Federals team physician Tony Rankin said yesterday that the pains that prevented quarterback Mike Hohensee from playing against the Chicago Blitz Sunday probably are not the result of appendicitis. Rankin said Hohensee likely could practice with the team later in the week.
The Federals now will try out former Army quarterback Leamon Hall, according to owner Berl Bernhard. After graduating from West Point, Hall trained with the NFL Dallas Cowboys but has no game experience. He was a backup for the USFL New Jersey Generals until Coach Chuck Fairbanks released him when the team signed former Denver Gold starter Jeff Knapple.
"With Mike's health in question, we have to shore up at the quarterback position," said Bernhard. "We can't afford to play around."
Although he had been suffering with the flu for several weeks, Hohensee was scheduled to start against Chicago. But 45 minutes before the game, Rankin examined Hohensee, who was complaining of pains in his side. Rankin did not want Hohensee to risk a ruptured appendix, and Kim McQuilken played the whole game. The Federals lost, 31-3, and McQuilken completed only nine of 22 passes.
Hohensee spent yesterday at Howard University Hospital resting and undergoing tests. Rankin said the problem was probably an inflammation of the bowel, but he would not know for sure until further test results were available.
If Hohensee is unable to play Monday night against the Invaders in Oakland next week, McQuilken will start, with Joe Gilliam as the backup, said Coach Ray Jauch.
"It's just like when we went to L.A.," said Jauch. "We'd decided to go with Hohensee and what happens? He gets laid out (with a back injury) in the first quarter. And then this. It's just ridiculous."
Of next week's game, Jauch said, "I'd say right now we'll go with McQuilken, but if Gilliam gets a few things together we won't hesitate to use him, too." Jauch has been critical of Gilliam's tendency to force passes and his difficulty reading defenses.
In addition to Hall, the Federals may try out other quarterbacks, but Jauch said there are not many available. "Terry Bradshaw's certainly not available. Who else is there, now?"
The Federals also will give tryouts to two running backs this week, Larry Collins of Texas A&I and Ira Matthews of Wisconsin. "Matthews did a hell of a job as a return specialist for the Raiders," Jauch said. "We'll take a look. Same as always."
After the team's 35-3 loss to Birmingham last week, Bernhard demanded more verve from his team. Chicago, though, was not the locale for a comeback. The Blitz is one of three teams in the USFL--Philadelphia and Tampa Bay are the others--with a reasonable mix of talent and coaching.
Blitz quarterback Greg Landry seemed able to fool Washington's secondary by sending his wide receivers to the sidelines and his tight end, Paul Ricker, over the middle. Landry completed a 43-yard pass to Ricker on the second Blitz play of the game.
Although Craig James gained 75 yards, his best total of the season, he and Billy Taylor did not have much room with which to work. To compound that problem, center Brian Musselman sprained his right knee and will miss the next five or six games. Tony Loia, a 325-pound Samoan-born offensive lineman, replaced Musselman and will start next week.
Defensive end Coy Bacon (strained neck) and linebacker Jeff McIntyre (sprained arch) are listed as probable for the Oakland game; Taylor (bruised right ankle) is questionable.