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Penalties Emerging as Chapman's Toughest Foe


Little has gone wrong for Chapman in its first football season in 62 years. The Panthers, 3-0-1 entering their game at 7 tonight at Occidental, have rolled over their opponents, 137-59, and were only challenged in the tie with Redlands.

So Chapman's main weakness--getting flagged for too many penalties--hasn't been a major problem, yet.

It's the potential that has Chapman Coach Ken Visser a bit concerned.

"I was frustrated," Visser said after the Panthers were penalized 16 times for 127 yards in their 59-18 victory over Azusa Pacific last week. "I've yelled at them. I've rewarded them when they didn't do it. I've punished them when they do. I've been positive. I've been negative and we still seem to have too many penalties."

In four games, Chapman has been penalized 39 times and is losing an average of 91 yards a game.

Most maddening, Visser said, are the penalties that seem so unnecessary.

"Somebody will push somebody kind of from the side and it's called a clip and it's 10 yards behind the play," Visser said. "You just ask, 'Why did you do it?' "It's hard to really pinpoint because first it's this guy and then it's that guy. It may still be a reflection of a younger program. They haven't played together a lot."


Visser is intimately familiar with Occidental, having played linebacker there in 1965 and '66 and coached there from 1967-71. As a player, he helped the Tigers to the 1966 conference title. When he was defensive coordinator in 1971, they won another.

"I always get a nostalgic feeling when I go back to Occidental," Visser said. "I have good memories of that place."

This Occidental team is 4-0, having defeated Menlo, Whittier, Cal Lutheran and Pomona-Pitzer.

The Tigers run a triple-option offense, which is second in the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference in rushing with 246 yards per game. Occidental ranks last in passing (34.5 a game), but Visser said that's partly because the Tigers haven't needed to throw the ball.

Chapman has been strong against the run, giving up 87.5 rushing yards a game. But opponents have passed for an average of 202.3 yards.

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