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November 17, 1958
Women in Motion (cont.)
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November 17, 1958

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Women in Motion (cont.)

Disbelief rolled over Don Stallings like a line plunge. "Isn't that your mother out there near the Tennessee huddle?" a teammate was asking the North Carolina tackle. "Oh, my gosh," Stallings answered faintly. "It is mother."

"I thought the game was over," Mrs. Stallings tried to explain later. She had seen a scuffle between the two teams on the opposite side of the field at Knoxville. "I figured everybody was shaking hands." So, tucking her umbrella under her arm, she set out straightaway across the grass. "But, oh my, it was rough out there," Mrs. Stallings was shocked to relate. "I heard one boy say to another that he was ready to kill somebody. Me, I just kept walking. What else could a body do? I was in the middle of the field. No use going back."

When Mother Stallings reached her 6-foot 4-inch son she smiled up at him and said: "Dad and I came to the game to surprise you, honey."

"Mother," said Don, "believe me, you did."

Sounds in the Line

The backs may go tearing by on their way to do or die, but it is up front in the trenches of football where the lines join, clashing ponderously, that Saturday's wars are won. And although football is not a notably vocal game, all is not quiet on the front; psychological warfare is being waged there. Notre Dame linemen, for instance, growl ferociously as they come out of the huddle. To inure themselves against this intimidatory tactic, Southern Methodist linemen growled at each other for a week before they played Notre Dame. Notre Dame has not always growled. Back in 1931, when Tommy Yarr was their captain and an All-America center, they used a more subtle ploy. Whenever a young lineman of the opposing team reported in to the game, Yarr would approach the referee and say, so the substitute could hear him, "Mr. Referee, what is the name and position of this young man?" Then, before Yarr snapped the ball, he would address the young man politely: "Welcome to the game, Mr. Doe. We will run this play right through you." More often than not they did.

The taunt, polite or vulgar, remains the standard technique, but there are variations and inventions. When Illinois played Ohio State last month, the Illinois linemen whistled like bobwhite quail before each OSU play. Although OSU Fullback Bob White did not demonstrably lose his temper, he gained only 35 yards in 17 rushes. Last year when Navy was clobbering Rice, Navy End Pete Jokanovich withdrew two tickets from his uniform and offered them to his opponent, suggesting that he accept them so he could get into the game. In September when Rice played Stanford on the West Coast the temperature was 99�. This was typical Houston weather and suited Rice to a wing T, but the Stanfords were drooping from the heat. In the third period, with Rice well in the lead, Rice linemen hooted at the enervated Indians: "Y'all better move around or y'all'll get cold."

There is not as much chatter this year as in the past. A new rule prohibits the defense from using "words or signals which obviously disconcert opponents when they are preparing to put the ball in play," and there are other reasons. "You're too busy trying to figure out what you're going to do," says Texas Guard Bob Harwerth. "With defensive signals, quick snaps and all that, the game is too complicated to do much talking." Many linemen also wear mouthpieces which are not conducive to well-enunciated sarcasms.

The new rule would gladden the heart of a grim, efficient but taciturn tackle of our acquaintance who used to be ragged by a little halfback to "talk it up in the line." One afternoon he had enough, and, getting up so that he towered above the pesky halfback, said evenly: "Noise is not necessarily a manifestation of spirit."

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