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But there's nothing new about athletic directors or coaches calling one another, and sometimes for long conversations. The greatest for that, and I said this on the stand when I went over there for Wally's trial, was Bob Woodruff, who's at Tennessee now. Bob would call, and if you were eating supper you could just forget it. You could lay the phone down, pick it up again in five minutes and you'd grunt. He'd still be talking. On the same day this call was supposed to have been made—or the day before, I forget which—I talked to Darrell Royal for 40 minutes. And Duffy Daugherty and I talk all the time. Hell, if anybody had plugged into my phone the week before the 1963 Orange Bowl game they'd have heard me and Bud Wilkinson talking about our deficiencies.
But as far as getting information is concerned, do you think I'm going to listen to somebody from the other side when I've got my own men going to his games every year and to his spring practices? We also swap films and everything else. First place, my men know more about it; Wally Butts as athletic director probably wouldn't see more than a dozen Georgia practices all year. Second place, Wally's for Georgia.
When I was at Kentucky and Wally was coaching he'd visit with me on the day of the game, and we'd sit around talking, feeling each other out. When we went down to his place his wife, Winnie, always had collards and hog jowls and black-eyed peas for me, the things I've loved since I was a child.
I remember Bob Woodruff coming out to the house when we played Florida one year. We sat around on the floor listening to a game, and everything that son of a gun said I tried to figure out why he said it, because we were playing that night. But you'd be darn stupid to interpret anything from it. You can't get to worrying about what you haven't prepared for, you sure can't change your plans, because that will get you beat quicker than anything. Shoot, the fellow I talked to more than anybody for a long time there was Bobby Dodd.
In this business you get all kinds of tips—rumors and letters and telephone calls and things—and if you listened to them you'd never have time to prepare for the stuff you really know. I remember one time at Texas A&M some student took a lot of secret movies of LSU's practices and tried to give them to us, and I wouldn't even look at them. I got a letter or a call one time from somebody telling me he had watched Auburn practice and Auburn was running the shotgun offense. I didn't believe it, and that week we probably spent about five minutes on defense for the shotgun, which we normally do. Well, we went over to play Auburn, and darned if they didn't use the shotgun practically the entire game. So you can be fooled, and you're just better off ignoring everything and getting to work.
Wally Butts and I had always been pretty close. I'd known him back when I was coaching under Frank Thomas, and later, when I was stationed at Georgia Pre-Flight in Athens, Mary Harmon and I lived three blocks from him. We coached against each other eight times. But, with all respects to Wally, you sure don't like to get slowed by telephone calls when you're busy and trying to get ready for a game. Sure, he might have told me at one time or another how much better the material was at Georgia now than when he was coaching there, but I didn't pay attention to that, because every coach feels that way when he looks back. I felt that way after I left Kentucky, and I felt the same after I left A&M. And Wally always had a few tears handy. It was his nature.
As for the specific call this fellow in Atlanta was supposed to have heard, if there was a call, I can't say for sure what was said, and I wouldn't try to. I do know Wally and I had been discussing a certain rule interpretation, because he was on the football rules committee and the committee had decided to do something about butt blocking and butt tackling, which is putting your head right in a ballcarrier's gut. He called me to explain it because, he said, he didn't want a good boy like Lee Roy Jordan, our center and captain, to get thrown out of the game for doing something he didn't know was wrong.
The insinuation was made that I bet on the Tech game, which we lost 7-6. The story suggested I had thrown the game because we had a first down on the Tech 14 with about a minute to play and instead of kicking a field goal we threw a pass that was intercepted.
Well, we were a passing team that year, and anybody with half a mind for football can look at the films and see that the receiver on the play was wide open. The ball hit his hands and bounced up in the air, and that's how Tech intercepted it. He makes the catch, and we're on the three-yard line with plenty of time to score a touchdown and in surer position for a field goal. He misses, and we've still got three downs.
Actually, the mistake I made in that game was going for two points after our touchdown with Jackie Hurlbut at quarterback instead of Joe Namath. They knew Hurlbut was going to run it. With Namath they wouldn't have been sure. Even at that, Hurlbut didn't miss but by a hair.