"What you mean?" said Paul. "I've lifted before."
"Uh huh," said Don, "16-ounce Burgie cans."
The first scrimmage of the year is going to be held tomorrow afternoon. It couldn't be more important to me if it were a league game.
In this morning's practice I was too slow in pulling out of the line on a sweep play, and Paul Lowe ran up my back and kicked me in the calf. A bruised calf—that should be really great in the scrimmage tomorrow! Getting in and out of my stance a couple hundred times a day is beginning to take its toll also; the small of my back is so sore that it is difficult to straighten up.
Twelve minutes in the whirlpool will help, but rest is the only sure cure for these ailments. Since I had to be fit by tomorrow, I decided to sort of worm my way through the afternoon's practice. Just do the bare minimum. Not volunteer for anything. If they called for a man to jump in at a position, I would move toward the empty spot—but not .fast enough to actually reach it before some eager-beaver rookie who was certain to move toward the spot also. I didn't even bother to warm up during the 15-minute period allotted for this. I was hoping that practice would start off on a slow pitch and I could gradually warm up on the coaches' time.
It was my lucky day. Joe became long-winded as he explained a new play we were taking on; then there were a couple of time-consuming questions, and the first period was over. After working on individual pass protection with the defensive line (a 15-minute period in which each man gets only a couple of turns), the line and the backs got together for team practice. After practice, I told our trainer, Kearney Reeb, that my back hurt. He prescribed some exercises to strengthen it and told me to climb into the whirlpool tub.
The meeting tonight consisted of a review of all the plays we had taken on so far. There was a change in assignments for one of the plays. Joe cautioned the rookies not to go crazy because he was making some last-minute changes. He should have cautioned all of us; I was beginning to get nervous and anxious, thinking about the scrimmage tomorrow. Anxious, because it would be the first team banging of the camp, and for some idiotic reason I felt like hitting people.
Joe closed the meeting with his usual, "Now, you better study those plays, especially you rookies."
I decided to forgo all the thrilling things one can do with his free hour at Rough Acres Ranch and concentrate on my plays. I went to my room and studied until Coach Noll came around for bed check.