JUL 16 (Stevens Point-Green Bay Press-Gazette) - Liz Blackbourn, a fellow who never has been inclined to waste time, begins his "great experiment" Sunday - the first day of practice for the embryo Packers at their training base here. This specific project, probably the most vital on Blackbourn's agenda, will involve an intensive search for successors to four departed regulars among the 58 recruits who today assembled for the first rookie camp in Packer history. These vacancies were produced by the loss to military service of left end Max McGee, left guard Al Barry, tackle Art Hunter and quarterback Bobby Garrett since the close of the 1954 NFL season. Suitable replacements for this quartet, Blackbourn has repeatedly maintained, must be found if the Packers are to make their presence felt in the NFL this fall. His concern over these problems is understandable, particularly in the situation at LE. Offensive ends of McGee's caliber, as Liz has pointed out, are hard to come by. They are blessed with special skills and therefore, no amount of instruction can transform any athlete into a McGee or Bill Howton if he is not naturally endowed...At the moment, Gary Knafelc, the youthful giant from Colorado, has the inside track on the assignment since he was McGee's understudy last year. Whether he retains this status depends, of course, upon the results of Blackbourn's experiments. One of these already has been made - on paper. It involved shifting John Crouch, Texas Christian alumnus signed as a defensive halfback, to McGee's old position. Crouch has the physical requirements - he is 6-2, scales 195 pounds and has good speed. Whether he is possessed of the skill to outmaneuver enemy NFL defensive backs remains to be seen. Three others are in the running with Knafelc and Crouch for the post McGee involuntarily vacated. They are Glenn Dillhoff of Cincinnati, 6-2 and 197, Jim Jennings of Missouri, 6-3 and 195, and Bob Peringer, late of Washington State, 6-3 and 190...Finding a successor to Barry, who was something of a rarity because he won and held a starting job despite the fact that he was the Packers' 30th and - last - choice in the 1954 college draft, also poses a knotty problem. Two of the prospects here have had pro experience, but one of them at another position, while the other is a rookie. The pro veterans are Sisto Averno, who comes here after four years with the Baltimore Colts, and Jack Spinks, who failed to make the grade at fullback with both the Pittsburgh Steelers and Chicago Cardinals and was shifted to guard in preseason planning. The rookie is Henry Bullough, a standout for Michigan State last fall...Both Averno and Spinks have good size. Averno, also used on defense by the Colts, is an even six feet and carries 240 pounds while Spinks, 6-1, is only two pounds lighter at 238. Bullough, who must report to the College All-Stars and will be available for only the first four days of the rookie camp, is 6-0, 220. The situation at right tackle does not appear serious, primarily because of the presence of Floyd Harrawood. A 6-3, 245-pound specimen, Harrawood made a name for himself in Canadian football after being cut adrift by the Packers during the 1953 training season. He is not the only promising candidate here, however. Also available are Robert Antokowiak, a Bucknell product who stretches to 6-5 and scales 235, and Robert Carter of Grambling College, 6-3 and 248...Though rugged, reliable Tobin Rote is back for his sixth season at quarterback, a signal-calling companion also must be found for him to replace Garrett since NFL quarterbacking has become such an arduous and demanding occupation that playing the full 60 minutes is a virtual impossibility for even the most hardy. Here there are three candidates, headed by Johnny Coatta, the former Wisconsin field general. Though considered small for pro football when he graduated from Wisconsin in 1951, Coatta has matured in service and now it is a substantial 6-foot, 185-pounder. Coatta will be involved in a three-cornered battle with Charles Brackins, 6-2, 202-pound Negro star from Prairie View A. & M., and Jim Capuzzi, 6-0 and 190 pounds, who made his reputation in the service although he played one year at the University of Cincinnati. Sunday's inaugural practice is scheduled to begin at 2:30. Two-a-day drills slated for 9:30 in the morning and 3:30 in the afternoon, are scheduled to start Monday and will continue when the club's 26 veterans report next Saturday.
JUL 16 (Stevens Point) - Liz Blackbourn, starting his second year as head man of the Green Bay Packers, opened his rookie training camp here today and began looking for replacements for at least three stars. Blackbourn, is his first year in the pro ranks in 1954, led the Packers to a 4-8 season. They finished second last in the Western Division but at one stage of the season owned a string of three straight victories. Bright games in last year's encounters missing this year are Max McGee, rookie sensation at end; lineman Art Hunter, another rookie, and veteran star linebacker Clayton Tonnemaker. McGee and Hunter are in military service and Tonnemaker retired. Blackbourn has 60 first year men in the camp quartered at Stevens Point State College. His 26 veterans return next week and at the that time the squad will be cut to 60 players. The Packers open their exhibition season August 13 against the New York Giants at Spokane, WA. Tom Bettis, Purdue star, is picked as the best bet to take over Tonnemaker's spot. He, along with Jim Temp, Wisconsin end, and Henry Bullough, Michigan State stalwart, will play in the College All-Star game in Chicago in August. They will spend only four days in the rookie camp before taking off to join the collegiate training session. They will return to the Packers after the meeting with the champions of the pro league, the Cleveland Browns.
JUL 17 (Stevens Point) - Six tons of prime football beef, give or take a few pounds, descended as the Green Bay Packers opened the first rookie camp in their history. The six tons represented 53 players - college rookies, free agents, fugitives from Canadian football and service returnees. Veterans will not report until next Saturday. Late arrivals will swell the rookie camp to 60 to 62 by Monday. It was more than just a day of leisurely welcome Saturday, too, as head coach Lisle Blackbourn got all preliminaries out of the way for the start of the actual practice Sunday afternoon. Each man upon arrival was assigned a room at Delzell dormitory of Central State Teachers College, given a complete physical examination and issued his equipment. Dr. Henry Atkinson, team physician, and the Rice Clinic here, conducted the physical examinations. A three-hour squad meeting was held Saturday night at which Blackbourn outlined the camp program, examined the 53 on material sent them for study during the summer months and handed out the first plays. The boys will be excused Sunday morning but will report for the first workouts, in uniform, Sunday afternoon at 2 o'clock. The two-a-day drills will begin Monday. Physically, the squad appeared to be one of the finest the Packers have had in recent years - and there were mostly only rookies. Guard Tom Bettis of Purdue, end Jim Temp of Wisconsin and guard Hank Bullough of Michigan, among those who reported Saturday, will remain only through Wednesday's workout after which they will depart for the camp of the College All-Stars at Evanston. They will rejoin the Packers the day after their game with the Cleveland Browns at Soldier Field August 12.
JUL 17 (Milwaukee) - The Green Bay Packers Saturday announced a price reduction on 19,446 seats for the club's three home games to be played in Milwaukee. A club official said 5,197 seats formerly priced at $4.75 would sell for $4.00, and 14,249 seats originally scheduled to cost $2.40 would be priced at $2.25 The Packers will play three of their home games at the Milwaukee County Stadium and three others at City Stadium in Green Bay. The sale of tickets for individual games at Milwaukee starts Tuesday, with the sale of season tickets starting Wednesday. Meanwhile, the club announced that the sale of season tickets for the games at Green Bay were running 20 percent ahead of last year.
JUL 17 (Chicago) - Former Green Bay Packer star - Tony Canadeo - has been named assistant backfield coach of the College All-Stars. Canadeo will join Curly Lambeau, who is head coach of the All-Stars and was his coach from 1941 to 1949, when he was with the Packers. Steve Owen, Hunk Anderson and Hampton Pool make up the All-Star coaching staff.
JUL 17 (Racine) - Don Huston, who used to catch forward passes at a record pace for the Green Bay Packer and now contributes to the Packer cause by snaring season ticket sales in this area, today predicted a big increase in sales for the Milwaukee portion of the 1955 schedule. "Every one of last year's Packer games at Milwaukee was a dandy," Huston reasoned," and with the usual fine trio of games booked for Milwaukee County Stadium this year the ticket sales should boom." In the Milwaukee half of the Packers home schedule are games with the Baltimore Colts (who have Wisconsin star Alan Ameche) on October 9, Los Angeles Rams (pre-season division championship favorites) on October 16 and San Francisco (always a contender) on November 20. Hutson again is handling season ticket orders for Racine fans who want to attend games at Milwaukee. Ticket prices are $14.25, $10.50 and $7.20 for the three games. While Hutson managed to put himself behind a post at the Milwaukee games last season he did very well by other Racine fans. However, with the anticipated heavier demand for tickets this season he urges early reservations.
JUL 18 (Stevens Point-Green Bay Press-Gazette) – Liz Blackbourn’s initial assay here Sunday afternoon of 51 recruits who hope to gain employment with the 1955 Green Bay Packers showed him two things he liked better than what he saw at last year’s practice – “more speed” and “more weight”. At ease in the coaches’ room in Delzell Hall after the 2 ½ hour session at Bukolt Park, Blackbourn pronounced himself satisfied with the opening practice of the first rookie camp in Packer history. “For our first day, it was about as we expected,” he said, “a little muddled.” Analyzing what he said in detail, Blackbourn opined, “Hargrove (Lauren) appears to have good speed and so do McWhirter (Sammy) and Robinson (Bill). I saw more speed out there than I did a year ago.” Hargrove is a 1953 draftee from Georgia just out of service while McWhirter had a trial with the San Francisco 49ers last fall and was later released and Robinson had previous tryouts with both the Packers (1952) and Pittsburgh Steelers. Another who caught the head man’s eye was Bob Clemens, 6-2, 195-pound rookie fullback from Georgia. “He looks like a pretty good receiver,” Liz confided, “for a rugged type of back.” “There is more over all weight in the line, too, than we had a year ago,” Blackbourn admitted. “We’ve got some big boys all right but, of course, it’s much too early to tell just how good they are.”…Continuing with his analysis of the forward wall, Blackbourn asked Line Coach Lou Rymkus if any of his king-sized proteges had evinced “a good blow.” The former Cleveland Brown star singled out Hank Bullough, Michigan State alumnus who shortly will join the College All-Stars, Canadian returnee Floyd Harrawood, and Sisto Averno, a veteran of four previous seasons with the Baltimore Colts. Bullough and Averno are candidates to succeed Al Barry at left guard while Harrawood is regarded as a likely successor to Art Hunter, like Barry now in service at right tackle. Liz also had a kind word for Cliff Straka, 6-5, 215-pound Gustavus Adolphus product who is one of several seeking the left end post vacated by Max McGee when he entered the Army last spring. Straka, Blackbourn conceded, “doesn’t move too bad.” Not all of Blackbourn’s discoveries were on the pleasing side, however. He learned earlier in the afternoon that Gene Helwig, Tulsa produce regarded as a prime candidate at defensive back, had decided to quit football. Helwig reported to camp Saturday morning and left Sunday afternoon. Two others, halfback Carmen Cozza from Miami (Ohio) University and fullback Clyde Sanders, farmed out after a 1954 trial, also were among the missing yesterday but both still are expected since nothing has been heard from them to the contrary…This first practice, witnessed by an estimated 250 Stevens Point burghers, opened with a ball-handling drill, followed by a session on pass defense and closed with a lengthy drill of offensive patterns. For a good part of the afternoon, Rymkus worked alone in another corner of the field with the linemen on dummy blocking practice while Blackbourn supervised the other drills, with assistance from aides Tom Hearden, Ray (Scooter) McLean, Jack Vainisi and Ab Wimberly. All four quarterback candidates, ex-Wisconsin star, Johnny Coatta, Jim Capuzzi, a service standout, Charlie Brackins (Prairie View A. and M.) and Jack Wise (Marquette) exercised their arms extensively during the course of the afternoon and all were throwing well for such an early date…Maneuvers, particularly field goal and punting practice, were hampered by the fact that only one bona fide center, Ray Paxton of North Dakota State, was among those present. For the FG session, linebacker Tom Bettis, No. 1 Packer choice in the draft, was pressed into service as a “middleman”. Toledo’s George Machoukas, one of the two other rookie center candidates, is completing summer school while Chuck Stamschror of Minnesota has forsaken football for further education. Jim Ringo, a regular last year, will not report until Saturday when the 26 veterans are scheduled to arrive here. In the punting drill, Capuzzi and a pair of ends, Bob Peringer of Washington State and ex-Badger Gene Felker, impressed with long, booming efforts. Felker, who spent one year with the Dallas Texans before entering service, never had put his toe to a ball during his entire collegiate career at Wisconsin…LOCKER ROOM STUFF: Coatta, who had been in service since he was drafted by the Packers in 1952, admitted “the arm isn’t loose yet” after practice “but it should be all right in about three days.” Coatta has been pitching in a Madison amateur baseball league and pointed out, “the motion is a lot different.”…The 50-odd recruits
JUL 23 (Stevens Point) - The Packers' first rookie camp, which officially ended at noon today with the arrival of 26 veterans, produced at least one significant development. The battle to decide who will be Tobin Rote's running mate at quarterback when the Packers make their 1955 NFL bow against the Detroit Lions at City Stadium Sept. 25 already has narrowed to two men. Surviving candidates for the post are Charlie Brackins, the lithe Negro from little known Prairie View A. & M., in Texas, and Johnny Coatta, engineer of the 1951 Wisconsin "Hard Rocks". A third aspirant, Jim Capuzzi, was shifted to defensive halfback in midweek after Brackins and Coatta began to make their presence felt and a fourth candidate, Marquette's Jack Wise, made it a two-man affair by leaving camp Thursday. Brackins, though Head Coach Liz Blackbourn has indicated that Charlie still must acquire professional polish, has impressed with his ability to throw the ball and, if he continues to improve, could become the first Negro quarterback in NFL history. Whether the fact that his college experience came on the small college level will be too much of a handicap for the rangy rookie to overcome, only time can determine. Coatta, always known as a heady signal caller at Wisconsin where he established Big Ten passing efficiency records as a senior, reportedly is pressing Brackins hard and could conceivably emerge the winner in this long-range contest. Brackins, constructed along the lines of Rote, has the edge in size. He stands 6-2 and carries 202 pounds while Coatta, who matured in service the last three years, is an even six feet and scales 185. Whoever eventually gets the nod, the "winner" should provide Rote with a competent companion to replace Bobby Garrett, the Stanford alumnus lost to military service over the winter...The roster, down to 41 rookies after Friday's drills, soared to 69 today with the arrival of the 26 veterans plus late reporting recruits Bill Reichardt, a Packer fullback in '52 who will be shifted to halfback, and center George Machoukas of Toledo, who reported late after completing a summer school session. One of the first veterans to report was halfback Al Carmichael, back for his third season. He watched the rookies work out in shorts in a drill designed to polish offensive maneuvers. The second full scale scrimmage of the season was scheduled to be held at 9:45 this morning with 36 of the 41 "freshmen" slated to see action as a unit for the last time. Five players missed the scrimmage. They were Sam McWhirter, Clink McGeary, Gene Felker, Clyde Sanders and Turnbeaugh. The entire squad, rookies and veterans alike, will be assembled for the first time tonight at a 7:30 meeting in Delzell Hall.
JUL 23 (Stevens Point) - Rookie made an all-out bid today to remain on the Green Bay Packers squad as 26 veterans of the 1954 team arrived in camp. The first year men ended a week of drills with a scrimmage and took off until Sunday, while the veterans posed for photographers. There were 55 rookies in camp a week ago, but Coach Liz Blackbourn pared the squad to 40 Thursday and planned further cuts next week. The coach hoped to have the group down to 60 members by July 30 when the team plays an intra-squad night game at Marshfield. Another intra-squad game will be held here August 6 and the Packers will play their first non-championship game against the New York Giants at Spokane, WA August 13. Three players reported today in addition to the veterans of last year's team. They were: BIll Reichardt, who will try out at halfback instead of fullback as at Iowa; Billy Turnbeaugh, defensive tackle, Auburn, and George Machoukas, a center from Toledo. Turnbeaugh is a rookie, while Reichardt played with Green Bay in 1953. Offensive veterans reporting were Jim Ringo, center; Buddy Brown and Steve Ruzich, guards, Len Szafaryn, North Carolina, tackle. Billy Howton and Gary Knafelc, ends; Tobin Rote, quarterback, Al Carmichael, Joe Johnson, Breezy Reid, Veryl Switzer, all halfbacks. Defensive veterans were Fred Cone and Howie Ferguson, fullbacks, Dick Afflis and Bill Forester, middle guard. Dave Hanner and Jerry Helluin, tackles; Carlton Elliott, Gene Knutson and John Martinkovic, ends; Deral Teteak and Roger Zatkoff, linebackers; Jim Psaltis and Clarence Self, cornerbacks; Bobby Dillon and Val Joe Walker.
