Past & Present

May 15, 2012

What was being said about Tommy Kramer in 1976

On November 22, 1976 Sports Illustrated's Ron Reid featured Tommy Kramer and described the Owl Air Corps "the most exciting and scariest aerial act since The Flying Wallendas - who never had to face a prevent defense."

Reid quoted Dallas Cowboys' Vice President of Player Personnel Gil Brandt who said ...
"He's got great potential. He's an athlete - that's No. 1 - and he's a natural dropback passer, which everyone in the NFL wants because we haven't developed too many. You'll really be able to see how good he is when he gets into a game like the Senior Bowl."

Below are excerpts from a Nov. 26, 1976 article written by legendary Texas Football writer Dave Campbell for Tom Hermon's Football Today

Southwest Conference information director Bill Morgan remembering a Tommy Kramer pass against Texas Tech ...
"They've got him snowed in. He ducks his head and steps in between two tacklers. He doesn't have good balance, doesn't have his feet well planted and he throws the ball diagonally across the field. It goes 45 yards on the fly. Two Tech defenders are on the Rice receiver. The ball goes right over the defenders' hands and into his receiver's hands and the guy doesn't even have to break stride."

Arkansas coach Frank Broyles implemented a defensive alignment utilizing a two-man rush with nine players dropping back into protection when the Razorbacks played Rice. Said Broyles ...
"I know this, if I were a pro coach I'd draft him number one. He's ready for the pros right now. We decided to drop off as many as nine people and take away their curls and deep patterns."

Baylor coach Grant Teaff was quoted in Campbell's story about watching film of Kramer ...
"It was a short throwback pass to the tight end, run off a play-action situation. The SMU defensive end came in quickly on Kramer and it looks on the film like he has Kramer in a way where Tommy couldn't raise his arms or turn his body. The amazing thing is, the ball one instant is in Kramer's hands and the next instant it is in (tight end Ken) Roy's hands for a touchdown, and you simply cannot see the pass. I'll bet I've looked at that film 10 times - you cannot see the pass."

Rice head coach Al Conover, who recruited and coached Kramer through his junior season reflected today on Kramer's career ...
"Tommy's father, Colonel John Kramer, looked after him pretty closely during his recruiting process, and of course, he could have gone just about any place in the country. It boiled down to he wanted to stay in Texas. At that time, Texas was running the wishbone and Tommy didn't fit into that and Texas A&M was running the wishbone and he didn't fit into that. We were about the only team in the state which was passing the football. Tommy's brother, Mike, was already at Rice so that had a big influence on him.

"You didn't have to know much about football to know he was a great thrower. It was obvious he was going to be a great player. We weren't able to utilize him as much as we would have liked to because we were trying to win the game. Rather than throw it every down, we were trying to win it and keep the ball on the enemy's end of the field and hope they would turn it over and have a chance to win. We were able to beat some people we were probably not supposed to beat. Tommy operated well in that concept. I can recall against Texas A&M him engineering us to a 17-0 lead at halftime and we eventually won that game. Also against Arkansas where he was able to pick up where they would overload. On the goal line they thought they knew where we were going and they took a defensive end and load up on the other side. Tommy audibled and just walked into the end zone running the option. We were able to do those kinds of things with him because he had a natural savvy to pick that stuff up."

What is being said today about Tommy Kramer's induction into the College Football Hall of Fame

David Bailiff, Rice head coach
"It's a great day for Tommy Kramer and a great day for Rice University and Rice Football. He can now take his rightful place as one of the greats in college football history. I had the chance to see Tommy play in high school when I was growing up in San Antonio. You might not have been in the Lee High School boundary, but you sure wanted to go see him play. I was glad when he accepted our offer to come back in 2008 and be an honorary captain at a home game and since then he's been a guest coach at our spring game and played in the letterman's golf tournament this year. He has a love for Rice and for the opportunities it offered him and it has been great to have him back with us."

Al Conover, Rice Head Coach (1972-75)
"I'm real happy for Tommy. It is a big honor for anybody. He was a great player and he is one of Rice's real gem stones. I'm very happy to see him get in there."

Homer Rice, Rice Head Coach (1976-77)
"I remember we had a short amount of time to evalute during spring practice and taking Tommy aside at the end of spring and telling him he could be an All-American if he did everything I asked him to do and he did that. I coached four All America quarterbacks and several all-staters in high school. Tommy had the quickest release of any quarterback I coached. I used to call him 'Two-Minute Tommy.' We had something called, 'Check with me,' which was a no-huddle offense that a lot of teams use today. Tommy did a great job of getting the team to the line and I would signal him them play. I'm happy to hear he is being inducted into the Hall of Fame and definitely plan on being there."

David Houser, Rice wide receiver (1974, 1976-78)
"The one thing that really sticks out for me was that Tommy always put the ball where only I could catch it and he never led me into a collision. I don't remember getting hit hard on any reception that year. The next year (following Kramer's career at Rice), I got knocked out three or four times."

James Sykes, Rice running back & receiver (1973-76)
"I'm really happy for Tommy. He was just a really good guy and we had some good games together. I led the nation in receiving most of the season before being beat by one reception the last week by a player from Tennessee. Tommy did everything he could to get me the ball that last game. I think he threw the ball to me 15 times that day."

Chase Clement, Rice quarterback (2005-08) & San Antonio native
"First off, it's great to see two San Antonio quarterbacks (Tommy Kramer & Ty Detmer) go in together. I think every player from San Antonio feels like the area has been historically under-recruited, so seeing them go into the Hall of Fame only makes it more obvious what kind of football we play. Of course, Rice was a school that always knew the talent was there. Tommy's records stood for so long, it really meant something to be the one who broke them. The way the game is played now, it's easy for numbers to lose some of the meaning because everyone is piling them up. But when he threw the ball all over the place in 1976, it was so different than what anyone else was doing."

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