"Boy, this is fantastic," the major says. "We never had practices like this. Do they do this every day? I can't believe it."
"And they always finish in exactly two hours," says Boo.
"Well, we worked longer, but never this hard. I remember Coach [Andy] Pilney had that buzzer on his watch to mark the time, and it'd go off, and he'd fumble around trying to get it stopped so he could keep practice going another half hour or so. But we were doggin' it compared with this."
Later, a short, moon-faced man in jacket and tie stops by the practice to seek the major out. He is Andy Pilney, now 60 years old and a parish councilman in suburban New Orleans. He is plainly moved by the major's presence. He kisses him on the cheek.
"What you weigh, Neal?"
"About 175 now, I guess." The major slaps his hard, flat stomach. "But I'm ready."
"Then get down and give me 20 good snaps," Pilney says.
"Oh, I hate to hear that. I remember those oranges you'd have waiting. We could smell 'em, and you'd say, '20 good snaps.' But the best snap I ever made was when we played Florida, and they had us at Silver Springs for some publicity shots. Miss Florida was the quarterback and I was the center. The best snap of my career."
"You look like you kept yourself in shape. What'd you do, run laps around Hanoi?"
"We had ways. After a while, we exercised pretty regularly."