As far as giving you any instruction on how to fix a football game, I can't do it, because I don't know how in the world you could without the players knowing. And if you think you can fool your boys you're crazy. I remember Pat Trammell came to me last year after one of my television shows. He'd been our quarterback in 1961. He's a doctor now, and a real sharp young man. He said, "We aren't going to lose another game, Coach." Oh no? Why not? "Well, I heard you talking to Bowman last night on television, and he got the message." What message? "Don't you remember? You said, 'If that boy starts blocking like he can run he'll sure get my vote.' You were talking to Steve, and you knew he'd be listening." I laughed and said, "Yeah, but I didn't know you knew it."
Just about the time a coach thinks he really can do it all himself he gets something that puts him in his place. One year at Kentucky I had a hot appendix and was in the hospital, and the boys were all primed to beat LSU without me. Dr. Grandison McLean said I couldn't go to the game, and I said, "Well, I'm going. They need me." Just as they were getting ready to run out on the field I came into the dressing room, with people holding me up so I wouldn't fall. The boys were so impressed they went out and got beat 34-7, and I have no doubt they'd have won if I had stood in bed.
I'll tell you one true story about the game Frank Howard of Clemson and I tried to "fix," if you want to call it that. We were rival coaches in an All-Star Game down in Texas. He'd been going around talking about how much better his single-wing was than my T formation, and I was getting back at him in the papers, saying the single-wing went out with gaslights and outdoor privies. Everybody thought we were really mad and it was a grudge game. So we're in a taxi going over to the game together, and Frank says to me, "Hail, Beah, one of us is gonna look pretty silly if the otha whups his butt by a big scoah. Maybe we oughta have a signal we can flash so that when it gets bad and the otha fellow sees it he'll call off his fust team." I said O.K., and we agreed the signal would be to cross our arms.
Well, we go into the fourth quarter, and we've got a couple touchdowns on him and our big back, Billy Quinn, is ripping into 'em pretty good. The crowd's yelling, but I can hear Frank Howard. "Beah! Beah!" Out of the corner of my eye I can see he's got his arms crossed, but I don't let on. Old Billy Quinn gains some more yards. Frank's really yelling now, "Beah! Hey Beah!" But I'm not looking. Carney Laslie comes over to me and says, "I think Howard's giving you the signal, Coach." I said, "Yeah, but we don't have it won for sure yet."
About that time Billy breaks loose and goes to their three-yard line, and the crowd goes silent just as Howard really lets go. Everybody in the place can hear him: "Hey, Beah! Look at me, you lyin' blankety-blank!"