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It was a pass play, and a freshman promptly intercepted it and ran in the clear toward the goal line.
"What did I tell you," cried Duffy. "It went all the way, didn't it? You'll notice I didn't say which way."
Duffy was giving his customary deceptive performance. Seemingly indifferent, he was not missing a stroke, and he would be able, with his phenomenal memory, to re-create the entire practice session in the staff and squad meetings later on. Meanwhile, he was practicing the gospel he preaches: football should be fun. "Have some fun out there," he tells his players in the last squad meeting before every game.
Duffy wants, always, to send a team on the field that is eager to play, that cannot wait another minute to play a game of football. To this end, he never scrimmages his regulars after the season opens. He wants them to come up to Saturday afternoon hungry for combat.
Duffy's seven assistants are given complete authority in their specialties and, something rarer, freedom of speech. "Duffy," said one of them, "claims there are no geniuses in coaching. I don't know, but sometimes he almost acts like one. There'll be a problem, for instance. All of us will know all the elements of the problem, have all the facts necessary for a solution. But we'll sit there baffled until Duffy comes along, looks at the facts and sees the way out that we couldn't see. That's why, whenever things look bad, we always say, 'Duffy will think of something.' "
"I'll tell you something," said another assistant. "Before a game I get sick to my stomach. And Duffy? He can take a nap. But he's not perfect. He's the world's worst loser at gin rummy."
(Sometimes Duffy's relaxed attitude is the despair of his staff. Nothing is top secret with him. Before the last Rose Bowl game several thousand spectators showed up in time for what would normally be a secret practice session. Duffy not only welcomed them but carefully explained some of Michigan State's best plays. "Why not?" he said. "Nobody knows when we will run them.")
Duffy looked across the field and saw his wife, Frances, walk in with their two children, Danny, 9, and Dree, 3. Mrs. Daugherty explained that she brings the children to practice so they can see something of their father during the football season. Duffy roughhoused with Danny and mussed Dree's blonde hair. Somebody recalled the time, during a preseason scrimmage session, when Duffy was urging his warriors on to bruising, bloodletting combat. The family arrived and Duffy walked away from the carnage to take Dree's hand in his and then suddenly cry out in horror: "Francie! Dree has a splinter!"
Without ever appearing to have anything particular to do, Duffy was on the go all week. One evening he made a trip to Detroit to address the Michigan State Alumni Club there. One evening he enlisted the help of three of his players to do another of his television programs. He spent some part of every day in his office. One afternoon he found time to get a haircut.
One evening Duffy went on a hayride. It had long been planned by the wives of the assistant coaches, and its base was the Rowe Ranch outside Lansing. Duffy was delighted to go, and so were Biggie Munn and Mrs. Munn. With friends of the coaches, there was a party of about 50 to fill the two wagons. There was a jolting ride over the back country roads, with Duffy joining in the singing of every barbershop ballad Doug Weaver, the freshman coach, could think of to lead with his harmonica. Biggie Munn did a hillbilly solo and then cried, "How about Que Sera, Sera?" Everybody knew that one, and then Doug Weaver did the recitative part of On Top of Old Smoky.