TWO THINGS you could always say about Dallas coach Dick Motta: he knew how to coach and he knew how to talk.

Now the world is finding out all the other things Motta can do. As a high school coach in Idaho, he was asked by the superintendent to teach two algebra classes. Algebra wasn't his strong suit."I told him that I didn't want to, that I didn't think I was qualified to do it, that I was scared to death," Motta told the Mavericks Press. "And he said, `You did okay in junior high math, you can do this. I need your help.'

"I reluctantly agreed to teach algebra, but after two days I could see that I was in over my head. So I went to (the superintendent) and said, `You gotta get me outta here, I'm dying.' "

Motta was switched to a typing class, where he began applying some of his coaching techniques. "I just gave them drills, just like you would on the basketball court. I gave them tests every day. Take a 10-minute test and hand it back to the guy behind you and correct it," he said.

"And I'm telling you, they kept their elbows in, they kept their feet flat on the floor, they kept their eyes on the text and not on the keys, and they learned how to type. Every kid I ever coached passed the 50-words-per-minute test."

To think, had Motta continued on that course, he could have ended up in the Type Teachers' Hall of Fame.

ROLL' EM: Then there was Motta's assignment as a bowling teacher. As head coach at Weber State, he was also required to teach a bowling class on the side. No problem. Well, maybe a little problem.

"I didn't know how to bowl. But we went to a clinic and they told us to keep your back straight and your elbows in and throw the ball. And work on your approach," said Motta.

Asked about his high game, Motta replied, "I never bowled in my life. I never threw one ball. And my wife's a good bowler, too. But I didn't get into any bowling."

HEADACHE REMEDY: The Los Angeles Raiders may still be alive in the playoff picture, but they continue to be erratic. The reason, says former NFL quarterback Ron Jaworski, is partly a matter of timing.

Jaworski, an ESPN analyst, points out that the Raiders' vertical stretch offense doesn't give the quarterback enough options. "I timed every one of (quarterback) Jeff Hostetler's drops against the Chargers and the majority of the time it took his 3 1/2-to-4 seconds to throw the football. You say, what does that mean?" he said in the Los Angeles Times.

"Well, in the NFL in a conventional style offense, on a three-step drop you throw the ball in 1.5 seconds. In a five-step drop, you throw the ball in 2.1 seconds. In a seven-step drop, you throw the ball in 2.7 seconds. He's holding onto the ball for almost four seconds! ". . .Believe me," concluded Jaworski, "I'd have migraines, too, playing in that offense."

REALITY CHECK: Sacramento restaurant owner Jim Barr doesn't feel sorry for the striking Major League Baseball players.

Barr, 46, is a former major leaguer who now pays his own way in the Men's Senior Baseball League. He says today's players should get a taste of real life.

"I'd require every major league player to take a 2-year sabbatical and get a job in the real world," said Barr. "Then bring them back and see if they'd want to renegotiate or strike."

HOOP FEVER: Basketball's appeal isn't just a guy thing anymore. The American Basketball Council reports that almost half of America's girls ages 12-17 (47.6 percent) played basketball in 1993, and averged 50 days of play per year.

The study also says four of every 10 basketball players in that age range are girls and that 12.6 million females age six and older played basketball at least once in 1993, up from the 11.6 million who played in 1987.

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ADD MOTTA: The guy's a Renaissance Man. Really. He coaches basketball, bowling and type. Now we find he can also dance.

In the Phillippines for a clinic after becoming a well-known NBA coach, Motta says he found himself dancing with former First Lady Imelda Marcos. Did he really get to dance with the Shoe Queen herself? "Had to. Didn't get to," said Motta. "There was protocol over there, and she wanted to dance with all of us. And we saw the whole house, the basement and the bedroom in their palace."

"Amazing," he added, "there was such poverty in that country, too. But it was complete opulence."

QUOTEFILE: NBC announcer Ahmad Rashad, who played for Oregon in the 70s as Bobby Moore, on the Ducks going to the Rose Bowl: "I'd sing the Oregon fight song . . . if I knew it."

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