And I'll never forget, he said, "Aw, no, coach, I don't want you to do that."
I called the squad together and old them. When I finally told his mother, a real wonderful lady, she cried and begged me to take him back, and someone up there in Pennsylvania got 6,000 signatures on a telegram. But taking him back was out of the question. I hadn't done a good job with Joe, I know that, because if I had this would never have happened. But if I let him go another year we wouldn't have made it as a team, and I may be wrong as heck about this, but I believe Joe would tell you that he wouldn't have made it, either.
Could we win without him? No, I didn't believe so at the moment. But after I got to thinking about it, shoot, you can do anything if you want to bad enough. We outlasted Miami 17-12 and beat Mississippi in the Sugar Bowl 12-7, and Steve Sloan and Jack Hurlbut were just wonderful filling in for Joe.
After his senior year, when he was so great and made all that money signing with the Jets, Joe came to see me before he left and said something that made me about as proud as I've ever been. He said, "I want to look you in the eye"—that's one of my expressions—"I want to look you right in the eye and tell you you were right, and I want to thank you." I wouldn't take a jillion for that.