JUL 24 (Stevens Point) - The Green Bay Packer veterans arrived in training camp Sunday, with only two of the 26 regulars missing. Steve Ruzich, an offensive guard for three seasons told head coach Liz Blackbourn he was retiring. Dick Afflis, middle guard who spends the off season wrestling, wound up his mat schedule Saturday night and will report Monday. On the other hand, Bill Reichert, Iowa fullback converted to halfback during one season with the Bays, reported after a two-year absence in the service.
JUL 25 (Stevens Point-Green Bay Press-Gazette) - Howie Ferguson is "happy to be alive, thank you!" The hard-smashing fullback, with the sticky fingers, almost lost his life over the weekend while driving up from his home in New Iberian, La. But he reported Saturday afternoon with nothing more than a bandaged right hand and took part in Picture Day activities Sunday like nothing happened. Ferguson was driving his new Oldsmobile - he only had 6,000 miles on it - when he started to pass a pea truck outside Juneau, Wis. "I was doing about 50 when the truck made a left turn right into me. The door sprung, thank God, and I was thrown out against an embankment alongside the road. The car is a total wreck and people wondered how I ever got out alive. Man, it's wonderful to be here. Lucky my family didn't come with me." Other than a good shaking up, which is nothing new to the much-tackled back, Ferguson suffered only cuts about his right hand. Ferguson's escape put an especially happy note on the first uniformed gathering of the veterans Sunday afternoon. A total of 26 '54 holdovers were present - two less than expected. Steve Ruzich, a 220-pound offensive guard, announced his retirement after three campaigns and Dick Afflis, the middle guard, was due in today. Afflis, fast becoming a wrestling headliner, worked in Milwaukee Saturday night and was expected today. Coach Liz Blackbourn felt that "the veterans as a group look in good condition and ready to go." Two other prospects showed up Saturday - Bill Reichardt, a Packer fullback in '52 who is just out of service, and rookie center George Machoukas, a 245-pound center from Toledo, who was delayed by summer school. Blackbourn said that Reichardt will fight it out at right halfback with veterans Al Carmichael and Veryl Switzer. In fact, Liz pointed out, "we're figuring on Ferguson, Cone and Clemens at fullback with Breezy (Reid) moving in there if he has to. He's our only back who can do all three backfield positions." Liz is working Clyde Sanders, a fullback and halfback in camp a year ago, at left half. Sanders, delayed by illness in his family, reported over the weekend. Several other changes are being made for this week's concentrated workouts. Johnny Crouch, a corner linebacker who was tried at offensive end, has been shifted back to corner LB'er; Ted Muirhead, tried on defense, will seek a spot on offense; ditto with Lauren Hargrove; and Big John Bove has been shifted from offensive to defensive tackle. Undecided about playing after reporting Saturday is tackle Bill Turnbeaugh, who didn't show for Picture Day activities. He was scheduled to talk it over with Blackbourn today. Turnbeaugh is just out of service. Blackbourn, incidentally, said he isn't planning to make any cuts this week - "unless they cut themselves." A number of athletes decided to quit last week. The next cut likely will be made after the opening intra-squad game in Marshfield Saturday night. All of the rookies will get a severe test since it will be chiefly a rookie game, although the veterans will be making appearances. The camp has two injury cases - defensive end Gene Felker, who has a pulled muscle, and Jan Smid, a middle guard who twisted a knee in Saturday morning's scrimmage. Several of the veterans showed up time to watch the rookies scrimmage. Quarterback Charlie Brackins turned in the longest run of the day - about 25 yards when trapped on an attempt to pass. Clemens and Hargrove ran hard and Jim Jennings, John Verdun and Bob Peringer grabbed a number of passes from Brackins and Johnny Coatta, both of whom had good days. During the picture ceremonies, Blackbourn and aides Tom Hearden, Ray McLean, Lou Rymkus, Ab Wimberly and Jack Vainisi worked on offense and defense. They closed it up with a
shed in the neighborhood of 300 pounds under a blazing sun. Bill Robinson, who weighed in at 194 before practice, was alarmed when the scale balanced at 180 after a long session but was partially consoled when a second weigh-in showed 181 ½. Felker also dropped 12 pounds, from 209 to 197, while other heavy losers were Bucknell tackle Bob Antkowiak, who dipped from 260 ½ to 251, Harrawood, who fell off from 265 to 256 ½, Bullough, down to 212 from 220, and Averno, who dropped seven of his 247 pounds. One of them, oddly enough, announced a gain. He was Nebraska halfback Charles Bryant, who reported in at 186 and scaled 192 after practice…Mike Michalske, Packer all-time all-timer, was among the camp visitor. Michalske, vacationing in the Green Bay area, returns to his post as lien coach at the University of Texas next month.
JUL 18 (Green Bay) - Damages of $6,992.75 are awarded to Clyde Johnson, former Packer football player, in his suit against Green Bay Packers, Inc., in a Civil Court decision filed today by Judge Raymond Rahr. The amount represents the $14,000 he claims his contract called for in the seasons of 1948-49, less $1,007.95 he earned with the Los Angeles Dons and as a teacher and assistant coach at Los Angeles. Johnson claims his contract, at a minimum of $7,000 per season, was not subject to cancellation. After two exhibition games in 1948, he said, he was sent a termination notice ending his service under Paragraph 5 of the contract. This provides for termination if the player "shall fail to demonstrate sufficient skill and capacity to play professional ball of the caliber required by the club." The court held that while an employer may discharge an employee for cause despite a contract, in such a case the burden of proof is on the employer. Such proof had not been furnished in this case, the court declared.
JUL 18 (Stevens Point) - The Green Bay Packers turned out Sunday with the temperature in the eighties and sweated off an undetermined but impressive quantity of sweat in their initial workout for the 1955 NFL season. Head Coach Lisle Blackbourn counted an even 50 perspiring prospects as the Packers opened their rookie camp with a two-hour workout. One promising rookie who arrived Saturday left again Sunday with no immediate explanation of his departure. He was Gene Hellwig, a defensive halfback who starred with Tulsa before a tour in the service.
JUL 19 (Stevens Point-Green Bay Press-Gazette) - After one full day of double workouts here, Washington State’s Bob Peringer is the best answer Packer Head Coach Liz Blackbourn has discovered to one of most pressing problems. Peringer is one of four candidates for the vacancy created at offensive left end by the departure for service of Max McGee, 1954 incumbent. Also in the running are Missouri’s Jim Jennings, Glenn Dillhoff of Cincinnati and John Crouch, University of Texas alumnus. “At the moment, Peringer looks like he may be the best of the rookie crop on offense,” Blackbourn said. Peringer, like McGee a skilled punter, is built along the lines of his predecessor, standing 6-3 and scaling 190 pounds. Jim Temp, the former Wisconsin standout and the Packers’ No. 3 choice in the NFL’s 1955 college draft, Blackbourn favorably. Temp, a 6-3, 230-pound end, “looks like the best of defense so far,” Liz confided. Charlie Brackins, 6-2, 202-pound Negro quarterback from Prairie View A. and M., likewise has attracted attention, along with another signal-calling candidate, Wisconsin’s Johnny Coatta. Both, Blackbourn indicated, thus far have shown him more than the other two candidates, Jim Capuzzi and Jack Wise. Another who has caught his eye is Gayton Salvucci, who has been waiting for two years for an opportunity to display his wares for Packer scrutiny. Salvucci, halfback from little American International College who has been in service since he was signed in 1953, “looks like a reasonably good runner,” Liz volunteered. Jack Patterson, defensive back from Houton, has flashed the best punting form with Wise, a Marquette product not far behind. Two of the 51 rookies who reported here Saturday have left, Blackbourn disclosed. They were Jerry Cummings, an end from Milwaukee without college experience, and Red Maley, a halfback from Southern Methodist who came on his own. Carmen Cozza, defensive back from Miami (O.) University, also has informed the Packers that he has decided to quit football. As a replacement for Cozza and Gene Helwig, Tulsa safety who quit Sunday, the Packers today called in Harry Welch, a Southern California alumnus. Fullback Clyde Sanders is expected in tonight or tomorrow. Sanders, who also had a tryout in 1954, has been delayed by the illness of his wife, who underwent an appendectomy over the weekend…Blackbourn said, "It's beginning to look more like a practice but we have quite a long ways to go." Monday morning's practice "was heavy on fundamental drills" while passing dominated the afternoon session. A meeting preceded the second workout and another was held in the evening. "The defensive unit is beginning to shape up as far as personnel is concerned," Liz added, "and Tom Hearden has taken charge of that situation."
JUL 19 (Stevens Point) - Coach Lisle Blackbourn sent 50 candidates through a long offensive and defensive drill here Monday at the Green Bay Packers' rookie training camp. Emphasis was on passing and Blackbourn expressed satisfaction at the end of the workout in temperatures up to 90 degrees. A former Wisconsin quarterback, Johnny Coatta, was singled out along with Charlie (Choo-Choo) Brackins of Prairie View A&M as the best of the rookie signal callers. Ends Bob Peringer of Washington State and Cliff Straka of Gustavus Adolphus appeared to have the inside track at the offensive ends. Blackbourn also praised the defensive play of linebackers Tom Bettis of Purdue and George Timberlake of Southern California and defensive halfback Jack Patterson of Houston. The size of the squad remained at 50 with the arrival of the defensive halfback, Harry Welch of Southern California, and the release of Red Maley, SMU back who came here on his own. A Milwaukee boy with no college experience, Jerry Cummings, also was cut. Besides five candidates still in summer school, only one other player, fullback Clyde Sanders, who tried out last year, has not reported. Carmin Cozza of Miami (OH) has decided against pro football.
JUL 19 (Stevens Point) - End Jim Temp of Wisconsin and linebacker Doyle Nix of SMU were singled out by coach Liz Blackbourn as defensive stars Tuesday after a rugged tackling drill. Blackbourn continued his two-a-day drills despite the 90 degree temperature, stressing offensive fundamentals. The first scrimmage for the rookies be Wednesday. Getting praise from line coach Lou Rymkus were guard Hank Bullough from Michigan State and guard Sisto Averno from Muhlenberg College. Converted fullback Jack Spinks also sparked line drills. The rookie roster was reduced to 49 players when Cliff Straka, a 225 pound offensive end from Gustavus Adolphus asked permission to return home.
JUL 19 (New York) - Don't look now but pro football is with us, the pro variety, anyhow, and when the weather chills off the teams they'll have to beat in the NFL are the Los Angeles Rams and the Cleveland Browns. That's the word this scorching day from Jack Lavelle, scouting impressario of the New York Giants. And if you think it's a bit premature, consider that four of the the pro elevens already are in training and Lavelle's hopefuls start Wednesday. You can can blame it on the heat that rotund Jack, the perennial Notre Damer, doesn't claim the pro title outright for the Giants. But his rundown on the teams is downright interesting if you are a devotee of (a) pro football or (b) the cooler weather in which it is supposed to be played. Here is its: WESTERN DIVISION - Los Angeles Rams: Could have won last year but for injuries. Have the stuff with a power squad led by Norm Van Brocklin, Billy Wade and Tom Fears. Sid Gillman heads a new good coaching staff. Chicago Bears: The darkhorse. The line is like those Bear stalwarts of old. Bobby Williams should solved the quarterback puzzle and if so, they've got everything. Detroit Lions: Several promising changes. Bobby Layne is back with help expected from Harry Gilmer in the Lions' style of attack. San Francisco 49ers: Will be rugged under new coach Red Strader and with the best backfield in the business, headed by Hugh McElhenny, Joe (Jet) Perry and Y.A. Tittle. Green Bay Packers: On their way up under Lisle Blackbourn. But the kids need maturing in a tough league. Baltimore Colts: Improved, but how much? Obtained Alan (The Horse) Ameche, but it isn't enough with 10 games against the afore-mentioned Murderers' Row. EASTERN DIVISION - Cleveland Browns: The champs improved with young draft choices. The word around the league is that "retired" Otto Graham will be back. New York Giants: A "chance". Joe Heap of Notre Dame can help but the real hope is Mel Triplett, an unknown fullback from little Toledo. Philadelphia Eagles: Solid and sound but the quarterbacking is spotty. They probably won't make it. Washington Redskins: Given a chance to come back. The line is solid but they may have too many quarterbacks (including it is presumed, owner G.P. Marshall). Chicago Cardinals: Their problem is quarterbacking. If that develops, watch Ollie Matson and Max Boydston. Pittsburgh Steelers: Lots of problems. Lost several good lineman, including great center Bill Walsh. Not much hope. Now, like all of us, the only thing they all need is cooler weather.
JUL 20 (Stevens Point-Green Bay Press-Gazette) - At the rate he is developing, Packer rookie Charlie Brackins could become the first Negro quarterback to make the pro grade in NFL history. Head Coach Liz Blackbourn, presently screening 49 recruits at the Packers' first rookie camp, conceded today that "Brackins is looking a little the best of the quarterbacks." Charlie, who at 6-2 and 202 pounds has the ideal specifications for a QB, "has shown quite a bit of potential," Blackbourn said, "although it is apparent that he has been competing in small college football." Blackbourn and his aides apparently are convinced that the Prairie View A. and M. (Texas) graduate has major league qualifications for thety already have moved another leading QB candidate, Jim Capuzzi, to defensive halfback. Brackins, who aspires to become Tobin Rote's signal-calling companion, still must beat out two other rivals for the assignment, Wisconsin's Johnny Coatta and Jack Wise, a Marquette alumnus. At the moment, Liz indicated, Coatta is running a close second to Brackins. Defensively, three freshmen have attracted attention as possible replacements for linebacker Clayton Tonnemaker, who retired following the 1954 season. One of them is Purdue's Tom Bettis, the Packers' No. 1 choice in last January's NFL college drat, while the others are Jan Smid, late of Illinois, and George Timberlake, USC grad who had a Packer tryout last fall and left after suffering a wrist fracture. "All," Blackbourn confided, "are coming along pretty good." Defensive ends Jim Temp and Gene Felker, both Wisconsin products, also have have been making their presence felt, Liz said, along with "cornermen" Doyle Nix, a Southern Methodist standard bearer, and Nebraska's Charlie Bryant. Safetyman Harry Welch, USC athlete brought in when Gene Helwig and Carmen Cozza decided to forsake football, also has impressed Blackbourn. "While he is very, very small (5-8 and 170), Welch has shown extremely fine movement for a small man," Liz declared. "Our offensive ends are coming along slowly," the Packer head man evaluated, "although the pass receiving has shown quite an improvement in two days. Johnny Verdon (ex-Arkansas athlete signed by the Packers as a free agent) is beginning to show some maneuvering ability although it may be a long development process." Among the offensive backs, Gayton Savlucci, Lauren Hargrove and Bob Clemens continue to impress, along with a new face, Mississippi's Allen Muirhead. The squad was reduced to 49 today by the departure of Cliff Straka, end candidate from Gustavus Adolphus, who turned in his uniform Tuesday...The Packers' three all-stars, Temp, Bettis and Hank Bullough, were scheduled to leave tonight to join the College All Stars, who oppose the Cleveland Browns in Chicago Aug. 12. The first scrimmage of the training season was set for 3 o'clock this afternoon.
JUL 20 (Stevens Point) - A University of Akron football rookie, who spurned pro fight contracts following a string of knockouts in winning two heavyweight titles in Cleveland Golden Gloves competition, is bidding for a position with the Packers at their Stevens Point training site. End Johnny Verdon, grabbed as a free agent by Green Bay, is hopeful of making the squad and again return to his native Akron when the Packers tangle with the World Champion Cleveland Browns in an exhibition game in the Rubber Bowl August 20. Although winning All-Ohio honors and getting recognition on the little All-American team, the 6-2 Verdon was overlooked in the pro draft. Packer Coach Liz Blackbourn immediately beckoned Verdon to try a whack at pro football. After a standout prep football and track record at Akron, Verdon zoomed into the amateur boxing spotlight in 1952 when he was a kayo sensation in taking the novice heavyweight crown in Akron and later the Cleveland Golden Gloves Tournament. The following year Verdon continued his two-fisted slugging and walked away with the open heavyweight crown at Cleveland. He was flooded with offers to turn pro but rejected the bids in favor of a college education at Akron University. Verdon was named the most outstanding lineman last fall by Ohio Conference coaches when he led the conference ends in pass catching and finished eighth in the nation in small colleges in pass receiving. After nabbing 14 passes for 284 yards in 1953, Verdon last season snared 30 aerials for 468 yards.
