Wednesday, July 11, 2012

52 Al Gluchoski

Hometown: Woodbridge, NJ
Career: 1973-1975
Record: 19-15, Bowl Record: 1-0
Today’s selection, Al Gluchoski, is one of the lesser known great linemen to play at West Virginia. He came to Morgantown to play for Coach Bobby Bowden in the early 70s, following in the footsteps of his older brother Adam. Gluchoski was an athletic center that was a very capable down field blocker, essential to Coach Bowden’s veer offense. Because of efforts of players like Gluchoski, West Virginia was able to turn the program around in the early 70s and earn an invite to the Peach Bowl in 1975 (first bowl game in 3 seasons for the Mountaineers). Following his senior season, Gluchoski was drafted by the New York Jets.
Memorable Game: Gluchoski happened to be part of one of the most memorable editions of the Backyard Brawl during his time in Morgantown. In 1975, Coach Bobby Bowden had the Mountaineers on course for a marquee bowl berth. To get to the big bowls, the 6-2 Mountaineers would have to put away 6-2 Pitt. The Panthers had run all over West Virginia the previous year, led by Tony Dorsett. The Mountaineer defense was rumored to have a leg up in this game as it was suspected that the Mountaineer coaching staff had learned Pitt’s calls. The competitive edge helps WVU contain Dorsett, forcing Pitt to throw the ball. The Mountaineer defense would force 4 turnovers on the day, giving Gluchoski and the Mountaineer offense plenty of scoring opportunities. With the score tied 14-14 late in the 4th quarter, WVU moved the ball into field goal range on a play action pass by Dan Kendra to Randy Swinson. With 4 seconds left in the game, Bill McKenzie made a 38 yard field goal to give the Mountaineers a 17-14 victory.

Competition: I held off my urge to go with recent WVU graduate Najee Goode. He was a solid linebacker for the Mountaineers, but really only stepped up his senior season. Gluchoski was a consistent lineman for that good 1975 team, an era that I feel is often overlooked in the history of West Virginia football.

Teaser: Tomorrow we honor the career of one of the better defensive linemen to play for West Virginia. This player is the little brother of a well-known NFL coach named Romeo. It’s sad that when I first see the name Romeo, I do not instantly think of the classic Shakespeare play, but rather think to Lil Romeo. I realize this makes me a terrible person, but I can’t help my poor taste in music. I’m drawn to the Jackson 5 sampling (which my wife would like everyone to know is blasphemy to cover).

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