broke Vessels clean past the line of scrimmage. He ran about 30 yards and
appeared to be hemmed in against the side lines by the defensive halfback on
the Nebraska 16-yard line, when Heath once again, with an amazing burst of
speed, cut across the field at the proper angle and blocked the remaining
assignment, for which he would have got zero, was to block the end out,"
Wilkinson explained. "In addition, he blocked the line-backer and the
defensive halfback, and, what is most amazing, ran a total distance of
approximately 85 yards between the blocks."
The memory of
the play delighted Wilkinson still. "That's what you've got to do to get
plus-two," he said. "It was a helluva play.
a demanding game physically," he went on, "but I don't believe it's a
dangerous game in any way. A lot of people take violent exception to that. I
think the chances of a boy's receiving a permanent injury in well-administered
football are virtually nonexistent."
be a great deal of rest between games. Your team must be built prior to the
time you play your first game, which in our case this year' is 2:00 p.m.,
Saturday afternoon, September 24th at Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Some players
come back from summer vacation with the thought they're going to learn their
football after practice starts. That's no good. The ones who've developed the
mental toughness necessary to be a good football player paid a greater price in
conditioning during the summer. They lived the way an athlete has to live prior
to the game. A boy who stays up to 2:00 in the morning three weeks before the
game probably has not hurt his physical condition at all, but he's put a dent
in his mental armor, so to speak.
in a game, you may play 12 minutes or 46 minutes, but somewhere the dike begins
to crack. If a player hasn't conditioned himself previously, he'll probably not
have the fortitude or courage—football won't mean enough to him—to recover a
punt when he's tired and it's 96� on the playing field.
" 'There are
11 fights out there,' I tell my men, 'we've got to win seven of them.'
pounds of equipment and with only 25 seconds between plays, they've got to
equal the speed of a lightly garbed sprinter who has his own lane to run in
without any interference, and has maybe 20 to 25 minutes to recuperate before
the next lap.... That's why I think running is the most often overlooked
fundamental of the game.
other important factors, of course. If I am a lineman, my opponent may weigh
somewhere in the neighborhood of 200 pounds. He's approximately 18 inches away
from me. He's well conditioned, full of moxie and determination, and he's
dynamite. If I'm successful in moving that huge man out of the way, somebody is
going to carry 13 ounces of air surrounded by pigskin through the hole I made
and the spectators and the sports pages will sing the praises of only the guy
who happened to be carrying the air.... There aren't enough heroic positions on
a football team to have people play because they want to be a hero. The
majority play because they love the game.