In This Super Bowl, Chuck Studley Will Be Working Against the 49ers
Chuck Studley, the Dolphins’ defensive coordinator, believes discipline may be overrated in football. Studley, 56 today, is in a unique position this week. The last time the 49ers were in the Super Bowl, three years ago, he was their defensive coordinator. Bill Walsh explained Wednesday how Studley got away. “Chuck left in ’82, when I was thinking about getting out of coaching,” Walsh said. “He was my choice (as Walsh’s successor), with me stepping up as president, but (owner) Ed DeBartolo (Jr.) wanted a more experienced head coach.” Believing Walsh was quitting, Studley took a similar job at Houston. Then Walsh changed his mind--and then Studley became Houston’s interim head coach when Ed Biles resigned after the Oilers’ 0-6 start. The Oilers cleaned house after the season and hired Hugh Campbell. Meanwhile, Don Shula lost his highly regarded defensive coordinator, Bill Arnsparger, who became head coach at Louisiana State, so Studley wound up in Miami. Both sides have been asked all week if either has an advantage because Studley knows the 49ers, and they know Studley. Studley said: “People seem to think that because Bill and I spent 11 years together, it gives me some kind of inside track. But the most predictable thing about Bill Walsh is his unpredictability. He has a tremendously creative, ingenious mind when it comes to football. He’ll put in plays on Saturday morning. I’d never do that on defense. “Obviously, I have some knowledge about the talents of many of the players, particularly the defensive people, because they’re the same people. The coaches are exactly the same. (The Miami) offensive coaches talk to me about different individuals--what their physical and emotional attributes might be.” Studley also knows all about Walsh’s celebrated list of up to 25 plays he will call at the start of the game, regardless of the situation. “It’s a spontaneous thing. It may be something put together driving to the stadium before the game. It may be tempered for short-yardage situations, but he’s gonna run when you expect him to pass and pass when you expect him to run. “I know he tries to jump into the mind of the defensive coach. I know he’s trying to jump into mine.” But Shula and Walsh also indicated in their separate press conferences Wednesday that the list is part myth. Shula said: “Regardless of what they say over in that other camp, I’m sure there are certain times when they deviate, depending on situations.” Walsh said: “Well, we start the game with a plan, like everyone, but ours has gained some notoriety over the years. You have 8 or 10 special categories going in and plays for those situations. “It’s like the old joke. A coach sends in a quarterback to run three plays and punt, so when he gets down to the one-yard line on fourth down, he punts the ball into the seats.” Studley said there was one big difference between the opposing defenses. “We don’t have any Jack Reynolds, who is consumed by the game. Seven days a week he’s there. He doesn’t take a day off.” Fullback Pete Johnson told how he persuaded the Cincinnati Bengals to trade him to the San Diego Chargers, who sent him to the Dolphins last September. “I just refused to play for ‘em,” Johnson said. “Then I threatened to get up to 300 pounds.” Johnson, who said he will play at about 250 Sunday, has had weight and other problems during his eight-year career. He sat out the first six games of the 1983 season on a drug suspension. Wednesday, he said: “I never thought nothing was wrong with my career . . . wasn’t out of whack at all.” So why was he unhappy in Cincinnati? “Whole lot of things. I’d rather talk about the Super Bowl.” Johnson wasn’t much happier in San Diego. “I didn’t think I had a future there,” he said. “Coach (Don) Coryell came to me and said Miami wanted me. I said, ‘It sounds good to me.’ ” That was after the Dolphins, who had lost running back Andra Franklin with a knee injury, already had rejected another Charger runner, Chuck Muncie, for failing a drug test. Twelve hours after arriving in Miami, Johnson ran the ball 11 times for 20 yards and a touchdown in a victory over the Colts. Jay Brophy, the Dolphins’ inside linebacker, had an unusual injury experience during the regular season. He broke both thumbs in consecutive games. “A real pain,” Brophy said. “I had both casts on at the same time for four or five weeks. You really find out who your friends are. “I learned to write with two fingers. I can’t write worth a damn, anyway, so no one really noticed the difference. “But trying to start a car, open a door. . . . I used to be in a sweat just because it was hard to get in and out, get dressed, button a button.
“The thumbs were extended maybe a half-inch because of the casts, so when I tried to eat I kept banging my face. I dropped about 10 pounds. I kind of lost my appetite. It was such a hassle to eat.” Shula got through the first 15 minutes of his press conference Wednesday without even mentioning Dan Marino. None of the estimated 500 reporters--a record for the daily rounds--even asked. Very smooth and in command of the audience, Shula opened by giving his coaching and scouting staffs credit. “I’ve got one guy that’s been with me 25 years, but he’s only been coaching three years,” Shula said. He was referring to his son, David, the youngest assistant coach in the National Football League, who is in charge of the receivers. Apparently, David has overcome suspicions of nepotism in the Dolphin camp. “He got the respect of the players in such a short time that I wanted him on my staff,” Shula said. “He’s bright, enthusiastic and energetic.” Shula paused and smiled. “Does this sound like a father talking about his son?” Shula said the Dolphins’ 5-foot, 9-inch receivers, Mark Clayton and Mark Duper, are the new wave in the NFL because of the rule permitting defenders to jam receivers only in the first five yards past the line of scrimmage. “The long striders are having trouble getting away from that jam,” Shula said. “You need quickness and explosiveness.” The little guys also need leaping ability. Shula said Duper has a 37-inch vertical leap, Clayton a 38. “When you have that vertical leap, you become a big receiver when the ball’s in the air,” Shula said. Former Ram linebacker Bob Brudzinski is playing in his third Super Bowl in six years--his second with the Dolphins. He is 0-2 but said he is more excited about this one. “With the Rams (1980) we were at home, and the excitement wasn’t there like it is here,” Brudzinski said. “The second time (1983) was the strike season and we had just one week to prepare.”
Gary (Big Hands) Johnson, the 49ers’ defensive tackle, said that in his years at San Diego, the Charger linemen usually put a bounty on opposing quarterbacks: “A case of beer for the first one to sack him.”