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Morning Briefing

Testaverde Has a Nose for Football

November 21, 1986

Vinny Testaverde has a prominent proboscis, and it serves him well. At least that's how Miami running back Melvin Bratton sees it.

"Vinny's nose is like radar," Bratton told the Baltimore Sun. "His nose is like the front of an airplane. It just directs the ball. It's like the front end of . . . what's that plane with the nose that goes down?"

The Concorde?

"Yes, the Concorde," Bratton said. "He won't like me saying that, of course. Good. Put it in the paper."

Denver Broncos Coach Dan Reeves, on New York fans: "Most teachers must teach four-letter words in English class in New York and New Jersey. I didn't realize folks spoke only four-letter words there. That's all I heard from the stands. Now I know why teams back there are called Jets, Mets and Nets."

Now-it-can-be-told Dept.: According to Newsday, Boston's Larry Bird was on a mission the night he scored 37 points at Chicago. It seems he was denied his two complimentary tickets to the game, a sellout.

"That got me ticked off," Bird said. "I had to buy two, so I decided to score a point for every dollar I spent and added three."

Trivia Time: Lou Holtz of Notre Dame and Bill Arnsparger of LSU will be coaching against one another for only the second time Saturday. What was the first? (Answer below.)

Wallace Matthews of Newsday, on why Trevor Berbick shouldn't be taken lightly against Mike Tyson Saturday night: "Berbick was a 7-1 underdog when he won the title from Pinklon Thomas in March, but his habit of upsetting opponents started long before that. Berbick was a heavy underdog against John Tate in 1980, but he scored a devastating ninth-round knockout that ended the former champion's career.

"He was the first challenger to last the distance with then-champion Larry Holmes in 1981 after Holmes had knocked out his first eight challengers to tie a heavyweight title record. Berbick was an underdog when he ended Muhammad Ali's career with a decision in 1981 and he also unexpectedly ended the unbeaten streak of Greg Page in 1982."

Said a TCU official after only 10,125 showed up for the football game against Houston at the Astrodome: "It was a very intimate gathering. It looked like an Astrodome cleanup crew."

Kansas City Royals officials said they were delighted with Bo Jackson's first season in organized baseball, but scouts from other teams had reservations. The Sporting News passed along these comments:

"The worst work habits possible; extremely lazy . . . very green and crude--a worse outfielder than Lonnie Smith, if that's possible . . . the most talented but least enthused first-year player I've seen . . . at Auburn, he apparently practiced only when he felt like it. Everything has always come so easy to him that he doesn't know how to work."

Trivia Answer: In 1976, when Holtz coached the New York Jets and Arnsparger the New York Giants, they met in an exhibition game, won by the Jets, 16-14.

Arnsparger will be the second former Giant coach Holtz has faced this season. The other, Ray Perkins, coached Alabama to a 28-10 win over Notre Dame.

Quotebook

Basketball Coach Abe Lemons of Oklahoma City University on how to solve the recruiting problem: "Just give every coach the same amount of money and tell him he can keep what's left over."

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