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Johnson Has a Perfect Squelch to Switzer Yarn

Oklahoma Coach Barry Switzer, appearing at the Orange Bowl luncheon with Miami Coach Jimmy Johnson, hinted that he was the victim of a conspiracy.

Switzer complained that he had been awakened by a phone call from former Miami Coach Howard Schnellenberger, who is in Miami as a member of the NBC radio crew.

“It was 1:30 in the morning and the phone rings in my hotel room and I kind of fumble for the phone, and then I hear this voice at the other end,” Switzer said.

“This guy says, ‘Hello, Barry? Howard Schnellenberger here. Have you bought your Hurricanes’ season tickets yet?’ And I could swear I heard Jimmy Johnson laughing in the background.”

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Replied Johnson: “Now, see? People know you were lying right off the bat with that story. Barry, you’ve never been in your room by 1:30 in the morning.”

Add Switzer: Asked by ESPN’s Beano Cook how long he planned to continue coaching, he said: “As long as you keep sportscasting, Beano.”

Said Cook: “You will be retired within the year.”

Add Orange Bowl: Florida State Coach Bobby Bowden, asked to pick a winner, said: “I would favor Miami. They’re playing in Miami and Jimmy Johnson has been so successful against the wishbone. Plus, Oklahoma doesn’t see the pass that much.”

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Trivia Time: In winning the 1983 national championship with a 31-30 win over Nebraska in the Orange Bowl, what help did Miami get earlier in the day in the Cotton Bowl? (Answer below.)

Thomas Boswell of the Washington Post, on the scatter-arm reputation of Redskin quarterback Doug Williams: “It was Williams who inspired the quip, ‘He’s the only man in America who could overthrow the Ayatollah.’ ”

Said Sacramento Kings assistant coach Willis Reed when asked by one of the players why he wasn’t feeling well: “I’ve been watching you guys, and you made me sick.”

Add Kings: Joe Kleine has been unhappy with his lack of playing time, and the Sporting News reported:

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“When Bill Russell called time out in the game against Cleveland, he tried to put his hand on Kleine’s shoulder as Kleine came toward the bench. Kleine knocked Russell’s hand away. Russell pushed Kleine, and then the incident ended.

“Kleine had no comment. Russell said, ‘No, no, no. I don’t have to respond to that.’ ”

After Bob Knight pulled his Indiana team off the floor against the Soviets, the word was that it might cost him an Olympic assignment with NBC, but the Boston Globe said, “Even before the incident, he was doubtful because it would cost him too much money. September is one of Knight’s busiest clinic periods.”

Trivia Answer: Georgia upset previously unbeaten and No. 2-rated Texas, 10-9. That opened the door for Miami, which had been rated No. 4 by UPI and No. 5 by AP.

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Quotebook

Bill Houlder of the Washington Capitals, on seeing Wayne Gretzky cruising in on him during his first shift in the National Hockey League: “I didn’t know whether to check him or ask him for his autograph.”


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