Football is like any other production: the curtain doesn't go up before a lot of preliminary groundwork. The above action sequence, taken by CRIMSON photographers Pete Mazur and Jack Levy during last spring's practice, shows Art Valpey's squad learning the ABC's the newly-installed Michigan single wing.
In the top panel Howle-Houston sets his sights on the last green-jerseyed defender, while tailback Pete Petrillo heads for the sidelines and backfield coach Davy Nelson (to the right of Petrillo) watches the play develop.
The bottom photo, snapped a split second later, shows Houston completing his block, while Petrillo gets up full stream for the end zone. End coach Elmer Madar can now be seen standing between Petrillo and Don Nosak (left center), and the man with the hood on in the middle of the picture is line coach Forrest "Butch" Jordan.
Scrimmages were held nearly every Saturday during the six-week spring training phase. Then, as now, the emphasis was on fundamentals. "We're never going to get fancy until we have precision," cautions Coach Valpey.
Sights like the above, where Howie Houston is delivering the key block, may be common in the Stadium this fall. Valpey, who said Howie could have played first-string for Michigan last fall, plans to use the 195-pound tackle as a running guard on offense this year. A 22-year-old Junior, Houston has been included in several preseason all-American listings.
Wide-open football has been a relative stranger to the Harvard grid scene. But once the fundamentals of the single-wing are learned, and precision has been acquired, the type of football magic which made Michigan a great drawing card can be expected in the Stadium.
Certainly, Coach Valpey has not emphasized defenses since he took over last Spring, and during those six weeks it was all a basic series of offensive plays that the team worked on. The same first act has been rehearsed and re-rehearsed to date.
For example, last year's leading Crimson passer, Jim Kenary, has not thrown one pass this fall. With Bill Henry, he has been working at quarterback. Coach Valpey was asked why either man hadn't passed at yet. "We haven't got into our offense," answered Art.
This means that besides the single-wing, T-plays will be used by the team in which Kenary or Henry will be passing threats under the center.
For the team will come out of the huddle, into a T-formation, and then shift into the single-wing, with additional passing threats at tailback in Jim Noonan and Chuck Roche.