The Charlotte Observer

September 8, 1975

Sherman Was Injured On Improvised Play

Q - I know Charlotte has got a great defense, but in Saturday night's game, wasn't Philadelphia just a little off on offense? Also, on the play Tom Sherman got hurt on, was it called on the sidelines or did he call the play? Will he be running too much more like that because it really scared me? W. P., Charlotte, NC.

Coach Gibson - It scared me as much as it did you. But Tom will do most anything to win a football game and that play was strictly an improvisation of his own, which I thought was a great call and execution. I would like to have seen him run out of bounds once he had made the first down. His thigh injury following the game did not seem to be serious; although I'm sure it is real sore today. I expect at this time to have him ready to play against Southern California this Sunday.

The Bell's offense is based on multiple formations, integrating an excellent passing attack. Weather conditions hampered them as much if not more than us, and I'm sure had the field been dry, the fans would have seen much more offensive power from both teams. I thought it was a tribute to both squads that there were not more fumbles and mistakes in the game than there were under those adverse conditions.

Q - Why didn't you get the ball more to Lewis Jolley? I know he fumbled one time and dropped a pass, but I think he should run more too. M. I., Charlotte, NC.

Coach Gibson - As the field conditions worsened, the plays that Jolley runs the best became almost impossible to execute. He also injured his shoulder in the third quarter and we probably shouldn't have played him much more after that. As we got rolling in the third quarter, the outside toss sweep attack was working well for us while inside the footing for the offensive lineman made it very difficult to make fullback plays go.

Q - Is there something about the rain that makes you all win? What plays did you use on Don Highsmith's run, the 27-yarder he had for the touchdown? D. D., Matthews, NC.

Coach Gibson - We have been very successful the last two weeks in the rain, but would much rather have perfect weather conditions both from the fan's point of view and the players. It's a much truer test of the best team if the conditions are favorable and the game is not won or lost from a few breaks from the conditions that would normally not prevail in determining the outcome of a football game.

Highsmith's run was a toss sweep to the right from the I-Formation with good blocking by the tight end, flanker, fullback and backside guard.

Q - Bob Davis in the first half was making some kind of calls and the Hornets jumped offsides a couple times. I think it happened two times in the first quarter. What was he doing? R. D., Wingate, NC.

Coach Gibson - Davis was changing the start count, particularly on short-yardage situations, going on a longer count and making our defensive lineman anticipate on a few occasions. Often, it was matter of us being overaggressive and our guys did a much better job on his staggered cadence as the game developed.

Q - In the middle of the third quarter on the pass to Danny Whyte. I could see the play was not complete, that he did not hold on to the ball, and I don't know why none of the coaches contested it. They say it was Sherman's only completion but I don't believe it was. It was right in front of me. S. M., Charlotte, NC.

Coach Gibson - That happened right in front of me also, and I'm still not sure without looking at the movies whether it should be called complete or not. It's a judgment decision the officials has to make on the spur of the moment and it was not at all obvious to me as to whether Danny had complete possession and taken two or three steps before he fumbled. Judgment is always debatable when it goes against you, but I can't the fault the official for that particular play. At the time I felt he did not have possession, but I'm sure if we had recovered I would have been very firmly convinced it was complete.

Q - Did you have any way of playing J. J. Jennings? E. C., Charlotte, NC.

Coach Gibson - Having coached J. J. last year at Memphis I know what a hard runner and good football player he is. We did nothing special to contain him although he did not have as good a statistical night as usual. They haven't used him as much as I thought they would. Last year we (Memphis) ran the ball more and now the Bell is not emphasizing him and are splitting their attack. But he's a fine young man and one of the top backs in this league and he will definitely prove that before the season is over. But hopefully, not on October 18 when we play again.