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Rams Notebook : Hatcher Knew Perry and Got the Cold Shoulder

Times Staff Writer

Two rookies from Clemson have made a splash in the National Football League this season--specifically, one punter and one household appliance.

The Rams’ Dale Hatcher was a teammate of the Bears’ William (the Refrigerator) Perry, who has broadened his scope from nose guard to runner and receiver.

“He gained a lot of weight our senior year,” said Hatcher, who is averaging 42.3 yards a punt this season. “Got up to like 355. When we came in as freshmen in ’81 he was about 295.

“In the cafeteria the coaches used to walk behind him and take stuff off his tray. He got married right after our freshman year, so then he could eat like he wanted to, and he just kept getting bigger.

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“He never really worked out in the weight room. He just had natural ability. He told me one time that he played fullback in high school when he was about 290. But to be that big, he was quick. He really moves off the ball well.”

Hatcher indicated that Perry was more popular with the Clemson supporters than with his teammates.

“He didn’t work and his wife didn’t work, and he had a car--an ’85 Riviera--and nice furniture in his house,” Hatcher said. “People just loved him to death there. It was Clemson football and William Perry, like he was the whole team.

“I hate to say it--and I wish him the best of luck, and I’m glad to see that he’s doing well--but our freshman year he talked to me and was pretty nice. Then his junior year he made Kodak All-American and got real biggity. You couldn’t talk to him anymore.

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“And all the guys on the team never said anything to him ‘cause everybody was scared of him. If he’d say something smart to me, I’d just say, ‘OK,’ and walk off.

“Off the field he’s a real nice guy, but you get him on the field, he’s an animal. He knows he’s big, he knows he’s strong, he knows nobody is gonna mess with him. I never saw him get in a fight at practice--I guess because nobody was stupid enough to mess with him.”

Ram Coach John Robinson said that Dieter Brock “probably” will start at quarterback at Atlanta Sunday, 13 days after surgery to remove a kidney stone.

When Brock completed 16 of 20 passes for 2 touchdowns against the Falcons at Anaheim Sept. 29 he was chosen NFC offensive player of the week. But the Rams’ 283 total net yards is the Falcons’ best defensive effort of the season.

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The Falcons rank last in pass defense, yielding 276.8 yards per game, and lead the league in surrendering 23 touchdown passes.

Gary Jeter may never get over his six years in the Big Apple. Last weekend he spoke of the things he has missed since his trade from the Giants to the Rams two years ago.

“Part of me will always be back there,” he told Jerry Izenberg of the Newark Star-Ledger. “I miss the restaurants and the shows. I miss the Knicks and the Rangers. And I miss the Giants’ fans.”

Jeter, a native of Cleveland who played at USC, came to appreciate the total involvement of the fans.

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“Our (Ram) fans are incredibly laid back,” Jeter said, “and sometimes it’s almost like we have to beg them to come out. That’s because there’s the climate and the beaches and a million other things to do.

“But pro football is a serious, week-long business with Giants fans.”

If the Rams are still nervous about a three-game lead over the 49ers with six to play, they should listen to Dan Henning, who coaches the Falcons.

“They’re definitely going to be in the playoffs,” Henning said, “and they’re gonna be in as a division champion, which means they’re two games away from the Super Bowl.”

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Henning says the Rams are so good that “I can’t believe they got it up in eight games and couldn’t get it up in two. But they’ve struggled and still won games, so they must be pretty good.”

Atlanta safety Scott Case was burned when he tried for an interception on the Ron Jaworski-to-Mike Quick 99-yard pass play that gave the Eagles a victory in overtime Sunday.

Later, Case reflected on the 1-9 season: “I think there’s some kind of plan for us, but I don’t know what it is.”

Ram Notes

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U-back Mike Guman may be activated today after missing eight games with a knee injury. Rookie guard Duval Love (neck) probably will be placed on injured reserve to clear a spot on the roster. . . . The Rams are scheduled to fly to Atlanta this afternoon. Rain is forecast for game day, but temperatures are expected to be mild . . . The Rams practiced without pads Thursday as Robinson started tapering off toward the end of the schedule and playoffs.


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