Former NBA center and Coach Johnny Kerr said his biggest test as a coach came when he coached the expansion Chicago Bulls and his biggest player was 6-8 Erwin Mueller.
"We had lost seven in a row, and I decided to give a psychological pep talk before a game with the Celtics," Kerr said. "I told Bob Boozer to go out and pretend he was the best scorer in basketball. I told Jerry Sloan to pretend he was the best defensive guard. I told Guy Rodgers to pretend he could run an offense better than any other guard, and I told Mueller to pretend he was the best rebounding, shot-blocking, scoring center in the game.
"We lost the game by 17. I was pacing around the locker room afterward trying to figure out what to say when Mueller walked up, put his arm around me and said, 'Don't worry about it, coach. Just pretend we won.' "
Trivia Time: Of the 51 Heisman Trophy winners, 7 won it as juniors. How many can you name? (Answer below.)
Wait a Minute: Iowa's Chuck Long, comparing his Heisman chances to those of Navy's Napoleon McCallum, told John Ed Bradley of the Washington Post last week: "I know a lot of people will look at our 10-1 season, and that will help in the voting. They don't give the Heisman to a player on a 3-8 team."
They did better than that. They gave it to a player on a 2-8 team. That was Paul Hornung of Notre Dame in 1956. The runner-up was Johnny Majors of Tennessee, current coach of the Volunteers. That year, Tennessee was 10-0.
Don't-stop-the-presses dept.: Before you get excited over the prediction by ABC's Beano Cook that Doug Flutie will quarterback the Rams next year, be advised that he is the same Beano Cook who told us that Jim Mora would be the new coach at Notre Dame.
Add Beano: A certified zany, he is a former sports information director at the University of Pittsburgh, where he once fought unsuccessfully to have a picture of All-American basketball player Don Hennon and polio vaccine pioneer Jonas Salk taken under the caption: "Pitt's two greatest shotmakers."
For the Record: Tom LaBonge of Los Angeles writes to add cornerback Mike Haynes of the Raiders to the list of former City high school quarterbacks playing in the NFL. Haynes quarterbacked Marshall High in 1970.
Trivia Answer: Doc Blanchard (Army) 1945, Doak Walker (SMU) 1948, Vic Janowicz (Ohio State) 1950, Roger Staubach (Navy) 1963, Archie Griffin (Ohio State) 1974, Billy Sims (Oklahoma) 1978, Herschel Walker (Georgia) 1982.
Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Boomer Esiason, on what's uppermost in his mind for today's game against the Dallas Cowboys: "The first thing that comes to my mind about the Cowboys is their cheerleaders."