Detroit Lions (3-7) 24, Green Bay Packers (5-5) 10
Thursday November 24th 1955 (at Detroit)
GAME RECAP (GREEN BAY PRESS-GAZETTE)
(DETROIT) - Injuries, penalties, fumbles, missed scoring chances! Just about everything happened to the Packers in Briggs Stadium Thanksgiving Day and it would be most difficult to select the "worst" of the unhappy circumstances - other than the final score: Detroit 24, Green Bay 10. The Packers muffed opportunities to grab a 17-0 lead early in the second quarter, a 17-10 edge in the third, and a 17-17 tie in the fourth. Green Bay lost the ball five times on fumbles, twice on pass interceptions and once on downs but the cruelest blow of all was loss of center Jim Ringo midway in the second quarter. From then on, the Packer attack lost its timing, resulting in damaging play-killing penalties, even though substitute Tom Bettis did a commendable job. Ringo, most valuable player in the Packers' 27-21 victory over San Francisco last Sunday, returned to Green Bay with the team but was removed to St. Vincent's hospital Thursday. X-rays showed no broken bones. It was Green Bay's fifth loss in 10 starts and dropped the Packers a game and a half behind the leading Chicago Bears in the hot Western Division race. It was the Packers' fourth loss on the road this season and their fifth straight in the Turkey Day classic here. The Packers now take to the west coast for battles against San Francisco Dec. 4 and Los Angeles Dec. 11, but they'll be keeping an eye on the Bear-Cardinal and Los Angeles-Philadelphia games Sunday in hopes that the Bears and Rams absorb their fourth losses. It was unfortunate that the Packers had troubles yesterday because the game was witnessed by a television audience of some 10 million - plus the paid attendance of 51,685. The Lions were no ball of fire either, losing five of their six fumbles, but the sins of a winner are usually forgiven. The Packer got off to a 10-0 lead in the first quarter but the Lions had the
score ties at the half. The third frame was pointless, and the Lions rushed across two touchdowns, one a gift, in the fourth quarter of the verdict. Fred Cone kicked a 21-yard field goal with 1:11 gone in the first quarter for a 3-0 edge. The Packers then drove 90 yards in 15 plays for a touchdown, Tobin Rote throwing five yards to Gary Knafelc for the TD. That was the end of the Packers' offense. Bobby Layne hurled three yards to Lew Carpenter for Detroit's first TD in the second quarter. Just before the half, Doak Walker kicked a field goal from 25 yards out to tie the score. Carpenter ripped 49 yards on a quick opener early in the last frame to make it 17-10 and Sherwin Gandee established the final score, grabbing Rote's lateral, aimed at Cone on a goofed up field goal attempt, and racing 46 yards into pay dirt. The Packers blew six chances to score but the first might have been the turning point of the game. They had fourth down and one to go on the Detroit 18 on the second play of the second quarter when Breezy Reid was nailed for a two-yard loss on a drive off left tackle. A first down at that point might have led the Packers to a 17-0 lead and left the Lions arguing among themselves - for which they are notorious. Later in the second quarter, Howie Ferguson reached the Detroit 30 but fumbled and Jack Christiansen recovered, after which Gary Knafelc reached the Lion 33 on a Rote pass but the advanced was killed by an in-motion penalty. Midway in the third frame when the Packers had driven from their own seven, Billy Howton took a 14-yard Rote pass to the Detroit 30 but an offside penalty nullified the gain and a first down. That was mild compared to what happened two minutes later. Jim Jennings recovered Christiansen's fumble of Dick Deschaine's punt on the Lion eight. With the score tied, the Packers seemed a cinch to take a lead, but Reid, ripping through for three yards, fumbled on the five and Gandee recovered on the seven. The back-breaker was yet to come - on two successive plays. Ferguson smashed seven yards to Detroit's 37 but that was killed by an in-motion penalty. On the next play, Howton worked 10 yards behind Jim David on the Detroit eight but dropped Rote's perfect pitch. Billy would have scored easily, tying the count. Two plays later, Gandee took off with the lateral. The fumble totals were unusually high and approached two league records. Each team recovered five enemy fumbles. The league mark is six, set in 1940 by Detroit and tied five times since. The total of 12 fumbles (six by each club) fell two short of the record of 14 set by the Bears and Cleveland Rams in '40. Wicked tackling brought on most of the fumbles and the 32-degree weather didn't help. Ferguson fumbled twice, what with painfully sore shoulders. In the first half, there were seven fumbles and two interceptions - and no punts. The Packers went into the game in bad physical condition and came out much worse. Billy Bookout could be used little and Jerry Helluin re-injured his ankle. Ringo was removed on a stretcher with a back injury and rushed to Providence Hospital here. Two plays after Ringo was hurt, Rote was knocked out with a block by Bob Miller and stayed on the bench for the next series while Paul Held took over. With Carpenter gaining 120 yards, the Lions out-rushed the Packers, 190-108, with the Bays getting only nine stripes in the second half. The Packers had the edge in the air 120-92. Rote completed 10 out of 24 and Layne 11 out of 21. Ferguson picked up 50 yards in 15 attempts. The Packers got a break of the game. Cone kicked off and recovered Richie Woit's fumble on the Lion 18. Falling six yards short in three plays, Cone booted a field goal from the 21 for a 3-0 score. With Layne hurling to Carpenter for 17 and Carpenter running 13, the Lions moved 60 yards to the Packer 10 in 10 plays where Nate Borden recovered Leon Hart's fumble. After a holding penalty set the Packers back to their own five, they launched a 95-yard touchdown march. After Johnson went 10 in two cracks, Rote pulled the Pack out of a hole with a 24-yard bootleg run to the 39. Johnson ran seven and took a Rote pass for eight. Rote pitched to Knafelc for eight, Johnson added three, Ferguson 21 in two smacks, Johnson eight, Ferguson three in two tries and Knafelc took Rote's throw just inside the goal line flag for the score. Cone converted for a 10-0 count. Deral Teteak recovered Christiansen's fumble of Cone's next kickoff on the Detroit 27 and the Packers were in business again. Ferguson smashed to the 20 in two tries and Reid hit left tackle for two. On fourth down, Reid was thrown for a two-yard loss and Detroit took over early in the second frame. The Lions smashed back almost 55 yards to the Packer 29, chiefly on Layne's passes, but Teteak intercepted a throw aimed at Hart and returned 32 yards to Detroit's 49. Detroit got it right back when Christiansen recovered Ferguson's fumble, which was almost recovered by Knafelc, and returned 36 yards to the Packer 33. Layne's 18-yard pass to Middleton, a rare piling penalty on Bookout, and a fourth down three-yard pass from Layne, Carpenter cut the Bay lead to 10-7 after Doak Walker converted. Before the half, David intercepted a Rote pass setting up Walker's first field goal try which missed from the 31. Then Ferguson fumbled on the Lion 20, and, thanks to the Packers' tough defense, forced another field goal try, Walker coining this time from the 25. The Packers tried again but Johnson fumbled on first down and the Lions had it again on the Packer 32. Detroit drove to the Packer seven but John Martinkovic saved the day by recovering Layne's fumble on the nine. After an exchange of punts to start the second half, the Packers launched a drive from their own seven after Veryl Switzer fumbled Girard's punt and recovered. Ferguson made three and Rote threw to Johnson for eight, Carmichael for 10 and Knafelc for 20 to the 48. Ferguson ripped off six and Rote completed a 14-yarder to Howton, which was Billy's only catch of the day, but the Packers were offside. The attack stalled and Deschaine punted, Christiansen fumbling the ball on the eight and Jennings recovering. After Reid fumbled on the Detroit five, the two clubs exchanged punts moving into the fourth period, Christiansen taking Deschaine's boot from his 10 to his 42. After Carpenter and Hart made nine yards, Carpenter went the distance (49 yards) on a quick opener over his right tackle. Another punt exchange, including a 65-yard boot by Deschaine, gave the Packers position on Detroit's 44. Then came a penalty on Ferguson's seven-yard gain, Howton's dropping of the ball on the five, an incompletion from Rote to Howton and an attempted field goal from the 50 which was turned into Gandee's touchdown run. In the Packers' last stab, following first and second down losses totaling 15 yards to their seven, Rote and Knafelc worked a 48-yard passing gain to Detroit's 45. But David intercepted Rote's next throw and Detroit ran out the clock on Girard's fourth down punt.