JUL 20 (Stevens Point) - Coach Liz Blackbourn can often be quoted: "If the Packers are to improve their 4-8 mark of last season, the responsibility rests heavily on the 'come-through' rookies." Blackbourn saw 49 hopefuls under fire for the first time Wednesday afternoon in a blistering scrimmage. "I'm unexpectedly pleased with the defensive work," was Blackbourn's appraisal. "It was a crisp workout despite the heat," added Blackbourn. "The boys looked like they really want to stay with us." Liz has indicated the bulky rookie crop will be slashed when veterans report Sunday. Defensive ends Jim Temp, Nate Borden and Gene Felker were the standouts in the hour and 10 minute scrimmage. However, it is not unusual to have defense outshine offense at this stage of the game. Also drawing praise for their defensive tactics were linebackers George Timberlake, Tom Bettis, Jan Smid, John Hlay, Doyle Niz and Charles Bryant - all eyeing the jobs left vacant by Clayton Tonnemaker, Art Hunter, Al Barry and Gene White. Referring to his offense, Blackbourn pointed out that Johnny Coatta and Charlie Brackins were staging an all-out fight to back up veteran Tobin Rote. "Coatta hasn't shown the finesse he had at Wisconsin," commented Liz, "but I'm sure he'll start loosening up soon and showing the stuff we expect from him. Brackins potentially is a good one. He didn't have the best tutoring at Prairie View A&M, but he has shown every indication of making the grade."
JUL 21 (Stevens Point-Green Bay Press-Gazette) - No. 13 is no jinx to Doyle Nix, the SMU corner linebacker. The 188-pounder, wearing the black-catish 13, led some of the charge that brightened one phase of the Packers' first scrimmage of the training season here Wednesday afternoon. The lone phase was defense, prompting Coach Liz Blackbourn to comment thusly after the one-hour session of head-smashing in 92-degree heat: "We were pleased with the good defensive men. But we're still aroused about filling the three offensive positions as of this fifth day of practice." Offensively, Liz was referring to the holes vacated by end Max McGee, guard Al Barry and tackle Art Hunter. He though the "line blocking was poor and as a result the quarterbacks didn't have much chance."...On the bright side - the defensive side, that is, Blackbourn felt that George Timberlake looked "the best" among the linebackers, followed by Tom Bettis, Jan Smid and John Hlay. Among the corner linebackers the standouts were Nix, Charley Bryant and Billy Bookout. Nix made a couple of fine ankle-high tackles. Special note also was given to Jim Temp, Nate Borden and Gene Felker - "in that order," Liz said. From tackle to tackle, the coaches didn't have much to cheer about, although Joe Leichtweiss, a free agent from Villanova, brought a few smiles. Leichtweiss suffered an arm injury during the action and, fortunately, it wasn't serious. "We'll just have to develop what we got and try to come up with suitable replacements for the three spots in the offensive line," Liz explained. He announced that there'll be more rough stuff Saturday morning, giving Blackbourn and aides Tom Hearden, Ray McLean, Lou Rymkus and Ab Wimberly another look. They expect to note improvement all down the line...Despite the heat, the action was furious and quarterbacks Charlie Brackins and Johnny Coatta displayed flashe of brilliance. Brackins hit Jim Jennings smack in the tummy when the Missouri end slipped to the ground about 12 yards upfield, catching the ball in a sitting position. Another time Brackins couldn't pass, but ran through the line and bowled down Bettis who came up for the tackle. Coatta hit well on swing passes and connected consistently with Lauren Hargrove who got off several long runs. Hargrove, however, fumbled twice - once on the end of a 25-yard chase. Brackins started in a backfield composed of Gay Salvucci at left half, Ted Muirhead at right half and Bob Clemens at fullback. Up front were Jennings at left end, Tom Johnson at left tackle, Hank Bullough at left guard, Ray Paxton and Jack Spinks at right guard, Floyd Harrawood at right tackle and Johnny Verdun at right end...On Coatta's team were Bill Robinson at left half, Hargrove at right half, Bob Saia at fullback, Glenn Dillhoff at left end, Bob Antokowiak at left tackle, Sisto Avernon at left guard, Paxton at center (he's the only pivot in camp), Gene Snipes at right guard, Bob Carter at right tackle, Bob Peringer at right end. Among the offensive ends, Verdun, a nobody out of Akron, displayed good balance, foot work and movement on the field. Still "tight" with his hands, Verdun managed a few sure catches - one a 12-yard gain on the third play of the afternoon. Brackins' unit made the quickest advance, going about 80 yards in three plays. Clemens went 30 yards off left guard and caught a pass for about 20 and Savlucci went over left guard for another 30...In one defensive unit, Felker and Temp were at the ends, Leichtweiss and John Bove at tackles, Jan Smid at middle guard, Timberlake and Bettis at linebacker, Nix and Bryant at corner LB'er and Sam McWhirter and Jack Patterson at safety. In the other group, Howard McCants and Borden were at ends, Johnson and Carter at tackles, John Nitz at middle guard, Hlay and Timberlake at linebacker, Crouch and Bookout at corner LB'er and John Bordogna and Ron Clark at safety. Paxton, a free agent from North Dakota State, did the centering for the entire drill and finished off by passing back to the punters. He'll get some help Saturday when George Machoukas, the rookie from Toleado, reports. Veteran Jim Ringo is also due in then. All of the scrimmage was used for rushing or passing except on a fourth down situation when quarterback Jack Wise went in to deliver a punt. Coatta and Brackins handled all of the QB'ing...Two players were expected in today - fullback Clyde Sanders and tackle Bill Turnbeaugh. Stevens Point folks are anxiously awaiting the arrival of Sanders who was among the heroes of the 1954 camp. Clyde is expected to make a spirited bid for work at fullback. Also trying out is Joe Blalock, a 220-pound fullback from Mississippi. He has no college experience. Blackbourn announced that tackle Ed Culpepper of Alabama has decided to give up pro football. He suffered an injury earlier in the week and was to leave today. Veterans will report Saturday afternoon and Picture Day is scheduled for Sunday afternoon - the only appearance that day. Monday it will be full steam ahead with two drills.
JUL 21 (Stevens Point) - The Packer rookie roster was cut to 40 Thursday when Coach Liz Blackbourn asked waivers on five players and two more received permission to leave. Cut were guard Jack Nitz, South Dakota State; back Sam Pino, Boston U.; back Ernie Wickstrom, Northern Illinois State; fullback Pete D'Alonzo, Villanova and quarterback Jack Wise, Marquette. Tackles Ed Culpepper and Joe Leichtweiss asked Blackbourn for permission to quit and were placed on the voluntary retired list.
JUL 26 (Stevens Point-Green Bay Press-Gazette) - Jim Capuzzi moved back into the Packer quarterback picture today following the surprise decision of Johnny Coatta to retire from pro football competition Monday. Coach Liz Blackbourn announced that Capuzzi will work with veteran QB Tobin Rote and rookie Charlie Brackins for at least a couple of weeks. Capuzzi, one of the few two-way prospects in camp, started training as a QB but was switched to defensive halfback after a few days. Capuzzi, a good passer, had considerable QB'ing experience in service football as well as in tryouts with Marquette and Cincinnati. Coatta, the Wisconsin star, was one of four players to ask for voluntary retirement yesterday. The others are defensive end Gene Felker, also an ex-Badger; Clink McGeary, a tackle trying a comeback after an early retirement; and Bill Turnbeaugh, a rookie tackle from Auburn. Felker suffered a pulled muscle in a sweat-suit dill the other day and it failed to respond to treatment. He had similar trouble while trying out with the Dallas Texans in '53 before going into service. McGeary suffered a chest infection recently and his doctor ordered a complete rest. On the brighter side, veteran Steve Ruzich, who earlier had apparently decided to retire, showed up in camp ready for work as an offensive guard. He said he was just a day or so late and didn't intend to quit the pro game. Dick Afflis, another veteran guard, hasn't arrived as yet. He's been on the wrestling circuit and reportedly had his last match in Milwaukee Saturday night. The Coatta retirement came as quite a shock since the onetime Badger hero, who signed with the Packers in '52 and then went into service, had shown up well in practice. Coatta said he didn't think he "could do it," feeling that he had "too far to come back." Blackbourn, however, said that Coatta "didn't give himself a good chance," and expressed the hope that he would reconsider. The veterans, who reported Saturday afternoon, received their first tough test Monday in Blackbourn's plan to let them catch up with the rookies gradually. The rookies have a full extra week of practice under their belts. Preparations this week are being aimed at coordinating the work of the rookies and veterans, with an eye toward the first intra-squad game at Marshfield Saturday night. It will be chiefly a rookie game, but the veterans will see some service. Lineups for the opener will be decided by Blackbourn and his aides, Tom Hearden, Ray McLean, Lou Rymkus, Ab Wimberly and Jack Vainisi after practice Thursday night...Blackbourn said today that he has no plans to obtain tackle Ernie Stautner from the Pittsburgh Steelers. "Walt would probably want a whole team for him anyway," Liz laughed. Earlier, Steeler coach Walt Kiesling said he is willing to trade Stautner. Kiesling was irate because Stautner and veteran end George Sulima failed to show up for the start of training Monday. Kiesling was particularly incensed at Stautner who has delayed his arrival to camp the past few seasons to operate a drive-in theater at Saranac Lake, N.Y. "He was ordered to show up today," Walt said. "It's unfair to the other veterans. I'll trade Stautner to any club which will do business. In fact, I tried to peddle him to Washington last week."
JUL 27 (Stevens Point) - With the thermometer reaching an official 98, the Green Bay Packers took things easy in their football camp Tuesday. They worked out in shorts for about an hour, rather than the usual hour and a half session in full hear. Wind springs wound things up. After qualifying "heats" by position, finals were held and finishing first, second and third, respectively, were rookies Allen Muirhead of Mississippi and Lauren Hargrove of Georgia and veteran Breezy Reid. All are halfbacks. Ray Paxton, center from North Dakota State, did not show up for the afternoon drill and was presumed to have left camp.
JUL 27 (Stevens Point-Green Bay Press-Gazette) - Steve 
JUL 29 (Stevens Point - Green Bay Press-Gazette) - The Packers awaited the arrival of two recent Cleveland Browns – Joe Skibinski, a regular guard with the Browns in ’52, and Bill Lucky, a highly-touted tackle. The two offensive linemen were obtained Thursday in a trade for tackle Art Hunter, who broke in with the Packers in ’54 and then went into service last winter for two years. The two newcomers were expected to arrive in the Packer camp tonight. Packer Coach Liz Blackbourn said that the players were obtained to strengthen “the weakest part” of the Packer line. He added that “we will make every possible move to toughen our team and the deal with Cleveland is expected to help us.” The offensive line was riddled by Uncle Sam after the ’54 season, Hunter, guard Al Barry and end Max McGee going into service. Liz drafted guard Norm Amundsen and Hank Bullough and tackle Ed Culpepper, among others, in hopes of filling holes. However, Amundsen went into service and Culpepper retired after suffering a leg injury. Lucky, a 250-pounder from Baylor, was a Packer briefly in ’53. He was drafted No. 19 in ’53 as a junior for ’54 delivery but it was discovered by the league office that he wasn’t eligible, and the choice was forfeited. The Browns drafted Lucky as their fifth choice in ’54. Lucky came up to the Browns in ’54, and showed plenty of promise but family difficulties forced him to lay off for a season. The Texan will turn 24 years of age Aug. 24. Lucky had always been highly recommended by former Packer Mike Michalske, who coached him during his stay at Baylor. “Get him if you can,” Michalske told Blackbourn recently. Skibinski, onetime star at Purdue, is carrying around 228 pounds. He helped the Browns win the Eastern Division title in ’52 and then went into the Army for two years. He made the all-Big Ten team as an offensive guard in ’51 and was a key figure in Purdue’s upset of Notre Dame’s 39-game winning streak. Hunter is expected to report to Cleveland in ’57. He was the Packers’ first choice in ’54, played regular offensive tackle last fall, and won numerous national honors when he played at Notre Dame. On the camp scene, Blackbourn reported that halfback Bill Reichardt has decided to quit pro football. He left Delzell Hall at 4 o’clock this morning for Iowa where he is in business. Blackbourn also announced the breakdown of players for the opening intra-squad game at Marshfield Saturday night. Lou Rymkus and Jack Vainisi will coach the Gold team and Ray Mclean and Tom Hearden will mentor the Greens, while Blackbourn will observe the proceedings from the stands. Tobin Rote and Jim Capuzzi will quarterback the Greens and rookie Charley Brackins will do the same for the Golds.
JUL 29 (Green Bay) - The anticipated Packer trade to acquire offensive linemen materialized Thursday when Coach Liz Blackbourn talked the Cleveland Browns into giving up an offensive guard and tackle. Joe Skibinski, a regular guard for the Browns in 1952 who has just been released from the service, and Bill Lucky, Cleveland's fifth draft choice last season, will report to the Packers' Stevens Point training site Friday morning. The price for the linemen was the Packers' No. 1 draft choice last year, tackle Art Hunter. But Blackbourn figures Green Bay needs immediate help, knowing that Hunter would not be available for two years under his military service term is up. Skibinski, a former Purdue standout, was a regular with Cleveland's Eastern division champions of 1952. Skibinski is 6-1 and weighs 230 pounds. Lucky was considered one of the most promising linemen ever drafted by the Browns but decided to drop out after the season started last fall. Still the property of Cleveland, the Browns retained all rights on Lucky. A former Baylor product, Lucky stands 6-3 and weighs 240 pounds. Blackbourn reported a camp casualty in the defensive drill. Glenn Dillhoff, an offensive end from Cincinnati, broke a bone in his hand while catching a pass. He will be sidelined a couple of weeks. Blackbourn later divided his rookie squad into two teams for Saturday night's intra-squad game at Marshfield.
JUL 30 (Marshfield-Green Bay Press-Gazette) - Packer rookies, some 40 of ‘em, will get their chance to howl here tonight. They’ll be the key figures – as far as Coach Liz Blackbourn is concerned – in the first intra-squad game of the ’55 season. For 10 or 15 of the rookies, first-year men, tonight’s battle will be the end of their professional careers. Blackbourn plans to slice the squad down some over the weekend, although a number of them will be given another opportunity in the second and final intra-squader in Stevens Point next Saturday night. Several veterans will see considerable action tonight, but the battle for the most part is for the newcomers. All of the veterans are expected to make token appearances. Jim Capuzzi, removed from the defensive platoon this week when Johnny Coatta quit, will quarterback the Green team, coached by Ray McLean and Tom Hearden. He’ll get some help from veteran Tobin Rote – if necessary. Charlie Brackins, the rookie out of Prairie View A. and M. who has been looking good in practice, will QB the Golds – a unit coached by Lou Rymkus and Jack Vainisi. Blackbourn will observe the proceedings from the stands. Also watching the battle with a great deal of interest will be guard Joe Skibinski and tackle Bill Lucky, the two players obtained Thursday night in a trade for Art Hunter, a tackle now in service. Four co-captains have been selected by the coaches. Veteran Jim Ringo, one of two centers in the camp, and veteran Deral Teteak will co-captain the Greens. George Timberlake, who tried out in ’54 and then retired for the season after suffering an injury, and veteran Steve Ruzich will co-captain the Golds. Offensively, special attention will be given to the play of Gary Knafelc, Jack Spinks, Floyd Harrawood, Clyde Sanders, Jim Psaltis and several others who are being counted on for key positions. Knafelc is slated to fill the boots of Max McGee who nailed nine touchdown passes last fall; Spinks, a former fullback with Pittsburgh and Chicago Cardinals, is trying to make it as an offensive guard; Floyd Harrawood is making a comeback after two years in Canada and has been placed in Hunter’s vacated spot; Clyde Sanders almost made the club a year ago and hopes to make it this season; and Jim Psaltis, a defensive back as a pro and in college, will be making his first public start as an offensive end. There probably will be plenty of one-platooning due to the shortage of guards and tackles. Harrawood is scheduled to go both ways; so will Timberlake, Sisto Averno, Tom Johnson and Bob Antokwiak. Close to 4,000 fans, including many from Wausau and Green Bay, are expected for the battle, which is being sponsored by the Columbus High School Athletic Assn. George Schneider is game chairman…Tonight’s game will be broadcast by Press-Gazette radio station WJPG, starting at 8 o’clock. Tony Flynn and Bill Howard will share the mike.
