Those who think that this phase of Woody Hayes has passed, that he is turning sophomore quarterbacks loose while pastorally sniffing life's flowers, just don't know their man. They might understandably be deceived by his always turning to the bracing words of Emerson, reaching for his dog-eared paperback of the Essays so that he can read aloud from dozens of passages he has underlined. " 'Blame is safer than praise,' " he recently quoth. "And that's what I tell the boys all the time—that this niceness from people complimenting you can be what kills you. It can be deceiving. Yes, sir, Emerson was hitting the ball square when he said, 'As soon as honeyed words of praise are spoken for me I feel as one who lies unprotected before his enemies.' "
And so it was not too surprising when Hayes recently became infuriated and wasted no honeyed words over what he considered lax officiating. All season, he said, people have been beating up his quarterback. He told the press that too much piling on was permitted in Big Ten games, and he promised to complain officially to the league office. He never did file any complaint in writing, and Big Ten Commissioner Bill Reed, irked at Woody's public tirade, snapped to reporters last week: "We haven't heard much from Woody lately because his teams haven't been so good. Now he's unbeaten and talking again. He reminds me of what Winston Churchill said about General Montgomery—indomitable in defeat, insufferable in victory."
"Listen," said Hayes himself last week. "I'm not mellow. I'm the same guy I've always been and I'll tell you this, the minute I think I'm getting mellow, then I'm retiring. Who ever heard of a mellow winner!?"
That's Woody. Indomitable, insufferable, unmellow, thoroughly delightful—and back on top again.