Abe Mickal: LSU Photograph Collection, RG #A5000,
Louisiana State University Archives, Baton Rouge, LA.

Abe Mickal: No, I think we . . . We were very blessed that we didn’t have too many things to distract us. Go down my football team, my first team. Pete Burge, in the end, graduated on schedule. [Justin] Rukas graduated in Geology. Bert Brown graduated in Education. Moose [Marvin] Stewart graduated and went and became a colonel in the Marines . . . lieutenant colonel in the Marine Corps. [Osborne] “Butch” Helveston graduated in Education. He was Superintendent of Schools in Baton Rouge. “Jeff” Barrett graduated in Geology. Junior Bowman graduated in Geology. [Ernest “Son”] Seago graduated in Education. [Jesse] Fatheree graduated in Education. I graduated Pre-Med. I mean, we had a few, but certainly I would say our college graduation, I would just estimate would be in the eighty-five, ninety percent range because things were entirely different.

Jennifer Abraham: Right.

Mickal: And you went there to get an education. Today, most athletes go to college to go to professional football, so the incentive is towards athletics and not towards education. It’s hard to compare and I don’t think we should compare the past with the present because we each have different obligations and different parameters that we had to live by or travel by, and it’s hard to say. Just like, a lot of people have asked me, “Do you think you could play in today’s football?” I don’t know. Things were different in my day.

I weighed one hundred and eighty pounds. Today, the pros, they’d just pick you up with one hand, throw you away [laughs]. But things were different. We played offense and defense. We had different equipment. When I had on my equipment, I weighed two hundred pounds. I had twenty pounds of equipment because we had leather. We didn’t have plastics. We didn’t have foam. We didn’t have a lot of things they have today, they make. We had high top leather shoes, leather cleats. Today in the athletics, the football equipment would be eight and a half, nine pounds. In my day, it was eighteen to twenty pounds because of orthopedic felt and leather and . . . You perspired and the felt absorbed the moisture, so it got wet and heavy. You see, things were so different, it’s hard to compare.

-- Abe Mickal, interviewed by Jennifer Abraham, 1998