Jaakko Mikkola's runners ran circles around Art Valpey's football squad for two hours yesterday, but when the gazelles had departed the confines of Briggs Cage the massive group of grid hopefuls got even--and good.
Led by Captain Kenny O'Donnell, who suggested the move, 85 Varsity candidates ran four laps, churning the firm cinder track into the general consistency of a newly-plowed Dust Bowl. The cindermen weren't unhappy, since they plan to move outdoors anyway, and Art Valpey positively beamed.
"They've got lots of spirit--thought it up themselves," he observed after the first day of spring practice with pads and cleats.
The afternoon session, which started with 45 minutes of skull practice in Carpenter Hall, was spent on fundamentals. Line Coach Butch Jordan, assisted by Henry Lamar, worked on the 30 or so guards, tackles, and centers; Valpey himself coached the 14 ends.
Over in one half of the cage, Davey Nelson wheeled about 45 backfield men through the first easy stages of the Michigan system. At one point, the diminutive Nelson had his half-a-hundred charges doing slow motion spins and fakes in delicate terpsichorean unison.
"Rhythm," Valpey kept saying, "you must have rhythm." Valpey preached rhythm and kept things businesslike. Observers compared yesterday's turnout and spirit to last year's spring practice and were grimed for the first time since last November 22.
A short dummy scrimmage ended the first formal practice, but half the blocks thrown rumbled the dirt floor of Briggs Cage.