I shook hands with the electronic media guy and tried to conceal my disappointment—no, let's admit it, my bitterness—as well as I could.
That night, after the game, Hess and two of his assistant coaches and I ate at an all-night breakfast place. They were in good humor. They had seen positive signs among a lot of their players, which boded well for the next season; they had had a night off; and they hadn't lost a football game. Me, I was experiencing the agony of defeat and doing my snarling best not to let it show.
Clyde Alexander, the coach of the linebackers, said, "Well, Coach, how'd you enjoy the game?"
He did it meanly. I fixed him with a look. "Clyde, there is going to come a game that is lost because one of your linebackers fouled up. Then I'm going to ask you the same question."
Hess said, "Now, gentlemen, don't pick on the man." He giggled. "I don't think he's real happy just now."
"Yeah, Hess," I said, "give them advice. Reduce me to a half a quarterback. Don't even give him time to adjust to the defenses before you pull him on me. And then let Harkless play the whole game."
"He didn't play the whole game. He didn't play any more than Whitten."
Gary DeLoach, the defensive secondary coach said, "You better look again, Coach Hess. He was in there about every play."
Hess had the good grace to look uncomfortable. He finally said, "Well, I meant to pull him." And, in the universal language of coaches, added, "I'll have to look at the films."
Hess once told me that after a loss he couldn't stand to read the sports pages or watch a sportscast for several days because he didn't want to read or hear about anybody else winning. I had said I thought that was a pretty juvenile way to act. After all, it was just a game.