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20Football 1984September 13, 1984
Not the typical NFL predictions
By KIMBALL CROSSLEY
So you ve seen the graphics
below and you're thinking, "Oh,
no! Not another NFL preview. I've
got numbers coming out of my
ears!" Don't worry, this one
promises to be a little bit different.
First, a little NFL history. 1981
was the NFL's glory year. There
were more good teams then than
ever. Division races were tight.
Two teams that had taken their
share of the hard knocks over the
years finally emerged from the
rest: San Francisco and
There was talent in 1981. There
were several good organizations.
There was tons of television
money. Things were good.
Too good. There was the strike
of 1982 and that ridiculous season,
saying will be a more pass-oriented
set-up. Many observers will
believe that when they see it.
All-America candidate Kevin
Brooks (6-6, 245) heads up a
strong defense that only needs to
patch up some holes at linebacker.
Schembechler, more passing or
less passing, should field one of
his better Wolverine teams this
fall. A Big Ten title seems likely.
After losing seven starters on
defense and coach Howard Schnel
lenberger to the USFL, you would
think the defending national chamT
pion Hurricanes would slow
down. Those who saw Miami's
upset win over Auburn and their
come-from-behind victory over
Florida know that is not the case.
The Hurricanes seem to be car
rying the momentum from last
year's Orange Bowl victory over
Nebraska into this season.
The major reason the Hurri
canes are still rolling is the return
of QB Bernie Kosar, last year's
freshman phenom. Kosar, who
has the poise of an NFL veteran,
probably has the most dangerous
passing arm in the NCAA. He still
Mo; e people have survived
cancer than now live in the
City of Los Angeles.
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and then there was the USFL. And
suddenly no one knew what was
going on. The USFL took away
a few top players, but more
importantly, a bunch of decent
In 1983 the league was medi
ocre. Previously solid franchises
lacked depth. Teams would go
from fantastic to horrible in one
week because of injuries and
individual mismatches. Al Davis
and the Raiders won it all with
their philosophy of "I don't care
where he's fron or what he did
to that little boy, he can play."
This season is going to tell where
the league is going. The smart
organizations, the truly good
teams, the good coaches, the
outstanding players, the USFL's
true impact, all of these things will
become clear during these 16
from page 8
has his favorite target, wide
receiver Stanley Shakespeare, to
throw to and a talented pair of
running backs to hand the ball off
to in Alonzo Highsmith and
Darryl Oliver. In all, Miami
returns 10 starters on offense.
The story is a lot different on
defense,, however, as new coach
Jimmy Johnson must replace
seven departed regulars. Defensive
back Ken Calhoun heads up the
list of returnees.
If the Hurricanes can play
adequate defense, their offense is
more than explosive enough to
win a lot of games. However, what
could be the toughest schedule in
the country will make it awfully
hard to repeat as national champs.
The rest of the best:
Penn. St. .
Texas A & M
v- .4- " .
you buy any regular priced athletic shoes.
(Offer expires 9-31-84 Limit 1 per customer)
Next to Granville Towers
Below are the predictions of one
person who has spent a lot of time
thinking about and studying the
NFL, trying to answer some of
MIAMI (1 1-5) Even if
former defensive coach Bill Arns
parger is the secret behind Don
Shula, his absense shouldn't be felt
NEW YORK (10-6) The Jets
always seem to do the exact
opposite of what the consensus of
the media say they will.
NEW ENGLAND (8-8)
Coach Ron Meyer's ultra
conservative style is a good idea;
unfortunately his quarterback,
Steve Grogan, and his defense
aren't up to it.
With all the yelling and screaming
about the move from Baltimore,
no one has noticed that coach
Frank Kush is putting together a
respectable football team. India
napolis might have a winner in
BUFFALO (4-12) This is
what you get when you fire a head
coach who's a proven winner like
Chuck Knox and hire a guy named
Kay Stephenson. Think about it,
would you want a football coach
named Chuck, or one named Kay?
Winner of this weak, division by
default because, like the Jets,
they're a talented team that fell on
hard times last year and are due
for some breaks. They also happen
to have the only proven quarter
back in the division.
CLEVELAND (9-7) Browns'
QB Paul McDonald, who is not
blessed with a rifle arm, has to be
an improvement over Brian
PITTSBURGH (8-8) It's
hard to imagine squeeky-clean
country club David Woodley in a
mean, old, black and gold Steeler
uniform. In fact Woodley might
just turn out to be a softeF version
of exiled QB Cliff Stoudt.
HOUSTON (2-14) Warren
Moon has taken a lot of pressure
off John Elway by usurping him
as the NFL's most overpaid
attempted franchise remedy. The
Oilers would have been better off
See NFL on page 19
March of Dimes
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to be in the same class with
Lawrence Taylor and Mike
Wilcher (former UNC players who
were dominant at the position)."