JUL 30 (Stevens Point) - Rookies will carry most of the load in the Green Bay Packers' intrasquad game at Marshfield Saturday night, Coach Lisle Blackbourn said Friday. He named Charlie Brackins and Jim Capuzzi as quarterbacks for the opposing units. Blackbourn sent the two squads through separate workouts Friday. Steve Ruzich and George Timberlake were named co-captains of the Gold Squad. Deral Teteak and Jim Ringo will lead the Greens. Meanwhile, the Packers lost two more players. Fullback Bill Reichardt, who recently returned from military service, left camp to return to his home in Des Moines, IA. The former Iowa star said he has decided to enter private business. Rookie end Glenn Dillhoff also decided to quit. He had suffered a broken hand in Thursday's workout. On the positive side of the ledger, guard Joe Skibinski and tackle Bill Lucky, both acquired from the Cleveland Browns in exchange for tackle Art Hunter, reported to Blackbourn ready to play ball.
JUL 31 (Stevens Point) - The Green Bay Packers took six players from their training roster as they put five rookies on
the ball on downs on the Gold 26. A moment later, the Greens went on a 55-yard binge but the drive ended abruptly when Sanders fumbled on the Golds’ six and Bordogna recovered. The drive was featured by a 15-yard run by Sanders and Capuzzi’s 15-yard pass to Bob Peringer and a nine-yarder to Knafelc. Brackins showed plenty of poise in his debut as a Packer quarterback. The lanky Prairie View ace had five completions in nine attempts for 52 yards but settled for one in seven (for 20 yards) in the second. One of his receptionists was Jim Psaltis, a defensive back in ’54 who started as an offensive end. Jim caught three for 46 yards but dropped a 20-yard strike. Big Clemens displayed power as a Gold fullback, knocking six times for 33 yards. Capuzzi, having trouble with the wet ball, completed five out of 22 tries for 79 yards. Four of the completions came in the second half. Several veterans saw considerable action – Psaltis, Jim Ringo, Steve Ruzich, Deral Teteak and Knafelc. Fred Cone stepped in for a kickoff and Rote held the ball for an extra point. Blackbourn, watching the game from the radio booth, seemed happy after the match that “we’ve got a start now.”
AUG 2 (Stevens Point-Green Bay Press-Gazette) - Dick Afflis, the Packers’ wrestling tackle-guard, may be making money on the mat but he’s losing some of it to the Packers. Coach Liz Blackbourn said today that “Dick will be fined commensurate with the time lost when he reports.” Afflis thus far promised to report at two different times – the latest being in time play in Marshfield Saturday night, but he never showed up. Afflis has been grappling quite regularly around Milwaukee and Chicago – not to mention a few towns in Michigan, and recently signed to appear on the Salvation Army benefit at Minahan Stadium a week from tonight. What’s more, Dick is scheduled to wrestle Aug. 20 – the night the Packers play Cleveland in Akron. While Blackbourn is interested in seeing his athletes keep in good physical condition during the offseason, he’s not interested in such a program at the expense of football conditioning. Afflis was supposed to report Saturday, July 23 with the rest of the veterans. He was wrestling in Milwaukee that night – a last-minute substitution. Liz wired him “luck in your match” and told him to report Sunday. Afflis is listed on the camp roster as a defensive left tackle behind veteran Jerry Helluin and rookie Howard McCants. He earlier was ticketed for middle guard duty behind Bill Forester, but presently newcomer Jan Smid is spelling Forester…LOOKING TO FUTURE: Putting aside the Afflis business, Blackbourn said today that “we’re looking to the future in some of our practice. We’ll give some of the boys a chance to learn two positions so that the jobs won’t be strange to them if switches are necessary during the league season.” Some doubling up also will be necessary for the second and final intra-squad game here Saturday night. It will be the first test for most of the veterans. In the periodic training plan, Veryl Switzer will get a daily dose of defensive duty. He’s scheduled for offense this season, but will go on defense if necessary. Rookie George Machoukas, No. 2 man behind veteran Jim Ringo for center, will be training at middle guard – making him doubly valuable. Quarterback Jim Capuzzi has joined Doyle Nix at the left cornerback position. Earlier, Capuzzi had been at safety in addition to learning offensive signals and passing. Despite the heat, the Packers will continue two-a-day practices, but the athletes will wear shorts in one of them, generally in the morning. Pads were on tap for this afternoon – plus some contact involving the backs and ends. Blackbourn and his aides, Tom Hearden, Ray McLean, Lou Rymkus and Jack Vainisi, will break down the squad for the Saturday night battle after Thursday’s workout. Ab Wimberly, the former Packer and present aide at LSU, left over the weekend to return to Louisiana. He had been hired to work with the defensive ends for the past two weeks.
AUG 2 (Green Bay) - The Packers played under the stars at Marshfield Saturday night, but heavy rain during the day left the field in treacherous condition, though there were no puddles. Each blade of grass seemed to be slicked with grease. Jim Capuzzi, quarterback for the Greens, had difficulty tossing the ball. Charlie Brackins, the Golds’ QB, had no trouble. Why? Capuzzi has normal-sized hands which apparently weren’t “enough” to combat the unusual slick. Brackins’ long, dangling meat hooks served him in good stead and the condition of the ball never bothered him. Coach Liz Blackbourn agreed that Brackins “looked sharp”. “But,” he added, “I expected him to look that way; he has been sharp in practice.” The intra-squad game must have been quite an eye opener for Brackins, who faced no such competition at tiny Prairie View A. and M. in Texas. The slim QB ran well, had only two bad passes all night, and on one occasion held off defensive end Nate Borden with one hand and threw with the other. He looked at home. Thus, Brackins seems destined to become the first Negro quarterback to actually make a pro club. A number of Negroes have tried it, including Willie Thrower of Michigan State with the Bears, but few have apparently shown the poise that Charlie has displayed thus far. Brackins will receive additional, and much more difficult, test in the intra-squad game in Stevens Point Saturday night. His own offense will be tougher, but so will the enemy defense. And playing on the “other” side will be the veteran campaigner, Tobin Rote, who will be unlimbering publicly for the first time since ’54 when he threw a record 382 passes in 12 league games…The tackling in the Marshfield show at times was quite fierce, bringing many “ahs” from the home folks. The newcomers were roughing it up good and the veterans on the bench were getting itchy. Linebacker Roger Zatkoff “snuck” in for a kickoff. Some folks thought Bobby Dillon was going to play during a timeout but it turned out that it was mere exercise – or maybe to get the time left…On the business front, General Manager Verne Lewellen was disappointed in the crowd – 1,500. Marshfield had two fierce thunderstorms Saturday, apparently removing the football urge from many people, although it cleared beautifully two hours before game time. The weather killed off drive-ins from nearby towns. The big push now is on to fill Stevens Point stadium for Saturday night’s contest, which will be the first real test for the veterans.
AUG 2 (Stevens Point) - The Packers Tuesday asked waivers on end John Crouch of TCU while tackles Floyd Harrawood of Tulsa and Bob Antkowiak of Bucknell left camp and were placed on the reserve list. They took part in the morning workout at training camp here but were not around in the afternoon. Harawood played two years of Canadians football, one year under Lou Rymkus at Calgary. Rymkus is now line coach of the Packers. Hard contract wok in the torrid temperature again featured drills as Coach Liz Blackbourn stressed offensive patterns in preparation for Saturday night's intra-squad game. Quarterbacks Tobin Rote and Charles Brackins were put through a strenuous passing drill under game conditions. Rote will oppose Brackins in Saturday's game. The game will be the final appearance for an overabundance of rookies who are trying to make the club.
AUG 3 (Stevens Point-Green Bay Press-Gazette) - When it rains, it pours! The Packers were without an offensive right tackle today after a series of heartbreaking events that reached a grand climax Tuesday afternoon when two giants went over the hill. Disappearing without the courtesy of an explanation were tackles Floyd Harrawood, who tried out with the Packers in ’53 and then played two seasons in Canada, and rookie Bob Antkowiak. Harrawood, who came to camp 30 pounds overweight, was starting to come around and Coach Liz Blackbourn and his line mentor, Lou Rymkus, were counting on him as a possible successor to Art Hunter. Antkowiak, the largest man in camp at 260, was green but had possibilities. He attempted to take off a week ago but was “caught” at the bus station. Blackbourn went into the weekend with three offensive tackles – Harrawood, Antkowiak and Bill Lucky, the 245-pounder obtained from the Cleveland Browns along with Joe Skibinski in a trade for Hunter. Lucky was in camp less than a day when he was cut down by an appendectomy, performed last Saturday afternoon. Harrawood and Antkowiak worked in the intra-squad game in Marshfield Saturday night. In fact, the AWOL’ers attended practice Sunday afternoon, both drills Monday and the “shorts” workout Tuesday morning. They didn’t show Tuesday afternoon and an inspection of their rooms produced no notes or road maps. For the Tuesday morning workout, Blackbourn, with an eye on the intra-squad game here Saturday night, shifted defensive end Gene Knutson to offensive right tackle. Thus, Knutson jumped from third string offensive tackle to first string in one afternoon. And the payoff came in a brief scrimmage. On Knutson’s first play, he twisted a knee, requiring first aid by Trainer Bud Jorgenson. Fortunately, the injury isn’t serious and Gene was scheduled for more of the same today. Blackbourn went to work on the telephone right after practice Tuesday, calling other National league clubs in an effort to bolster his tackle corps. There were no developments up to noon today. Blackbourn called Harrawood’s disappearance “a low blow.” No one had any inkling of his plans and it came as a complete surprise. Tackle has been hit the hardest by disappearances. In the last two weeks, seven tackles left and only one, Bob Carter, was actually released. The others either took off without notice or asked to be placed on the voluntarily retired list. These include Harrawood, Antkowiak, Clink McGeary, Ed Culpepper, Jim Leichtweiss and Bill Turnbeaugh. On the more pleasant tackle side, Lucky came out of the hospital today and expected to do considerable walking. He planned to take in the afternoon workout. Lucky, interviewed in St. Michael’s hospital, said he was “anxious to get out and make the ball club; they’ve been nice to me in the hospital but I’ve got to see what I can do. I’d been doing all right, I guess, with the Browns, but they’ve got six veteran tackles back, you know.” Lucky expects it “won’t be too long – maybe two weeks before I can get going good. Mathew (Braves’ infielder) was swinging a bat in a week, so it shouldn’t be long. We take a good jarring out there but the baseball player I imagine pulls himself good when he throws and bats.” When the need for offensive tackles came up about chow time Tuesday night, Blackbourn winked at Rymkus, who was quite a famous offensive tackle with the Browns for years. “If I signed as a player,” Lou laughed, “Betty (Mrs. Rymkus) would be up here in one hour flat.” The immediate problem is the game Saturday night and it’s likely that some of the defensive aces may have to go both ways. As defenser Dave Hanner pointed out, “I know the plays.” Another player left yesterday but he was placed on waiver. Dispatched was Johnny Crouch, a rookie corner linebacker who was given a trial at defensive end. Reportedly, the Philadelphia Eagles were interested in him. The Eagles already have two former Packer defensive backs – Bud Roffler and Don Miller. Lower humidity, plus the sunshine, provided excellent practice weather Tuesday afternoon. In addition to group drills, a squad scrimmage designed to protect the passer was conducted.
AUG 4 (Stevens Point-Green Bay Press-Gazette) - The Packers' offensive line, shattered and torn by Uncle Sam last winter and further damaged by player disappearances this week - not to mention an appendectomy last week, started to take shape today. Coach Liz Blackbourn completed his second big trade in a week by sending veteran defensive end Stretch Elliott to the Los Angeles Rams for veteran tackle Tom Dahms last night. The Rams also will receive an undisclosed 1956 draft choice. A week ago, Blackbourn obtained veteran guard Joe Skibinski and rookie tackle Bill Lucky from the Cleveland Browns for tackle Art Hunter, now in service. Lucky underwent an appendectomy last Friday and will be out for three to four weeks. In addition, rookie tackle Bob Antkowiak and Canadian veteran tackle Floyd Harrawood quit camp Tuesday, leaving the Bays without an active offensive right tackle. Blackbourn said today that Dahms is ticketed for offensive right tackle, but added that he expects Lucky to make a good run for the job when he is able to practice. Uncle Sam took Hunter, guard Al Barry and offensive end Max McGee and presently Blakbourn feels that "we have made moves to strengthen those holes - particularly the guard and tackle spots." Skibinski is handling Barry's old spot while Dahms goes in the hole vacated by Hunter. Behind them are two hot rookie prospects - Hank Bullough at guard and Lucky. The left offensive tackle is manned by veteran Len Szafaryn and returnee Tom Johnson. Blackbourn called the trade with the Rams "a deal of necessity. We needed help in the offensive line and we were able to sacrifice some of our defensive strength to get it." Defensive end and linebacker are the clubs' two best-manned spots. The Bays' DE corps now has John Martinkovic and Gene Knutson as veterans, though Knutson might take a whirl at tackle, and two highly-regarded rookies - Jim Temp, now with the College All Stars, and Nate Borden. The newest Packer has been a Ram veteran for four years. Dahms was one of four rookie tackles to make the club in 1951 and has been a regular ever since as an offensive tackle. The 25-year old giant, who stands 6-5 and packs 245 pounds, can also play defense if necessary. Dahms attended San Diego High and lettered at San Diego State from 1946 through 1949, making Little All-America as a senior. The Rams signed him as a free agent in 1951. He teaches in San Diego during the offseason. Dahms apparently is anxious to play in these parts. He married a Milwaukee girl a year ago, the former Miss Mary Ewing. Dahms is due to report in over the weekend. Elliott will leave here Friday morning. Stretch, incidentally, isn't anxious to leave the Packers - the team he broke in with in 1950. Stretch, known as Two Story, became a regular in '51, also seeing considerable action on offense. Elliott, 27, put in his last contact with the Packers in a scrimmage yesterday afternoon - shortly before he was informed of the trade. The scrimmage yesterday was a sort of preview for Saturday night's intra-squad game here, with Tobin Rote quarterbacking one team and Charlie Brackins the other. Rote and Billy Howton hooked up for a 20-yard pass and fullback Howie Ferguson smacked over for a touchdown for Rote's team. In addition, Jim Capuzzi helped the Rotes with a 25-yard field goal. Brackins' team picked up one touchdown after Deral Teteak intercepted a Rote pass, Fred Cone plunging nine yards up the middle for the score. After Bobby Dillon grabbed one of Rote's throws, Brackins completed a 15-yarder to Joe Johnson and a 20-yarder to Bob Peringer. Bob Clemens ran 10 yards to the three and Veryl Switzer crashed over. As a whole, Blackbourn was impressed with the action and praised the work of veterans David Hanner, Jerry Helluin and John Martinkovic. The bruising action brought out one injury - a sprained ankle for Skibinski, who took the hurt lightly with this comment: "It's only a sprain and won't keep me down." Among the spectators was Lucky, who was discharged from the hospital Wednesday. Also on the injured list are Jan Smid, who is in St. Michael's hospital with a leg hurt, George Timberlake and Charley Bryant.
AUG 4 (Winnipeg) - Jack Jacobs, who starred with the Green Bay Packers and has been one of the outstanding players in Canadian football, has announced his retirement.
AUG 4 (Stevens Point) - Veteran Tobin Rote will lead the Greens against rookie Charlie Brackins' Golds in the Green Bay Packers intrasquad game here Saturday night. Rote is in his sixth year in pro football. Brackins is an outstanding prospect from little Prairie View A&M College in Texas. He virtually has cinched the No. 2 signal caller post behind Rote. The teams worked out separately Friday in preparation for their second intrasquad game this summer. Only a few veterans saw action in last week's game at Marshfield, however. The heat curtailed practice again Thursday to about an hour in the afternoon. Joe Skibinski, who sprained his ankle Wednesday, returned to the workouts. George Timberlake and Jan Smid still were sidelined with injuries. John Crouch, SMU defensive end who was placed on waivers Tuesday but recalled Thursday, also was back in action. The Packers are awaiting the arrival of new tackle Tom Dahms of Los Angeles, End Stretch Elliott, traded to Los Angeles Wednesday, left Friday morning. Coach Lisle Blackbourn named Lou Rymkus and Jack Vainisi co-captains of the Golds and Scooter McLean and Tom Hearden were picked to lead the Greens. Val Joe Walker (knee), Roger Zatkoff (pulled muscle), Timberlake (back), Bill Lucky (appendectomy) and Smid (knee) will not be used in the game.
