Now is the time, even before the season starts, to shed a few tears for at Navy, George Welsh did as much today.
After a 10-23 record and three losses in as many games against the Mids, Smith has been told by the West Point athletic heirarchy to win seven games this season and beat Navy - or else.
Welsh, with a four-game winning streak against the Cadets, looked pained when informed of Smith's plight. Welsh said he heard of the ultimatium, "but you mean they made it public" Only the Army would do that."
Actually, Army didn't publicise the ultimatum. Smith did.
In a letter to Army football supporters, he wrote of a meeting with the Military Academy athletic board. "I left believing that the board had honored one contract and told me what to do to get another one - win seven games and beat Navy - only to discover that minutes to the meeting spell out ultimatum.
Army plays national powers Notre Dame, Pitt and Colorado this fall, as well as Air Force and Boston College on the road.
Navy athletic director J. O. Coppedge said he would never dream of issuing such an ultimatum to Welsh or any of his coaches.
"We have never set any specific goals for any coach in 21 sports since I've been here," said Coppdege. "I just don't think that's appropriate. So much enters into the problem, and Army's circumstances may be different from ours, but that's just not the way we do things here."
Welsh has had only one winning season, going into this, his fifth, season at Navy, but his ability as a coach has never been questioned. He knows he has potentially one of the most potent teams of his tenure and he is optimistic.
"Football can be simple," he says. "If you give the players this life-and-death stuff, you can make them too tight. Winning doesn't override everything else. Our approach is to do the best we can."
The Mids face powerhouse Michigan in the third game of the season at Ann Arbor, but they willhave a chance to get ready for that with comparative breathers against The Citadel Saturday and Connecticut the following week, both at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium.
Welsh cringes whenever any of his opponents are referred to as breathers, but compared with Michigans, that is what The Citadel has to be considered.
The Bulldogs beat Wofford, 7-3, in their opener a week ago. They gained only 93 yards rushing that game, but quarterback Marty Crosby completed 15 of 28 passes for 239 yards. Split and Mike Riley, a senior from Preary High School in Rockville, caught nine of those passes for 170 yards.
It is doubtful, however, that the Bulldogs can outscore the Mids. Welsh discarded his option offense and quarterback John Kurowski with it late last season and went with sophomore Bob Leszezynski.
The rest as they say at Navy, is history.
The Mids won three of their last four games last season and averaged more than 400 yards and 30 points a game in the process. Leszezynski was 63 of 108 for 875 yards and seven touchdowns in those four games.
"I can't pronounce his name but I know his number, its 15," said Citadel coach Bobby Ross of Leszezynski. "That's who I fear most out there. He's got everything you'd want in a quarterback. I've seen him to take some great shots and pick himself up and stand right in the pocket of the next play.
Welsh is confident about his offense. Leszezynski has recovered from a sore back and a sprained knee and things are starting to jell.
The defense is another question. There are many veterans there but injuries are worrying Welsh. Starting defensive end Jim Degree is scheduled to undergo knee surgery and will be out indefinitely and the Mids are already down to their third middle guard.
"If we're going to be good defensively, we'll have go get good play at middle guard," Welsh said. "We had one of the best ever last year in Jeff Sapp, but there won't be another guy like him here in 10 years. One player like that can make a big difference."
Sapp's heir apparent was junior A.B. Miller, but he is out with an ankle injury. Sophomore Charlie Meyers stepped in, but he hurt his shoulder. Now the burden is on junior Tommy Thompson.
There is a lot of pressure on a lot of people at the service academies these days.