And so tonight,
after another good dinner, the Huffer killed a bat. And he brought that dead
bat to the offensive meeting that Jerry Burns was running. Now as tough as
Jerry is, he's scared of little animals—especially bats, because there has been
a story in the newspapers about how bats have been transmitting some terrible
disease, infecting humans, even, possibly, football coaches. So Hough takes his
dead bat and he puts it in the film can next to the projector.
Burns comes in
then and goes to the blackboard before he goes to the projector, but
unfortunately at this point Greg Coleman enters the room. Greg is our punter,
and like all the guys who kick, he has a lot of time on his hands, and so often
he'll drop in on meetings and run the projector. We immediately all start
signaling Greg not to touch the film can, but he doesn't catch on. He opens it
up, and right away he sees the bat, and he almost faints and runs out of the
room. Well, naturally, Burns turns around and wants to know what the hell all
the commotion is, and damn if someone isn't quick enough to say that somebody
made a bad smell and drove Coleman right out of the room.
Burns grumps at
that, and after a while he finishes at the blackboard and walks over to the
projector. As we all hold our breath—he opens the can and sees the Huffer's
dead bat, and he just about jumps out of his skin. Naturally, we all exploded
with laughter, and then he went from frightened to mad and started screaming
about bats infecting everybody all over Minnesota. "I'm serious!" he's
screaming, "I'm serious!" But the Minnesota Vikings' offense is
laughing so hard you can hardly hear him. Aren't we something, Frank? Aren't we
mischievous? Aren't we bored?
It seems positive
now that Ron Yary won't be coming back, and while I wouldn't admit it to
anybody, I know how much I really want to be captain.
Thought for today:
Darrin Nelson is a great draft choice. He reminds me of Floyd Little, only he's
quicker and even more compact. Long-legged running backs don't last long in the
NFL. It's extremely dangerous to have long legs and be a running back.
SUNDAY, AUG. 1:
Run that play again, Coach
It's been so hot
that the practice schedule was changed today so we could avoid the worst heat
of the day. Yesterday, before the times were changed, we had three guys go down
with heat exhaustion, and two of them had to go to the hospital to have saline
solution put into their systems intravenously. One of them was this huge rookie
named Curtis Rouse, who's a guard and an 11th-round draft choice from somewhere
down South. He weighs 300 pounds, but damn if he can't move. I mean, he's
really agile. It's amazing how much this game has changed just since I've been
in the league. The players are so much bigger now—and stronger and quicker as
well. There's a guy on our team named Bill Stephanos, a tackle, and he's not
even a starter, but he reminds me exactly of the type of player who was All-Pro
a decade ago.
This season we're
going to play our games in the new Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome in downtown
Minneapolis. When it was built, the air conditioning was not completed, and the
Twins have been sweltering all summer long. Now all anybody can talk about is
whether it'll be a caldron for us football players with 60,000 people stuffed
Of course, this is
ironic, because everyone invariably associates Minnesota with cold weather.
Fact is, the hottest I've ever been in my life was also right here, in the
season opener early in September two years ago. It took so much out of me that,
near the end—and it was a close game—when a pass was thrown to me I literally
couldn't raise my hands to try to catch it. And worse, I didn't even care. The
thing is, in football you must learn to play under all conditions, however
unpleasant, because fatigue is such a factor in football that you're going to
be struggling, even under ideal conditions.
often happens to me when I'm beat is that I'll flank to one side, even as I
realize I'm supposed to flank to the other. I'm just too tired for my mind to
get my body to go where I know I'm supposed to go. Fans always ask me why teams
don't play the two-minute drill all game long, because most teams do well
during those times. The answer is, simply, that it's exhausting enough just
doing that for two minutes, much less trying it for a whole game.