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The Situation: The unfortunate guy on the spot is Tom Hodson, a fourth-year quarterback from Louisiana State. He is taking the New England Patriots' offense into the huddle, with the ball at the one-yard line, and suddenly this is a test. The test is in full public view.
"Come on, Hodson," Bill Parcells shouts. "What lineup are you going to call?"
There are two seconds, maybe three seconds of grace. The other players on the field—all of the 80 candidates for the team's final 47-man roster, gathered at Bryant College in Smithfield, R.I.—listen and cringe. The spectators beyond the yellow ropes also cringe. What is the quarterback going to say?
"Come on," Parcells shouts. "We went over this yesterday."
"Goal line," Hodson blurts out as his answer.
Goal line? There is a look of incredulity on Parcells's face. Goal line? He came back to coaching to hear this? How can he go over something one day and have it forgotten the next day? Isn't this professional football? Aren't these men being paid money to think as well as to act? Goal line?
"Get out of there, Hodson," Parcells grumps. "Next quarterback. Scott Secules? What are you going to call?"
"Two tight ends," Secules says.
One thousand one. One thousand two. Two tight ends?
"Run it," Parcells says.