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Wrong section, but need quick feedback before deadline

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by smsu_scribe, Sep 17, 2009.

  1. smsu_scribe

    smsu_scribe Guest

    I'm a sophomore working for our college rag, and I would like some feedback on this piece. Sorry for crossing sections, but our running back is likely to break the school's all-time rushing record on Saturday, and I want to get this story online sometime tomorrow.

    I have enough room for this entire story, but let me know if it needs to be cut down, and maybe give suggestions as to where. I felt like I had some great material to work with, and it was hard to figure out what to leave out. Maybe you guys can help.

    Rich Froemling wasn’t bred for the big city. His “tough little neighborhood” in inner-city Chicago may have made groomed him into a hardy running back, but it was the country air that he longed for growing up.
    “I knew what the rural environment was,” Froemling said, “and I enjoyed that more than the crowdedness of the large city, so after high school I was looking to get out of the urban area.”
    So after Froemling graduated from Kennedy High School, he came to then Southwest State University in 1971 and found open room in the living environment and on the football field as a running back. He ended his career in 1974 with 2,552 rushing yards, a record that has stood to this day. With Mustangs senior Zach Wysong 53 yards from setting a new mark, however, Froemling’s days atop the record books are dwindling
    That his record is this close to being broken came as a surprise to Froemling, who now resides in Nevada. Truth be told, he no longer thought of himself as the Mustangs’ all-time rushing leader.
    “I thought I’d been passed up long ago, to tell you the truth,” Froemling said. “I was pleasantly surprised.”
    A Shaky Start
    For the first two seasons of his career, Froemling was anything but the team superstar. He wasn’t even the leading rusher in his own backfield. That entitlement belonged to Lionel Bolden, who shared running back duties with Froemling. The two came to SSU at the same time, and together carried the offense.
    “We kind of got thrown into baptism by fire,” Bolden said. “We started our freshman year together, and so Rich and I became close. We kind of hung out together. He was just a quiet-personality type of guy off the field, but when he was on the field he was really a brute.”
    Just short of six feet tall, Froemling’s strength and power were his weapons of choice when the ball was in his hands, using thighs that Bolden said “were just huge” to run through defenses.
    “It was just amazing to watch guys hit him to try to knock him off his feet, and he’d just bounce off of them,” Bolden said.
    A 4.4 yards per carry average is a testament to Froemling’s consistent runs. His average increased with every season, until he rushed for 5.3 yards per carry as a senior.
    “I naturally had some heavy legs,” Froemling said. “That’s my German background. My high school coach, he always said, ‘Fight for every yard and finish every play. Don’t go down on the first hit. Try to make two, three guys have to tackle you.’”
    Chad Wyffels blocked for Froemling as a tight end, and saw just the things from Froemling that his high school coach had told him.
    “When you thought he was down, he kept going,” Wyffels said. “Lionel was more the outside guy, more speed. Rich was more straight ahead.”
    Froemling rushed for a pedestrian 227 yards and two touchdowns in his freshman season, and the Mustangs went 0-10. The following year, he sprained his ankle in the first game of the season, missing the next four or five games. Froemling’s career was not off to a promising start.
    But in half a season’s work, Froemling managed to rush for 500 yards, and even led the team in carries. Playing well on a still-injured ankle was encouragement for Froemling.
    “That gave me a lot of confidence going into my junior year,” Froemling said.
    The Turning Point
    In Froemling and Bolden’s first season, the Mustangs ran a version of the wishbone formation, lining up two running backs side by side in the backfield. Neither had impressive seasons. Bolden led the team in rushing, but picked up only 256 yards while gaining three yards per carry.
    The duo combined to run for over 1,000 yards in 1972. Bolden led the Mustangs again in rushing, with 516 yards, but the offense – under new head coach Mike Sterner – would make a commitment to Froemling in ’73.
    “I think they started to see where they could use Rich’s strength’s a lot better,” Bolden said, “and I think that’s when he kind of took off. …He seemed to blossom when he got to be a junior. We started to tailor the offense a lot toward him and he just responded.”
    What resulted was the first-ever 1,000-yard season by an SSU running back. Three times before Froemling’s junior year, the Mustangs had failed to rush for 1,000 yards as a team. SSU went 4-6 in 1973, the most wins in the six-year history of the young school.
