When it all began in 1926, the University of Miami had less than 800 students. Today there are 17,000. Its campus is one of the most modern in the country: 260 lush subtropical acres ornamented by colorful, stylish classroom buildings and residency halls, a magnificent student center, a nine-story library and a five-story Computing Center. Its Institute of Marine Sciences is one of the best-known oceanographic stations in the world, and its research vessels scour the seas on marine missions. "We have a responsibility to maintain an atmosphere in which ideas may flourish," says Dr. Henry King Stanford from the president's chair. "Where students may become acquainted with the accumulated knowledge of the ages, where they will be intellectually challenged and inspired to make a contribution toward preserving and extending the finest that is bequeathed to us."
"Damn," says Charlie Tate, who has a responsibility to win football games. "With all of that, you'd think I could find just one quarterback."
Ah, the plight of Tate and his Hurricanes. They almost have it all—big, strong, powerful running backs, a defense that never would have allowed Santa Anna inside the Alamo, a cornucopia of gifted, if young, receivers. And Ted Hendricks. Almost everything, except a quarterback. "Having a pro offense like ours with great receivers but no first-rate quarterback is like having a new limousine with a chimpanzee at the wheel," says Tate, thereby establishing some kind of record for coaching honesty.
As might have been guessed, Tate has a problem. But don't begin penning an unhappy ending yet. Tate does have David Olivo, the 6'2" 215-pound senior who began last season as a fullback and ended it as the No. 1 quarterback. Olivo's drawback is that he plays like a fullback. At best, he is a mediocre passer and he is guilty of in-decisiveness, but he is improving.
September 8, 1968
What that means is that Tate will be taking a long, considered look at Lew Pytel, a sophomore short on height (5'11") but long on potential, and one who, it is said, has the darting moves and the strong arm of a George Mira, Miami's All-America quarterback of five years ago. The chances are that Tate will open with Olivo but use Pytel increasingly.
The Miami running attack should be as good as, if not better than, last year, and last year it was punishing. There is John Acuff, a 195-pound senior who has been shifted to fullback. His running mate will be Vincent Opalsky, who can move his 210 pounds over 100 yards in 9.7 seconds, and together they give Miami its best one-two ground-gaining punch in history. Should either falter, Bobby Best, a 6'1", 205-pounder who broke numerous freshman records last year, is anxious to put his best foot forward.
Unhappily, this offense will be operating behind a largely inexperienced line. Miami lost six of its first seven linemen, and the lone returnee, James Schneider, is a center who has been moved to tackle. The switch was made with the return of Don Brandy, who sat out most of 1967 because of a broken hand. "Our offensive line is not as big as we'd like," says Tate, "but it has good speed. It needs maturity."
Maturity may not come before half of the season has passed, and by then Miami will have played Georgia Tech, USC and LSU. But then the Hurricanes have a history of starting dismally. "The only way they can ever go unbeaten," grumbles an experienced Miami observer, "is to start with five open dates."
Miami's pass receiving is young and there will be mistakes, but it also can be good. Dave Kalina, a junior-college transfer, has won the split-end job, and already he is being touted as one of Miami's alltime top receivers. At Coffeyville (Kans.) Junior College he caught 64 passes for 1,300 yards and 19 touchdowns, and in three spring games Kalina led all Miami receivers.
Then there is Ray Bellamy, a 6'4", 194-pound sophomore who runs the 100 in 9.8 and is the first Negro on a Miami football team. At the moment Tate plans on using him primarily at flanker, and Bellamy says he does not care where he plays, just so they throw him the ball. His last two years in high school he scored 18 touchdowns, despite playing both offense and defense, but he discounts this. "Then I was the biggest and fastest man on the field all the time," he says. "I'm finding out in college there are players bigger and faster, and there's always someone on the bench who can play just as well, maybe better." May-be. As a freshman, Bellamy caught 24 passes for 298 yards in four games, and if there were bigger and faster people around, they did not seem to bother him.
Another sophomore Tate has penciled in as a flanker is Dieter Matthes, 6'3" and homegrown. He was last year's top freshman receiver with 26 catches, 370 yards and five touchdowns, and in 1966 he was the state's top prep player of the year.
The Miami defense, led by No. 89, the 6'8", 222-pound all-everything, Ted Hendricks, should be impressive. As everybody from Miami to Miami Beach will insist, this is Hendricks' year for the Heisman Trophy, and that opinionated minority just might prove right if Miami has an exceptional season. Tate has indicated he even plans on using The Mad Stork on offense, which won't hurt the towering defensive end's chances in the balloting. Hendricks came to Miami as an offensive end and was thrown one pass during his sophomore year, which he dropped. In the last two years he also has dropped 247 enemy runners (Hendricksphiles count such things) and recovered eight fumbles. In 1967, against Pittsburgh, he blocked a quick kick and ran it back to Pitt's 16, setting up a touchdown; against Virginia Tech, he enabled Miami to get its winning score by slamming the ball out of the quarterback's hand and then recovering it 20 yards farther down-field, and against Tulane he twice stole the ball from Quarterback Bobby Duhon.
"If you don't believe he's good," says Tate, "then just ask any quarterback we've faced the last two years."
Coach Ray Graves of Florida says, "Hendricks is the only player I know who could make All-America at four positions."
"Four positions?" someone said to Tate. "I wonder if one of them just might be quarterback?"
"I dunno," said Tate, thoughtfully, "I dunno."