Inside College Football

Nov. 26, 2001
Nov. 26, 2001

Table of Contents
Nov. 26, 2001

Inside College Football

Turning the Tide
Super sub Andrew Zow has led Alabama to back-to-back wins and
into the bowl picture

This is an article from the Nov. 26, 2001 issue Original Layout

Long before his work on the field led Alabama to a 31-7 win over
Auburn, senior quarterback Andrew Zow may have been the Crimson
Tide's most valuable player for what he did off the field: He
kept his mouth shut. After two tumultuous seasons of job-sharing
with Tyler Watts, Zow was dumped to second-string this season
and never complained. "He kept his composure," says senior
wideout Jason McAddley. "He was always there for the team,
always into the game." Zow played in only three of Alabama's
first eight games, five of which ended in a loss. When Watts, a
junior, pulled a groin muscle early in the Nov. 10 game against
Mississippi State, Zow led the Tide to a 24-17 comeback victory.

Last Saturday at Jordan-Hare Stadium, Zow made himself into a
legend, at least to the folks in Alabama who live to beat Auburn.
Not only did he complete 22 of 29 passes for 221 yards and two
touchdowns, but he also consistently called the right play at the
line of scrimmage. No less an authority on Crimson Tide
quarterbacks than Joe Namath said he told Zow in the locker room
after the game that it was "one of the alltime great games I've
ever seen a quarterback play. I thanked him for playing the way
he did. It made all of us feel so good."

Zow's gem came at a time when Tide fans sorely needed a lift. On
Saturday, Alabama president Andrew Sorensen and athletic director
Mal Moore appeared before the NCAA Committee on Infractions in
Indianapolis to answer charges of recruiting violations. If the
major infractions stick, the Tide could be put on probation for
the second time since the summer of 1995.

An hour after the game the 23-year-old Zow leaned against the
team bus and reflected on how he'd used prayer and lessons
learned from his family to help endure being benched.
Specifically, Zow, the married father of two, mentioned his
seven-month-old son, Avry, who isn't winning any sleeping awards.
"I've had to be more patient with him," said Zow. "I've told my
wife [Ambress] that things in football aren't always going to go
our way. You keep praying they'll work out. If we're patient,
they will."

When the season began, Zow needed to throw for 361 yards to
surpass Jay Barker as Alabama's leading career passer. Zow got
the record on Saturday, but it may have been the least of his
accomplishments. The Zow-led wins over Mississippi State and
Auburn have improved Alabama's record to 5-5, and if the Crimson
Tide defeats Southern Mississippi on Nov. 29, it will qualify for
a bowl game.

Watts, who praised Zow after the Auburn game for having been
"sharp all week, mentally and physically," said he hopes to be
ready to face the Golden Eagles. But given the noticeable limp
that Watts had as he left the interview room and the considerable
amount of practice time he'll miss, Zow will almost certainly

The Four-Minute Offense
Slowing Down In a Hurry

After Miami junior quarterback Ken Dorsey threw four
interceptions in an 18-7 victory at Boston College on Nov. 10,
Hurricanes coach Larry Coker praised Dorsey for keeping his
focus despite the mistakes. "He ran a 14-play drive in our
four-minute offense at the end of the game," Coker said. "He
finished strong."

The four-minute offense, as some teams refer to it, is a
clock-management strategy that teams employ when they are trying
to protect a lead--when it's too early to take a knee but late
enough that making a couple first downs can settle things. "It's
the opposite of a two-minute drill," says Michigan State
offensive coordinator Morris Watts. "You try to run the clock
down to where your opponent doesn't have a chance to win."

The four-minute offense calls for all the poise required by its
two-minute counterpart. "Usually you hold them in the huddle
until 12 seconds or less are left on the play clock," Watts
says. "You call the snap on a short count so the quarterback can
take it right down to two seconds and then say, 'Ready, go.'"
Receivers and running backs must remember not to run
out-of-bounds. When a play ends, players "get off the pile
slowly," says Maryland coach Ralph Friedgen, whose Terrapins
practice their four-minute package every Friday. Most teams
eliminate shotgun snaps because they are too risky.