GREEN BAY - 10 0 0 0 - 10
DETROIT - 0 10 0 14 - 24
GREEN BAY DETROIT
First Downs 11 19
Rushing-Yards-TD 32-108-0 39-190-1
Att-Comp-Yd-TD-Int 24-10-130-1-2 21-11-92-1-1
Sacked-Yards 1-10 0-0
Net Passing Yards 120 92
Total Yards 228 282
Fumbles-lost 6-5 6-5
Turnovers 7 6
Yards penalized 10-64 3-23
1st - GB - Fred Cone, 21-yard field goal GREEN BAY 3-0
1st - GB - Gary Knafelc, 5-yard pass from Tobin Rote (Cone kick) GREEN BAY 10-0
2nd - DET - Lew Carpenter, 3-yd pass from Bobby Layne (Doak Walker kick) GREEN BAY 10-7
2nd - DET - Walker, 25-yard field goal TIED 10-10
4th - DET - Carpenter, 49-yard run (Walker kick) DETROIT 17-10
4th - DET - Sonny Gandee, 46-yard fumble return (Walker kick) DETROIT 24-10
GREEN BAY - Howie Ferguson 15-50, Joe Johnson 8-36, Tobin Rote 3-24, Breezy Reid 4-4, Fred Cone 1-(-1), Al Carmichael 1-(-5)
DETROIT - Lew Carpenter 20-120 1 TD, Leon Hart 14-56, Bobby Layne 3-17, Doak Walker 2-(-3)
GREEN BAY - Tobin Rote 24-10-130 1 TD 2 INT
DETROIT - Bobby Layne 21-11-92 1 TD 1 INT
GREEN BAY - Gary Knafelc 4-81 1 TD, Howie Ferguson 2-17, Al Carmichael 2-16, Joe Johnson 2-16
DETROIT - Lew Carpenter 5-26 1 TD, Dave Middleton 4-59, Leon Hart 2-7
'OUR FUMBLING, NO.1 FACTOR IN LOSS' TO DETROIT, BLACKBOURN
NOV 25 (Green Bay) - Packer Coach Liz Blackbourn put it on the line today, as regards yesterday's 24-10 loss to the Lions in Detroit yesterday. "Our fumbling was the No. 1 factor. After that, it was dropped passes and the loss of Jim Ringo. Losing Jim was nobody's fault but the lack of timing when he was out there brought on all those penalties." Blackbourn warmed up. What caused so many fumbles? (Each team fumbled six times.) "Playing the game in the middle of the week tends to throw both teams off stride. We don't have our best practice of the week until Thursday and that's only practice," he pointed out. Blackbourn complimented the Packers' offensive line - "Our offensive line played as well as it did all year." He felt that "our line was better than Detroit's - both offensively and defensively, but Detroit's secondary played a good game; they were real hard-nosed." Liz, in the Packer dressing room after the game, said, "What hurt most of all is that we were two touchdowns better than they were today and they turned around and beat us by two." He figured that "it was the worst game we ever lost." The Packers were disgusted with their performance - especially the fumbles and dropped passes. They wanted this one real bad because it would have given them a 6-4 mark and a title shot. Packer spirits were high during the brief training period earlier this week and they started getting serious as soon as they landed in Detroit Wednesday afternoon. Packer end Billy Howton was miserable on the plane trip back home; so were most of the others. "I had that d--- thing right here," pointing to his chest where Tobin Rote's pass landed for a touchdown that would have tied the score. "But it slipped down and away; that happened to me a couple of times in college and even in practice here - the ball hitting there. Maybe I can catch it better when I have to get my hands out." Fortunately for Ringo the trip home was smooth. His sore back prevented him from moving. Ringo, as a rookie in '53, suffered a raft of injuries that kept him in and out of action. He missed only 12 offensive plays during the entire '54 season and hadn't missed a one in '55 until the injury in the second quarter. The frisky Lions can't take credit for putting out Jim - as they almost did with Tobin Rote. "I hurt myself just after centering the ball when my feet went out from under me," Ringo said. Two plays later, Rote was knocked colder than a cucumber when tackle Bob Miller let loose a block that had all the earmarks of "intent", if you know what we mean. "After that," Tobin said, "my vision was off; I felt like I was looking through two pipes." If Roger Zatkoff, one of many Packers injured, was knocking himself out, there was good reason. A large number of relatives, including his mother and father, were in the stands - not to mention a "whole class of my phy-ed students." Zatkoff teaches in the Detroit school system in the offseason, going from school to school...Blackbourn made final plans for Monday's draft and prepared to shove off for Baltimore where he'll scout the Frisco-Colt game and then head for Philadelphia where he'll meet scout Jack Vainisi and general manager Verne Lewellen. Vainisi will scout the Ram-Eagle game in Philadelphia Sunday. Liz is mum on draft names and admitted that "I have no good luck charm" for the bonus. The Packers, Chicago Cardinals and Pittsburgh are the only teams left in the running for the bonus. After the bonus choice, the 12 teams will each draft three players, but the Packers will lose their third choice to Los Angeles in payment for tackle Tom Dahms. The Packers will leave Saturday by train for San Francisco.
PACKERS WANT MORRALL IF THEY CAN LAND HIM
NOV 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 TO JOIN PACK
NOV 25 (Green Bay) - Dave (Trapper) Stephenson, former Packer center and guard, will join the Packers on the west coast next Tuesday, Packer Coach Liz Blackbourn announced today. "Trapper told us that he'd be glad to give us a lift," Blackbourn said after talking with the five-year pro veteran by telephone from his home in Morgantown, W. Va. Stephenson will handle the center position since Jim Ringo, who suffered a back injury in the Detroit game Thursday, may have to be placed on the injured reserve list for the last two games. Dave served as understudy to Ringo the last two years. Chances of Ringo's being ready are remote, Liz said. Ringo presently is in St. Vincent's hospital undergoing extensive tests. Early X-rays show no broken bones but tests are being taken to determine any possible internal injuries. He returned with the squad yesterday after being X-rayed at Providence hospital in Detroit shortly after suffering the hurt in the second quarter. Blackbourn said "Trapper knows our stuff better than any other center and he should be a great help to us."
PACK SPREADS OVER NATION
NOV 26 (Green Bay) - The Packers spread out around the country today while the folks back home made hash out of the Packers' Turkey Day loss to the Detroit Lions. Thirty-two players, assistant coaches Tom Hearden, Ray McLean and Lou Rymkus, trainer Bud Jorgensen and equipment manager Toby Sylvester headed west to set up training at Sonoma Mission Inn - some 40 miles from San Francisco where the Packers battle the Forty-Niners a week from Sunday. Head Coach Liz Blackbourn is on his way east - to scout the San Francisco-Baltimore game in Baltimore Sunday and take part in the NFL's preliminary draft in Philadelphia Monday morning. General Manager Verne Lewellen and Scout Jack Vainisi are on their way to Philly, where Vainisi will view the Los Angeles Ram-Eagle game. Liz will join them in Philadelphia Sunday night to complete final details on the draft. Blackbourn will fly out of Philadelphia Tuesday morning and join the club Tuesday night at Sonoma Mission Inn. Green Bay will join with the Pittsburgh Steelers and Chicago Cardinals in "competing for the bonus pick, they being the only three clubs in the running for the bonus. After the bonus drawing, the 12 clubs will each draw three players, making three complete rounds. The Packers will lose their third choice to the Los Angeles Rams in payment for Tom Dahms, but they can offset this loss with some luck in picking the "right" slip out of a hat in the bonus drawing. Other than listing some of the nation's top collegiate players, Blackbourn has given no indication of the athlete he will select if he wins the bonus. He has stated, however, that the clubs needs a "good, hard-running, break-away back and a quarterback because Tobin Rote can's play forever." Two of the
nation's top players fit those descriptions - Hopalong Cassady of Ohio state, a light (172) but hard-going back, and quarterback Earl Morrall of Michigan State. One player was left behind on the west coast take-off, center Jim Ringo, who is still undergoing treatment for injuries suffered in the Detroit game Sunday. Ringo may join the club later but this will depend on results of X-rays and internal tests...TRAPPER ON WAY: In the meantime, former Packer center and guard Trapper Stephenson is on his way out of retirement and proceeding from his home in West Virginia to California to join the club Tuesday. Stephenson will be placed on the active roster if Ringo is unable to play. Trapper retired after the '54 season with five seasons of pro ball under his belt - one with the Rams and four with Green Bay. Hash? Besides turkey hash this weekend, local fans are pondering the unusual fact that the ball changed hands 13 times on Packer-Lion fumbles or interceptions - something like basketball game. The two clubs didn't find a punt necessary until the third quarter. Each team fumbled six times and each recovered five enemy fumbles. The Packers had two passes intercepted and the Lions one. Almost unbelievable, but there they are! The Packers and Lions went into battle with mediocre records on opponents' fumbles recovered, Detroit grabbing 16 enemy muffs and the Packers 10. In fumbles made themselves, the Packers ranked third in the league, 25 - five behind leader Philadelphia, while they committed 17.
STEPHENSON HURRIES TO PACKERS' RESCUE
NOV 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
NOV 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.
