He's a little freshman. He still takes an afternoon nap. But his teammates already called him Famous.
And now, (Famous) Amos Lawrence, North Carolina's runaway tailback, will make his television debut when the Tar Heels visit Maryland to play for at least a share of the Atlantic Coast Conference title Saturday.
ABC announced yesterday that the game will be televised live to the Washington-Baltimore area, the Carolinas, Virginia, Delaware and parts of the West Virginia, Kickoff has been moved from 1:30 to 1:50 p.m.
The telecast (WJLA-TV-7, WJZ-TV-13) could help Lawrence fill the droopy sleeves of a nickname he says is a size too big. "I don't consider myself famous." said Lawrence, who ought to be called Quiet. "I don't have any money in my pockets."
The figurative pockets of Lawrence's cape are filled insteadmwith Tar Heel fans, who howl "Amos! Amos!" after performances such as the one against North Carolina State, when he rushed for 216 yards and led a 27-14 upset.
To date, Lawrence has 543 yards on 90 carries, outgaining Maryland's bullish back, Steve Stkins, by three yards on 40 fewer carries.
The North Carolina coaching staff has handled him as the delicate prodigy he is, holding him out of the opener against bruiser Kentucky and working him into the lineup slowly.
"We were waiting," said backfield coach Jim Doonan, "for just the right time."
The tailback position looked so vacant after the departure of Mike Voight, the fifth-leading rusher in college history; that Carolina's chances of winning its first ACC title since 1972 were not calculated.
Fullback Billy Johnson was borrowed for use there and politely returned to his former position. And even though Lawrence came to school weighing a bookworm 170, he knew what was about to happen.
"You can't keep speed on the bench," Lawrence reasoned.
Lawrence bounded off the bench in the third game against Northwestern and became the first freshman to rush for more than 100 yards at Carolina since 1946 hero Charley Justice, North Carolina's most famous football player, who made the nickname "Choo Choo" famous.
The coaching staff, still measuring the right time for Lawrence, decided that the time to give him his first start was against arch-rival, league-leader North Carolina State. The time to tell him? Second before kickoff.
"I was already so excited about playing North Carolina State," said Lawrence, "I couldn't get any more excited."
His 216-yard display that followed unvelled something new in Carolina's offense - an outside running threat. Long-time up-the-middle advocates, the Tar Heels had finally found a back who could turn the corners.
How do you describe his running style? "There is no way to describe him," said sports information director Rick Brewer.
"He's just dynamite," said Doonan.
Lawrence might describe himself as just tired. Reached on the telephone sometime between his afternoon nap, and the required studyhall session, Lawerence said it was hard being a freshman.
"You don't get much time to do your homework," said Lawrence. "I take naps. I try to get all the rest I can."
Lawrence, who was more concerned with proms when Maryland began building its ACC powerhouse, seemed unaffected by the Terps' recent dominance and their ability to stifle swift backs with cute nicknames.
"I really don't know that much about Maryland, I don't think we fear Maryland. I feel we can go out and beat them."