AUG 5 (Stevens Point-Green Bay Press-Gazette) - Jim Ringo started to center the ball back during punting practice after yesterday afternoon's drill. He leaped up and queried: "Who's punting back there?" Seven or eight prospective successors to Max McGee's punting job were trying to decide who should get the first honors. That, friends, represents one phase of Coach Liz Blackbourn's search for a top-flight punter to replace McGee, who finished fifth in the league last year with a 41.7 average. There's a new punting star every day in practice, but few if any of them have been consistent enough to maintain an average. Harry Welch, the Southern California defensive back, got off a couple of long ones yesterday. Bob Peringer, the Washington State end, managed one or two. Also getting into the swim were Jack Patterson, Bob Clemens and veteran Gary Knafelc. Two other veterans have take a pitch - Bill Forester and Bill Howton. Blackbourn is merely hoping that one of the prospects develops into a reasonable 
ago right now. Remember before our opener in Minneapolis? We didn't seem to have a well defensive halfback in camp and we just weren't ready." The Packers battled the Chicago Cardinals to start the '54 non-championship campaign and lost 27 to 10. "What tickled me about that game," Liz laughed, "was that we could have won it." Actually, the Packers are much more advanced than at the same time last year, although Blackbourn is the first to point out that the team has a number of problems - "and," Liz hammered emphatically, "we have so much work to do." And speaking about work, Blackbourn said that preparations will start today for the opener against the New York Giants in Spokane, Wash., Saturday night. Fundamental drills occupied the team earlier in the week. As to the general plan for the six-game non-league campaign, Blackbourn explained: "We'll be doing our very best to win every game but also expect to use a lot of the boys. The exhibition season also is a matter of developing the squad for the championship play and of saving various individuals." Blackbourn presently has about 50 players in camp - not counting All Stars Tom Bettis, Hank Bullough and Jim Temp. Twenty-five of them have had pro experience with other clubs. The development chiefly will be planned for the newcomers, although the veterans, Blackbourn said, are constantly in need of fundamental work. As to saving various individuals, it can be pointed out that some of the '54 veterans played an entire 18-game schedule, including 12 in league play, with the result that some of them were exhausted physically and mentally near the end of the season. In this group, in particular, are defensive tackles Dave Hanner and Jerry Helluin and quarterback Tobin Rote...TOUGHER THAN SCHOOL: It's a good bet that the rookie quarterback, Charlie Brackins of Prairie View A and M (that's in Texas, man) will see considerable action along the non-league trail. Blackbourn feels that Charlie Brackins has shown gradual development and "I feel like I can trust him in there." Brackins seem to be enjoying himself in his new role as a major league prospect. "But it sure is a lot tougher than down at school." Charlie smiled while warming up with Jim Jennings yesterday. "All I had to do down there was to call a number for where the play was going but up here they got you calling that, the blocks and just about everything else," the lanky Negro explained. Charlie maneuvered at his teammates, pointing out "the boys are sure a lot better than down home." Brackins ran into a few of his teammates in the intra-squad game here Saturday night but still managed to complete 15 out of 37 tosses - two for touchdowns. The veterans on the opposing team have him a good going over, just to test his muscles, but Charlie was smiling after the game…Most of yesterday’s drill was spent in group work with Tom Hearden handling the defensive platoon, Lou Rymkus the line and Ray McLean and Blackbourn the offense. There was a touch of “live” action as the key blocks were made “full go” on a number of offensive plays. Jack Spinks, the fullback being turned into a guard, displayed good blocking and ability to pull out of the line swiftly. Also given a crack at blocking at chuggers and linebackers was Tom Dahms, the new offensive right tackle obtained from the Los Angeles Rams in the Stretch Elliott deal. In and out of uniform yesterday was Lou Spycalla, the Marquette defensive back. He was out for the morning drill but stayed in during the afternoon to nurse a knee ailment.
AUG 8 (Stevens Point-Green Bay Press-Gazette) - The Packers scored 45 points in their intra-squad game here Saturday night. That's 25 more than they counted in a similar match here a year ago. The question today was this: Have the 1955 Packers improved by 25 markers over the '54 Green Bays? That query might be answered more accurately in two or three weeks - after the non-leaguer with Pittsburgh in City Stadium Aug. 27, but it is noteworthy now that Coach Liz Blackbourn was pleased with the Saturday night performance before 3,000 fans. The Greens, quarterbacked by Tobin Rote, defeated Charlie Brackins' Golds 31 to 14 - a highly offensive struggle when you consider that the defense is generally a mile ahead of the offense at this stage of the game. By comparison, last year's squader was won by Rote's team 13-7 on two Fred Cone field goals. Blackbourn liked the general tone of the Saturday night battle. "There weren't too many missed signals - much less than a year ago. And the boys looked like they were hitting for keeps." Thus, the Packers had impressed with their mechanics (a manner of signals) and their spirit and desire despite the fact that both teams were liberally sprinkled with rookies. In addition, newcomers and veterans played strange positions and many veterans toiled against each other. The game marked the close of pro football for five rookies and a new start for another - Johnny Crouch, the corner linebacker from TCU. Crouch went on waivers last Wednesday but waivers were recalled so he could help out at defensive end in the squad game. Crouch showed enough to warrant additional trials. Dispatched on waivers were halfbacks Bill Robinson, Gayton Salvucci and John Bordogna, end John Verdun and guard Gene Snipes. The Packers resumed practice today - plus advance preparations for the exhibition opener against the New York Giants in Spokane, Wash., Saturday night, with 50 players in camp. The Packers have three players in the College All Star camp - Jim Temp, Hank Bullough and Tom Bettis. Making his first practice appearance today was big Tom Dahms, the tackle obtained from the Los Angeles Rams for Stretch Elliott and a draft choice. Tom arrived Sunday - in time to enjoy the day off with the rest of the squad. The squad games, off advance lineups, appeared as duel between the Green's passing, what with Rote and Billy Howton in their lineup, and the running of the Golds' Breezy Reid, Veryl Switzer and Howie Ferguson. However, the Golds couldn't develop much running, gaining only 31 yards, when guard Joe Skibinski was held out at the last minute due to a sprained ankle and Reid suffered an injury early in the first quarter. This left little for Brackins to do but pass and the rookie QB wound up with 15 completions in 37 attempts for 180 yards, including nine for 19 and 113 yards in the second half. He hurled TD strikes to Gary Knafelc and Jim Psaltis in the third quarter. Rote seemed sharp in his first public showing and completed 11 in 21 attempts for 145 yards and two touchdowns - one for 23 yards to Howton and another to Joe Johnson for 35. The Greens also came up with the offensive star of the game - veteran fullback Fred Cone, who appeared bent on a big start with 102 yards in 12 attempts. He lugged 50 yards the first time he had his hands on the ball, springing loose up the middle behind Jack Spinks, George Machoukas and Buddy Brown. Cone's long scamper, coming on the Greens' first offensive play after they forced the Golds to punt, was followed by Rote's TD throw to Howton in the end zone. Cone booted the first of four extra points for a 7-0 lead. Quickly forcing the Golds to punt again, the Greens went on another TD drive, Johnson plunging from the two for a 14-0 edge. Rote passed to Howton for 12 and to Cone for 13 and Cone ran 16 yards in three tries to eat up the distance. After an 
1955 Green Bay Packers
News and Notes from Training Camp
JUL 22 (Stevens Point-Green Bay Press-Gazette) - Liz Blackbourn today was waiting to throw the switch that will move 1955 Packer operations into high gear - this precise moment to occur when 26 veterans of 1954 NFL campaigning report at noon Saturday. Scheduled to arrive with this group were a 1952 performer, fullback Bill Reichardt, and two rookies, tackle Bill (Earthquake) Turnbeaugh of Auburn and Toledo center George Machoukas. All three had been granted permission to report late because of personal commitments. These 29 arrivals will join the remnants of the 54-man rookie crop which was reduced to 40 by the departure of 10 recruits Thursday. Released on waivers were Ernie Wickstrom, Northern Illinois State Teachers; Pete D'Alonzo, Villanova; Jack Wise, Marquette; Sam Pino, Boston University, and John Nitz, North Dakota State. Three others, Tom Bettis, Jim Temp and Hank Bullough, left to join the College All Stars while the other two, Ed Culpepper and Joe Leichtweiss, were placed on the retired list. Blackbourn announced that no further cuts are in the offing. "We're down pretty well to where we want to be," he explained. "I don't think we'll have to cut too many - they'll do it themselves." Liz, however, does hope to have the entire squad reduced to 60 by the time the Packers make their first public appearance of the season in an intra-squad game at Marshfield Saturday night, July 30...Evaluating what the rookie camp has revealed to date, Blackbourn said, "In some places, it's better than we expected and in others not as good as we had hoped. We haven't found the complete answer to our offensive problems in the line, that is for sure." The 
"problems" involve finding replacements for Max McGee, a regular at left end a year ago, Al Barry, at left guard, and right tackle Art Hunter. All are now in service. In Friday's practice, the rookies "went over some of the things that didn't look too good in scrimmage Wednesday," Liz reported, "but we were handicapped, as we have been all week, by having only one center, Roger Paxton." This situation will be relieved Saturday with the arrival of Machoukas and Jim Ringo, last year's starter at that position. Friday's workout was devoted primarily to "fundamental drills - play execution," Liz said. "We added one new defensive maneuver, two new plays and did a little kicking and passing."
JUL 22 (Stevens Point-Green Bay Press-Gazette) - A Packer camp without a veteran! Almost unbelievable. That's what struck us on a busman's holiday here. All stranger except the coaches and a few returnees like Clink McGeary, Floyd Harrawood and Tom Johnson. It's all the result of the first Rookie Week in the history of the Packers - a special period designed to test the muscles and noses of athletes unknown to Coach Liz Blackbourn and Aides Tom Hearden, Ray McLean, Lou Rymkus and Ab Wimberly. How's Rookie Week working out, coach? "The special week is serving itself well," Blackbourn said, adding, "We'll know more by the end of the week - especially after the scrimmage, but without the veterans we're getting a better chance to watch the reactions of this new crop." Every day is different as the various newcomers show promise one day, no promise the next. Liz picked up Tuesday's Press-Gazette after the morning workout and scanned the headline, "Peringer No. 1 Prospect To Replace McGee." The coach reflected, "not this morning." And so it goes as the work becomes more complicated. The intricacy of offense is far from complicated to one offensive guard - Sisto Averno, the former Baltimore Colt. In a surprise examination at Tuesday night's meeting, Averno diagrammed all of his plays and those of the other positions correctly. Blackbourn asked him how he did it and Averno explained that "I just reasoned out their routes." The coaches were surprised at the size of Harrawood, the '53 Packer who played in Canada the last two years. Harrawood is carrying close to 260 pounds - about 15 above his playing weight. Floyd figures he'll take it off without trouble. "I was down to practically nothing after last year in Calgary - 221, playing 60 minutes and twice a week." McGeary has "what the doctor called viral pneumonia - a darned bad chest cold." He added, "all I can do is rest and it's killing me - doing nothing." The No. 1 eye catcher of the camp is Howard (Toothpick) McCants, the defensive end who stretches 6-9. McCants is a toothpick chewer, carries one above his ear. The comedian of the camp, they say, is John Crouch, the corner linebacker from TCU who likes to make nicknames for his pals. Everybody is sure that Crouch is no Grouch...LATE FLASH: QB Charlie Brackins is thanking his lucky stars that he had a girl in Houston. The Prairie View star visited his girlfriend in Houston over the weekend and had planned to catch a plane from Dallas for Chicago Saturday night. In order to stretch out his visit, he took a plane out of Houston instead. The plane he most likely would have taken out of Dallas crashed at Chicago's Midway airport early Sunday morning, killing 22 persons, including a Chicago Cardinal prospect.
JUL 22 (Stevens Point) - The Green Bay Packers rookie training camp was eight football players light today with some off to the All-Star game and others finished with the sport. Three of the rookies, Jim Temp, Wisconsin star end; Tom Bettis of Purdue and Hank Bullough of Michigan State joined the collegiate All-Star squad to prepare for the August clash with the NFL champion Cleveland Browns. They'll be back. A defensive standout, Joe Leightweiss, a tackle from Villanova, quit the game Thursday. Coach Liz Blackbourn tabbed him a standout in Wednesday's scrimmage. Placed on waivers were Ernie Wickstom, Northern Illinois; John Nitz, South Dakota State, and Sam Pino of Boston University. Quarterback Jack Wise of Marquette and Joe Blauloc, a fullback from Mississippi State, who showed up for training camp without invitations left for home. Clyde Sanders, a Bethune-Cookman (FL) star two seasons ago, arrived Thursday. He just missed making the squad a year ago. Blackbourn must trim his squad to about 30 by the weekend and the arrival of the regulars.
JUL 22 (Stevens Point) - Offense got the major attention by Coach Liz Blackbourn Friday as he put 41 Packer rookies through two snappy workouts in preparation for Saturday morning's scrimmage. Watching the drills from the sidelines were Gene Felker and Sammy McWhirter, out with pulled muscles, and Clink McGreary, restricted because of a cold. 26 regulars arrive in camp Saturday and open workouts Sunday.
punting drill, highlighted by several boots by Billy Howton, the pass catcher. Howton brought the house down when he fell flat on a 20-yarder. Most everything Sunday was for fun. From today on, it'll be all business.
JUL 25 (Stevens Point) - Bad news greeted coach Liz Blackbourn of the Packers when drills were called Monday afternoon. Four players, at least two of whom had been heavily counted upon for service, asked and received permission to be placed on the voluntary retired list. Chief among the quartet were Madison's Johnny Coatta, stellar quarterback at Wisconsin a few years ago, and Milwaukee's Gene Felker, star Wisconsin end. "I was not surprised by Felker's decision," Blackbourn declared Monday night. "He has been troubled by a pulled thigh muscle in his left leg for some time and he re-injured it the other day in drills. His doctor told him he needed rest. But I thought Coatta was coming along fine and would be clicking in the form he used to display as a Badger within three weeks. But Johnny felt he had slipped back too far and feared he just wouldn't be able to regain his former form. I wish he would reconsider." Others put on the list included Billy Turnbeaugh, a tackle from Auburn, and Clink McGreary, a tackle from North Dakota State. Turnbeaugh also feared he couldn't make the grade while McGreary, suffering a chest infection the past week, was ordered to rest by his physician. There was also a bit of good news in the "change of heart" of veteran guard Steve Ruzich. When he didn't show up for Sunday's workout it has been feared he wouldn't be available. "Steve simply showed up a bit late," Blackbourn announced. So far Blackbourn hasn't heard from Dick Afflis. "I guess he's still wrestling," Liz added, laughing.
Ruzich has removed his flat top. Steve was nicknamed Flat Top some years back because of the way he wore his hair - flat on the top and lots of it. Ruzich came in the other day with a crew cut and needless to say, you'd hardly know the guy. Coach Liz Blackbourn, noting Steve's lack of top, confided that "Steve's 15 pounds lighter and twice as fast" - without the hair. And speaking about speed, Blackbourn conducted something of a track meet yesterday, with the athletes clad in shorts because of 97-degree heat. The foot racing champion among the left halfbacks turned out to be Breezy Reid, the veteran who is starting his sixth pro season. Reid's weight is down from a year ago this time and Blackbourn figures the lighter load has increased his speed. Fastest of all of the backs was Allen Muirhead, the 175-pound prospect at safety. The Mississippi ace scored a clear-cut victory. Veteran Howie Ferguson led the fullbacks. A number of players were handicapped by sore muscles. Among the heavier linemen, veterans Dave Hanner and Jerry Helluin ran considerably faster than they were able to a year ago. In fact, Blackbourn was pleased by their excellent condition. The two defensive tackles, who expanded late in the '54 season, are the prize "diet" specimens in camp...Tickets for the Packers' first intra-squad game in Marshfield Saturday night are available at the Packer ticket office. Kickoff at the high school field is see for 8 o'clock and accommodations are being made to seat 4,000...A full-go scrimmage was scheduled for this afternoon but Blackbourn may call it off if the heat continues. "We'll go again in shorts if this heat stays. The boys aren't sleeping good and scrimmage for an athlete who is unable to get proper rest just isn't any good," Liz said. If today's scrimmage is off, the all-out action will be delayed until the Marshfield intra-squad game. Thursday and Friday will be spent in polishing up some of the sidelines of football for the game - punt and kickoff return formations, protecting for the punter, punting, plus ironing out assignments. Blackbourn said that he expected the veterans would be "even" with the rookies by the end of this week. The rookies presently are in their second week of workouts; the vets in their first...George Paxton, the 215 pound center from North Dakota State, quit camp yesterday, leaving the centering up to veteran Jim Ringo and rookie George Machoukas. Paxton handled the pivot chores alone during rookie week, Machoukas and Ringo reporting last Saturday...Harry Welch is the smallest halfback in the Packer camp. The Southern California defensive ace stands about 5-9 and weighs 170, give or take an ounce or two. Little Harry received his chance when Gene Helwig, the 6-1 defensive expert from Tulsa, decided to quit trying for a berth shortly after reporting. Blackbourn is impressed with Welch's efforts. The Mighty Mite sprained his ankle the other day - a bad one, too - but was out the next day running hard as every. "A lot of athletes would have been out for a week with that ankle," Liz commented. Welch has a tough job. He's at safety where veterans Bobby Dillon and Val Joe Walker are stationed. Rookies besides Welch seeking work are John Bordogna, Allan Muirhead, Ron Clark and Lou Spycalla. A lot of folks in Wisconsin might remember Welch. He's the defensive halfback who broke up a pass to Harland Carl late in the USC-Wisconsin Rose Bowl game in '53. Carl was in the end zone and a catch might have tied the score since Southern Cal was leading 7-0. The Badgers, at the time, claimed Welch interfered with Carl, but the officials said no. Thus, the Packers have the two men most reponsible for whipping Wisconsin, the other being veteran Al Carmichael who caught a pass for the lone touchdown.