BERT BELL HAS BIGGER PROBLEMS THAN INCREASE IN FAIR CATCHES
NOV 27 (Milwaukee Sentinel) - Bert Bell seems to be deeply concerned about the entertainment end of professional football. That's understandable to a degree, for Bell happens to be the fat-salaried Mr. Big of the NFL - the commissioner. The truth is, though, that hustling, bustling Bertie shouldn't waste too much time on that phase of the overall program. Pro football is entertaining enough even if a punt returner calls for an occasional fair catch instead of trying to catch the ball and run it back. That trivial matter rates major billing in the commissioner's mind. Therefore he proposes to do something about it by forcing the punter to stay within 10 yards of the line of scrimmage. His theory: That would put an end to high, booming kicks off spread formation, with the kicker standing 15 or more yards behind the line. Such kicks are easily covered and induce more fair catches, which, in turn, prevent thrilling returns. It should be pointed out first of all that the very name of the sport, football, hints at the appropriate answer. The more foot you get into it, the more it will continue to be football instead of a combination handball, baseball and basketball. Which is what tends to be when rival quarterbacks fill the air with passes - anywhere from 50 to 80 a game...BONUS PLAN NEEDS REVISION: Regardless of the merits of the kick-and-return argument, if any, there are much more serious problems - old problems still unsolved for the apparent reason that no one, including Bell, either tries to solve them or worries about them. For instance, how about working toward more equality of competition by overhauling the rather ancient rules now in force? As they stand, they favor those who have over the have-nots - help the strong clubs become stronger and the weak weaker. That's dangerous over the long haul. Look at the bonus setup. From the start, the top clubs not only had as good a shot at the super first choice as the tailenders - they actually outlucked those more in need of an extra lift on their records. Check the three clubs still waiting for their first bonus break: Packers, Cardinals and Steelers. The 12 year cycle must be completed in fairness to those clubs. But when each club finally has had its bonus shot, the actual sweepstakes should be confined to bottom teams, preferably the very last in each division. Say the original 12 year plan was at the end right now. Would it make sense to give the Bears and Browns the same opportunity to land an extra star as the basement clubs?...GIVING UP DRAFT RIGHTS ALL WRONG: Then there's the old business of trading off surplus talent for future draft choices, with the strong unloading current surplus, naturally. A club in dire need can't think of tomorrow. It is too busy desperately trying to survive today. As a result, it must give up valuable draft rights to players who might bring about an upswing next year. The Packers present a serious case in point. They have given up more than their share of future draftees the last six or seven years. In addition, they have been forced to trade off top operators going into the service - again because of the absence of enough talent to fill the gaps for a year or two. Prime examples: They traded Babe Parilli and Art Hunter although probably aware of their value in the future. The club just couldn't sweat out the stars' service hitch. Cleveland, by contrast, could afford to gamble on their return two years hence. The things to do is prohibit trading off future draft choices and force all clubs to get down to the player limit well in advance of the start of each regular season. Then a surplus talent pool would be available to the less fortunate clubs - for free. Bell might also take sharp note of the newest article on pro roughness in the latest issue of Sports Illustrated. It features Don Paul of the Rams, a self-styled villain who tells all about elbow treatment, holding and other illegal practices, and admits "we never break the rules unless the officials are looking the other way." Isn't it high time the pros start leveling for no other reason than the fact that they are the heroes and models of today's youth? The kids read all that stuff, too, and they look at the pictorial evidence of all the illegal stuff which causes the likes of Paul to swell with pride. The next thing you know they will be elbowing, gouging, clobbering, etc., just like the pros. And maybe killing each other in the name of sport.
PACKERS HAVE MONEY, NEED DRAFT 'LUCK'
NOV 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."
PACKERS SELECT HALFBACK, TACKLE IN EARLY DRAFT
NOV 28 (Philadelphia-Green Bay Press-Gazette) - The Packers came out of the preliminary NFL draft today with a 9.8-second halfback and a 60-minute tackle. Drawing in the seventh position, Coach Liz Blackbourn selected halfback Jack Losch of the University of Miami in Florida as his first choice. On the second round, he picked tackle Forrest Gregg of Southern Methodist. Los Angeles received the Packers' third round choice in payment for tackle Tom Dahms, naming A.D. Williams, College of Pacific end. The Packers were one of three clubs left in the bonus race, along with Pittsburgh and the Chicago Cardinals, but the Steelers won the lucky draw and surprised the pro grid delegates in the Bellevue-Stratford hotel by picking Gary Glick, a quarterback and defensive expert from Colorado A. and M. Blackbourn had designs on Michigan State quarterback Earl Morrall, Ohio State halfback Hopaling Cassady and Mississippi halfback Art Davis, but all three were gone by the time Green Bay made its first pick. The San Francisco Forty Niners, gaining the first choice in a coin flip with Detroit, grabbed Morrall and Detroit snared Cassady. Davis went to Pittsburgh on the fourth pick after Philadelphia picked Maryland center Bob Pelligrini. Losch gives the Packers weight and speed. He stands 6-1, packs 195 pounds and ranks as one of the fastest footballers and trackmen in Miami history. Losch is also rated as the all-time Miami defenseman. Selected for offense, plus the ability to go both ways, Losch ran 90 yards for a touchdown against Bucknell to set a Miami record. In five straight games last fall,
Losch had no run less than 43 yards. Miami finished with a 6-3 record, losing to Georgia Tech, Notre Dame and Texas Christian. Gregg stands 6-3 and weighs 225 pounds. A native of Sulphur Springs, Tex., the new Packers is noted for his speed and agility. Gregg plays both ways with equal ability. The 12 clubs selected a total of 37 players in the three rounds, including the bonus athlete. The teams will complete the draft at their annual convention in Los Angeles in January...MOSTLY UNKNOWNS: As is usually the case, the pros overlooked a number of All-American stars, although the country's top two players - Morrall and Cassady - went on the first two rounds. The second round contained mostly unknowns to the fans, but well known to pro scouts.
PACKERS CHOOSE LOSCH, MIAMI BACK
NOV 28 (Philadelphia) - The Green Bay Packers failed to draw the bonus pick out of NFL Commissioner Bert Bell's hat for the 10th straight time Monday and had to be satisfied with the seventh pick in the first round for its number one choice. Jack Losch, Miami (Fla.) halfback was Coach Liz Blackbourn's top pick, after seven other choices, including the bonus pick, had been made. The Packers then grabbed SMU tackle Forrest Gregg in the second round. Their third choice was picked up by the Rams. The Pittsburgh Steelers passed over all of the nation's more publicized college football players to select a 25-year old defensive quarterback as their bonus. Coach Walt Kiesling of the Steelers named Gary Glick, a comparative unknown from Colorado A&M College. Green Bay and the Chicago Cardinals were the other participants in the annual bonus selection. Under league rules, each team winning the bonus choice - a gimmick initiated by Bell in 1947- drop out until every club has had a chance to become the lucky selector. Next year, the Cards and Green Bay will vie for the big prize. The clubs went through only three of the annual 30 rounds in the pro player draft. This early drafting was decided upon in order to meet competition from the Canadian League in signing America's top gridiron talent. The NFL usually drafts in January while the Canadians get busy in late November. After Pittsburgh dropped its bombshell by picking Glick, the first three teams in the regular draft quickly grabbed the players everyone thought were surefire bonus material. San Francisco and Detroit, tied for last place in the league standings, tossed a coin for the first choice and the 49ers won. Coach Red Strader unhesitatingly named Earl Morrall, the brilliant quarterback in Michigan State's multiple offense. Detroit wasted no time picking Howard (Hopalong) Cassady, rugged running halfback from Ohio State's Big Ten champions, and the Philadelphia Eagles, badly in need of help for the fading Chuck Bednarik, grabbed Bob Pellegrini, the standout University of Maryland linebacker. First round choice, as usual, went fast. Pittsburgh, which with its bonus choice wound up with four players in the drafting, took Art Davis, the fine Mississippi State halfback; the Los Angeles Rams, picking New York's first choice as a part of a previous trade, named Joe Marconi, 220-pound West Virginia back. Then came the Chicago Cardinals who took Joe Childress, Auburn fullback; Green Bay selecting Jack Losch; Baltimore taking Penn State's fleet back, Lenny Moore; the Bears grabbing Menan Schriewer, Texas end; Los Angeles naming Charley Horton, Vanderbilt halfback; Washington naming Ed Vereb, Maryland's hard running halfback, and finally Cleveland taking Preston Carpenter, Arkansas halfback. Kiesling defended his choice of Glick, who he said was recommended highly by all who watched the Skyline quarterback in action. Kiesling said Glick led the nation in pass interceptions in 1954 and does everything on offense but punt. The veteran of four years in the Navy gained 621 yards on 144 carries, caught 10 passes for 153 yards and completed 14 of 43 passes for 206 yards and two touchdowns during the past season. He returned 13 punts for 136 yards and intercepted five passes in leading the Aggies to the 1955 Skyline Conference title. His one field goal attempt was successful, while he booted 15 conversions. Kiesling said he went for a defensive back because he is satisfied with Jim Finks, present Steeler offensive quarterback, and expects John Lattner, former Notre Dame ace, and Paul Cameron, top runner from UCLA, back from the service next year. Detroit may have to wait for Cassady, since the Ohio State ace is headed for jet pilot training in the U.S. Air Force after he graduates in June.
