"And now," I say, "I want you, all of you, to know this. Regardless of what happens today this is a team of which I am proud. Regardless of the outcome today I'll still be proud of you."
"Let's go!" they shout, standing, and they bring their hands together in unison again. "Let's go! Go!"
There is the roar of the crowd again, the faces and bodies bordering the walkway. There is the jam-up going down the ramp, and we stand, waiting amid the shouts, for the P.A. announcer to introduce the offensive team.
"At center," he says, the sound of his voice filling the air, and Jim Ringo runs out onto the field through the V formed by the cheerleaders and the Green Bay Lumberjacks' band, "No. 51—Jim Ringo! At right guard, No. 64—Jerry Kramer! At left guard, No. 63—Fuzzy Thurston! At right tackle...."
We coaches follow the rest of the squad out, Austin, Bengtson, Voris and I. Now the names in the air are those of the other club's starting team, and then Ringo and Forester are walking out to the center of the field for the reenactment of the coin-tossing. When they come back the roar from the stands is beating down in waves around us and I am in the middle, crouching, with the squad pressing in around me. "Go out there and hustle," I tell them.
They break then and our kickoff-receiving team runs out to my right. From the other sideline the other team is peeling out of its huddle. And now that nervousness which I have forestalled, which I have learned to control up to a point, starts to come.
I watch the referee's arm come down and then I hear the whistle, and to my left that line of white shirts and silver pants and helmets moves forward and I see that ball rise. Then I see our team start to form, and I glance up and see the ball again, it is high and going deep. In our end zone Tom Moore is moving back for it, and I hope he doesn't run it out. He catches it and touches it down.
I watch us come out of the huddle and, when our line takes its stance, I can see we're in Brown Right with Taylor lined up behind Starr and Hornung to the left. I'm watching that middle linebacker now and I can't hear Starr because of the crowd's roar. I see us start and Starr pivot and that middle linebacker, that 56, held by Taylor's fake into the middle. Now I see Ringo, coming out of there, driving that middle line-backer and then big Ron Kramer hits him high and from somewhere someone else—it's 78, Norm Masters—gets a piece of him and that middle linebacker goes back a good five yards, and now he's on his back.
As I look for Hornung and the ball it's all over. They have started to unpile and it appears to be on the 24-yard line. We picked up only four yards and we should have got more, but I'll settle for what we got and the way we handled that 56.
Once more I can't hear Starr's count, but I can tell from the length of it that he's going to an automatic, an audible check-off. We are in Blue Left inside, with Ron Kramer lined up to the left in slot position, and this should be our 36. If it is it involves that do-dad—with Ringo, Fuzzy Thurston and Bob Skoronski, and with Ron taking that end in the direction he wants to go and Taylor running to daylight either outside or inside that end.