Loss or no, Diggs is already making a difference at Morgan

Bill Tanton

September 03, 1991|By Bill Tanton

There's light at the end of that long football tunnel at Morgan State. You have to look hard to see it, but it's there.

The Golden Bears, who next play at Norfolk State Saturday night, may have looked like the same old story in losing their opener to North Carolina A & T, 26-7, last weekend. Unless you looked real close, that is.

Nobody got a closer look than Reggie White, the 6-foot-6, 300-pound A & T defensive lineman out of Milford Mill High.

According to White, this is a different Morgan team than the one that went 1-10 last year and hasn't had any real success since 1979.

"This Morgan team came to play," said White, a senior and four-year starter. "They play with more intensity than we've seen from them in recent years."

Indeed, heavy underdog Morgan led, 7-6, at halftime over the team that is favored to win the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference. In the third period, A & T scored three quick touchdowns, dispelling any thoughts of an upset. Even so, the 26-7 final was an improvement on last year's 42-0 score against A & T.

If there really is more intensity at Morgan this year one man can take credit for it -- first-year coach Ricky Diggs, who came here from the Air Force Academy. Diggs has a lot of pizazz.

"I was disappointed in the A & T game," Diggs says. "I'm never satisfied unless we win.

"We played well for a half, but that's not good enough. The game is 60 minutes long. I don't believe in moral victories."

What does Diggs see ahead after having had his first look at his Bears in action?

"We're going to win our share of games . . . this year," he says. "Our trouble in that game was our offense didn't get any first downs because we're still learning the process."

Reggie White -- already he has the name for pro football (is there a better down lineman in the NFL than the Eagles' Reggie White?) -- is looking forward to pro ball next year.

One A & T celebrant after last Saturday's game, Heywood McKie, expressed strong views on White's future. McKee, now the supervisor of schools in Prince George's County, was an All-America football player at the North Carolina school in the '70s.

"I would say Reggie is a good pro prospect," McKee said with a smile. "A real good pro prospect."

* A sobering reminder of just how magnificently the Baltimore fans are supporting the Orioles can be gained from watching the Atlanta Braves on TV.

The Braves, losers for as long as Morgan State has been in football, are baseball's Cinderella team this year. So you often hear the TV announcers say things like, "The Braves have really turned Atlanta on. Twenty-five thousand people out here tonight."

The Orioles, who are going to finish next to last in the AL East, are averaging 32,308 at Memorial Stadium.

* Baltimore Country Club golfer Don Hillary said the other day: "I hate Arnold Palmer." Replied someone in his foursome: "How can you hate Arnold Palmer? He's the one who popularized golf." Answered Hillary: "That's why I hate him. He made the sport too popular. Now every golf course in America is overcrowded."

* That was a classic tennis match at the U.S. Open yesterday when Jimmy Connors beat Aaron Krickstein, but there was nothing classy about the behavior of the crowd.

Connors' rooters were grossly unfair to Krickstein, cheering his every error including service faults. Golf is the only game left in which sportsmanship matters.

* It strikes me that Washington Redskins coach Joe Gibbs was foolish in leaving his regulars in the Detroit game Sunday night even when he had a 35-0 lead. He was also lucky to get away with it without getting anybody hurt.

* College basketball fans around here think the Atlantic Coast Conference is it. Who is the reigning NCAA champion? Duke. Which conference had two teams in the Final Four? The ACC with the Blue Devils and North Carolina.

But attendance figures just released by the NCAA show that neither the ACC nor the close-at-hand Big East was the top drawing basketball conference last year. The Big Ten was No. 1, averaging 13,095 per game. The Big East was second with 12,563. The ACC was fifth at 10,653 behind the Southeastern (11,732) and the Big Eight (11,165).

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