PACKERS, COLTS REAR UP AS 'KEYS' IN LOOP RACE
NOV 28 (Green Bay) - Green Bay and Baltimore reared up today as the two key teams in the wild Western division championship race for this reason: They are the last two opponents of the division leading Los Angeles Rams, the Colts opposing the Rams in LA next Sunday and the Packers visiting Los Angeles in the "windup" the following Sunday. Los Angeles can win the title outright by beating both the Colts and Packers or assure a playoff by splitting, but the Colts and Packers have been far
from soft touches for the Rams. The Packers already hold a 30-28 win over the Rams, and the Colts tied 'em, 17-17. The Colts and Packers stand as the Chicago Bears' last hope but the Bears may have blown their title chances in the snow of Comiskey Park Sunday, 53-14, to the Chicago Cardinals. That unbelievable loss may have softened up the Bears for their last two games against Detroit and Philadelphia. Strange as it may seem, the Packers are still in the race. The Packers could gain a first place tie with the the Bears if (1) the Packers beat both San Francisco and Los Angeles, (2) the Rams lose to the Colts and Packers, (3) the Bears split with Detroit and Philadelphia, and (4) the Colts beat LA and then lose to Frisco. That's a big order but here's how the standings of the four top teams would look if the above four "unusuals" happened:
W L T .PCT
GREEN BAY 7 5 0 .583
BEARS 7 5 0 .583
LOS ANGELES 6 5 1 .545
BALTIMORE 6 5 1 .545
Actually, the Packers were just seven seconds away from climbing to within one game of first place yesterday. That's how much time was left when Les Richter booted the field goal that gave the Rams a 23-21 win over Philadelphia. But the Packers went into the mathematical class last Thursday when they blew a 10-0 lead and a 24-10 decision to the Lions in Detroit...A decision has to be made today on sending Jim Ringo out to the coast. The veteran Packer center was still in St. Vincent Hospital recuperating from a back injury suffered in the Detroit Lion game Thursday. Ringo received no structural breaks but
internal tests are being made. As a safeguard in case Ringo can't play, center-guard Trapper Stephenson, who retired after the 1954 season, is joining the club in San Francisco today. The Packers, in charge of Assistant Coach Tom Hearden while Coach Liz Blackbourn is in Philadelphia for the draft, were to arrive at Sonoma Mission Inn tonight.
LOSCH, GREGG GIVE PACKERS ADDED LIFT: ENTHUSIASM!
NOV 29 (Green Bay) - Jack Losch and Forrest Gregg offered another recommendation to the Packers today: Enthusiasm! The top two choices, selected by Coach Liz Blackbourn in the college player draft in Philadelphia Monday, both are interested in playing professional football and, better still, they’re happy about being selected by the Packers. Losch, the 195-pound halfback from the University of Miami (Fla.), put it this way: “I watched the Packers play Detroit Thursday on television and pulled for them to win. I am very grateful to them for honoring me as their first choice and I am looking forward to playing in Green Bay. The Browns called me Sunday morning and the Packers, Bears and Rams called Monday morning to see what my plans were on pro football.” Gregg, the 225-pound tackle from SMU who was selected on the second round, said…”TICKLED PINK”: “You can say I’m tickled pink about playing in Green Bay because that’s the way I feel. You have some SMU boys up there I’m anxious to join – Val Joe (Walker), Bill (Forester) and Doyle (Nix).” Packer Scout Jack Vainisi, back in Green Bay today, said that “Coach Blackbourn was very pleased with the selection and he feels that Losch will give us added weight and speed in the backfield and Gregg offers more drive and speed in the line.” Blackbourn, who originally planned to leave Philly Tuesday morning for San Francisco where the Packers are training, had a chance to leave immediately after the draft and arrived at the training base at Sonoma Mission Inn early this morning – in time for a squad meeting. He was delayed in Chicago two hours last night by bad flying weather. The Packers had what Vainisi called “excellent recommendations” on Losch from Perry Moss, former Packer quarterback now on the Miami staff; Curly Witucki, of the Notre Dame staff; and Harry Wright, Georgia coach. The Packers drafters were almost certain of getting Losch, basing their prediction on players the other clubs would pick ahead of them. The Packers selected seventh and had three possibles ready – Losch, Preston Carpenter of Arkansas and Charley Horton of Vanderbilt…BEST IN SOUTHWEST: When Losch was picked ahead of the Browns, the Cleveland delegates admitted that they had planned to take him on the first round, then settling on Carpenter. Horton, picked by Los Angeles, expects an immediate service call. Gregg was recommended by former Packer Mike Michalske as the best lineman in the Southwest Conference. A two-way performer, Gregg can boost his weight from 225 to 235 without slowing himself down. He’s married and hails from Sulphur Springs, Tex. Losch, 21, hails from Williamsport, Pa., where he starred in prep football. Also a baseball and track competitor, Losch will play in the North-South Shrine game Dec. 26. He’s majoring in marketing. Losch played safety on defense and left half on offense at Miami. He finished up the season with nearly 700 yards rushing…Packer center Jim Ringo left for San Francisco today after getting an okay from Dr. H.S. Atkinson, Packer physician. Ringo suffered a back injury in the Detroit game Thursday and was confined to St. Vincent Hospital until yesterday. He expects to take part in Wednesday’s drill. Dr. Atkinson said that Ringo would be able to play against the Forty Niners Sunday. Reporting to cam today was Dave Stephenson, veteran Packer center and guard who retired after the ’54 season. Stephenson, still not on the active list, will remain with the team in case Ringo suffers further injury. The Packers loosened up Monday, shaking out travel kinks, and started concentrated workouts today.
PACKERS 'WIN' IN PRO PLAYOFF FLIP
NOV 29 (Green Bay) - The chances of the Packers getting into a playoff are mighty slim but the NFL prepared for any eventuality by inviting the Packers to take part in coin-flipping ceremonies after the draft in Philadelphia Monday afternoon. Green Bay still has a mathematical chance but the leading Los Angeles Rams must lose their last two games and the Packers must win their final two, including one with the Rams. The Packers then would tie the Bears if the Bears
and Baltimore split. Packer General Manager Verne Lewellen, at the meetings with President Russ Bogda, announced that if Green Bay ties the Bears, Baltimore or Los Angeles for the Western Division title, a playoff game would be held in Milwaukee County Stadium Dec. 18. Thus, Lewellen won the toss – involving Green Bay – and reserved the right to host a playoff…TITLE GAME DEC. 25: The regular season closes Dec. 12. The league championship game, playoff or not, will be played Dec. 25 in the home of the Western Conference champion. On other coin tosses: If the Bears tie either Baltimore or Los Angeles, the playoff will be at Chicago’s Wrigley Field Dec. 18. If Baltimore and Los Angeles tie, the playoff would be in Baltimore Dec. 18. If Washington and Cleveland tie, the playoff would be in Cleveland Dec. 18. Commissioner Bert Bell said that if a triple tie looms, he would announce playoff conditions after next Sunday’s game. Lewellen and Bogda were in New York today along with other team officials for a conference on television.
PACKERS' FINAL TRIP CARRIES IMPORTANCE
NOV 29 (Milwaukee Journal) - Only by the greatest stretch of the imagination do the Green Bay Packers possess any kind of championship hopes in the NFL this season. Still, their trip to the Pacific Coast for the last two games carries more importance than it has in many years. The Packers, who arrived in San Francisco Monday, will play the 49ers in the Golden Gate city next Sunday, then will wind up their season against the Rams at Los Angeles December 11. This combination of events would be required for Green Bay to win the Western Division title: 1) The Packers would have to beat both San Francisco and Los Angeles, something they have already accomplished once. They beat both in Milwaukee. 2) Baltimore would have to beat Los Angeles and in turn be defeated by San Francisco. 3) The Chicago Bears would have to drop their last two games, against Detroit and Philadelphia. If the first two items came to pass and the Bears merely split, the Packers and Bears would require a playoff to determine which team would the Eastern Division winner in the championship game December 26 or January 1. Green Bay's chances become even more remote when it is considered that the Packers, in compiling a 5-5 record, have yet to win on the road. Right now, Los Angeles, considered by most observers to be the luckiest team in pro football, occupies the driver's seat. The Rams, thanks to another of their last minute victories and the Chicago Cardinals' upset rout of the Chicago Bears, lead the Bears by a half a game, Baltimore by one game and Green Bay by one and a half games. With the outcome of the race likely to go down to the last Sunday, the Packers are likely to draw against the Rams as they never before have in tremendous Los Angeles Coliseum, which seats 100,000 plus. The Eastern Division has a hot race of its own, although only two teams, rather than four, are involved. Cleveland leads surprising Washington by a mere half game with two to play. Washington will meet New York (which tied Cleveland last Sunday, 35-35) at Washington next Sunday. Cleveland must get by the Cardinals (53-14 winners of the Bears last Sunday) in the finale at Cleveland December 11. Pittsburgh, slipping badly after a fast start, will meet both of the leaders - Cleveland at Pittsburgh next Sunday and Washington at Washington December 11. As the race unfolds with only Cleveland, among preseason favorites, where it was supposed to be, one is reminded of what Lisle Blackbourn, Green Bay coach, said early in the season. "Pro football," he said, "is a crazy game." It's got to be when the Bears mauls the Packers, 52-31; the Packers maul the Cardinals, 31-14, and the Cardinals maul the Bears, 53-14, all within three weeks.
