The last cut Rymkus made before the season started was a halfback from the University of Houston named Claude King. King had played very well during the exhibitions and, more important in a league in which building attendance is paramount, he had caught the fancy of the Houston fans. The day it was announced that Rymkus had cut him, Jack Scott, the Oiler publicity man, spent six hours talking on the telephone trying to placate irate season ticket holders who threatened to cancel their subscriptions. Then Scott got a phone call from Rymkus, who threatened to punch him in the mouth because stories in Houston's afternoon papers had been critical.
After he began running the team, Lemm recalled King. The first time King carried the ball in a game he went 17 yards for a touchdown. "I guess the thing that really frosted me was Lou's insistence on keeping Charlie Milstead at safety," Adams said. "I'm no football expert, but in the first game we lost, against San Diego, the Chargers ate Milstead up. I didn't say anything. Then the Texans beat us, and they took advantage of Milstead, too. I asked Lou about it after that game. We had a good defensive back named Fred Glick sitting on the bench. Lou said he'd try him. Then we played Buffalo, and Milstead went all the way again and we got beat again. I talked to Lou some more about it and he said Glick was ready now and he'd use him against Boston. We should have won that game, but Milstead went all the way again and they tied us 31-31."
It was after this game that Adams fired Rymkus. Two weeks later Glick was playing safety under Lemm. Lemm made a few other player adjustments, the most notable of which was installing Willard Dewveall, formerly with the Chicago Bears, at the tight end post. Rymkus had wanted to cut Dewveall, but was stopped from doing so only on a direct order from Adams. Against Boston, in the game that put the Oilers into first, Dewveall caught five passes and scored the touchdown that put the Oilers out in front to stay.
Last week in practice the Oilers laughed and kidded and worked hard. Once the offensive unit blew a play; a linebacker yelled, "Same sloppy bunch!" and the team broke up. That was one of Rymkus' favorite expressions.
"I'm glad I took this job," Lemm—who conceals tensions behind his advertised belief in enjoying football—said after practice. "I worried about it for three days before accepting but some coaching friends of mine told me I'd be crazy to turn down the opportunity. The first couple of weeks I was here I worked so hard I didn't begin to worry until Friday. Now I take those pills for the butterflies on Wednesday. Before the season ends, I'll probably be taking them on Monday."