Bob Irsay said yesterday that Ted Marchibroda will be back as coach of the Baltimore Colts and gave Marchibroda and his staff an enthusiastic vote of confidence.
In addition, the club owner said, "I'm going to draft on the first round State. He's 6-foot-5 and 237 pounds, and he's good. I went to Ohio State's last four games."
Ribbed about joining the Colts' scouting department, Irsay said, "No, I've got the finest scout in the world, Freddy Schubach."
Irsay said the Colts have no problems. "Ted is going to shape them up. Bert Jones is going to be healthy. We're going to have Joe Washington and Don Hardeman (running backs) for the whole season."
Of speculation that he would make changes among the assistant coaches, Irsay said, "If Whitey Dovell (offensive line coach) shapes up he'll stay. If not, he'll go.
"Maxie Baughan (defensive coordinator) is coming up strong. I'll get Whitey so mad, he'll be super. All the assistants will be back. So will the players. There will be no signing problems. I'll be there.
"We had some casualties (injuries), but as the Marine Corps says, 'That's no reason for excuses.'"
The former Marine lieutenant also volunteered that Houston was going to win the Super Bowl.
Marchibroda, who has four years to go on a five-year contract, said, "There was never any doubt in my mind that I would be back. There were no formal discussions. I met with Bob on Monday and Tuesday a week ago, when we attended the tuneral of (defensive tackle) Joe Ehrmann's brother in Buffalo."
Marchibroda picked against his boss in the playoffs. "I have to go with Pitt all the way," he said. "I like New England, basically, except that it's in a situation (Coach Chuck Fairbanks' imminent departure for the University of Colorado) that can go both ways."
Marchibroda forecast that quarterback Jones will fully recover from the throwing shoulder separation in training camp.
"Jones means more to us than some quarterbacks with other clubs," the coach said. "We had so many injuries going against teams like New England, Miami and Pittsburgh that we didn't have a chance to win. We're in the NFL."
The Colts' first three games were against Dallas, Miami and New England, and besides losing Jones in the exhibition finale at Detroit, running back Lydell Mitchell was traded to San Diego after a salary dispute and tight and Raymond Chester was traded to Oakland.
Marchibroda said outsiders could not appreciate the effect of the loss of offensive tackles George Kunz and David taylor, plus starting cornerbacks Nelson Munsey and Norm Thompson and linebacker Stan White. Ehrmann practiced only twice a week. He almost daily was at the bedside of his brother, dying of cancer.