BAYS BEAT BROWNS TO LOSCH IN DRAFT
NOV 29 (Sonoma, CA) - The Green Bay Packers won something from the Cleveland Browns this year after all, Coach Liz Blackbourn revealed Tuesday. "When we drafted Jack Losch as out first choice Monday, we got the back they were after," Blackbourn said after his arrival here. "Paul Brown told me after we took him 'you got our back'." Blackbourn said the Packers took Losch, 195-pound Miami fullback, because "he has lots of promise. He has enough height so he can go up to 212-215 pounds without getting too heavy. He has good speed and is an excellent pass receiver. We're glad we drafted him and figure he can be a big help to us." Blackbourn said it was the Packers' plan to take the best tackle available on the second round. Drafting seventh, one of their lowest positions in years, left the Packers slightly on the spot. "But we rated four of them about even," he said, "and we're happy with Forrest Gregg who's big and mobile and should fit in well." Gregg, 235-pound SMU star, was named Tuesday to the West squad for the East-West Shrine game December 31. The three other tackles Blackbourn said he "rated on par with Gregg" are Joe Krupa, Purdue, drafted by Pittsburgh; Frank D'Agostino, Auburn, drafted by Philadelphia; and Norman Masters, Michigan State, by the Cardinals. A.D. Williams, College of Pacific, was the Packers' third choice owed to Los Angeles in the Tom Dahms deal.
LOSCH, 'MR. OFFENSE', SET MARK AT MIAMI
NOV 29 (Milwaukee Sentinel) - When the Packers picked Miami's halfback Jack Losch as their first draft choice Monday, the popular query was, "Who's he?" Losch happens to be the guy who set a new Miami rushing record this season, carrying the ball 47 times for 426 yards and a 9.06 average. Losch also caught seven passes for 206 yards and two touchdowns. And it was Losch who ran 90 yards for a touchdown against Bucknell, the longest run any Miami player ever made. He was "Mr. Offense" as far as the Hurricanes were concerned. "It's simply great being the Packers' number one choice," said Losch when informed of the news in Miami Monday. "I want to play pro football and then go into coaching." Losch could be the answer to Coach Liz Blackbourn's dire need of a top notch halfback. He weighs 185 pounds and is majoring in business administrator. Meanwhile, on the Southern Methodist campus, tackle Forrest Gregg was equally anxious to play with the Packers. Gregg, Green Bay's second choice, weighs 220 pounds and is 6-3. "I'm very happy to be drafted by the Packers and am looking forward to playing with Bill Forester, Val Joe Walker and Doyle Nix (three other former Mustangs)." Gregg, who is married, was co-captain of SMU this season and was selected on the All-Opponent's team named by Notre Dame, Missouri in 1954. He was named on the coaches' All-Southwest team both as a junior and a senior. Gregg came to SMU as an unheralded lineman from Sulphur Springs, Tex. He also lettered in track as a javelin thrower.
LOSCH JOINS REBEL '11"
NOV 29 (Miami) - Halfback Jack Losch, the Green Bay Packers' No. 1 draftee from Miami, has been added to the Rebel lineup for the Shrine's North-South College All-Star football game here December 26. Losch was signed Monday with SMU backfield stars Don McIlhenny and John Marshall.
HOWIE, BILLY HOPE TO GAIN IN FIGURE CHASE
NOV 30 (San Francisco-Green Bay Press-Gazette) – Howie Ferguson and Billy Howton, the Packers’ two top yardmakers on the ground and in the air, respectively, hope to get back on the track when the Packers battle to keep their title chances alive against the Forty Niners here Sunday. Ferguson skidded 99 yards behind leader Alan Ameche of the Baltimore Colts during the 10th game over the weekend, Howie gaining 50 despite a sore shoulder against Detroit and Ameche moving for 87 against San Francisco in Baltimore. Ameche now has 867 yards in 185 attempts and Ferguson has 768 in 164. Their averages are the same, 4.7. Howton went through the Detroit game without catching a pass, although two of his receptions were nullified by penalties. The shutout dropped Billy five catches behind leader Billy Wilson of the Forty Niners, who has 44 for 728 yards. Howton’s 39 catches netted 648 yards. Each has five touchdowns. Packer end Gary Knafelc pulled to within four catches of Howton with five in the Detroit game. Gary now has caught 35 for 557 yards and six touchdowns. Only one Packer showed a substantial gain in the individual statistics – punting specialist Dick Deschaine, who averaged 47.5 yards in his last two games. Dick moved into third place in the league with an average of 42.9. Norm Van Brocklin of Los Angeles leads with 44.8 and Adrian Burk of Philadelphia is second with 43.5. Sunday’s game will match the league’s leading touchdown pass throwers – the Packers’ Tobin Rote and the Forty Niners’ Y.A. Tittle, each with 14 TD tosses. Chuck Conerly of New York is second with 12. Tittle has had the most passes intercepted, 23, which is good news to the Packers’ Billy Howton, who is second in pass interceptions, just one behind Bill Sherman of Los Angeles. Al Carmichael held first place in kickoff returns with an average of 30.3, but Bill Sumner of the Chicago Bears is closing fast with 28.8. Al, leading the punt returners before last week, skidded to fourth with an average of 8.9. Chicago Cardinal Ollie Matson, with a great day against the Bears, leads with 15.2. Fred Cone maintained his fourth position in scoring with 69 points. He has the most field goals, 15 – five more than George Blanda of the Bears, Les Richter of the Rams and Bert Rechichar of Baltimore. Doak Walker of Detroit leads in scoring with 83 points. The Packers jumped into heavy workouts at Sonoma Mission Inn today under the direction of Coach Liz Blackbourn. Green Bay still has a shot at a playoff if the Rams lose their last two games, including one with the Pack. Los Angeles hosts Baltimore Sunday.
TACKLING BIG 49ER PROBLEM
NOV 30 (San Francisco) - Convinced that the San Francisco 49ers can beat the Green Bay Packers through elimination of spotty tackling, Coach Red Strader will assemble this squad in Seals Stadium this morning to open preparations for Sunday’s game at Kezar. “Our big problem is tackling – no doubt about it,” Strader said last night after reviewing films of the last two games, those with the Packers and Baltimore Colts. Red wishes that he had tackling dummies at the Stadium. He would put the athletes to work on the contraptions. But he’ll have to be content with sharpening the mental attitude rather than actual rehearsal of an elementary drill…OTHER INJURIES: As for the injury situation, Strader will have a better idea on that today when Joe Perry, Dickie Moegel and Lou Palatella report for practice. Red voiced plenty of respect for the Packers, believing that Tobin Rote is one of the top passing and running hands of the league. Strader was not greatly worried over reports that his No. 1 draft choice of Monday, Michigan State quarterback Earl Morrall, might abandon pro football for pro baseball. “He’s good at baseball, but he’s better at football,” Strader said. “I’m confident we’ll sign him.”…GOOD AT BASEBALL: The Spartan ace plays third and hit .310 in the Big Ten league last season. His coach, John Kobs, thinks Morrall “has a chance” in baseball but would like to see the athlete in action another year. Kobs sent Robin Roberts, ace pitcher, to the Phillies. Reports from Detroit are that the Lions will make an exceptional offer to obtain Morrall, whom they wanted as a successor to Bobby Layne. Nick Kerbawy, Detroit general manager, told writers that he would “besiege the 49ers with trade bait” in an effort to land the star who has so identified himself with Michigan football.