JUL 28 (Stevens Point-Green Bay Press-Gazette) - Coach Liz Blackbourn herded his elephants onto the drill section of the Buchholtz Park field Wednesday afternoon and split ‘em into four groups. In one corner, the Packers had hoped to use, a group of boys were playing baseball – batting practice, and hardball at that. Blackbourn yelled over to the boys, “Will you move over.” A tee-shirted lad at bat snapped back, “We were here first.” Blackbourn and the Packers let out a howl of laugher and the Bays moved themselves. Liz chuckled later, “That’s all we could do.” The boys kept on with their baseball until a hard-hit ball landed smack in a passing drill, fortunately conking no one. Once the Packers worked up a head of steam, the boys forgot their baseball and became spectators. There was quite a surprise in that passing drill, which featured throws by quarterbacks Tobin Rote, Charlie Brackins and Jim Capuzzi to the ends. One of the ends was Jim Psaltis, a defensive back by trade, and Blackbourn said that “we want to see what he can do; Jim has excellent coordination and he’s very fast.” Psaltis likely will get a chance to show his wares in the intra-squad game in Marshfield Saturday night. Blackbourn’s big chore is to find a replacement for Max McGee, who caught nine touchdown passes last year from left end. Gary Knafelc presently is his successor, but the coach is interested in progress shown by Bob Peringer, Johnny Verdun, Jim Jennings and Glenn Dillhoff. Veteran Billy Howton, wearing a good crop of whiskers yesterday, is off to a good start and he seems intent on having his best season. What’s more, Billy spends a good deal of time during practice showing the rookies the different ways of cutting, etc. Rote, incidentally, is a bit arm weary at the moment. Until he reported Saturday he hadn’t had a football in his hand since the windup at Los Angeles, but the ace pitcher kept his legs in shape by playing plenty of golf. Rote threw more passes and completed more than any other QB in the league last year, 382 pitches and 180 completions. Besides the passing group, which later was joined by the offensive backs, Coach Tom Hearden worked the defensive backs in one corner, Coach Lou Rymkus the linemen in another spot, and Coach Ab Wimberly the defensive ends in still another. Blackbourn and Coach Ray McLean worked with the backs and ends. The 60 players soon joined forces on a field marked with yard lines for a bit of play practice. Due to a shortage of tackles and guards, Blackbourn called for a “full go” scrimmage on every fifth or sixth play. The defensive boys were apparently anxious for real action. Everytime Liz would yell, “all right, make it full go,” the defensemen would clap their hands in glee. Most of the veterans got a chance to run. Veryl Switzer sliced through the line for several good gains but, on another, rookie tackle John Bove nailed him around the ankles. Bove, incidentally, played all of the right defensive tackle in place of veteran Dave Hanner. Hanner, incidentally, was anxious to go in by Rymkus consoled him with this: “Don’t worry, Dave, you’ll probably be playing some this year.” And speaking about tackles, big Bob Antkowiak, the Bucknell star, was about ready to leave Stevens Point the other day before he was corralled. Antkowiak, a 235-pounder, had been showing some promise and he’s one of five offensive tackles being worked into the spot vacated by Art Hunter. One tackle is sidelined with a leg injury – Bob Carter, an offensive candidate. Still carrying plenty of weight is Floyd Harrawood, the fugitive from Canada, but on the absolutely-no-extra-weight side is veteran Jerry Helluin, whose offseason diet – not to mention hard work here – has increased his speed…BRIEFS: In a field goal drill, Jim Capuzzi showed plenty of accuracy from around the 25. Also booting were veteran Fred Cone and right halfback Bill Reichardt, who is returning after two years in service. Getting off some long kickoffs was Charlie Brackins, who did just about everything at Prairie View A. and M. Also booting KO’s were Lauren Hargrove, a left-footed kicker, and John Verdun. Veteran Bill Forester, who has been looking excellent at middle guard, handled the punting chores with rookies Ed Godzak, Bob Peringer and Jack Patterson. Bobby Dillon and Tobin Rote are still looking for furnished apartments, with at least two bedrooms, in Green Bay. Tenants are asked to call the Packer office at 2-4873…The camp received a scare yesterday when veteran Val Joe Walker slipped on the turf and “stretched” his operated-on knee yesterday. Fortunately, there was no damage.
JUL 28 (Stevens Point) - Coach Liz Blackbourn was in a reflective mood Wednesday after directing 60 Packers through a scrimmage in preparation for Saturday night's rookie intra-squad game. In a phone interview from his Stevens Point training site, Blackbourn made these observations:
* Our defense looks much improved over last year.
* Our backs are as good or if not better than a year ago.
* This fellow Brackins looks like a comer as a quarterback, although it is still a little too early to tell just how good he is.
* But we're in terrible shape with offensive lineman.
To remedy the disturbing situation Blackbourn will shift the surplus of defensive ends and halfbacks to the critical spots. "If that doesn't work we're going to have buy, borrow, steal or beg some help," added Liz. "And it won't be for a week before the other clubs will talk trade." Jim Capuzzi, who was being groomed as a defensive halfback, has been shifted to a quarterback role mainly to oppose Charles Brackins in the intra-squad game. Blackbourn indicated that Thursday's workout will emphasize kickoffs, punting and field goal booting. That night the intra-squad teams will be picked for the Marshfield game. "It's still a little early for a live game," said Blackbourn, "but we've got to see what out rookies can do under fire." Blackbourn has cut only three players since camp opened July 16. The roster is still a healthy 60 which must be cut to 33 when Green Bay opens its league season against the Detroit Lions. More than 4,000 Marshfield fans are expected to get their first look at the '55 Packers on the local high school field. Blackbourn has scheduled a second intra-squad affair the following Saturday at Stevens Point in which the veterans will join the rookies.
waivers and listed another under voluntary retirement. The five on waivers are Sammy McWhirter, Houston halfback; Lauren Hargrove, Georgia halfback; Bob Saia, Tulane fullback; Ron Carter, defensive back from Nebraska, and Robert Carter, a tackle from Grambling College. Ed Godzak, defensive back from Tennessee, was put on the voluntary retirement list. That leaves the Packers with 53 men in training camp at Stevens Point State College. Three men are away at the College All-Star camp and one man is in the hospital here. Bill Lucky, the big guard the Packers got only last week with the Cleveland Browns, underwent surgery for appendicitis Saturday. He arrived in camp Friday, complained of abdominal pain Friday night and was hospitalized Saturday morning. The only man injured in the Packers' all-rookie intra-squad game Saturday night was Charlie Bryant, linebacker from Nebraska, who will be out for a couple of days with a badly bruised shoulder.
AUG 1 (Marshfield-Green Bay Press-Gazette) - The Packers put in quite an eventful weekend. Here’s what happened: (1) Tackle Bill Lucky, one of two linemen obtained in a trade with the Cleveland Browns for Art Hunter, underwent an appendectomy at St. Michael’s Hospital here Saturday afternoon – less than 24 hours after he reported. (2) Seven players left for civilian duties, reducing the in-camp roster to around 55. (3) Coach Liz Blackbourn gave new position assignments to four players. (4) The Golds beat the Greens, 14 to 7, in an intra-squad game before 1,500 fans at Marshfield. The Lucky incident was the first real bad blow of the early training season. Blackbourn figures the 245-pound tackle, originally out of Baylor, will be lost for at least four weeks and “it may be until the middle of September before we can evaluate him.” Lucky said he had been “feeling fine while I was at Hiram (where the Browns are training in Ohio). I started to feel sick here Friday night and I was in bad shape Saturday when they gave me a blood count.” Guard Joe Skibinski, the other Brown obtained in an effort to bolster the offensive line, is in fine health, for which Blackbourn is thankful. Skibinski took his first practice with the Pack in the pregame workout in Marshfield but remained out of the battle…PERINGER TO LEFT END: Before the squad went to work in shorts Sunday afternoon, five players were placed on waivers – backs Ronie Clark, Lauren Hargrove, Bob Saia and Sammy McWhirter and tackle Bob Carter – and two were placed on the voluntarily retired list, end Glenn Dillhoff and corner linebacker Ed Godzak. Blackbourn isn’t planning any additional cuts this week, which means that the remaining newcomers will get another chance to prove themselves in the second and final intra-squad game here next Saturday night. Most significant of the changes in positions had Howard McCants, the 250-pounder, moving from defensive end to defensive tackle. Big Howard has been showing promise as a football player and he’ll be given a chance to back up veterans Dave Hanner and Jerry Helluin. Other switches sent Johnny Crouch from corner linebacker to defensive end and Bob Peringer from right to left offensive end. In addition, center George Machoukas, a willing 245-pounder, will be groomed to work behind Bill Forester at middle guard in addition to Jim Ringo at center. And speaking about tackles and middle guards, Dick Afflis, the veteran candidate for the two positions on defense, didn’t show as he promised Saturday night. He had told Liz earlier that he would arrive in time to play. What’s more, Afflis is billed to wrestle in Milwaukee Aug. 20 – the same night the Packers play the Browns in Akron. The Marshfield starter, designed chiefly for the newcomers and several veterans, saw the Golds, who were quarterbacked by Charlie (Choo Choo) Brackins and coached by Lou Rymkus and Jack Vainisi, beat the Greens on two touchdowns set up by an interception and a fumble recovery. The Greens were coached by Tom Hearden and Ray McLean and QB’s by Jim Capuzzi. The first of two interceptions by John Bordogna set up the Golds’ first touchdown in the second quarter. Bordogna took Capuzzi’s pass on the Green Bay 35 and raced to the nine. Bob Clemens crashed to the six, Brackins to the two and Clemens went over for six. Brackins made it 7-0 with his extra point. After an exchange of punts, the Greens knotted the count just before the half. With time running out, Capuzzi hurled a long pass to Gary Knafelc on the Golds’ six, the play going 48 yards. On first down, Capuzzi shot to the left for the touchdown, and then kicked the extra point, with Tobin Rote holding, to tie the score. Midway in the third quarter, Capuzzi fumbled and John Hlay recovered on the Greens’ four. On third down, Brackins smashed over from the one and Ed Godzak converted. The Greens made two determined bids to score in the fourth quarter, dominating play. They drove 48 yards, chiefly on Clyde Sanders’ runs and Capuzzi passes to Knafelc but lost
​facsimile of McGee...Offensive left guard Jack Spinks, a fullback at Pittsburgh and Chicago Cardinals until he arrived here, says he likes his new position. Spinks said he played tackle and guard at Alcorn his first year but then went to fullback. He never played high school football...Yesterday's drill marked the close of the first phase of Packer practice. Monday, the Bays will star work on Phase II - the exhibition season, opening with the New York Giants in Spokane, Wash., Saturday night, Aug. 11. The first phase will close with the playing of the second intra-squad game here Saturday night. The two squads, broken down last night, drilled separately today. In the final fundamental drill yesterday, Blackbourn continued play practice, featuring red dogging (rushing the passer) by the linebackers. Deral Teteak did considerable rushing as Tobin Rote and Charlie Brackins went back to pass. The offense worked a number of screen passes...Tom Dahms, the 245-pound tackle the Packers obtained from the Los Angeles Rams for Stretch Elliott and a draft choice, is expected to arrive in camp Sunday. Elliott left this morning for his job with this remark: "Hope I can make the club."...Blackbourn's four aides, Tom Hearden, Ray McLean, Lou Rymkus and Jack Vainisi, studied their teams today in preparation for Saturday night's show. Rymkus and Vainisi will coach the Golds, and McLean and Hearden will handle the Greens, while Blackbourn watches the action from above. The veterans were matched with caution to make for the best kind of contest. The Greens, for instance, have the Rote-to-Howton aerial combo, but the Golds, with Charlie Brackins at QB, have ace runners Breezy Reid, Veryl Switzer and Howie Ferguson. Defensively, the Greens have only one veteran behind the line - Clarence Self, while the Golds have Deral Teteak and Bobby Dillon. Three players will play swing roles, going to either team in case of difficulty - quarterback Jim Capuzzi, halfback Bill Robinson and end Jim Psaltis. Five players will be held out of action as a safety measure. They include linebacker Roger Zatkoff, halfback Val Joe Walker, middle guard Jan Smid, linebacker George Timberlake and tackle Bill Lucky. Zatkoff, Smid and Timberlake have injuries; Walker is taking it easy because of his knee operation; and Lucky is recuperating from an appendectomy. Lucky, incidentally, is recovering in a hurry. He's been walking well and even breaks into a slow job at times. Saturday night's game will be held in Gehrke Field and a crowd of around 3,000 is expected - maybe more if the heat breaks as expected.
AUG 5 (Stevens Point) - The Packers bolstered their offensive post Friday by acquiring Winfred Tillery, a rookie from the Philadelphia Eagles. Tillery, a 185-pounder, who starred at North Carolina A&M, was signed as a free agent by the Eagles. If he makes the grade with the Packers, the Eagles will gain an undisclosed Green Bay draft choice in 1956.
AUG 6 (Stevens Point-Green Bay Press-Gazette) - Have the veterans improved over '54 - a 4-8 season? How many rookies will make the '55 team? The Packers' second and final intra-squad game of the current training campaign might provide some of the answers at Gehrke Field tonight. Kickoff is set for 8 o'clock and a crowd of more than 3,000 is expected. Fifty players will take part in the show match, featuring the Golds, coached by Lou Rymkus and Jack Vainisi, and the Greens, handled by Tom Hearden and Jack Vainisi. Head Coach Liz Blackbourn, armed with a pencil, pad and field glasses, will observe the action from above. The engagement has been billed as a battle between veteran quarterback Tobin Rote and rookie QB Charlie Brackin, the nobody out of Prairie View A and M who has been looking good in practice - not to mention last Saturday's intra-squad event at Marshfield. QB Jim Capuzzi will stand ready to relieve for both teams - if necessary. Rote's Greens seem to have the best aerial offense, what with Billy Howton catching Rote, but Brackins' Golds have the top aerial defense, headed by Bobby Dillon. On the other hand, the Golds are power-packed on the ground what with Breezy Reid, Veryl Switzer and Howie Ferguson, but the Greens have such tacklers as John Martinkovic, Jerry Helluin, Bill Forester, John Hlay and Clarence Self. Blackbourn divided the camp so as to give the fans a tight battle. He did the same a week ago and the result was a 14-7 win for Brackins' Golds over Capuzzi's Greens. The coaches will be keeping a special eye on at least three Packer sophomores - end Gary Knafelc and halfbacks Veryl Switzre and Joe Johnson. Switzer and Johnson are due to back up Breezy Reid and Al Carmichael next fall, while Knafelc is the lone veteran returning at offensive left end. Knafelc might well be considered a rookie since he played little behind the talented Max McGee a year ago. Halfback Clyde Sanders, who looked so good in camp a year ago, will be under close scrutiny. The impressive rookie fullback, Bob Clemens, will be unable to show his plunging since he must play linebacker due to a shortage of defensive players. The game won't reveal the strength of the Packers as a unit but fans will get a chance to observe individual play and make their own deductions. One rookie tackle will get a severe test. He is John Bove, right defensive tackle for the Greens. He'll be playing across from veteran offensive left tackle Len Szafaryn and former Brown guard Joe Skibinski. Reid will be running behind this twosome - over the same spot he made most of his gains last year. Bove, however, will have the comfort of Bill Forester at middle guard. Five players will be held out - George Timberlake, Jan Smid, Val Joe Walker, Roger Zatkoff and Bill Lucky. Timberlake, Smid and Zatkoff are injured; Lucky is recuperating from an appendectomy; and Walker is taking no chances because of a knee operation last winter. End Jim Psaltis, halfback Bill Robinson and QB Capuzzi will be available for duty on both teams. Psaltis is listed at LE behind Knafelc and Bob Peringer; and Robinson at right half under Switzer and Carmichael. Blackbourn plans to reduce the squad of around 55 players Sunday in preparation for more advanced work next week. The team also will be getting ready for the non-league opener against the New York Giants in Spokane, Wash., a week from tonight.
