switzer has done so many things well that he has had to play both ways. We need another one like Switzer. I think Howard Cassady of Ohio State is the best prospect. Then, too, we like Art Davis of Mississippi State." These were the immediate names mentioned by Blackbourn and certainly will be his top choices if he is lucky. However, the draft depends on the results of Sunday's standings. While Blackbourn had restored a winning frame of mind in Green Bay, he hasn't been very successful in the two drafts he has participated. The only '55 draftees to make the club this year are linebacker Tom Bettis, first choice; guard Hank Bullough, fifth; cornerbacker Doyle Nix, 18th, and end Nate Borden, 25th. None of these are top notch players, Blackbourn admits. In 1954 Blackbourn came home with tackle Art Hunter, first round; end Max McGee, fifth; and end Gene Knutson, 10th. Switzer was picked in the first round, the Giants owing the Packers their top picks after acquiring quarterback Arnold Galiffa in 1953. Only Switzer is around today. The Packers traded Hunter to Cleveland this season for tackles Bill Lucky and Joe Skibinski. McGee is doing a three year hitch with the Air Force and probably will not come back. Knutson mangled his back in the exhibition season. Gene Ronzani probably was the luckiest of any Packer picker, coming through with six members of the present squad. They are: halfback Al Carmichael, first choice; safetyman Val Joe Walker from the Giants in the first round; middle guard Bill Forester, third; Zatkoff, fifth; center Jim Ringo, seventh; halfback Joe Johnson, 11th. Ronzani also picked up Ferguson on waivers from the Rams that season and guard Buddy Brown from the Redskins. At the moment reserve quarterback Paul Held, obtained from the Lions this season, is the only backfield man acquired by the Packers through Blackbourn's dealings. Liz believe he had a good prospect in third choice Buddy Leake of Oklahoma last January, but Leake decided on Canadian ball. Liz is the first to show displeasure with his offensive line. "I'm disappointed in Skibinski and Lucky, I thought they could handle themselves better. We have had trouble keeping a four man defensive line from pouring into our backfield," confessed Blackbourn. "Consequently, our halfbacks and fullbacks must protect Rote. That gives us only two receivers to throw to. And if you're wondering why Camichael hasn't been used much as a halfback, the answer lies directly in his blocking - he does a poor job of it. I think we've got this club believing it is as good as any other team, but it takes more than determination, unfortunately, to be a contender. We've been skating on some pretty thin ice all season." Blackbourn revealed that the Packers' scouting system is as adequate as any other team's. "There's no such thing as a sleeper. What's to be had is known to all. We've made some money this season and the front office has told me it will spend as much as necessary for obtaining players. Green Bay isn't interested in making a profit, it's interested in getting back into the championship picture. That's our aim."