Play-calling is conservative but not a return to the days of
Woody Hayes. Offenses will substitute for at least one receiver
and go to a second tight end or a fullback to protect the
quarterback. Because the defense knows the offense doesn't want
to risk an incomplete pass--which would stop the clock--it loads
up against the run. "The teams that are best at the four-minute
are the ones who have the courage to throw," Colorado State
coach Sonny Lubick says. "On first-and-10 the defense is going
to have everybody up there to try to stop the run. You need to
have the guts to run a play-action and throw a quick four-yard

The emergence of the four-minute offense has coincided with the
proliferation of mobile quarterbacks. If a quarterback can run,
he can roll out and then decide how to keep the chains, and the
clock, moving.

Harvard's Not-So-Perfect Year
Undefeated but Tangled in the Ivy

By winning 35-23 at Yale, Harvard (9-0 overall, 7-0 in the Ivy
League and ranked 19th in Division I-AA) clinched not only its
second conference championship in five years but also its first
perfect season since 1913. So why were the Crimson players
packing for Thanksgiving vacation and not for a trip to the
16-team division playoffs?

According to the 1954 Ivy Group Agreement (the compact that
chartered the eight-team conference), Ivy schools are forbidden
from participating in postseason football. "It's frustrating,"
says Penn coach Al Bagnoli, who guided the Quakers to undefeated
seasons in 1993 and '94. "It's disappointing for me and for the
kids, and I'm not sure the rule has much rationale behind it,
given that every other Ivy League sport can play in the

Originally intended to insulate the Ivies from the ills of
major-college football, such as Army's 1951 cheating scandal,
the ban now mainly reflects the Ivy's thinking that play among
member schools is all that matters. "The presidents believed in
'54 that they had to restrain football, not follow the big-time
trend," says Jeff Orleans, executive director of the Council of
Ivy Group Presidents. "That belief has endured, and football has
always been treated specially. It's the one sport in which
intraconference play has always been most emphasized."

Individual university presidents have also cited the potential
disruption to the scholastic calendar that additional games would
cause. "I don't know how it would be much of a distraction," says
Harvard quarterback Neil Rose, who completed 20 of 36 passes for
277 yards and four touchdowns against the Bulldogs. "Basketball,
hockey, all those teams manage." Indeed, of the Crimson's 41
varsity teams (the most at any Division I school), football,
which travels five or fewer Fridays each academic year, might
miss the fewest class days during the regular season.

The Patriot League, a Division I-AA nonscholarship conference
modeled after the Ivy League, with a level of talent and academic
rigor that's close to the Ivy's, began accepting football playoff
bids in 1997, and its teams have gone 2-6 in the postseason. In
the years before the creation of the Ivy League, teams that are
now members of the conference played in four bowl games. They
amassed a 2-2 record, including Harvard's 7-6 victory over Oregon
in the 1920 Rose Bowl, which gave the Crimson its seventh and
most recent national title.

Eliminating the ban on participating in the Division I-AA
playoffs would require the approval of a majority of the league
presidents, which isn't likely to happen soon. "One thing I've
learned during my tenure here is that any change, especially
major change, takes a great effort," Bagnoli says. "The Ivy
League is ultraconservative by nature and doesn't want that
change." --Daniel G. Habib

Maryland's Terrific Season
Give the Terps' D A Standing O

Although Maryland's first-year coach, Ralph Friedgen, is one of
the best offensive minds in football, the Terrapins' startling
rise to their first ACC championship in 16 years--which they
clinched with a 23-19 victory over North Carolina State--has had a
lot to do with defense. Maryland (10-1) leads the nation with 24
interceptions, 10 more than any other team in the ACC, and leads
the league in rushing defense (90.6 yards allowed per game),
scoring defense (19.1 points allowed per game) and net punting
(40.4 net yards per punt).

