'46 Rose Bowl Team In for Scrimmage

The Alabama football squad will scrimmage at Bryant-Denny Stadium Saturday afternoon in front of coaches, media and fans, but they will also be scrimmaging under the watchful eye of a group of Alabama football legends.

The Bryant-Museum is hosting a 60th-year reunion for the members of Alabama's 1945 team, the last Alabama team to play in the Rose Bowl.

The 10 living members of the 37-man squad will have a reception at the museum on Friday night, and on Saturday will be treated a facilities tour, lunch and a skybox to watch the afternoon scrimmage.

"It's going to be real nice. It's frightening when you stop and think it was 60 years ago we were doing that," said Clem Gryska, a Paul W. Bryant Museum historian, former coach and member of the '45 team that beat Southern Cal in the Jan. 1, 1946 Rose Bowl.

"They'll never believe the football complex and Bryant Hall and all this. We used to have a little place where the phys ed building is now and a dressing room right across the hall."

Among the members of the '45 team expected to attend in addition to Gryska are Rebel Steiner, James Anderson, Joe Czerkerwaski, Nick Terlizzi, Francis Cassidy, Harry Gilmer, Steve Fortunato, Hugh Morrow and Hal Self (Huntsville).

Frank Thomas, Jr., son of Coach Frank Thomas is also expected to attend. Vaughn Mancha, who was also a member of that team, will not be able to attend.

Alabama Head Coach Mike Shula said he's looking forward to meeting some of the legends on Saturday.

"I'll have a chance over at lunch to see them and maybe either before or after the scrimmage," Shula said.

"I'm excited actually, to be able to shake the hands and meet some of these guys. You go up into our Hall of Champions and you see their names up there in the hall, and what they all did. That's pretty neat."

The 1946 game against Southern Cal was Alabama's sixth and final appearance in the Rose Bowl, and the first time Alabama had played the vaunted Southern Cal in the game.

Alabama led 21-0 at the end of the first half and had held USC to minus 24 yards on 21 plays. Southern Cal made its first first down in the third quarter, with Alabama leading 27-0. The final score was Alabama 34, USC 14.

"Coach Thomas knew what he was doing," Gryska said. "It was war years, World War II. They were all 21, 22, 23 years old and we were a real young team. We were all young kids. In fact, I was just 17 when we went out there. Coach Thomas did a good job of letting us know that they were older but not better or stronger."


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