I vividly recall one halftime oration when he held aloft the taped paws of a giant tackle and solemnly advised the rest of us that "with these hands we shall win the day." The poor tackle's face reddened and swelled as if it would burst, and tears streamed down his cheeks as he fought vainly to hold back an onset of uncontrollable guffawing.
In one of my infrequent appearances on the field before the fourth quarter, I somehow intercepted an opponent's pass and then, when trapped, tried a lateral to a teammate. That ill-advised toss was intercepted, in turn, by the original intended receiver and returned 40 yards against us. When I resumed my rightful place on the bench, Coach O'Neill looked at me as if I had just debouched from one of those flying saucers we had been hearing so much about. If ever a coach had cause to curse, it was he at that moment, but he never said a word. He didn't have to.
None of us, in my memory, ever felt the lash of this man's silver tongue. We didn't fear him. In our own way, we loved him. And we never lost a game.