As a play selector—and Warmath lets his quarterbacks run the ball club when they are on the field—Bobby has gained a reputation as a gambler.
"O.K.," says Cox, "maybe I do throw once in a while when I'm supposed to run and run when I should kick. But I never called a play in my life that I didn't think was going to work. In fact," he grins, "I know they are going to work when I call them."
"I won't complain," says Warmath a little grimly, "as long as he is successful."
But if there is one thing which sometimes places Bobby Cox above every other quarterback in the land, it is his amazing ability to lift his ball club, to inspire it and shake it up and get it moving under the most disheartening conditions.
"I don't know what it is exactly," says Bobby. "It's just that football, to me, is about the most wonderful thing there is. I can't think of any place in the world I'd rather be than out there playing before 65,000 people."
"It's his enthusiasm," says Larson, who has been called a steadier quarterback and sometimes even a smarter one but who knows that he will never have Bobby's dynamic and spectacular flair. "He gets all excited and then the team gets excited and first thing you know the people in the stands are all excited, too."
Unfortunately, the 1957 Gophers, who went into the season with 27 lettermen and were considered virtual co-favorites with Michigan State in the Big Ten, frequently appear incapable of getting very excited about anything. They outclassed Washington and Northwestern, but had to struggle to nose out Purdue. Then, before a national television audience of some 30 million two weeks ago, they suffered humiliation at the hands of an Illinois team they were favored to beat by two to three touchdowns. Finally, against Michigan last weekend, they seemed to have collapsed completely.
With that defeat almost certainly went Minnesota's last chance at the Rose Bowl. The Gophers must still play Iowa, Michigan State and Wisconsin on consecutive weekends after a breather against weak Indiana, a schedule which would indicate that only a highly improbable mathematical hope is left.
Few feel, however, that the fault lies with Cox. An ankle injured in practice just before the season began has undoubtedly slowed him down but he has still been brilliant. Bobby led the way past Washington and Northwestern, although it was Larson, probably the best second-string quarterback in the nation, who saved the game with Purdue. And against Illinois, after his backfleld had fumbled and stumbled for three quarters and the mammoth but slow-footed Gopher line turned out to be full of holes, Bobby finally averted a shutout by waving the others aside and in five plays moved the ball 74 yards to a touchdown all by himself.
Even should Bobby Cox fail to become Minnesota's first All-America quarterback since John McGovern in 1909, he will still consider himself a very fortunate young man. His beautiful blonde wife, Sue, an ex-model and a very talented girl with a degree in art education whom he married last March, is expecting a baby this winter. They have friends and a family—Sue is a Minneapolis girl—a new car, a nice apartment and Bobby is making good grades in school. He will graduate in June with a degree in speech.