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Utah State's Last Victim Complains of Dirty Play

September 07, 1996

As if Cal State Northridge didn't have enough to worry about in its football opener today against Utah State. . . .

Utah Coach Ron McBride says Utah State players purposely tried to injure some of his players during a game last week.

Their method: grabbing in the groin area.

McBride, acknowledging that his complaints might be interpreted as "sour grapes" after a 20-17 loss to a two-touchdown underdog, told the Associated Press that he sent videotape of several tackles to the Western Athletic Conference.

McBride claimed that at least two Utah State defenders grabbed and squeezed the groin area of Utah running back Chris Fuamatu-Ma'afala. He said other players also complained they were grabbed.

"I want [Utah State] to know this can't go on," McBride said. "This isn't something that can happen in college football."

John L. Smith, Utah State's coach, said he did not teach or condone dirty play.

"In teaching tackling, we teach them to rip, to wrap and to grab cloth," said Smith, whose team plays in the Big West Conference. "We don't teach a guy to go into a pile to grab anything."

Dave Baldwin, Northridge's coach, said he wouldn't comment on the "rumors."

Eat and Make Up? Scott Squires is doing things a bit differently in his first season as Cal Lutheran's football coach.

First, he took his team to a naval base in San Diego for a training camp adventure.

Next, he organized what he termed a "reconciliation breakfast" during which football players cooked and served meals of pancakes, bacon and orange juice to about 200 students--mostly freshmen on campus for orientation.

The players were under orders not to eat together and to introduce themselves to at least five schoolmates. The players learned their classmates names, hometowns and as much other information as possible, then stood up and introduced their new friends to the rest of the crowd.

"We're trying to build bridges," Squires said. "We wanted to get the football players familiar with the freshmen, and make the freshmen feel like they know somebody. It went great. The players had a great time, and the students loved it."

Of course, the football team might just benefit down the road on Saturdays when the Kingsmen play at home.

"We kind of urged them all to come out to our games," Squires said.

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