Conover suddenly hurled himself to his feet and rushed to the blackboard and began pounding it with his fist. "Listen, dammit, I'm telling you that block can't be made! You know so damn much!" He hit the board again. "I'm about to get tired of your big-time noise! Just how many linemen have you ever coached?"
Rote cleared his throat.
Conover hit the board and whirled around. "I'm just about tired of all your garbage! You understand me?" Conover took a step toward Rote, and Rote stood up and took off his glasses.
Peterson had been sitting by, smoking his cigar. Now he said quietly, "All right you two. That's enough."
The two big men stood there for another second, glaring at each other, but finally Conover sat down and Rote put his glasses back on.
Peterson heaved himself up. "We better call it a night." He yawned. "There's not much more we can do. Let's all go get some sleep."
The morning of the game, Bruce Gadd was lying in bed running through the plays in his mind. All of a sudden he went into a panic as he realized he couldn't think what to do on certain plays. "Philip!" he asked his roommate urgently. "Which way do I turn on Lead Draw?"
"To the left," Wood said. Then he laughed softly. "Don't worry, you're just having a nerve or two. It'll be all right after the kickoff."
Across town Chris Hale was home in his apartment trying to decide if he should go to the game or not. All during the summer he'd had every intention of playing his senior year. He had done his running and weight lifting and sent in his progress cards with regularity. Then, just a couple of weeks before time to report, he had taken off from his job and gone to Vegas. Incredibly, he had somehow run a few hundred dollars into $12,000. And there, amid all that air conditioning and pretty girls and easy living, had come his first doubts about the logic of playing football. Back in Houston he had bought himself a motorcycle and fallen in with a couple of guys who seemed to know what life was about. He had rent-. ed an apartment and they had moved in with him. He had not contacted his parents or any of the coaches because he was confused. But his two friends were not confused. They said anybody that played football was a clown. They said why go out there and sweat your tail off when you can lie around and drink and smoke a little pot and enjoy things. They said he was just a tool of the coaches and the frumps who sat up in the stands hoping to see him get his head knocked off. What did he want to be, they asked him, some kind of idiot gladiator?
So he had let his hair grow and ridden his motorcycle and they had made all the swinging places. He was paying most of the bills, but that was only natural—$12,000 was a lot of money and there was no way to spend it all.