AUG 6 (Green Bay) - The Packers looked over 185-pound offensive end Winifred Tillery of the Philadelphia Eagles today and discovered that he had two injured ankles. The Eagles will get a Packer draft choice for the former North Carolina player - if he makes the club, Coach Liz Blackbourn said.
AUG 7 (Stevens Point) - A touchdown-a-game stepup could very well be the aim of Coach Liz Blackbourn, whose Packers lost six of eight league games last season by 27 points. The responsibility of improving on offense to such a degree rests heavily on a veteran backfield and even to a greater extent on the mobility of a couple of experienced linemen acquired via trades. Blackbourn, after watching a 31-14 intrasquad game here Saturday night which showed signs of a versified scoring punch, frankly admitted that the success of the coming NFL campaign depends on the improvement of his offensive line. In other words, just how good are guard Joe Skibinski, obtained from the Browns, and tackle Tom Dahms from the Rams? Will tackle Bill Lucky, also from the Browns, be as good if not better than Art Hunter when he returns to action following a layoff due to an appendectomy? "We didn't have any resemblance of speed in our offensive line last season," said Blackbourn. "That was our biggest problem. Skibinski looks like the kind of guard we've wanted. Lucky comes highly recommended from our old friend Mike Michalske and we have a good check on Dahms since our defensive tackles pegged him as a good one." Was giving up Hunter too expensive a price to pay for Skibinski and Lucky? "I've yet to be a seller," admitted Liz. "We needed offensive linemen immediately and Hunter, in military service, is a two-year loss. Besides, it's pretty hard doing business in your own half of the league." Reminded of the deal with the Browns a year ago which sent service-bound Babe Parilli to Cleveland for quarterback Bobby Garrett and three linemen, Blackbourn insisted that the Skibinski-Lucky-Hunter deal was much more favorable. But are you building the Browns for the future, Liz? "I don't care what the Browns have in the future," snapped Blackbourn. "How many times do we play Cleveland in league play? The deal with Los Angeles showed what you're up against doing business with teams in the Western Division," reasoned Blackbourn. "Sure we gave up enough for Dahms, letting Stretch Elliott plus a draft choice go." Blackbourn gave up Elliott only because he figures Wisconsin's Jim Temp is better. Then, too, Liz can count on Gene Knutson, John Martinkovic and Nate Borden to bolster the defensive end corps. At this stage Blackbourn figures his squad is stronger defensively with veterans Jerry Helluin and Dave Hanner reporting in the best condition ever. First drat choice, Tom Bettis, looks like the successor to Clayton Tonnemaker. The disturbing spot which could prompt another trade is offensive end where veteran Billy Howton is the only fixture. Another "Max McGee" has yet to be found. Quarterback Charlie Brackins and defensive cornerman halfback Doyle Nix were pegged by the Packer mentor as the real finds among the rookies. Brackins, built along the same lines as Tobin Rote, is constantly improving as a passer, shows ability as a runner, and versatility as a place kicker. Nix, the SMU rookie, looks like a regular as a cornerback. His uncanny speed has just about earned him a spot on the 33-man roster. Temp, Bettis and Hank Bullough, now with the College All-Stars, are very likely to stick. The squad was reduced to 50 players Sunday when Blackbourn asked waivers on rookies John Bordogna, John Crouch, Gayton Salvucci, Gene Snipes, Bill Robinson and John Verdon.
exchange of punts early in the second quarter, Robinson fumbled and Charley Bryant of the Greens recovered on the Golds' 20. On the first play, Carmichael ran around left end for the score and it was 21-0. The Golds made their first first down on Brackins' 25-yard pass to Knafelc but Bob Clemens, the fullback playing linebacker by necessity, had to punt again. After Clyde Sanders made 14 in two trips, Billy Bookout grabbed a deflected Rote pass intended for Bob Peringer. The Greens got the ball right back on a similar play, Harry Welch intercepting a deflected Brackins pass. With seconds left in the half, Brackins' fourth down pass went incomplete on his own 35 yard line. On the last play, Rote tossed to Johnson for the Greens' last TD. Doyle Nix, the impressive corner backer, intercepted Rote's pass early in the third quarter to start the Golds on their way. Crouch tossed to Veryl Switzer for a six-yard loss to start the drive from the Green 45 but then Brackins hit Knafelc for 21 yards in two tries. After an interception, Brackins nailed Switzer for 14 and hit Knafelc smack in the basket in the end zone for the score. Jim Capuzzi booted the first of two extra points. Bobby Dillon made a fingertip, juggling interception of a Rote pass to start the Golds off again, Bobby returning 12 yards to the Green 35. The Golds scored in four plays - Switzer gained one, Brackins threw to Psaltis for 14, Howie Ferguson made four and Brackins passed to Psaltis for the TD. The Greens put on a 60-yard drive, including a brilliant fingertip catch of a Rote pass by Howton for 27 yards, but the Golds held and Cone booted a 31-yard (10 extra yards because the goal posts were on the end line) field goal just before the third quarter ended. The fourth quarter was scoreless as both teams tightened their defenses. The Greens made one advance, started by Jim Capuzzi's interception of a Brackins pass, to the Gold 25 but Nix ended the threat by breaking up a fourth down Rote pass.
AUG 8 (Stevens Point) - Coach Liz Blackbourn, not completely satisfied with what he saw in Saturday's intra-squad game, had his Packers resumed two-a-day drills Monday. With an eye toward Saturday night's exhibition against the New York Giants in Spokane, WA, Blackbourn devoted most of Monday's workout to polishing the offensive maneuvers. The running and passing attacks received equal attention. Looking for a punter, Blackbourn has six men working on kicking - Harry Welch, Bob Clemens, Fred Cone, Bill Forester, Bill Howton and Bob Peringer. Meanwhile, Fred Cone and Charlie Brackins worked on kickoffs. Veryl Switzer, Al Carmichael and rookie Allen Muirhead from Mississippi looked like the best prospects for the deep men on the kickoff returning squad. The squad reached 52 when Lou Spycalla, defensive halfback from Marquette reported to camp Sunday. He has been at ROTC camp at Fort Leonard Wood, MO.
AUG 8 (Chicago) - Linebacker Tom Bettis of Purdue and offensive end Max Boydston of Oklahoma Monday were named co-captains of the College All-Stars who Friday will meet the champion Cleveland Browns at Soldier Field. Bettis, Green Bay's No. 1 choice in the January draft, was named defensive captain and Boydston, the Cardinals' No. 1 choice, offensive captain. Bettis was a co-captain in both his junior and senior years at Purdue, captained the East team in the last New Years's Day's Shrine game at San Francisco and two weeks later was a co-captain of the North team in the Annual Senior Bowl game.
AUG 9 (Stevens Point-Green Bay Press-Gazette) - How do the Packers look? That question has been pitched so many times at this department that we've decided to answer it in your favorite newspaper. It can be answered with one word - Good! but in the interest of good journalism here is an explanation: The Packers started practice three weeks ago with a big problem - the offensive line, due to the graduation of tackle Art Hunter, guard Al Barry and end Max McGee into the armed forces. Two-thirds of that problem has been cured, so to speak, with two trades. One brought fourth veteran offensive right tackle Tom Dahms of the Los Angeles Rams to fill the spot vacated by Hunter. The other deal produced veteran Joe Skibinski to replace Barry and tackle Bill Lucky, now recuperating from an appendectomy to back up Dahms. Thus, the Packers are actually ahead of a year ago at offensive left guard and right tackle. Remember Hunter and Barry were rookies in '54. Dahms and Skibinski are veterans and should make the offensive line even tougher than last season. Returning to the wall that holds the key to Packer scoring are Billy Howton at right end, Len Szafaryn at left tackle and Buddy Brown at right guard. The lone question mark, then, is McGee's position and his special sideline, punting. Struggling for repair duty as an end are veteran Gary Knafelc, who is practically a rookie since he played little in '54; Jim Psaltis, a Packer defensive HB in '54; and rookie Bob Peringer, who, along with umpteen other guys, is seeking possible salt as a punter. Four rookies and five pro veterans are also in the running for offensive line chores. The simon-pures are George Machoukas, a pleasant surprise at center; Hank Bullough, the guard now in the All Star camp; Lucky; and right end Jim Jennings. The veterans are Jack Spinks, being converted from a fullback, Steve Ruzich and Sisto Averno at guards, and Tom Johnson and Gene Knutson, a defensive end last year, at tackles. The offensive backfield is pretty well intact, with only three newcomers in the running. The No. 1 prospect is Charlie Brackins, the quarterback from Prairie View A and M who has displayed plenty of savvy as a passer, signal caller and runner. The other two are Clyde Sanders at left half who is opposed by Breezy Reid and Joe Johnson and Bob Clemens, who faces Howie Ferguson and Fred Cone at fullback. Al Carmichael and Veryl Switzer are alone at right half. Both Johnson and Switzer, rookies in '54, are expected to improve considerably, thus increasing the chances of the Packers upping their scoring. Cone, second fiddle to Ferguson in '54, picked up 102 yards in the squad game Saturday - a good sign. Rote has been improving with age - a tender 27 - and '55 could be his best season. Ditto for Carmichael and Reid. Defensively, the Packers were one of the better teams last year, leading the league for a spell. Two notables have disappeared from that unit - linebacker Clayton Tonnemaker, retired, and defensive end Stretch Elliott, gone to Los Angeles in the Dahms deal. Coach Liz Blackbourn used his first draft choice to plug the hole left by Tonnemaker, naming Tom Bettis, the Purdue standout now in the Star camp. Liz grabbed defensive end Jim Temp No. 2 to bolster defensive end. Both choices looked good in camp before reporting to the Stars where they are still doing well. The defensive line is bulwarked by veteran tackle Dave Hanner and Jerry Helluin, who are looking forward to their best seasons. Both have their weight trimmed down, automatically taking on more speed. They're backed up now by John Bove, a four-year Canadian veteran who once tried out with the Rams; Howard McCants, switched from end; and wrestler Dick Afflis - if he reports. Between the tackles is one of the league's brightest young stars at middle guard - Bill Forester, looking stronger, wiser and meaner with every practice. Despite the loss of Elliott, the Packers are tough at defensive end what with John Martinkovic, Nate Borden - a good find, Johnny Crouch and Temp. Borden has been one of the surprises of the camp. Linebacker is in excellent hands, headed by all-pro Roger Zatkoff, the demon from Michigan. He can draw help from veteran Deral Teteak - a scrapper from the old school; George Timberlake, who has improved 100 percent over his trial a year ago; John Hlay in the surprise bracket; Charley Bryant, and Bettis. One of the top prospects in camp is Doyle Nix - almost a sure bet to toughen the Packers at corner linebacker. This youngster, out of SMU, did a whale of a job in the two squad games - not to mention in practice. Jim Capuzzi, flying back and forth from QB, is behind Nix. At the right CB, Billy Bookout is giving the old campaigner, Clarence Self, a good run, along with Jack Patterson. At safety, Bobby Dillon and Val Joe Walker, gradually nursing his operated-on knee, have the inside track. But for a couple of unknowns, Harry Welch and Allen Muirhead, making their presence felt. We still say the answer is "Good!"...Lou Spycalla, the defensive halfback from Marquette, joined the Packer today. He was placed at defensive safety. Lou had been in the Army summer camp. The squad worked out in shorts this morning in field goal, kicking, punt return, kickoff return and extra point formations. This afternoon, the team went through the same maneuvers while wearing pads. Some light contact also was scheduled. Blackbourn said that no all-out scrimmage is planned for this week due to a number of minor injuries.
AUG 10 (Stevens Point-Green Bay Press-Gazette) - Relaxing briefly after a heavy daylight schedule and a healthy dinner Tuesday evening, Packer Coach Liz Blackbourn admitted: "I feel better about things than I did a year
AUG 11 (Stevens Point-Green Bay Press-Gazette) – The upper half of the draft list is supposed to produce the most prospects for somewhat obvious reasons. Not so, however, with the Packers’ 1955 draft group. The Packers obtained rights to 30 players at the picking marathon in New York last January. One dozen of them are left, although six of the original group were juniors and several others decided not play for various reasons, including a nod from Uncle Sam. Of the dozen, seven are in the middle and lower half of the draft list – center George Machoukas, 15th choice; quarterback Charlie Brackins, 16th; halfback Doyle Nix, 18th; linebacker Charley Bryant, 24th; defensive end Nate Borden, 25th; offensive ends Jim Jennings, 25th, and Bob Peringer, 27th. The other five are sandwiched in the first eight choices – linebacker Tom Bettis, 1st; defensive end Jim Temp, 2nd; offensive guard Hank Bullough, 5th; fullback Bob Clemens, 7th; defensive end Johnny Crouch, 8th. Of 
the dozen, four can be considered “real surprises” in view of their position in the draft and their work at camp – Machoukas, Brackins, Nix and Borden. Machoukas has a special advantage at center because he has no competition for the position of understudy to veteran Jim Ringo. Machoukas missed rookie week while he finished up his schooling at Toledo. When he reported with the veterans, Ray Paxton, who did all of the centering during the rookie period, decided to quit. Machoukas, a broad-beamed gent – ideal for a center, carries around 240 pounds and has displayed considerable improvement. Much has been said about Brackins and presently he’s the big business of the camp. His work helped bring about the retirement of Johnny Coatta, who felt that he would be unable to regain the form he had as a Wisconsin star. If Brackins makes it, he could become THE pick of the ’55 draft since quarterbacks – good ones, that is – don’t exactly grow on trees. What’s more, the top-flighters usually go in the first three or four rounds. Nix’ real worth as a pro might have been hidden by the college one-platoon system. Doyle backed up the line, played offensive end and did some offensive halfbacking at SMU. In some phases of play here, he’s handling himself like a pro-experienced back, though his big tests are yet to come. Borden is one of the reasons Coach Liz Blackbourn felt safe in trading Stretch Elliott. The University of Indiana ace has impressed since the first day of camp and he’s been going strong ever since. Borden and Nix will be the only rookies in the Packer starting line in their opener against the New York Giants in Spokane, Wash., Saturday night. Of the upper-half five, Bettis, Temp and Bullough are with the College All Stars and comment will have to be reserved until a few weeks with the Pack. Clemens is expected to give veteran fullbacks Howie Ferguson and Freddie Cone a good battle. Clemens is a strapper at 210, likes to mix it, and can double as a linebacker. Crouch is on trial, as it were, since he was placed on waivers last week and then recalled to help fill out the roster for the intra-squad game. He played so hard, Blackbourn decided to take another look…Coach Liz Blackbourn said that he will start an all-veteran backfield composed of Tobin Rote at quarterback, Breezy Reid at left half, if his back responds to treatment, Al Carmichael at right half and Howie Ferguson at fullback. The offensive line will have Bill Howton and Gary Knafelc at ends, Len Szafaryn and Gene Knutson at tackles, Jack Spinks and Buddy Brown at guards and Jim Ringo at center. The defensive openers besides Borden and Nix are all veteran – John Martinkovic at end, Jerry Helluin and Dave Hanner at tackles, Bill Forester at middle guard, Deral Teteak and Roger Zatkoff at linebacker, and halfbacks Clarence Self, Val Joe Walker and Bobby Dillon. Blackbourn said he plans to give everyone a shot – the rookies in particular. He’ll take 47 players on the trip, leaving behind George Timberlake, Bill Lucky, Joe Skibinski and Lou Spycalla, all injured. The team will leave here at 7 o’clock Friday morning for Madison where it will take a chartered United Airlines plane for Spokane.