    “I happened to have some senior – they were a year older than me – linemen in front of me, and we just kind of gelled,” Froemling said. “We just kind of hit it off. Coach Sterner came along, and he saw fit to give me the ball, so I was more than happy to take it and run.”
    In his final season, Froemling ran for 823 yards, as the Mustangs went 4-5. In his second to last game of his career, Froemling ran for 235 yards and four touchdowns against Michigan Tech. SSU suffered a 76-28 thumping in the game, but the kid from Chicago couldn’t be contained.
    “We were just kind of getting manhandled up there, and I just remember him just really taking the bull by the horns,” Bolden said. “…He was like a man possessed. I mean, these guys from Tech were big. They were hitting us hard and knocking us around, but they had a tough time with Rich. They could not get him off his feet. That was one of the most amazing games I’ve ever seen.”
    Competitive Friendship
    Bolden came to Marshall from South Bend, Ind., 90 miles from Chicago. Froemling and Bolden visited each other and worked out together throughout their summers. The two became so competitive that they began keeping track of each other’s fumbles, taking advantage of bragging rights whenever possible.
    Before a game against St. Cloud State, Froemling and Bolden were tied with two fumbles apiece. Bolden lost the ball after being upended at one point in the game, and lost consciousness.
    “I wake up and these guys are kind of getting me going again,” Bolden said, “and here’s Rich saying, ‘Lionel, you got me, 3-2.’”
    Despite Froemling’s emergence in his junior and senior seasons, Bolden still received ample carries, and carved out an impressive career. Bolden is fifth on the school rushing list with 1,946 yards.
    “When he would get the ball,” Froemling said, “I personally didn’t mind at all going in there and trying to do some of the dirty work to help him get an extra yard or something. It was fun, having someone to talk to before or after the game, and it kind of relieves some stress.”
    Go West, Young Man
    Bolden and Froemling both graduated from college. Bolden stayed in Minnesota, first living in the Twin Cities for a stint, and then back to Marshall, where he now owns Hardees’. Shortly after graduation, Froemling visited a few friends in Nevada. He returned.
    Froemling and his wife, Cynthia, now live 30 miles from Reno. Froemling hasn’t gotten the itch to go back to the city lifestyle, however; he and Cynthia own five acres in the mountains.
    “We have the wild mustangs come through,” Froemling said. “I played for the Mustangs, and now we’ve got the mustangs coming through. Kind of unique.”
    Apart from the occasional letter or phone call, Froemling and Bolden have lost touch.
    “I’ve talked to mutual friends, trying to encourage him to come back for homecoming or something, so we could see him again,” Bolden said. “But so far I haven’t been able to coax him to come back here.”
    Handing the Torch
    Four years ago, Froemling’s former teammate, Dave Nyhammer, came to Nevada for a visit. When the conversation between the two turned to football, Froemling learned that after 30 years, he was still among the top Mustang runners.
    “I was flabbergasted,” Froemling said. “…I just assumed that someone was going to break it.”
    With an average game against Upper Iowa on Saturday, Wysong will set the new mark. He would prefer to break the record as soon as possible.
    “It would always be nice to get it right off the bat,” Wysong said. “Then it’s done and out of the way and we can just concentrate on the rest of the game and the rest of the year.”
    Upon hearing how many yards Wysong needs to move him down in the record books, Froemling echoes the current runner’s wish.
    “I hope he knocks that off in the first run.”
  2. budcrew08

    budcrew08 Active Member

    I don't know if this is too late, but you only mention the Wysong kid once in the first 10 grafs! This almost reads like a feach on Froemling.
  3. smsu_scribe

    smsu_scribe Guest

    That's what I meant it to be, crew. I wanted to keep the stuff about Wysong to a minimum.
  4. mustangj17

    mustangj17 Active Member

    Your lede is about Froemling, but your post said the story is about the guy breaking the rushing record. Which is it?
  5. smsu_scribe

    smsu_scribe Guest

    You're right, sorry. What I meant was that Froemling holds the current rushing record. Wysong is about to break it. But the story is about Froemling. I just brought up Wysong in my original post because the reason I'm doing the story right now is that Wysong is about to break Froemling's record.
  6. budcrew08

    budcrew08 Active Member

    OK... sounds good. It's definitely a good feature... an interesting take on the "guy's going to break a school record" story..
  7. TigerVols

    TigerVols Well-Known Member

    ; however,


    , however;
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