Hunter did play, if not exceptionally well. He had all the flaws of a rookie. "I couldn't read defenses very well," he says now. "You know, you can look at all the movies there are of someone like Lem Barney, and he doesn't look the same as he does on the field. You have to see the defenses in action before you can recognize them and know what's going to happen."
When Barney, the Lions' gambling cornerback, intercepted a Hunter pass in the Monday night game two weeks ago it was the first interception off Hunter all year—and even that one was hardly his fault. His receiver, a rookie, Leland Glass, took a few stutter steps before angling to the sideline, and Barney correctly read the stutter and cut in front for the interception.
Probably the most cogent thing Hunter is learning—from both Devine and Starr—is discipline. While he had spent hours on Sunday afternoons watching Starr set up and throw on television, he seemed more like Joe Namath when he first came up to the Packers, and even now Hunter's mind has a tendency to wander. During practice a few days before the Lions' game, Hunter apparently was not listening when Starr told him to call a certain play the Packers intended to use the first time they got the ball. Casually, Hunter trotted out to the huddle and called something altogether different. Starr, a quiet man, flared up. "You've got to listen, Scott," he said angrily.
"I'm sorry, I will," Hunter replied.
"Scott's a bright man and he has a good mind," Starr says, "and I think he's finally learning some discipline."
"I think Bear went out of his pattern with Scott," Devine says, explaining Hunter's un-Alabama-like behavior. Devine is not a disciplinarian in the sense of a Bryant—or a Lombardi. His practices are rather low key; where Lombardi ranted at his players, Devine rarely raises his voice. "That placekicking incident was an exception." Devine concludes, "Scott is a fine quarterback and I love him."
"There were a lot of things I didn't understand last year," Hunter says. He is good looking, with a face right out of a commercial and with a strong, thick body, powerful arms and swelling legs. He looks as if he should be a Jim Taylor-type fullback. "I didn't really understand the defenses. I didn't know what was going on. I guess, late in the year, I began lo pick it up, but I didn't know why. I'd drop back to throw and go to a receiver, and later, looking at the movies, I'd see that it was a zone and I threw the right way, and then I'd figure out that I had read the zone, but I didn't know I was reading it when I threw the pass."
"I never really had to work with Scott on fundamentals," Starr says. "He had all that already when he came to us. I've seen rookie quarterbacks who practically had to start from scratch. Some of them didn't even know how to set up or how to release the ball. But Scott was polished technically."
Starr, with the advice and consent of Devine, still sends in almost all of the plays. Devine's is a basic offense, too, not unlike Lombardi's. Essentially it depends upon the simple ability of one man to beat one man. Says Hunter, "You go nose-to-nose. It's just 11 men against 11 men. Dallas tried to beat everybody by fooling them for years, but they didn't win until they just butted heads. Ain't never more than one man on one man. Even in a zone defense, still, inside the zone, it's just a matter of one-on-one."
Hunter and the rest of the Packers agree that Devine, in his way, prepares the team as meticulously as Lombardi ever did, but any Packer coach must suffer in comparison with the man who was considered peerless in his profession. At places like The Stakeout, a nightclub owned by Sheriff Norb Froelich of Brown County, the customers grumbled last year about Devine's ability as the Packers fell to the cellar. Sheriff Froelich, who also plays the piano and sings, has a songbook for his customers, but up until the Packers started winning again, the favorite selection was Those Were the Days. Just in the last few weeks, however, an oldie-but-goodie has been revived and has gone back to the top of The Stakeout Hit Parade: the Green Bay Packers' fight song.