Blundin is throwback NFL may want to keep


Virginia quarterback Matt Blundin, a genuine throwback, will be at the Hyatt Regency tomorrow night to be honored as the Atlantic Coast Conference Player of the Year at the ACC's annual football banquet.

At one time it was fairly common for college athletes to play two or even three sports (prominent examples: Navy's Dick Duden, Maryland's Vic Turyn), but that's rare in the age of specialization. Blundin, a star in basketball as well as football for the Cavaliers, is a reminder of those times.

Blundin, who has used all his basketball eligibility, did not become a football starter until last fall. He left his mark, completing an NCAA-record 224 passes without an interception.

The previous record was 90, set by John Eichler, of Arkansas, in 1969.

Though Blundin's football experience is limited, NFL teams are interested. The pros are infatuated with big guys such as Super Bowl quarterbacks Mark Rypien and Jim Kelly. Blundin, at 6 feet 7 and 233 pounds, is bigger than either.

The ACC, curiously, has another throwback athlete in Florida State's Charley Ward. He's the basketball point guard -- and the main reason the Seminoles have been winning. Come autumn, he's slated to be their starting quarterback.

* It becomes more apparent each day that no one in CBS' Winter Olympics announcing stable can touch Marylander Jim McKay.

As TV's Olympic anchor, Loyola College grad McKay was a perfect fit -- genuine, yet sophisticated enough to appreciate the subtleties of international competition. More than I ever realized until now, Jim McKay and ABC taught Americans what the Olympics are all about.

* To those who wonder how the new Whitetail ski area, 90 miles from here, can have plenty of snow when we have had so little: Snowblowers make the stuff every night the temperature is near freezing. It's not cheap either. Says general manager Bruce Watson, "It costs $2,000 an hour to put snow down."

* Marvin Webster, the 7-foot former Morgan State and pro basketball star who will be inducted in the Maryland Hall of Fame Monday, has a 13-year-old son, Marvin Jr., who's already 6-4.

Young Marvin is playing his first year of organized basketball. Bet you it won't be his last.

* Ed Athey, president of the Maryland Hall of Fame, is one of many old-guard males changing their minds about women's basketball after watching Maryland and Virginia on TV Tuesday.

Says Athey, who coached Washington College's men for 20 years: "The women have better offensive patterns than the men. Their game flows better. The men are always grabbing each other around the waist. The women's game reminds me of basketball as it was in the '50s and '60s."

* UMBC's men may be having a poor overall basketball season (7-14), but in East Coast Conference competition the Retrievers are tied for first place with Towson State. Both are 6-1. The teams will meet at the Towson Center Saturday at 4:30. In a December conference game, the Retrievers beat Towson in the Beltway Classic at UMBC.

Monday night at 8 UMBC will host Penn State in the only college action of the year to be played at the Baltimore Arena. UMBC's women will open that card with a 6:15 game against Buffalo.

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