For the past week the offensive staff had been meeting late every night to discuss strategy and settle on a game plan. Now with the game nearing they were meeting one last time to finalize their decisions on the plays they would use. The plays themselves had been chosen largely by Conover and Rote, with Peterson overriding any selection he did not like. Since Conover knew Peterson's system better than anyone else—having been with him longer—he had a larger say in the matter. Rote did not like this particularly, primarily because he did not feel that the attack was balanced enough to move against a team of Houston's caliber, given the quality of quarterbacks Rice had. He thought Conover and Peterson were being overly optimistic about the number of passes they might complete. He had told Peterson this, but the head coach just shrugged and answered, "What do you want me to do, Tobin, change my whole system the week before a game?"
This night Peterson went to the blackboard and laid out the grid of a football field. They were going to have a run-through of what plays they would use in certain situations. Peterson asked Charlie Moore to call out the yard and down situations.
"All right," Moore said comfortably. "It's our first possession. Ball on our own 30, first and 10."
Peterson looked at Conover. "What will be their defensive tendency there?"
Conover looked at a chart he had on a clipboard. "They'll be in Three Zone."
Rote cleared his throat and shook his head. "I don't think so," he said.
Conover looked over at him and said, with a trace of sarcasm. "That's what the chart says. They were in it 56% of the time when we were playing them at Florida State and 42% of the time against other teams last season."
"Yes, but that was Florida State—they could really pass. Houston knows what we've got. They'll be in Sky or Hawk, and if you try and go with that Houston Special you'll never get it off. They'll have you covered for 30 yards down the field."
They argued until Peterson said irritably, "Let's move along, gentlemen. We'll say, just for the sake of argument, that we'll throw it incomplete. If we complete it we aren't going to care what they were in because it's six."
Charlie Moore said, "Second and 10, same yard line."