The aggressive 3-4 scheme installed by new defensive coordinator
Gary Blackney fits the Terrapins like a custom-made suit.
Blackney chose the 3-4 to accentuate the talents of junior middle
linebacker E.J. Henderson, senior strongside linebacker Aaron
Thompson and sophomores Mike Whaley, outside linebacker, and Leon
Joe, weakside linebacker. Henderson, a 6'2", 243-pound Butkus
Award finalist (who along with Thompson and Whaley started for
Maryland last year), is the biggest reason the defense works. He
finished the season with 141 tackles; 28 of those were for a
loss, which broke the school record set by All-America tackle
Randy White in 1974. Against the Wolfpack, Henderson had eight
tackles, one coming during a pivotal defensive stand that
permitted the Terrapins to get the ball back with 2:19 to go and
drive 61 yards for the winning touchdown. Blackney compares
Henderson to Chris Spielman, the Lombardi Award winner whom
Blackney coached at Ohio State in the late 1980s. "E.J. is
excellent in the open field," Blackney says. "The guy doesn't
miss tackles."

Henderson's big plays are a direct result of the aggressiveness
that Blackney demands. Until last Thursday, when Friedgen
shortened practice to save the players' legs, Maryland's defense
began every workout with tackling and pursuit drills. Blackney
also has never seen a blitz he didn't like. "We blitz 50 percent
of the time, and we bring as many as eight people," senior strong
safety Tony Jackson says. "In the past we didn't get enough
penetration up front, and E.J. had to fight off blockers to make
tackles. This year he's free to run."

For complete scores, schedules and stats, plus Ivan Maisel's
exclusive weekly Heisman Watch, go to

COLOR PHOTO: DAMIAN STROHMEYER Neither benchings nor back-cracking tackles by Auburn's Javor Mills (96) and Reggie Torbor have taken the zing out of Zow. COLOR PHOTO: CHUCK SOLOMON By hammering T.J. Hyland (2) and the other Elis, Harvard finished 9-0 but didn't nail a playoff bid.

short Yardage


Much of what Georgia fifth-year senior fullback Verron Haynes
has done this fall can't be found in a box score. He's the
emotional leader of the offense and a good blocker, and in eight
games before going to Ole Miss last Saturday he had rushed for
170 yards and three touchdowns and had caught 17 passes for 243
yards and two scores, including the game-winner with :05 left in
a 26-24 victory over Tennessee on Oct. 6. Haynes also went to
coach Mark Richt on Nov. 12 and volunteered to move to tailback
to allow starter Musa Smith to rest a nagging hip injury. Richt
agreed, and Haynes responded by running for 192 yards, the most
by a Georgia back in nine seasons, and two touchdowns in a 35-15
win over the Rebels. Haynes ran so well that Richt kept the ball
on the ground throughout a 10-play, 80-yard scoring drive, which
he says was the first time in his nine-year career as an
offensive coordinator and head coach that he'd called so many
consecutive rushes in a single drive.


An NFL scout assesses Colorado guard Andre Gurode, a 6'4",
320-pound senior who leads the Buffaloes in domination blocks
(85), touchdown blocks (11) and downfield blocks (36)

"He's a big, powerful, athletic kid. He pulls well. Colorado
sometimes puts him up on linebackers. He can play both center
and guard. That versatility will help him. He'll be one of the
better offensive linemen available, and he'll go in the first


"They're catching us at a bad time, since we're on a roll. I think
they would be kind of vulnerable in this position. Us winning as
many games back-to-back gives us the edge."

A comment by Texas Tech tailback Ricky Williams that appeared in
The Lubbock Avalanche-Journal as the Red Raiders, winners of
three consecutive games, prepared to face Oklahoma. The Sooners
stewed over the comments during the week and then won 30-13.


Washington defensive tackle Larry Tripplett vs. Miami left guard
Ed Wilkins and Miami right guard Martin Bibla

In the Huskies' 34-29 defeat of the Hurricanes last season, the
6'1", 295-pound Tripplett had two sacks, recovered a fumble and
blocked a field goal. He was so dominant that the 6'4",
306-pound Bibla used the memory of that afternoon to motivate
himself all summer. This year Tripplett plays on both sides of
the line, which will also put him up against Wilkins, a 6'4",
308-pound junior making only his third start this fall. Wilkins
will likely receive help from center Brett Romberg, but don't
expect the extra attention to faze Tripplett. Despite frequent
double teams, Tripplett has made 14 tackles for loss this
season. No other Husky lineman has more than three.