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Their talk is, for the layman, an incredible voyage down rivers of jargon and argot. Consider one conversation—Dave Levy discussing offense with John McKay.
Levy: Do you want to Trojan call the strong belly?
McKay : No, George it.
Levy: Now, on this one, you want a single cut rather than worry about dragging...and when we want single to X, rather than drag, use weak 90 fly, right?
Levy: Of course, we don't go into that reverse out of Gee and Haw. I was thinking about that, too. It would be great on the hold-time blocking—that end will look for the guy, with the tackle containing. If our flanker went upfield about four yards so he's lost sight of him, I bet we could run a hold-time reverse sweep.
McKay : We want to have a play to go for the bomb against their short yardage, and I want it with two tight ends or X down, and they'll put those men in the gaps in the guards and the tackles will be head up and hitting in hard, and the ends are here, and these fellows here, and...."
There are, for the players, no meetings after Sunday until they group on the Friday before the game. Only practice. At USC, as at most major colleges situated in large cities, the students are scattered around and off campus; there is no such thing as an athletic dorm. So McKay does not have many player meetings, except by twos or threes as they come in on their own to study films. "This is a tough school," he says. "Excessive meetings lead to excessive failures."
For McKay, meanwhile, the routine is one of inevitable day-by-day interruption. Predictable. Sometimes pleasant. But inevitable. His secretary, Bonnie Waite, heads off some, but as many get through as not, and McKay willingly cooperates. Tickets for old friends. Interviews. Information for coaches. Nick Pappas, who directs the booster clubs, has an idea to perk up McKay's weekly half-hour television show, Trojan Huddle. Dr. Norman Topping, the school president and architect of the $106 million master plan for USC expansion, comes to practice just like any other red-hot Trojan fan and wants to know, just like any red-hot sportswriter, "How's Toby's rib cage?"
Meanwhile, the staff has subscribed to a variety of out-of-town newspapers to help keep tabs on the opposition troop movements, a customary but at best cursory attempt at reconnaissance. McKay reads the clips and rumors fly in. One had Bradley hurt and a sophomore running at quarterback for Texas. Dave Levy couldn't believe the weights attributed to the Texas players. "This guy Williamson couldn't weigh 190. He weighed 242 as a freshman and he was an athlete then or they'd never have taken him." Levy heard from another school that two boys Darrell Royal had kicked off the Texas team in disciplinary action had been reinstated. "Sounds like they're reading the same Texas newspapers we're reading," said McKay.