RINGO STILL BOTHERED; STEPHENSON MAY PLAY
DEC 1 (San Francisco) - Packer Coach Liz Blackbourn has a good problem brewing at the team’s training base at Sonoma Mission Inn near here. It concerns Jim Ringo, veteran center who injured his back in the Detroit game a week ago today. Ringo, who underwent tests in the hospital while the squad left Green Bay last Saturday, reported for his first drill yesterday and Blackbourn discovered that Jim had some trouble with his back. Liz said that “we don’t know whether he’ll be able to go Sunday – probably not until Friday or Saturday.” In the meantime, Blackbourn is also drilling Tom Bettis, who filled in for Ringo against Detroit, and Trapper Stephenson, who came out of retirement just in case Ringo has to be taken off the active list. The problem is this: Blackbourn won’t have time to take Ringo off and put Stephenson on (staying within the 33-player limit) during the game – if Ringo re-injures his back. If he puts Stephenson on now, Liz would have to take a player off and he can’t spare Bettis because he is a vital linebacker replacement…CHANGE IN TIMING: With a week of centering under his belt, Bettis should have more success than he did against Detroit. While he did a good job under the circumstances, the change in timing (from Ringo’s snapbacks) brought on numerous offside and in-motion penalties. Blackbourn also is concerned about fullback Howie Ferguson, who has painfully injured shoulders. Howie managed 50 yards against Detroit, but he admitted that “I was far from my best.” Ferguson had the same injury during the San Francisco game in Milwaukee. The Packer coach is in hopes that the weather will help the injury list, which also includes Tobin Rote, veteran quarterback who had his ribs banged up in the Detroit test. The Forty Niners, with four straight losses under their belts, are also bothered by injuries. Harry Babcock, the offensive end and defensive halfback, is definitely out with a leg hurt and Coach Red Strader has placed Dickie Moegle and Eldred Kraemer in the doubtful class…NEW LEASE ON LIFE: Moegle, the club’s ace rookie back, was injured in the Packer game and saw only brief action against Baltimore last Sunday. Frisco gave the Packers a case of bad news and it concerns Hugh McElhenny, the Forty Niners’ great offensive back. Hugh, they say, gained a new lease on life against Baltimore, with his running and pass catching but, they also say, is still bothered by a heel injury. A crowd of 25,000 is expected for Sunday’s battle in Kezar Stadium and it could go higher if good weather prevails…The Packers averaged more than 21 points a game to rank as the fourth best scoring machine in the National League. League statistics released today show that the Packers have scored 213 points in 10 games. The Cleveland Browns lead in scoring with 284 points. The Chicago Bears have scored 256 points and the New York Giants 216. The Packers’ pass defense was rated third best in the league and their ground attack ranked fourth. The Chicago Bears hold a commanding lead in rushing with 1,978 yards, 250 more than Washington in second place. The Packers have gained 1,637 yards on the ground.
BUD WILKINSON HELPED MAKE GREGG SMU STAR
DEC 1 (Green Bay) - Bud Wilkinson, Oklahoma’s coaching whiz, helped make Forrest Gregg a tackle star at Southern Methodist and eventually a pro prospect. Les Jordan, publicity director at SMU, told this story about the Packers’ second draft choice: “Gregg came to SMU on his own in the summer of ’52 looking for a scholarship. But we just didn’t have any scholarships left because the school is allowed just so many for football. Our coach liked him on the basis of his reputation at Sulphur Springs High, but had to turn him down. Shortly after Gregg went back to Sulphur Springs, Wilkinson came to Dallas and lured away one of our best halfbacks. We promptly gave the halfback scholarship to Gregg, and we’ve never been sorry about it. That halfback never made it at Oklahoma,” Jordan laughed over the long distance telephone, and added: “Gregg started to blossom out with the freshman team and saw action in every game with the varsity as a sophomore. He started every game as a junior and senior. In all, he played in all 30 games (SMU plays a 10-game season) of his varsity career. Coach Matty Bell, who played some pro ball with the old Milwaukee team, thinks Gregg can play defensive end with the Packers if you think he’s too light (225 pounds) for tackle. Gregg could even put on some weight without hurting him. He’s fast for his size and he sure loves the contact. He’s just a big, rugged, rawboned Texan.” Gregg was co-captain of the ’55 SMU team. He also lettered in track as a javelin thrower. He has been chosen to play in the East-West game, which will be scouted by Packer Coach Liz Blackbourn, and the Hula Bowl battle in Hawaii. The new Packer tackle, who is anxious to play in Green Bay, is married and his wife, Barbara Gregg, is also famous in sports. She recently was named to the all-Texas women’s softball team. She plays first base for a Dallas squad. Gregg was selected today on the United Press All-Southwest first team. Miami halfback Jack Losch, the Packers’ first choice, catches the football like Hugh McElhenny, according to Perry Moss, a member of the Miami staff and a onetime Packer. Moss served on the University of Washington staff when McElhenny played there. “You got a racehorse who likes to mix it,” Moss said, explaining that Losch has “all the drive to make the pros as a runner and is especially good at catching the ball and staying in stride like McElhenny.” Losch, who carries 195 pounds on a 6-1 frame, won two games on his pass catching last fall and at the end of the season was named “player of the year” in a poll conducted by Miami fans. Losch, a senior in business administration who hails from Williamsport, Pa., is an honor student and has been awarded the Iron Arrow, a plaque designating exceptional scholastic and all-around athletic ability. Losch once played a baseball game and competed in a track meet in the same afternoon. An outfielder, Losch went from the baseball game to the nearby track where he took off his baseball uniform and won both the 100 and 200-yard dashes. Losch didn’t have an easy time in Miami football, coming into his own as a senior. He had a fair frosh year in ’52, and was buried among the fourth stringers when ’54 practice started. He cracked into the starting lineup on spot defensive situations and started moving on offense. He finished ’54 as one of the most valuable players on the team. Filling the shoes of Gordon Malloy in ’55, Losch led the team in scoring with five touchdowns. He carried 47 times for a net gain of 426 yards and an average of 9.06 yards – a new Miami record. He nailed seven passes for 206 yards (nearly 30 yards per) and two touchdowns, and led the team in pass interceptions, four. He ran 90 yards for a touchdown against Bucknell, setting a new Miami record.
PACKERS HOPE WARMTH CURES ACHES, PAINS
DEC 1(Milwaukee Sentinel) - Coach Liz Blackbourn is hoping California sunshine is what his bruised Packers need to complete what could be a very successful season. "We need some warm weather to soothe our aches and pains," said Blackbourn before departing for Sonoma Mission Inn, a training resort about 40 miles outside of San Francisco. The Packers had originally planned to fly out of Green Bay two days before their 49er clash Sunday. But when Wisconsin's wintry blasts blew in early, Blackbourn altered plans to have the squad work out for a full week in California. Fullback Howie Ferguson, who has been ailing with a severely bruised shoulder for three weeks, hasn't been able to snap his injury, yet has played in every game. A health Ferguson could mean a lot in these very important coast games. Ferguson, who has been the biggest threat to Al Ameche's rushing mark, has carried the ball 164 times and has gained 768 yards for a 4.7 average. However, Ferguson's big gains were made in September and October, when the weather was warmer. Packer physician, Dr. Henry Atkinson, gave center Jim Ringo permission to join the club in San Francisco for the 49ers game. Ringo suffered a back injury in the Detroit game and has been confined to a Green Bay hospital. Dave (Trapper) Stephenson, veteran Packer who was called out of retirement to fill the gaping center position, has joined the club but has not been placed on the active list. He will remain with the Packers as a precaution in case Ringo suffers further injury...NEARS FG MARK: When Fred Cone kicked his 15th field goal of the season against the Lions, it boosted his all-time total to 35, one less than the Packer record set by Ted Fritsch (1942-50). Cone's 15 goals also ranks fourth best in NFL history. Cleveland's Lou Groza holds the mark with 23 in 1953. Groza owns the other two highs with 19 in 1952 and 16 in 1954. Cone has also kicked 24 extra points this season without a miss. His four points against the Lions raised his lifetime total to an even 300, which is one point behind Verne Lewellen...PUNT AVERAGE 42.0: Dick Deschaine, the lad who punted as a hobby on the sandlots of Menominee, Mich., averaged 47 yards on four kicks his last time out to raise his average to 42.9 yards, third best in the league. The Rams' Norm Van Brocklin's 44.8 yard average is the league's best performance. Philadelphia's Adrian Burk has a 43.5 mark. The Packers' all-time average for punting is 43.5 yards, set by Jack Jacobs in 1947 on 57 kicks.
RINGO DRILLS LIGHTLY IN PACKER PRACTICE
DEC 1 (Sonoma, CA) - Jim Ringo, injured Green Bay Packer center, worked out lightly in Wednesday's drill, but Coach Liz Blackbourn was not sure that he would be ready for Sunday's NFL with the 49ers at San Francisco. Blackbourn said that Ringo was a "doubtful" starter and might not see any action against the 49ers. The big pivotman was injured and carried off the field in the Thanksgiving Day game with the Lions at Detroit. "We don't know yet whether he'll be able to go," said Blackbourn Monday in the hope that warmer weather would speed the healing of accumulated bumps and bruises. "He's working out lightly," Blackbourn added, "but whether he'll play we won't know until the end of the week." If Ringo can't play, he will be replaced in the offensive line by Dave (Trapper) Stephenson, who retired last season. Stephenson joined the club here Monday and Blackbourn said he would be put on the active list only if needed. Besides Ringo, quarterback Tobin Rote and fullback Howie Ferguson were a little lame when the club arrived.
