NEWS AND NOTES
TOUGH CAMP GRIND PAYS OFF FOR PACKERS
AUGUST 15 (Stevens Point) - An indication that the Packers are an improved lot over last season's start was Coach Liz Blackbourn's reaction Sunday after his club arrived at its Stevens Point training site after beating the Giants, 31-24, at Spokane, WA Saturday night. "We knew what we were doing against the Giants," observed Blackbourn. "We actually displayed mid-season form with conditioning the payoff." It was quite a bit different than last year's 38-27 loss to New York. Blackbourn made the following observations:
* Halfback Al Carmichael looked like the back we need. He scooted 30 yards after taking a short pass for a touchdown. Carmichael also set up the winning touchdown in the last 45 seconds by running back a Giant kickoff 73 yards.
* Quarterback Tobin Rote had a pretty good night, gaining confidence as our offensive line gave him good protection. Rote had only one pass intercepted, that being when he was hit.
* Rookie Charlie Brackins is going to see a lot of action. He showed that he can move an offense. And he did all the kickoffs, one being 20 yards over the goal posts.
* The defense played exceptionally well. Backs like Ed Price, Kyle Rote, Bobby Epps and Frank Gifford were not pounding us like they did last year. And the pass defense was reasonably good, although Chuck Conerly is one of the best in the business.
While the Giants doubled up on Billy Howton, Rote found Gary Knafelc an ace in the hole. It was Rote's 23-yard touchdown pass to Knafelc which won for Green Bay. "That winning touchdown was a honey," said Liz. "Knafelc faked the Giants' defense beautifully and scored untouched." Doyle Nix, defensive cornerbacker from SMU, played the whole game, the only rookie going the distance. Halfback Joe Johnson was a fixture at left half, as Breezy Reid was sidelined with a hip injury. Blackbourn was anxious to discuss his Saturday night engagement with the Browns at Akron. "We watched the All-Stars beat the Browns on TV," related Blackbourn, "and I'm sure Paul Brown will have the needle jammed in them eight inches come Saturday. I thought our draftees (end Jim Temp, linebacker Tom Bettis and guard Hank Bullough) looked good in the All-Star game. We certainly will welcome them back." The trio will rejoin the Packers Monday. The squad now numbers 53 but will be cut again before the Cleveland game.
BLACKBOURN PLEASED WITH PACKERS IN EXHIBITION VICTORY OVER NEW YORK
AUGUST 15 (Stevens Point - Milwaukee Journal) - Green Bay's 31-24 victory over the New York Giants in Spokane, WA Saturday night must have come as a very satisfying performance to Coach Lisle Blackbourn for he went into the game not with victory foremost in mind but the chance to see as many of his rookies as he could. "We'll be far enough away out there," he quipped, "that if we should look bad not all of the truth may find its way home." Blackbourn, with 54 boys in camp, must still cut 19 to reach the league limit of 35 and he wants to get on with it. Defensive halfbacks Jim Psaltis and Jack Patterson and defensive end Jack Crouch were cut Monday morning. Others were to be cut later in the day. A lot of work remains to be done once he settles on the make-up of his squad. Veterans did the actual scoring damage Saturday night, but rookies, especially in the secondary and the line, got their toasting...SCORES CAME ON PASSES: Every one of Green Bay's touchdowns was scored on a pass with veteran Tobin Rote on the trigger. Billy Howton scored two and Gary Knafelc and Al Carmichael each one. Knafelc's was scored in the last minute of play after Carmichael, with a great clutch effort, had returned a kickoff 73 yards into scoring position. To the touchdowns, Fred Cone added a 17-yard field goal - his one successful attempt in three. The club returned to its Stevens Point base by chartered plane Sunday afternoon. The next exhibition start will be made against the Cleveland Browns at Akron, OH Saturday night...FUTURE LOOKS BRIGHT: Rote's passing performance was undoubtedly one of the most satisfying features of the game, rookies or no, and suggested that in his second season under Blackbourn he might have one of his finest years. The Rice Rifle was a slightly confused young man when Blackbourn took over a year ago. Almost 10 percent of his passes had been intercepted in 1953 and only 38 percent had been completed. The threat of interceptions had made him almost afraid to throw the ball short or in the flat. To restore confidence was one of Blackbourns' first jobs and it wasn't easily done. Rote persisted with the long ball. But he gradually came around and in the Ram game here finally blossomed again into the Rote who in 1952 finished second only to Los Angeles' Norm Van Brocklin in the individual passing standings. He had less than 5 percent of his passes intercepted for the year and completed 47 percent. His attempts, 382, set a league record and his completions, 180, a season mark. The four touchdowns Saturday night certainly augured well for what the season might hold...MORE MARKS LIKELY: Rote, who closed his ears to all Canadian blandishments last winter, already holds six Packer passing records and will almost surely add a seventh shortly. He has completed more passes in his career (523), completed more passes in a season (180), gained more yards passing in his career (7,355), gained more yards passing in a single game (335), and attempted more passes in a season (382) than any other Packer back before him. Cecil Isbell held the old career record in completions (419), the old season record in completions (146), the old career record in attempts (382), the old season record in yardage (2,021) and the old single game record in yards (333), and Arnie Herber the old career record in yards (6,741). Now in Rote's grasp as another season begins to push baseball aside also lies Isbell's career record of 59 touchdown passes. Rote already has 53. He needs only seven more. Quite a guy - and never with a winning club. He is the lone survivor of the 30 boys drafted in 1950.