AUGUST 10 (Stevens Point) - The NFL perennially finds draft talent at Oklahoma A&M, Texas A&M and Colorado A&M, but when two players were plucked from Prairie View A&M (Texas that is), there was probably more than eyebrow raising. The Packers came up with quarterback Charlie (Choo Choo) Brackins as a 16th draft choice, while the Lions were eager to get Elijah (Chilly) Childers, bidding for the 260-pound tackle in the fifth round. Both were regulars at Prairie View A&M last season. Grooming a tackle for pro ball is a comparative cinch as to fitting a rookie into a T quarterback spot - especially when he had little if any training at a school like Prairie View A&M. The record proves that the big schools produce the best quarterbacks - Detroit's Bobby Layne from Texas, the Rams' Norm Van Brocklin from Oregon, the 49ers' Y.A. Tittle from LSU and the Giants' Bob Clatterbuck from Houston. But Coach Liz Blackbourn of the Packers believes Brackins will more than make the grade in the big leagues. If he does, he will be the first Negro quarterback ever to play pro ball. "Oh, he's got to learn," observed Blackbourn. "He never was taught correctly from the start. But Brackins has the right physical and mental assets to really come through." The 6-2, 202-pound rookie reported to the Stevens Point training dowm with a badly infected tooth prior to Saturday's intra-squad game. "Shore aches," said Brackins, whose most prolonged vocabulary is on the field. Apparently, the tooth was forgotten at game time. Brackins unleashed a buggy-whip arm to the tune of 13 completions in 37 passes for 180 yards. Being tackled viciously didn't bother the rugged southerner and his booming kickoffs beyond the end line was another indication that Brackins is a real find. The initial tests have proven that Brackins is rapidly adapting himself to pro football, Packer style. A six-game exhibition schedule which opens at Spokane, WA against the New York Giants will give the Negro ace every chance to show his worth. While featured as a passing ace at Prairie View, his college record of 269 completions out of 534 for 3,485 yards does not begin to tell Brackins' real value. He accounted for 78 of the 98 extra points during four years and was a 60-minute player, performing capably on defense. Brackins enrolled at Prairie View after he was an all-star athlete in Dallas. Truly a great prospect, Brackins should give the Packers a one-two quarterback punch as understudy to Tobin Rote. The Prairie View product is dead serious about his Packers job, and the Packers are equally excited on their Prairie View "sleeper".
AUGUST 10 (Stevens Point) - A better football team than last year's is definitely taking shape in the camp of the Green Bay Packers up here - maybe even a surprising team, considering the lowly estate of the recent years, if the ball decides to take a few extra convenient hops. The evidence after three weeks of highly satisfactory practice is clear. It should be a much better team defensively. It should be just as good a team offensively, and, if a few wrinkles in the line are rolled out, as it seems they will be, a better team offensively, too. Where the improvement will eventually lead in the standings, of course, only the race itself will tell. Maybe in relation to the rest of the league, it won't show up at all. The Western Division once again is the loaded half of the league - Bears, Rams, 49ers, Lions, Colts. They'll take a lot of cuffing around on the field, even from an improved team, before they are licked. A year ago, the Packers won four, lost eight. Whatever happens, though, this is an improved team. It could be a team you'll hear about. At the center of everything again, of course, is Lisle Blackbourn now in his second year as successor to Gene Ronzani. Nothing was right when he came a year ago except that a few sane heads in the front office, including General Manager Verne Lewellen, had prevailed and got him. He started to build from scratch. He built soundly and exceedingly well. He is still building - and still soundly and exceedingly well. It explains what is happening up here today. The new defensive strength this year, primarily key to any improvement on the club, stems principally from these developments: (1) Good rookie help from Jim Temp of Wisconsin and Nate Borden of Indiana at the ends, from Doyle Nix of SMU, Billy Bookout of Austin College, Allan Muirhead of Mississippi and Jack Patterson of Houston at defensive halfbacks and from Tom Bettis of Purdue, John Hlay of Ohio State and Bob Clemens of Georgia at the linebacking posts. The drafting last January was done primarily with the defense in mind. (2) New streamlined first string tackles - Dave Hanner and Jerry Helluin both of whom had clauses in their 1955 contract that they report 15 pounds under last year's weight. They did. Hanner now weighs 250 and Helluin 265. They are much more active than they were. (3) All indications that Bill Forester, now in his third year, will have his finest season at middle guard. Forester only started to come last year after a 1953 season in which he was switched around so much, from middle guard to end to tackle to fullback that he probably didn't know whether he was on horseback or foot;. He is now firmly established as the middle guard. Blackbourn thinks he has a fine potential as any other man in the league. (4) A small but good core of defensive veterans - the aforementioned Hanner, Helluin, and Forester, and linebackers Roger Zatkoff, George Timberlake and Deral Teteak, ends John Martinkovic and Gene Knutson, and safetymen Bobby Dillon and Val Joe Walker. Timberlake, who broke his arm in camp a year ago and did not get to play at all, has been one of the most pleasant surprises in camp. The threat of a trade has worked wonders with Martinkovic. He was a disappointment as often as not with the rushing he did last season, but has done an about face and today looks as though he could have his finest year. Blackbourn feels that with him, Temp, Borden, Knutson and possibly 6 foot 8 inch Howard McCants, a fugitive from Canada, he has as much good depth at the ends as any other club in the league - not the best defensive ends but the best good depth. Perhaps the most valuable addition of new strength and depth has been in defensive halfbacks (Nix, Bookout, Muirhead, Patterson and possibly Jim Capuzzi of Cincinnati and Charlie Bryant of Nebraska) to go with veterans Jim Psaltis and Clarence Self. Blackbourn's defensive line last year always was pretty solid. It was in the secondary that so many of the fatal leaks occurred. So with the linebacking - new depth and even new strength. Bettis, Timberlake and Hlay will give Roger Zatkoff (a real good one) a lot more help that the starters had last year. The defense unquestionably will be improved. On offense, the picture is not quite so bright although the recent trades by which Blackbourn acquired 250 pound Bill Lucky and 225 pound guard Joe Skibinski from Cleveland and 250 pound tackle Tom Dahms from Los Angeles have done much to improve it. Lucky, unfortunately, underwent an appendectomy the day he reported and will not be available for a month. Skibinski has looked great, however. And Dahms, who has been in camp only a few days, should fit in nicely. Center, with veteran Jim Ringo and 240 pound rookie George Machoukas of Toledo could be adequate - but only adequate. Blackbourn certainly would not turn down his nose at help. The same at the guards and tackles where Lucky, Skibinski and Dahms, rookie Hank Bullough of Michigan State, with the All-Stars, and veterans Len Szafaryn and Buddy Brown will probably have to carry most of the load. The situation is much improved over what it was when camp opened but it could stand further help. Only real hole on the offense today is at the end opposite Billy Howton where Max McGee as a rookie did such an outstanding job last year. The situation isn't exactly desperate but it isn't good. The successor, unless a deal can be made, will probably be picked from among Gary Knafelc, who was with the club last year but played very little, and rookie Bob Peringer of Washington State, Jim Jennings of Missouri and McCants. Howton, with his two year contract expiring this year, could have one of his better seasons. The offensive picture brightens up a lot in the backfield. The reliable Tobin Rote at quarterback will certainly have much more support from Charlie Brackins, a rookie from Prairie View A&M than he had last year from Bobby Garrett. Brackins, a 205 pounder, has been another of the camp's pleasant surprises. Not only can he pass fairly well, he can run. The halfbacks appear fairly well set with Veryl Switzer, Al Carmichael, Breezy Reid and Joe Johnson, all veterans, and fullback with veterans Howie Ferguson and Fred Cone and rookies Bob Clemens of Georgia and Clyde Sanders of Bethune-Cookman. Carmichael has added five pounds and looks good. Switzer had developed some niftiness to go with his speed. Both can do an exceptionally good job on punts. Reid will probably never be more than an average good ballplayer, but he can do some things well on short yardage. Clemens, a kid who wears a size 13 hose, has the earmarks of a good one. Cone's attitude has improved. The offense certainly will be as good as last year's, and maybe better if Lucky and Dahms pan out as expected, and the hole opposite Howton can be filled. The coaches are far from discouraged. Overall, the progress in camp has been exceptional. For the first time, the club held a special practice for rookies before veterans reports and got highly satisfying results. The team is probably a month ahead of last year. Blackbourn himself, of course, is wary. "I just hope we win some of the close ones we lost a year ago," is as far as he will go. He should win some. This could be a pretty good Packer team.
AUGUST 10 (New York) - The traditional Turkey day game between the Detroit Lions and Packers at Detroit November 24 will be broadcast and telecast under sponsorship of General Tire, Co., Ralph Harrington, advertising director of General and Nick Kerbawy, general manager of the Lions, announced Wednesday. Harry Wismer, dean of professional football broadcasters, will do the play-by-play.
AUGUST 11 (Stevens Point) - 47 strong, the Green Bay Packers left their training base here Friday morning for the long trip to Spokane, WA, where Saturday night they will open their regular exhibition season against the New York Giants. The squad went by bus to Madison, then took a chartered plane there for the rest of the trip. The return flight will be made Sunday. Left behind were guard Joe Skibinski, linebacker George Timberlake and guard Jan Smid, who have injuries, and tackle Bill Lucky, who had an appendectomy two weeks ago. New York, which won last year's exhibition in Milwaukee, 38-27, ruled a one-touchdown favorite. The game will be the first start for each club aside from intrasquad games. Reports from the West Coast, where the Giants have been training, indicate they have a stronger club than last year. Outstanding rookies have contributed most of the new strength. Green Bay's drill Thursday was devoted almost entirely to punting, kicking off, receiving kickoffs and punts, and field goal and extra point kicking.
AUGUST 12 (Spokane, WA) - The New York Giants, odds-on choice to challenge the World Champion Cleveland Browns for the Eastern Division title of the NFL, ruled as six-point favorites over the Green Bay Packers in their exhibition clash Saturday night. The contest, a first start for both clubs, continues an exhibition series which last August saw the New Yorkers win, 38-27, at Milwaukee. Kickoff is 10 p.m., Milwaukee time. With Chuck Conerly, Bob Clatterbuck and Don Heinrich available at quarterback, and with Ed Price, Kyle Rote and Frank Gifford holding over at halfback and fullback, Coach Jim Lee Howell has the depth of quality in the offensive backfield to peg the Giants as a serious contender. The Packers, rated by Coach Liz Blackboutn as much improved over a year ago, will start an all-veteran backfield with Tobin Rote at quarterback, Breezy Reid at left half, Al Carmichael at right half and Howie Ferguson at fullback. Doyle Nix, a defensive cornerbacker, and Nate Borden, defensive guard, will be the only starting rookies. Both Nix and Borden have been summer camp standouts. The Packers arrived on their non-stop flight from Madison Friday afternoon and went directly to Memorial Stadium for a light workout.
AUG 12 (Spokane-Green Bay Press-Gazette) – Packer Coach Liz Blackbourn isn’t waiting too long to test two players involved in drastic position switches. Gene Knutson and Jack Spinks, both pro veterans, will be in the starting Packer lineup against the New York Giants in the opening non-championship clash for both elevens here Saturday night. Knutson was a defensive end last year as a Packer rookie. Spinks was an offensive fullback for the Chicago Cardinals in ’54 and for Pittsburgh the previous year. Knutson will lead off at offensive right tackle – a position entirely new to him. Spinks will start at offensive left guard – a spot he hasn’t touched since he was a freshman at Alcorn A&M. Knutson was shifted to his new role because of the shortage of offensive tackles for the intra-squad game in Stevens Point last Saturday night. He looked good enough to warrant duty against the Giants. And he’ll probably stay there until big Tom Dahms, the offensive tackle obtained from Los Angeles in the Stretch Elliott deal, learns his signals but Tom will see some action against the Giants…SKIBINSKI HURT: Spinks has improved right along in camp and Blackbourn feels that the Giants should be a good test for him. Big Jack, a 238-pounder, is starting in place of the former Cleveland Brown, Joe Skibinski, who is injured but probably will play anyway. Another key position due watching will be left end – the corner vacated by Max McGee. Starting there will be Gary Knafelc, practically a rookie since he played little under McGee a year ago. The rest of the offensive starters are all Packer veterans – Billy Howton at right end, Len Szafaryn at tackle, Buddy Brown at guard, Jim Ringo at center, Tobin Rote at quarterback, Breezy Reid and Al Carmichael at halfbacks, and Howie Ferguson at fullback. This backfield almost finished the ’54 season together but in the first half of the final game both Reid and Ferguson were injured and sat out the last half on the bench – in civilian clothes. Defensively, Blackbourn will lead off with two rookies – Doyle Nix at corner linebacker and Nate Borden at end. Other defensive starter are John Martinkovic at end; Jerry Helluin and Dave Hanner at tackle; Bill Forester at middle guard; Deral Teteak and Roger Zatkoff at linebacker, and halfbacks Clarence Self, Bobby Dillon and Val Joe Walker…BRACKINS TO KO: Charlie Brackins, the Packers’ sparkling rookie QB, undoubtedly will be given a good taste – his first against an actual pro enemy. Brackins also will do the kicking off – a reward for his booming boots in practice and the two squad games. Blackbourn plans to use his rookies and other assorted newcomers freely during the game. Forester and Bob Peringer will do the punting and Freddie Cone will handle the extra point and field goal tries. The Packers were to land here in their chartered United Airlines plane at 3:30 this afternoon and then head for a short workout in Memorial Stadium where the game will be played.
AUG 13 (Spokane-Green Bay Press-Gazette) – The first of six steps designed to develop the ’55 Packers for the championship season will be taken by the Green Bays in a non-league game against the New York Giants in Municipal Stadium here tonight. Kickoff is set for 10 o’clock, Green Bay time, and a crowd of around 12,000 is expected. Ideal weather is predicted for the first game for both clubs. Packer Coach Liz Blackbourn hopes to bring the Bays along gradually so that they’ll reach their peak for the championship opener in Green Bay against the Detroit Lions Sept. 25. The Packers meet Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Washington and Chicago Cardinals after tonight’s battle, with Green Bay getting its first look in the halfway game – against Pittsburgh Aug. 27. Although only two of the 22 players starting in the offensive and defensive platoons are rookies, Blackbourn plans to make frequent use of his rookies and free agents. He expects to bring the veterans along slowly to make certain they won’t suffer a severe letdown near the end of the title campaign. The veterans, to a great extent, will have the honor of starting tonight. Quarterback Tobin Rote, Breezy Reid and Al Carmichael, and fullback Howie Ferguson, will open in the backfield. The line will have Billy Howton and Gary Knafelc at ends, Len Szafaryn and Gene Knutson at tackles, Jack Spinks and Buddy Brown at guards and Jim Ringo at center. The two starting rookies are on defense – end Nate Borden and corner linebacker Doyle Nix. The other openers, all veterans, are John Martinkovic at end, Dave Hanner and Jerry Helluin at tackles, Bill Forester at middle guard, Deral Teteak and Roger Zatkoff at linebacker and halfbacks Bobby Dillon, Clarence Self and Val Joe Walker. Under the starters, it’s anybody’s guess. Blackbourn probably will use his entire cast of 47 players, including Tom Dahms, the new offensive tackle obtained from the Rams, who isn’t too familiar with the signals yet. Coach Jim Lee Howell of the Giants plans to start a one-time University of Washington star at quarterback – Don Heinrich. And he may have to go most of the way since Chuck Conerly is being saved for the league season (Ha!) and Bob Clatterbuck has a spring hand. The Giants will open with an all-veteran team. Besides Heinrich, there will be Bob Schnelker and Ken MacAfee at ends; Roosevelt Brown and Dick Yelvington at tackles; Bill Austin and Jack Stroud at guards; Ray Wietecha at center; Frank Gifford and Alex Webster at halbacks; and Eddie Price at fullback. New York’s Kyle Rote has a bruised heel and may not work. Since it’s the opener, both teams are likely to confine their attack and defense to less complicated maneuvers. The Packers based their preparations on what they saw of the New Yorks in an exhibition game in Milwaukee last fall – plus a scouting report on a Giant intra-squad game a week ago. The Giants didn’t wear numbers and the glorified scrimmage was a difficult task for Packer scouts. Traditional slow starters, the Giants are expected to be just the opposite tonight. Under Steve Owen’s regime, the Giants never reached a full heads of steam until the third or fourth exhibition. Howell started ‘em earlier a year ago and in the final exhibition outscored the Packers, 38-27. The two clubs didn’t play each other in a league game last fall. The Packers, headquartering at the Davenport hotel, will leave here at 11 o’clock Sunday morning, Green Bay time, and arrive in Madison at 3:10 p.m. They’ll bus back to Stevens Point.