BABCOCK, PALATELLA SIDELINED
DEC 1 (San Francisco) - Harry Babcock and Lou Palatella yesterday were declared out of the San Francisco 49ers' "homecoming" game against the Green Bay Packers at Kezar Stadium Sunday. Babcock, an offensive end who doubled as a flanking halfback during the 49ers' dark days, has a fractured rib. Palatella has a strained leg muscle. Coach Red Strader listed halfback Dicky Moegle and fullback Joe Perry as questionable. Both were on hand when the team resumed workouts at Seals Stadium yesterday, but Moegle only worked lightly and Perry merely watched...HUGH FLASHES: On the other hand, Hugh McElhenny continued to show the form he flashed in a losing cause against the Baltimore Colts last Sunday, and Strader has high hopes that Hugh, shackled by a mysterious foot injury since way last September, will be the McElhenny of old when the 49ers attempt to snap their four game losing streak. If Moegle is out, McElhenny will handle Dicky's left half chores, with Carroll Hardy operating as the flanking halfback, Strader said. Bud Laughlin will go if Perry can't, but Joe the Jet has a reputation for answering the bell regardless of his midweek ailments. The 49ers, happy to be home after playing their last four games on the road, are "awfully hungry for a win, are trying hard and working good," according to Strader, who can't fathom the club's dismal showing any more than his players can. "This is an unfortunate group in a lot of cases," Red said. "We felt we should have won the last game against Green Bay. We hope not to fumble as much and to be tighter on defense this time."...FUMBLES HURT: The 49ers did appear to have a victory when they met the Packers in Milwaukee - until, with the aid of some untimely 49er fumbles and a makeshift play of its own, Green Bay broke loose for two touchdowns in the last seven and a quarter minutes to pull out a 27-21 victory.
PACKERS HOPING TO AVOID 'YARD' SCARE VS. 49ERS
DEC 2 (San Francisco-Green Bay Press-Gazette) - Sometimes the difference between victory and defeat is only a yard. That's how close they've been for the Packers this year. In fact, Coach Liz Blackbourn feels that "the margin between winning and losing has been thinner than I've ever seen it in any one season of football." The Packers are hoping they won't have to contend with the aforementioned "yard" against the Forty Niners in Kezar stadium here Sunday afternoon. They bumped into three-foot situations in the last two games; one led to victory and the other led to defeat. The first occurred in the Forty Niner game in Milwaukee Nov. 20. The Packers stopped the Frisco boys one yard from a second touchdown and a 14-0 lead in the first quarter, thus keeping themselves from being snowed under. The second happened in the Detroit game Thanksgiving Day. The Pack, holding a 10-0 lead, needed a yard for a first down deep in Lion territory but muffed the opportunity and a good chance to take a 17-0 lead. Detroit, revived like the Packers were in stopping the Forty Niners, went on to the win. There's a story connected with the goal line stand against Frisco. Packer tackle Dave Hanner and several of the defensive Packers were hashing it over on the way to Detroit. "They had fourth and one to our one," Hanner said, "and we expected Tittle to sneak it over; we wouldn't have had much chance 'cause he's a heavy boy and generally makes a yard or two. That would have given them a 14 to 0 lead, but when we got down in the line a couple of their boys started moving their eyes toward the left side of the line. Of course, we knew what was coming and sure enough Tittle hands off to Moegle and he goes toward our right side." Moegle was stopped in his tracks on the one yard line by three Packers and Green Bay took over on downs. A second touchdown might have ruined the Packers. While the Packers are especially careful not to look or lean the way they are going, the play was quite similar to the one-yard misfire in the Detroit game...LIONS EXPECTED SNEAK: Quarterback Tobin Rote had a good chance to use his 205 pounds on a fourth down one-yard sneak to Detroit's 17 but elected to toss out to Breezy Reid, who was promptly thrown for a two-yard loss. Reid, like Moegle, was going to the left side of his own line. Rote likes the surprise element and figured that Detroit expected him to sneak. Thus, he went for the quick pitchout - certain that Reid not only would make the needed one yard but would add a substantial gain. On the previous third down
play, Reid made two yards on a straight slant off left tackle...Blackbourn was to decide today what to do about Jim Ringo, the veteran center who was injured in the Detroit game and hasn't been responding in workouts as quickly as hoped. The Bay mentor feels that Jim won't be able to play Sunday, which means that Trapper Stephenson, just out of retirement, will be at center. The problem bothering Liz is who to take off the active roster to make room for Stephenson - Ringo or some other player. If Jim is taken off, Tom Bettis would back up Trapper. All three are centering in practice at Sonoma Mission Inn...With the heat of the championship still in the air, Blackbourn is keeping the Packers at Sonoma, which is about 45 miles from Frisco, until Sunday morning when they'll leave by bus for the game in time to relax a bit, dress and take the field. They will take an overnight train to Pasadena after the game and start preparations Tuesday for the windup against the Rams in Los Angeles. The Packers still have an outside chance of grabbing a playoff berth but they must first win their last two games. The Rams, in this event, must lose two, including Sunday's match with Baltimore in LA. The Forty Niners will be particularly tough. They'll want to break a four-game losing streak to please their fans. A crowd of close to 30,000 - maybe more if the weather is right - is expected.
49ERS RECALL BACK FOR PACKER FRAY
DEC 2 (San Francisco) - Ernie Smith, a defensive halfback from Compton Junior College, was signed by the 49ers to bulwark the defense for the revenge battle with the Green Bay Packers in Kezar Stadium Sunday. Smith went all through the 49ers preparatory season at St. Mary's College last summer and was to have been recalled next summer for a second trial. Red Strader explained that Smith, a tall Negro with fine defensive talents, can relieve Joe Arenas, the man of all work among the 49ers, so that Joe can help with the ailing offensive. Bud Laughlin, fullback, was hit by flu yesterday and missed drill. This leaves the fullback load to Joe Perry. The Jet, as usual, will drag his aching legs and bruised body into action for the starting play. Joe always shows up and always plays an outstanding game...CARR'S DAY OFF: Paul Carr, tough and unexploited defensive wingback on defense, also missed practice in Seals Stadium. He had an aching tooth removed but is expected back on the job today. The move to re-sign Smith was prompted by the fact that Strader's attacking backs always are getting injured, particularly the freshmen like Carroll Hardy and Laughlin. Arenas plays both ways well and Red would like to have him ready for the Bays, although Hardy is back in shape and slated to start and Hugh McElhenny continues to run better than he has all season. "McElhenny made moves today we haven't seen in a long time," said Red after yesterday morning's drill. "He faked Clay Matthews into a knot on one play and that isn't easy. He breezed pass like the wrath of 1953."...COACH CHARY: In Boyes Springs, where the Packers are preparing to prove that their 27-21 victory in Milwaukee two weeks ago wasn't a luck blessed performance, Coach Lisle Blackbourn is a bit chary about declaring for victory. "I never like to go out on a limb," Blackbourn said. "But we will be in better condition except at center than we were when we beat the 49ers in Milwaukee. Howie Ferguson, our fullback and the second best power runner in the league, has been injured the last five weeks. He's better for this test. Al Carmichael, our fastest back, has a slight infection, but he'll be in his usual top shape. Jim Ringo still is a doubtful starter at center. He pulled a muscle in his back in Detroit. That's what cost us the ball game with the Lions. We had to with Tom Bettis in there, and we drafted him as an All American guard. Tom could block and do everything else a center needs to do but he couldn't get the ball up to the quarterback with the usual rhythm. We always were offside or had backs in motion. We had a field goal situation in Detroit and poor Tom sent a bad pass back to the holder. We tried to pass instead, Detroit picked it off and away went the ball game. Bettis has worked at his new job since and we have out attack smoothed out. The rhythm has been restored. Yet we would miss the experience of Ringo."
PACKERS COULD SET NEW 10 YEAR MARK ON COAST
DEC 2 (Milwaukee Journal) - Still harboring fleeting championship hopes, the Green Bay Packers will seek to sweep their season series with the 49ers at San Francisco Sunday. The Western Division title and a crack at the NFL crown appear beyond the reach of Lisle Blackbourn's Packers, because they require too much outside help. They trail Los Angeles by a game and a half with two games to play and both the Chicago Bears and Baltimore Colts stand between the Rams and themselves. But one thing that the Packers can do all by themselves is finish with their best record in 10 yards. A sweep of the Coast trip, no easy task for any team at any time, is required. But if they accomplish it, they would finish with seven victories and five defeats for their best mark since 1945 and perhaps their highest standing since 1944, Green Bay's last championship season. The Packers' records and positions for the last 10 seasons follows: 1954, 4-8, fifth place; 1953 - 2-9-1, sixth; 1952 - 6-6, fourth; 1951 - 3-9, fifth; 1950 - 3-9, tie for fifth (seven teams); 1949 - 2-10, fifth (five teams); 1948 - 3-9, fourth out of five; 1947 - 6-5-1, third out of five; 1946 - 6-5, tie for third out of five; 1945 - 6-4, third out of five. Even if the Packers beat the 49ers Sunday to repeat their 27-21 triumph at Milwaukee November 20, they would fall from championship contention if Los Angeles beats Baltimore. Chances are, though, that the Packers will have their say in determining the Western Division champion when they meet the Rams in the finale at Los Angeles December 11. That is, if the second place Bears do not stumble against Detroit Sunday. A Bear defeat coupled with a Ram victory would end things right then.
