- TOP PLAYERSOffensePABLO S. TORRE | August 20, 2012
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But now, at last, the quarterback actually has to call a play. He heard something from the messenger, and confidently, his steely blue eyes glaring, he says, "Split Left X and Flanker Stick 52," which sounds close enough to Flanker Right 62X and Flanker Fly. Only there ain't no such play as Split Left X and Flanker Stick 52. But the quarterback says it great, and we've all been trained to be robots in the quarterback's huddle, so when he claps his hands and says "Break!" we all dash up to the line and do whatever comes to mind on the nonexistent Split Left X and Flanker Stick 52. Luckily, I'm the split left part. I split far left.
The kicker, too, is that when the coaches show us the films, they always say, "What play was that?" and seven guys give seven different answers.
One of the best ways to amuse yourself around here is watching the rookies try to get Bud Grant's eye. You see, they don't know that he figures there are too many new guys on the squad for him to try to get to know them all, so he doesn't bother with any of them. Bud's strength is that he runs the overall show and lets his coaches coach. I remember one time I came out of a game after making a catch, and he walked over to me and said, "I remember, I caught a pass just like that once." He was just reminiscing in a sort of dreamy way, and all around him there was this football game going on. So these poor kids pass him and he doesn't acknowledge them at all, and they figure: He doesn't know me, I'm gone tomorrow.
And then, what did I do tonight? I came into the Albatross, where I was going to meet Sammy White for a couple beers, and he was late, so I sat down next to this kid at the bar. I knew he was a Viking, so I bought him a drink and started telling him all the things that happened at the offensive meeting today, and he just sat and nodded and said yes every time I asked him if he wanted another drink.
And you know what?
He's on the offense. It must have broken his heart that I didn't even recognize him, but he didn't have the nerve to stop me. I just kept telling him all the things he had just been through.
We did have another good meeting, though, even if it wasn't up to the standards of the dead bat meeting. You see, if you're a player, the most brownie points you can get in a meeting come from saying, "Coach, can you run that play back?" Guys usually do that when they're watching another team and want to see how an old college buddy did or something. But the coaches think it shows that, you're really involved. Tonight, though, there was one play where the film had obviously been broken. All you saw was the team lining up, then bang, just like that, a touchdown was being scored. Nothing in between. But this rookie receiver from Temple named Gerald Lucear, who had probably been told by some wise old veteran to be sure to say, "Coach, will you run that play again?" said, "Coach, will you run that play again?" Burns went wild. He screamed, "Lucear, the film is broken, as any blankety-blank can plainly see," and that brought the house down. Of course, you've got to understand, Frank, that once you've been stuck here in Mankato a few days, the laughs come very cheap.
Thought for today: One thing you must never do in football is pronounce the word route as root. You have to say rout. If you say root, they come down all over you and make you out to be a complete fool, like you can't speak a word of English.
MONDAY, AUG. 2: The first black head coach
They had a union meeting last night, but only about half the team attended. There just isn't that much interest. More of the guys would rather put on their Brut and head on over to the Albatross, where the ladies are. Priorities. I asked Huffman today about what went on at the meeting, and he had a statement that he wanted me to sign, which said that I would go out on strike if a majority of the team voted to. I declined for now. Frankly, I'd probably go out if the team voted to, but I still have so many misgivings about Ed Garvey and all that 55% stuff.