- TOP PLAYERSOffensePABLO S. TORRE | August 20, 2012
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Notre Dame knows it. Off to the side, Tom Pagna, the assistant coach in charge of the offensive backfield, hides his delight in a joke, repeating his remark from the dressing room after the Purdue game.
"Just think," Pagna says. "When Terry came to me, he was all knuckles."
Presently the drills are over, and the offensive and defensive squads thunder to the middle of the field, still clattering, whooping, laughing. Suddenly the defense gathers around Ray and begins an ancient football chant.
"Two bits, four bits, six bits, a dollar," they yell, and you think instantly, hold it, John, it's corny, it's--
"All for the offense, stand up and holler."
Silence. Hilarious silence.
Now the offense begins to appreciate the joke, as laughter all around intrudes, and Ray walks away to bum a cigarette, leaving the squad to Parseghian.
No one can hear what Ara says at first. It has something to do with why Notre Dame wins, you assume. But his voice is rising. You can hear him now. Louder. Still louder. Yeeek, he's shouting. "Are they gonna score on us?" he explodes. "Are they gonna do to us what they did last year?" Even louder. Rockne. Leahy. "Are we gonna score on them? Are we? Are we gonna beat 'em? Are we gonna beat the hell out of 'em?"
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, and Ara strolls calmly away, eating a mint, another day's work done.
So far it has all worked beautifully. Hanratty has completed 51 passes for 972 yards and five touchdowns, and Seymour has caught 34 of them for 675 yards and five touchdowns, and when the defenses have chosen to concentrate on the Baby Bombers, the running game has knifed out 1,229 yards. Even when the two sophomores haven't been trying to connect, their mere presence has worried their opponents into shock.