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In a hesitant voice Bob DeCrosta, the defensive line coach, said, "Coach Pete, I've just got to have some help."
Al Conover turned toward him quickly. "Oh no, don't start that old song again."
But Larry Peccatiello jumped in. "Why not, Al? You've got everybody now. You picked us clean in spring training. All we got is midgets. Slow midgets."
A football squad is not one team, it is two—the offense and the defense. They meet separately, they practice almost separately, and there is a great element of competition between both the players and the coaches. Even the game film they look at is split, with the defense watching the offensive team of the opponent they are to play next and the offense looking at the opposing defense. This competition often surfaces when the defensive and offensive coaches are each trying to get the better athletes for their squads.
"Listen," Conover said, "don't give me that old stuff, Peccatiello. You didn't give me anybody that can play."
"What about Bart Goforth? He's starting for you."
"Oh, yeah, Goforth. But he was mine anyway."
"What about Tobin Haynes? He's running second string for you." Peccatiello is an Italian from the rougher section of Newark, N.J. A powerful-looking man, he was a receiver at William & Mary. He is smiling, but his voice is hard and probing with the Italian-New Jersey accent getting a little pronounced as he warms up on Conover. "And how about Hershey? He could start for us."
"Hold it," Peterson said. "Let's don't go to swapping around until we've played a little."