PACKERS IN BEST WORKOUT
DEC 2 (Sonoma, CA) - Coach Liz Blackbourn revealed Friday why his Green Bay Packers went west for their windup NFL games earlier than usual. "Generally the fans at home figure the season is over about this time so up in Green Bay they start inviting the players out for dinner," said Blackbourn. "By the time we get started west the players' stomachs are filled and their minds aren't on their business, so this year we figured we'd get them out here ahead of time so they could concentrate on football." The plan, apparently, worked. "We had one of our best workouts of the year Thursday," Blackbourn said, "and we tapered off Friday." The Packers won't go into San Francisco, 40 miles from their Sonoma Valley retreat, until Sunday morning for their game against the 49ers. They'll go directly to Kezar Stadium, where some 25,000 fans are expected. Blackbourn said Tom Bettis would start at offensive center for the Packers and that Jim Ringo, regular pivot man, was "very doubtful" of seeing any action at all. Ringo suffered a back injury against Detroit Thanksgiving Day. The 49ers are in worse physical condition. Both fullbacks, Joe Perry and Bud Laughlin, were nursing varied ailments; defensive wing-back Paul Carr had an aching tooth, and rookie halfbacks Dicky Moegle and Carroll Hardy were limping. The Packers never have beaten the 49ers at Kezar and hold only two wins in nine games the latest a 27-21 verdict at Milwaukee two weeks ago. San Francisco is nursing a four-game losing streak and must win its final two games to avoid its worst season since joining the league in 1950.
PACKERS EYE SEASON SWEEP OVER FORTY-NINERS
DEC 3 (San Francisco-Green Bay Press-Gazette) - Is it possible for a team the likes of the Forty Niners to lose five straight NFL games? That doesn't figure, but the Packers have definite designs on keeping the Gold Diggers' losing skein alive and thus (1) retain a slim shot at a playoff providing the Rams lose to Baltimore at Los Angeles and (2) gain revenge for the 35 to 0 pasting Frisco gave Green Bay here a year ago. Nearly 30,000 fans - if the weather is good, will be out to watch the law of averages put the Packers in a trance with kickoff set for 4 o'clock Green Bay time. No Forty Niner backer can believe the standings which shows Frisco with a 3-7 record. And that 5-5 record for the Packers is hard for them to digest also because the folks hereabouts though Frisco was a championship club and Green Bay was just in that so-called rebuilding stage. The experts figure the Packers and Forty Niners will revert to type Sunday and they have installed Frisco as a seven-point choice to end the curse of consecutive losses to Los Angeles, Washington, Green Bay (27-21) and Baltimore. Packer Coach Liz Blackbourn feels better about Sunday's game than he did about the '54 test here. Liz could see that 35-0 affair on the wall since he figured that the Bays were cold mentally and physically because of two straight losses (in five days) to Detroit, giving the Bays a 4-6 record. What's more, zero weather handicapped the Bays in practice back home. The Packers trained out here this week and Blackbourn has taken special pains to key up the squad at Sonoma, some 50 miles from the game site. They'll go direct to Kezar stadium from Sonoma Sunday morning, arriving just before the pregame workout. Blackbourn has hoped that the Packers will react like a pack of caged tigers. Practice at Sonoma was not tiresome but it was concentrated and emphasized offense, since the Bays were able to score only 10 in their last start. Blackbourn is worried about the Packer offense because it hurts smack in the middle - at center. Tom Bettis, Blackbourn said, will start at offensive center in place of Jim Ringo, who was "very doubtful" of seeing any action at all. Ringo was injured in the Lions game at Detroit Thanksgiving Day. Trapper Stephenson, just six days out of retirement, also is available. Two other members of the Bay offense won't be operating at top speed - quarterback Tobin Rote and fullback Howie Ferguson. Rote has rib troubles and Ferguson is still bothered by sore shoulders. The Packers hope to present a balanced attack against the defensive-solid Forty Niners but an injured Ferguson could force Rote to lean toward the air, pitching chiefly to Billy Howton and Gary Knafelc. Howton, incidentally, hopes to break into the catch column after being shut out by the Lions Thanksgiving Day. Howton had what he called his "worst day" against Detroit, but he hopes to redeem himself Sunday. Much depends on Howton. If he can make the ball stick, the Forty Niners might load up on him, thus freeing Knafelc and flanker Al Carmichael. The Packer defense faces a murderous problem in stopping Billy Wilson, Carroll Hardy, Gordy Soltau and Hugh McElhenny from catching Y.A. Tittle passes. Wilson was limited to two catches in the first Packer game but Hardy got away with two touchdown catches. Packer defensivemen admitted "we kept too much of a guard on Wilson" and they probably will balance their defense. To complicate things, McElhenny says he "found himself" against the Colts last Sunday and expects to cut loose against Green Bay...Despite his record, little pressure has been exerted here on 49er coach Red Strader, although he was among those hanged in effigy earlier in the season. Most of the heat has been put on the Morabitos, owner of the Forty Niners - probably for not changing coaches...The Packers will take an overnight train to Los Angeles after the game and will set up shop in the Hotel Green in Pasadena Monday morning, getting things underway for the windup against the Rams...It would take a lot of doing, but the Packers have a chance to produce their best record in 10 years on the current road trip. Two wins on the coast would give them a 7-5 mark - best since 1945 when they produced 7-4...The odds seem to be against the Packers winning the next two Sundays, because Green Bay hasn't been effective on the road, losing all four away-from-Wisconsin games to Cleveland 41-10, Baltimore 14-10, Bears 52-31 and Detroit 24-10...The championship race could
end Sunday. If LA beats Baltimore and Detroit tops the Bears, the Rams would be in. Here's a vote for Baltimore!
MOEGLE, BEATTY WILL PLAY ON DEFENSE
DEC 3 (San Francisco) - Dicky Moegle will play safety and Ed Beatty will be the left linebacker when the San Francisco 49ers go on defense against the Green Bay Packers tomorrow in Kezar Stadium in the game Red Strader figures will close the 49ers losing streak after four straight. Moegle, hurt in the same Green Bay game two weeks ago in Milwaukee, will try his wrenched knee against the pass snagging rushes of Gary Knafelc, one of several targets for Tobin Rote. Beatty has played some offensive center, particularly when the long pass is needed back to the punter and for field goal situations. But he hasn't played defense since his college days at Mississippi. Ed gets the call because Hardy Brown, who played one of his best games against Baltimore last Sunday, is banged up around the kidneys...ONLY CHANGES: Those were the only changes Red Strader announced late yesterday after his hungry group had finished a long session of both defense and offensive tactics. Today they'll rest, hope and pray while awaiting the opening kickoff tomorrow afternoon. In Boyes Springs, the Packers welcomed back Jim Ringo, their No. 1 center, who had been left in Green Bay following an injury in the Detroit loss on Thanksgiving Day. Ringo has been given the go ahead by Dr. Henry Atkinson, but Tom Bettis, All-American guard for Purdue, will probably open the game as a pivot man. Coach Liz Blackbourn says he will not use Ringo here. The Packers report themselves in nearly top condition after nine days of rest and excellent preparations at the Sonoma County spa. The 49ers claim more health than they've had recently with the return of Moegle and the recovery of Carrol Hardy and Bud Laughlin from injuries received in Baltimore...PASSING DUEL: As it was in Milwaukee, Y.A. Tittle goes up against the second most productive passer of the NFL in Tobin Rote and a wide open game may be in prospect. However, both teams have regained running backs who may keep the game on an even keel between the air and the ground. Rote has thrown 296 times in ten games, an average of better than twenty-nine per contest. He has completed 132 for 1,685 yards and fourteen touchdowns, and has had only seventeen intercepted. Tittle outpitched Rote in Milwaukee. He hurled fifteen completions out of 28 for 225 yards and a pair of touchdown - both long ones to Carroll Hardy. He had only one intercepted. Rote pitched 32 times and completed 14 for 201 yards and two touchdowns and had two intercepted. Rote had the 49ers perplexed in one drive when he went to his short passing routine and drove the Packers most of their 91 yards for the third touchdown early in the fourth quarter...PERRY IN FORM: Joe Perry reportedly was running in his best form yesterday and will be ready to joust with the Packers' Howie Ferguson, who ranks second in league rushing ahead of Joe but behind Baltimore's Alan Ameche. Ferguson galloped 85 yards on 21 carries while Perry got 79 on as many tries. Perry hurt his leg in the fourth quarter and that kept him from trying to surpass the hard smashing Ferguson. The new found running power for Hugh McElhenny may give Perry his best day of the season. Hugh will line up alongside Joe with Hardy as the flanking back. Hugh and Joe will restore the old one-two punch up the middle that terrified rival lines for a season and a half until McElhenny got hurt in the Chicago game last year. The Packers gain more running strength through the release of Veryl Switzer from defensive duties. Switzer will alternate with Al Carmichael, speediest of the Packers, in the flanking back spot. From there, like Hardy of the 49ers, they'll be swift targets for Rote's continuous passing.