"You don't belong out here."
"Go back to volleyball."
Farmer is mute in response. "He's not going to trash-talk you," says Oregon cornerback Eric Edwards.
He is, however, going to trash you, with precise routes, sure hands and, yes, spectacular athleticism. He certainly has decent speed, although he says he hasn't been timed in the 40 since high school and doesn't remember what he ran then. "Just don't say he's got deceptive speed," says brother Tim. "He's fast, period."
This isn't news to McNown. "I played in the Senior Bowl," he says. "I worked out for a week with lots of receivers who are going to be drafted, like [Louisiana Tech's] Troy Edwards and Peerless Price [of Tennessee], and Farmer is better than any of them."
To measure athleticism, think volleyball. Scates has produced 48 All-Americas and 13 Olympians, and he at first doubted that Farmer could play quick hitter (also called middle blocker), a position dominated by men 6'8" or taller at the college level. "I thought he was too short," says Scates. But Farmer's explosiveness left taller men shell-shocked on the other side of the net. "He's so fast in the first 10 feet [to the net] that he just blows [the ball] by the other team's middle blockers," says Scates, who played Farmer in 11 matches as a freshman. "Plus he's got about the quickest arm swing I've ever seen."
Farmer's power produces legendary kills. "He had one last year at Stanford that bounced off the floor and up into the girders," says UCLA junior setter Brandon Taliaferro. In the semifinals of last year's NCAA tournament the Bruins were trailing Lewis University of Romeoville, Ill., 9-7 in the second game, when Scates inserted Farmer. UCLA ran off 19 consecutive points. "He won the match single-handedly" says Pepperdine coach Marv Dunphy, whose team lost to the Bruins in the final.
Football, however, is Farmer's future. To attempt volleyball at the international level he would have to move to outside hitter, where height is less crucial. Beach volleyball, in which all-around skill is more useful than height, is another matter. "I'd love to play on the beach someday," says Danny. "Me and my brother."
Farmer's day of rest is nearly finished. He slept late and skipped the football workout, as told. Now volleyball practice is over, and he strolls across the UCLA campus in twilight. He stops at the trainer's room, where more ice is applied to his shoulder, and then he walks past the football practice field and up to the third level of the parking garage that abuts it. On the grass below, wideouts and quarterbacks are drilling for a distant autumn. Farmer abstains, a sports junkie staying clean for the moment.