PACKERS ASK WAIVERS ON PSALTIS, 6 ROOKIES
AUGUST 15 (Stevens Point) - Coach Lisle Blackbourn lopped seven more players off his squad before sending the Green Bay Packers through two snappy workouts here Monday in preparation for Saturday's game with the Cleveland Browns in Akron. Waivers were asked on guard Charles Bryant, Nebraska; back Jim Psaltis, Southern California; back Clyde Sander, Bethune-Cookman; guard Jan Smid, Illinois; back Jack Patterson, Houston; back Harry Welch, Southern California, and end Jack Crouch, Texas Christian. The Packers also added Dick Deschaine, an offensive end and punter from Menominee, MI. He has no college experience but played semi-pro ball for the M&M Hornets. No serious injuries were suffered in the 31-24 victory over the Giants, Guards Joe Skibinski and George Timberlake, who missed the game, rejoined the squad and are ready for full workouts.
PACKERS ON 'DEFENSIVE'
AUGUST 16 (Stevens Point) - The Packers sharpened their defense Tuesday as Coach Liz Blackbourn ordered live tackling in preparation for Saturday night's exhibition against the Cleveland Browns in Akron. Blackbourn cited the work of Jack Spinks, former fullback who has been converted to guard, and Gene Knutson. A defensive end who has successfully made the switch to offensive tackle. The Packers will leave their training site by bus to Milwaukee Friday morning and then board two chartered plans for Cleveland from where they will motor to Akron.
PICK FELKER DRAKE AID
AUGUST 17 (Des Moines) - Gene Felker, former Wisconsin end, was named assistant football coach at Drake University.
PACKERS' OFFENSIVE GETS HEAVY WORK
AUGUST 18 (Stevens Point) - Coach Lisle Blackbourn hopes to have his Green Bay Packers in top shape for their exhibition game this weekend with the NFL champion Cleveland Browns. Blackbourn has been drilling his squad hard on Browns' plays this week in preparation for their meeting at Akron, Ohio, Saturday night. The Packers seek their second straight victory after turning back the New York Giants last weekend. Wednesday the squad's offensive unit was put through a long drill against the Browns' defensive plays, while the defensive Packers faced Cleveland's offensive plays.
TEMP GIVEN SPOT IN PACKER DEFENSE
AUGUST 18 (Stevens Point) - Coach Lisle Blackbourn said Wednesday he plans to use practically the same starting lineup in the Green Bay Packers' exhibition with the Cleveland Browns in Akron, Ohio, Saturday night as he fielded last week in the Packers' victory over the New York Giants at Spokane, Wash. One difference will be at defensive end where Jim Temp, formerly of Wisconsin, will start in place of Nate Borden. Temp was on the College All-Star squad in Chicago last week as the collegians whipped the Browns. Blackbourn said linebacker Tom Bettis and guard Hank Bullough, also on the All-Star squad, aren't likely to start against the Browns but will see action as they looked promising in the workouts here. The Packers spent much time Wednesday on pass protection. In final drills today the team will brush up on special assignments. A 46 man squad will leave here by bus for Milwaukee Friday morning. After a flight to Cleveland the Packers will go to Akron by bus. Two Packers will remain here. They are tackle Bill Lucky, who underwent a recent appendectomy, and guard Joe Skibinski, who has ankle trouble. Both were obtained from the Browns in a trade.