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"Sure, I know some of the players are saying that," Young says. "That's what they kept telling Shula, too. And George Allen. Last year they said they didn't get enough coaching. Now they say it's too much. I've even heard people say he's too intense. The people who say it have never been around a really intense person before."
On Thursday Wellington Mara is asked, "What have you noticed that's different about the practices this year?"
"Forty-five extra minutes, for one thing," the owner says.
Young, standing nearby, is uneasy. "Why all the publicity for an 0-5 team?" he asks.
"Just trying to get personal stuff on Perkins, like what he eats for breakfast," a writer says.
"Right there," Young says, pointing to a football on a tee. "That pigskin. That's what he eats for breakfast."
On Sunday, at least, that was the breakfast of a winner, if not a champion. At 3:54 Perkins got his first victory as an NFL head coach. The Giants beat the Buccaneers, 17-14, in a way no one would have thought possible. The NFL's worst offense cracked the No. 1 defensive team with 202 yards rushing, stunning the Bucs in what has always been their least vulnerable area. A big, muscular ground game, featuring some reckless running by young Billy Taylor, produced the first touchdown, and the other 10 points—a Taylor touchdown and a Joe Danelo field goal—were set up by interceptions.
There was no wild celebrating in the Giants' locker room as Perkins made the rounds. His remarks were pointed, topical. He told Doug Van Horn, the 35-year-old left guard, that he had done a hell of a job on his trap blocks. The 32-Wham-Trap, with Van Horn kicking out on the Bucs' left end, Wally Chambers, had given Taylor most of his yards.
"They never knew what hit 'em," Van Horn said.
He moved on to Simms, who not only had survived his first start as a Giant, but had also actually enjoyed it. His six completions picked up 37 yards; the Bucs took back 19 of them with sacks.