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A Way with Words
Former Florida State football coach Bill Peterson, who died last week at age 73, guided the Seminoles to a 62-42-11 record between 1960 and '70. Along the way he helped develop a remarkable roster of future coaches, including current Seminole coach Bobby Bowden, Bill Parcells of the New England Patriots and former Washington Redskin coach Joe Gibbs.
Known for the wide-open offenses he ran, Peterson was equally famous for the wide-open offense he ran against the English language at FSU and later as coach of the Houston Oilers. The Yogi Berra of football, Peterson was renowned for his malapropisms. A few classics:
? Peterson once instructed his players to "pair off in groups of threes"; on another occasion to "line up alphabetically by height"; on still another "to run a little more than full speed out there."
?While preparing his team for a game against favored rival Florida, Peterson invoked the story of David and Goliath. "You gotta practice. David went out there and practiced—slinging those rocks at tin cans and old beer bottles for days."
?After being "indicted" into the state of Florida's sports hall of fame, he said, "They gave me a standing observation."
?Asked before a big game if he thought it would rain, Peterson replied, "What do you think I am, a geologist?"
Of course not. There was never any doubt about Peterson's true calling. As he once put it: "I'm the football coach around here, and don't you remember it."