When Jones wakes up Thursday, he can move. There is just a little stiffness on one side, "I think I can run," he says. "Run tomorrow," says McKay. "More heat today." It's back to the table, but the scared feeling is gone.
In Lincoln, Neb. they don't know what to think. They're worried about Jones but don't want to appear too worried. "We're aware of Jones," says Tom Osborne, one of the offensive coaches. He is grinning. "But we didn't want our kids thinking only about him. Suppose he doesn't play, then they'd go out and think they've got it made. But if he plays, our ends think they can contain him."
Bob Devaney, the head coach, comes in. "We realize we got a problem in Jones," he says. "But we also realize he's got some friends who'll give us some problems, too."
It is an hour and a half before game time Saturday. McKay still hasn't made up his mind. He wants to see Jones warm up first. "The kid has a great future," he says. "We're not going to ruin him for just one game."
Jones throws easily with Sam Dickerson, his split end. Then he runs 50 yards, runs 30 more. He tells McKay that there is just a little stiffness, a little pain, but he can play. "O. K.," says McKay. "But no running. Use Clarence more. Just hand off and pass."
Clarence is Clarence Davis, the tailback: C.D. in for O.J. Like that other fellow, he's out of junior college, East Los Angeles JC. All he did there was break O.J.'s national JC rushing record. He's 5'11" and started fall practice at 194 pounds, but by the time he reached Nebraska he had melted to 186. McKay was worried about his stamina. As it turned out, it was like worrying that the Statue of Liberty might tire of holding the torch. Before it was over, and USC had won 31-21, he had plowed through those big slow Cornhuskers 27 times for 114 yards, and doesn't that remind you of someone? In case it doesn't, try this: in his first game for the Trojans O.J. ran 19 times for 94 yards.
Jones was handing off beautifully but he was under orders not to run. His early passes were powerful, too powerful. And too long. USC was into its third series and he had yet to complete a pass. Then he flicked a little three-yard screen to Charlie Evans, the new fullback, who turned it into an 18-yard gain.
"That broke the ice," said someone.
"Yeah," said a scoffer from Nebraska. "That was a helluva pass."
In the huddle Jones was calling a play action pass with Bob Chandler, the marvelous flanker, racing down the sideline. Jones' pass was perfect, 36 yards in the air and Chandler never broke stride as he hauled it in at the nine and scored.