Washington Federals owner Berl Bernhard yesterday dismissed rumors that Ray Jauch will be fired and issued a statement supporting the first-year coach. It also was announced that Terry Metcalf will be given a more active role with the team.
"For the past four days I have engaged in an exacting appraisal of our football program," read Bernhard's statement. "I am now prepared to state, and believe it important for all to understand, that Ray Jauch is our head coach--no more need to be said." Bernhard was unavailable for further comment.
Metcalf, a former Redskins running back, has been director of the Washington Federals Foundation and director of player relations, but has spent most of his time with the foundation. He now will concentrate more on player relations, and assist General Manager Dick Myers in that area, as well as scout for the team.
"For a while I just wasn't doing much in the field of player relations," Metcalf said. "I'm glad I'm getting the chance to do more of it. I think the players respect me, and my experience in the game should be of some help to the younger guys. I know both sides of the fence."
Bernhard, disappointed with the performance of the Federals (1-8), said earlier this week that one change he would like to see is an increased use of star running back Craig James.
"I have never talked to him about that," Jauch said, "But any observations he has will be good ones. I respect him for his opinion but I still will go with our basic philosophy. We won't change much at this stage. We just want the last half of the season to be a good one."
James has carried the ball only 63 times, for 179 yards and one touchdown, in 4 1/2 games. The former Southern Methodist University tailback said he was content with the way he was being played, but could carry the ball 20 to 25 times a games.
"I'll carry the ball two or 20 times, it doesn't matter," he said following yesterday's practice. "I just want to do whatever it takes to win. I feel I've been used enough, but our offense has to change because we've fallen behind so many times. I was hurt a couple of games and I'm about 95 percent right now.
"We've gotten better, but we're just at a point where we need a win."
"We've had a good week of practice and the fellows understand the circumstances," Jauch said. "There's been a lot of enthusiasm and spirit in practice."
Jauch also said he will make a decision today on his two place kickers, Dale Castro and recent acquisition Sandro Vitiello.
"Both of those guys have been kicking very well this week," Jauch said. "That'll be a tough choice."
Defensive tackle Benny Smith, who had a strained knee, is expected to be activated for Sunday's game.