There were a few murmured assents.
Peterson's face suddenly flamed.
"YESSIR!" they said loudly.
"All right." He chewed on his cigar a moment longer. "That's all," he said. "Get to bed and get to sleep."
Their first game was going to be a classic. From across town they were going to play the University of Houston, a confrontation that Rice had avoided until Bill Peterson came to the head coaching job.
Houston was capable of inflicting embarrassment. In one game they had scored 100 points and they had beaten opponents by more than 70. Bill Yeoman, the head coach at Houston, was a believer in winning just as decisively as he could. And against Rice, with all the natural rivalry and prejudice to build up the hatred, it was likely there would be no quarter shown.
The speed tests had been finished that first morning and the coaches had grabbed a quick sandwich at the training table and then hurried back to the offices for a staff meeting. They met in a room containing a long conference table, with a blackboard and a player personnel chart on one wall. For a long time they all sat motionless, staring at the personnel chart, studying it, looking for changes that could be made. The chart itself was divided into offensive and defensive teams. Each player's last name was on a card opposite his position that showed him as being first team, second team, third team, and so on. One column was topped by a red cross. That was for players who were hurt too badly to practice or work out. It was still empty. Some of the players were shown at more than one position, such as Joe Buck, who had a card listing him as second-team wide receiver and third-team tight end.
Peterson was leaning back in his chair smoking a cigar. Most of the coaches were smoking, and the room was getting stuffy. Peterson brought his chair to the floor with a thump and took the cigar out of his mouth. "Damn, we're thin," he said.
No one commented. The defensive coaches were on one side of the table and the offensive coaches on the other. Peterson was sitting back from the table a little and Dr. C.A. Roberts, his administrative aide, was behind him.