No doubt you've noticed that black shoes are all the rage in college football. Many teams have switched from white shoes to black shoes this season. However, the University of Utah is having it both ways.
About 30 Ute players wear black shoes; the rest of the team wears white. And it's all something of an accident.The entire team was supposed to wear white shoes this season. The trouble was, some of the players complained that their shoes were too narrow and hurt their feet.
"We sent them downtown to get some shoes that fit," says Equipment Manager Robert Wiscomb. "Of course they decided the black shoes were more comfortable."
Some of the players wrap white tape around the shoes, but most prefer the black. As a result, the team isn't exactly color coordinated.
Do the coaches mind? "They want the players in a shoe that fits," says Wiscomb. "In the future they may have to get them all in black."
GETTING MAD: Coach Ron McBride was so angry following last Saturday night's 31-7 loss to Fresno State that he had to take a blood-pressure pill soon after the game. "I was pretty upset," he said. "You have to make a point with the team. You can't accept losing. I just told the team how I felt. I just didn't tell them in a nice way. I was pretty vocal."
WHAT'S IN A NAME: When McBride took over as the Utes' head coach last winter, Marc Amicone, Utah's marketing and promotions director, was quick to make use of the coach's nickname. "Everyone calls him Mac," says Amicone, who promptly contacted McDonald's - as in Big Mac Attack - and Mack Truck about joint promotional projects.
As a result, McDonald's has allowed the school to use "Mac Attack" in its promotions, and has taken an active role in other team promotions. Mac's Kids, a club for children 12-and-under, receive season tickets, T-shirts and free burgers for $10. The restaurant also promises discounts on Big Mac hamburgers to ticket holders following a home victory.
Mack Truck also provided a truck for a promotional picture that so far has turned up on the cover of last week's game program and on a poster. The picture shows McBride sitting on the cab of the truck, which is parked in Rice Stadium.
STATUS QUO: Reserve running back Rod Wells has quit the team because of personal problems and family obligations, according to McBride. As a freshman in 1987, Wells rushed for 273 yards on just 36 carries (a 7.6-yard average) and caught 20 passes for 171 yards. He served an LDS Church mission the following year, then suffered a season-ending knee injury in training camp last year. . . .
. . . Mark Swanson, a starting cornerback who sprained a knee against Fresno State last weekend, might be able to play Saturday against Hawaii, but he won't start. He'll be replaced in the lineup by Derrick Odum, who was a starter last year. . . .Senior halfback Cliff Smith, last year's leading rusher, has fallen to fourth string on the depth chart, behind sophomore Steve Abrams and freshmen Charlie Brown and Brad Foster.NUMBERS: Utah's offense has scored just 14 points in the last six quarters of play . . .
. . . After three games, linebacker Anthony Davis - the unofficial Newcomer of the Year - has collected 40 tackles, including 27 solo tackles and 7 tackles for loss. Davis, by the way, frequently goes by the nickname A.D., although McBride sometimes calls him "After Death." . . .
. . . Wideout Bryan Rowley has only three catches this year, but they've gone for 42, 58 and 51 yards. . . .
. . . Senior safety Sean Knox has two interceptions this season, and 12 for his career. The latter is one short of the school record, which is held jointly by Jeff Griffin and Reggie Richardson. . . .
. . . Just three games into the season, the Utes already have set a school record for blocked field goals in a season. They have blocked three of them in the last two games, two by Greg Reynolds.