In the spring, when Crum first
sat him down and discussed the
possibility of switching positions,
Moon was, to say the least,
hesitant. He gave Crum a firm
"I wasn't real, real happy about
it at first, because that's (inside
linebacker) where I had most of
my fun, and where I thought a lot
of the action was," he says. "When
he told me about what he wanted
to do, I just said I couldn't give
him an answer right now, that it
was something I'd have to sit down
and think about."
Moon thought about it a lot,
but he thought very little of Crum's
idea. Simmons says Moon was not
in the best frame of mind during
that period. .
"He took it too personal,"
Simmons remembers. "He didn't
see it from the coaches' standpoint.
He felt it was threatening to move
from a position he played for a
while, and he just felt he could
contribute more on the inside than
Eventually, he overcame his .
reluctance and made the move.
The difference between the posi
tions is that on the outside, Moon
must line up over an offensive
lineman, while in the past, he was
free to focus his attention on the
ball. He also must use his hands
more than he did when he played
The adjustment may not have
been perfectly smooth, and it is
still in progress. But Moon seems
to be growing more confortable
with his new role.
"I've gotten used to it a little
bit now," he says. "It's coming OK.
Basically, I've got to use a lot
different technique now. The thing
that's getting me is that I'm not
really concentrating when I have
to line up over a tight end some
times. I find myself looking to the
backfield, trying to figure out
where the ball is going, instead of
concentrating on getting the
blocker off me first. I've got to take
it one step at a time: first I've got
to get this guy off me, and then
I've got to go to the ball."
Missing all of spring practice
didn't make the adjustment any
easier. In fact, standing and
watching his teammates partici
pate in off-season drills became an
adjustment in itself.
. In 10th grade, Moon broke his
left wrist. It never healed properly,
but until last year, when he began
to get a significant amount of
playing time, the pain was rela
tively easy to tolerate. Toward the
end of last season, it became more
intense, though his play was hardly
an indication. Moon underwent
surgery after the season. Bone
chips were removed and screws
inserted to reconstruct the wrist.
And while the rest of the team
practiced, he observed. Or tried to.
"I paid attention and I didn't
pay attention, you know what I
mean?" he says. "It was a very
enthusiastic practice and I was
sitting over there on the sideline
with a cast on my arm. I couldn't
get a lot out of it, 'cause I really
wasn't into it."
Now he wears a "gauntlet," a
leather glove with a piece of steel
inside, to prevent him from rein
juring the wrist. Thanks to modern
technology, the injury should not
present a problem for Moon this
from page 10
"It (the gauntlet) helps out a
whole lot," he says. "But it'll never
be back to normal. Not the way
it was, the way God made it."
Moon came to UNC for a
couple of reasons, not the least of
which was foooball. When he
decided to leave for Chapel Hill
from Altavista, Va., he seemed to
have several other things in mind.
"The schools in Virginia that
recruited me were nice schools,
like Tech and UVa, but I didn't
consider UVa an ACC school," he
says in total seriousness. "I wanted
to go ACC, and I wanted to be
the first from my area to go."
Then there was the idea of
North Carolina basketball. It
seems Moon couldn't get enough
"I wanted to play basketball
here," he says. "But I realized that
my opportunity to play football
was a whole lot better (though he
won four letters in high school for
basketball). So one out of two ain't
For the majority of his freshman
season, Moon was a reserve ful
lback, getting most of his playing
time in junior varsity games. The
j.v. team was short of linebackers
in one game, so he was asked to
help out. He did. And the next
day, Crum made him a linebacker,
where he has stayed.
Last year was Moon's first as
a starter. He led the team in solo
tackles with 73 and had 27 assists
and three sacks. In UNC's loss to
Florida State in the Peach Bowl,
he had 21 tackles and was named
the CBS defensive player of the
game. He was the only ACC player
to be a Playboy preseason All
American. "Micah Moon is one of the most
intense players I've ever seen play
a football game," Clemson coach
Danny Ford says.
Mike Eppley, who serves as
"He has as good a nose for the
football as anyone I've ever played
against. He's got a lot of ways up
his sleeve to beat you. Most of the
time, it takes more than one player
to stop him once he makes up his
mind he's going to do something."
Sound familiar? The same
things were and still are said about
Taylor, who now makes his living
dismantling NFL offenses for the
New York Giants. The compar
isons are inevitable, but Moon
prefers not to discuss them.
Nor does he like to contemplate
his future in the sport, and whether
or not it will parallel Taylor's
career. Occasionally, he admits, it
is difficult to put such things in
the far reaches of his mind.
"It is when you see a BMW,"
he says, smiling. "Sometimes I
think about it, but then I realize
that this is my last year, and the
present is the most important thing
right now. Ill worry about what's
goin' on down the road later on."
Most likely, it will be a BMW
goin' on down the road later on.
With Moon behind the wheel.
It doesn't take a prophet no
matter what his name may be
to figure that out.