"Son," said Blenheim, "it's nice to have friends among the press. But remember this—if you're winning, they can't hurt you and if you're losing they can't help you."
Blenheim raised a hand "I do not say, Bob Wyczk," he said, "that the scribes cannot be helpful in little ways." He leaned over and started rummaging through the papers on the desk. "I'll show you what I mean." He turned and grinned. "I still subscribe to a modified clipping service just to keep in touch with the Big Show."
He drew a handful of clippings out of the litter and held them up to the light. "Yes," he said, selecting one. "Here's a good example from the Chicago Tribune, Sept. 6, 1958. Story says, 'Oppressive heat failed to deter Coach Woody Hayes from putting the Ohio State football squad thru two lengthy practices Friday. Temperatures and the humidity were in the 90s.' Get the idea, son? The scribe has placed the emphasis on the coach. The heat didn't bother him. Probably, off the record, ol' Woody was sitting in the shade fanning himself."
He took up another clipping and read: "'Coach Murray Warmath found his already critical halfback situation at Minnesota further aggravated Friday.' " He turned to Bob Wyczk: "One boy had a sprained knee, another a shoulder separation. But do you see my point? As the scribe sees it, it's the coach who has had the tough luck." He turned the clipping over. "That was another Chicago Tribune item. Splendid newspaper."
He selected another clipping. "What have we here?" he said. "New York Mirror, Sept. 22, 1958. Item says, 'Who was the 6-foot-4, 235-pound center Terry Brennan "stole" from Jim Tatum of North Carolina?' " He threw the clipping to the floor. "I won't read that kind of stuff," he said. "I'd bar that scribe from practice. They have no business prying into the personal affairs of the coaches. They ought to know that kind of irresponsible reporting makes for bad public relations!"
Another thing I wanted to ask A about," said Bob Wyczk, "was the half time. When I was a kid, Dad took me to see Pat O'Brien in the Knute Rockne picture, and I don't mind telling you, Boogey, Dad and I both bawled when Mr. Rockne asked the team to go out and win one for the Gipper. Could you tell me about some of your half-time talks—I mean of the inspirational kind?"
Blenheim stared at him incredulously. "Where have you been, boy?"
Wyczk swallowed and blushed. "In Utah, sir."
"Well, son, you've got a lot to learn," said Blenheim, shaking his head. "There's no time for the Gipper in modern football. Why, golly, what do you think your assistants have been doing all during the first half? Two of 'em have been planted up in the press box, talking to the bench on the phone and dictating to a graduate student at a typewriter, setting down what every play of ours did, what every play of the opposition did. They race down to the dressing room at half time, loaded with statistics, and slap them on the blackboard so's I can get up there and tell the boys precisely what's working for us, what's not working for us, what alterations we'll make in our defense for the second half, what plays we'll run, what we'll discard. Holy mackerel, boy, if I started talking a lot of mush like Pat O'Brien in the movies, we'd never get our work done. Son, you'd better wise up. Big-time football is a scientific operation."
Coach Blenheim fell back in his chair. He was silent for a long time and then he said quietly, "You married, Bob Wyczk?"