"Coach, I think we ought to talk about this a little," Peccatiello said after a moment or so. "We're really hurting at defensive line. I know Al doesn't want to give anybody up, but we've got to get some people that can play."
"We're hurting everywhere," Peterson said irritably. "I don't even know if I have a quarterback or not. Let's work for a while and see what we see."
"O.K.," Peccatiello said resignedly. "I'm just saying that...."
"We know what you're saying," Conover broke in.
They sat and looked at the board for a time longer. Peterson suddenly said, as if he had been thinking about the defense, "What is wrong with this kid Chris Hale? What's his problem?"
Behind him C.A. Roberts stirred. This was his area of interest, his problem. "We're working on it, Coach," Roberts said.
Chris Hale had been a standout in spring training at the Monster Man position. Rice played a four-deep secondary with three linebackers and a roaming Monster Man who was half linebacker, half defensive back. The position called for exceptional speed and strength. Unaccountably, Chris Hale, who had been depended on to start at the position, had not shown up. He had not even sent in word. His absence was a mystery.
Peccatiello said, "You know, that was the last kid I'd have expected to quit. I just can't figure it."
"Well, let's get something done about it," Peterson said. "I want that guy back and I don't care what we have to do to get him. Get some of the players on it." His face suddenly flared, anger showing. "Do I have to do everything myself?"
No more was said about Chris Hale, but some people in the room knew a little. The word was that Hale had gone to Las Vegas and won $12,000 at blackjack. Supposedly he had bought a motorcycle and let his hair grow and was running fast and loose. C.A. Roberts discounted the story of the $12,000. Nobody went to Vegas and did that. Especially not a college kid; though at 22 Hale was an old college student. It was more likely that he just didn't want any more of the drudgery of football. That happens, and often such decisions can be changed. C.A. Roberts would look into it.