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Dark Territory Clemson Letterman Photo Of The Day
Eddie Werntz lettered at Clemson as a punter from 1960-1962.
Frank Howard wrote this about Eddie Werntz:
Sometimes a coach finds a fine player in the most unexpected places. In 1960 we started the season without a very good punter. It didn't take a Phi Beta Kappa to figure that out. We had a freshman that year named Vie Aliffi. His daddy was sheriff of Chatham County, Ga., which includes Savannah.
On one of his trips to Clemson to see his son play a freshman game, he came in to see me. He commented about our punting game and said he knew where we could get a pretty good kicker. I took out my pencil to write down this boy's name and what high school he was attending. I figured we'd have to go on through that season and do the best we could.
But Sheriff Aliffi said, "Coach, you don't have to wait a year for this boy. He's not in high school. He's a student right here at Clemson." The boy's name was Eddie Werntz.
I found out he was not only a pretty good punter, but was also a decent running back. And you can never have enough of them. I got in touch with Werntz and he agreed to come out for the team. But he said he only wanted to be a punter. I told him that if he only wanted to be a half a football player, I'd only give him half a scholarship.
Our punting improved immediately. And he really proved his importance to the team in the South Carolina game in 1960. This was the first time the Gamecocks had ever played at Clemson. Every game up to that time had been played in Columbia during State Fair week. This game was the start of the home-and-home series, where it's been ever since and where it should have been all along.
We were ahead at halftime, 3-2, and ended up winning, 12-2. And Werntz was worth every bit of that half scholarship. He punted five times that day for a 44-yard average, which ain't nothing to be sneezed at in any league.
But the most remarkable thing was that three of his punts went out inside the 10-yard line - at the one, the three and the seven.
Two weeks later, Werntz had another 44-yard game average against Furman, one going dead on the three and another knocking the flag down at the goal line. The Monday morning after the Furman game I called Eddie in and told him that despite the fact that he just wanted to be a punter, I thought he deserved to have a full scholarship his final two years.
He responded by having better than a 40-yard average his junior and senior seasons. I'm certainly thankful Sheriff Aliffi came by for that visit in 1960.
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Scott Rhymer can be reached at email@example.com