"O.K.," I said weakly. "If I can get the ball to him."
Scooter went back to his clipboard. "Then the 26 roll," he said.
"Look," I said. "I'm not so hot on the 26 roll. Why can't I try the 93 next? My two best plays are the 48 flip [this was a long lateral from the quarterback out to the No. 4 back running parallel to the line and then cutting for the 8 hole, at left end] and the 93 pass. I think about those plays, and I have a certain amount of confidence about them. Scooter, I have a terrible time with those hand-off plays like the 26 roll."
"O.K.," said Scooter. "Run the 93 next. That's two plays. Then how about the 42?"
"O.K., that's the third play," I said. The 42 was supposed to be simple, the quarterback making a full spin as soon as the ball slapped into his palm and then shoving the ball into the stomach of the 4 back, who churned straight past into the 2 hole just left of the center. It was one of the basic plays of football, but still it was a play that filled me with gloom. The times I had tried it in practice the fullback, with that jackrabbit speed at which a professional backfield moves, would be past me and into the line before I could complete my spin and hand the ball to him. The procedure then—having missed him and held the ball out to his rump going by—was to haul the ball back in and follow him into the line, which I would do, grimacing, eyes squinted almost shut, waiting for the impact, which was invariably very quick.
"Then what?" asked Scooter.
"Then the 48 flip, and then for the last play I'd like to try the slant pass into The Badger's territory at left linebacker. That'd give me great pleasure to complete that one. He's been giving me such a time with the messages"—I motioned toward the whirlpool bath—"and I've been working on it after practice with the ends, especially Jim Gibbons."
Scooter agreed to the list, and he marked the plays down on his clipboard.
Joe Schmidt came in to have something done to the tape on his ankle. He saw us grouped around Scooter, and he called out, grinning, "Hey, Scooter, be sure to give him the fake 11."
For a week Schmidt had been tempting me to try the fake 11 in the game in Pontiac. It is a play in which the quarterback takes the ball from his center, drops back a few yards, pumping his arm to fake the linebackers into moving back or laterally to protect against a pass, and then suddenly takes the ball into the line himself—a quarterback draw play it is, and it means the quarterback accepts the horror that comes when the linebackers recover from the fake and pick him up. There weren't many quarterbacks around who called this play.