|The Toughest Coach There Ever Was by Frank Deford|
Page 10 of 20
Box remembers being awakened in his room in The Alamo at 3 a.m. by Little Vic. Instructing Box to follow, the boy took him downstairs to the Sullivan apartment and then right into his parents' bedroom. Virginia was sound asleep in her half of the bed. But Bull Cyclone was sitting up next to her, running a projector, staring at films on the far wall. He ran a play and asked Box if he thought a new variation involving him would work. Flabbergasted, Box said, "Yes sir, I don't see why not."
"O.K.," Bull Cyclone said. "Go back to bed." He promptly began to diagram the play on an index card. He usually had all his special plays for that week's game designed by Monday.
Bull Cyclone would take the basic stuff he planned to use and make a deck of plays that he flipped through on the sidelines. Says Bradberry, "I can see him now, wiping the blood off my face with one hand, shuffling through his deck with the other to find me the play he wanted." Purists maintain that one quarterback must be deputized to be in charge of a team, but if Bull Cyclone didn't believe he had an outstanding player, he'd use two, or even three quarterbacks during a game, alternating these paragons of leadership after each play. And it worked just fine.
For example, as a freshman Bradberry alternated with a string bean named Ricky Garner. In one game, Bull Cyclone got furious with Bradberry for citing some wrong information about a linebacker and yanked him. "You little sonofabitch," he screamed, "don't you ever open your mouth again. The only way you'll ever take another snap for me is if Garner breaks both his legs." But, out of the blue, late in the first quarter, Bull Cyclone summoned Bradberry from the bench, riffled through the deck and dispatched him to run one play. It wasn't exactly a vote of confidence, for the call was a rare halfback sweep, in which the quarterback was supposed to block. Bradberry ran the play and, on another possession midway through the second quarter, Bull Cyclone sent him back in to run the same punishing sweep.
Then, right before the half ended, the coach yelled for Bradberry again, shuffled through his deck and, like a magician, pulled out a card and showed it to the quarterback. "See this," Bull Cyclone said. "Hit the tight end, and it'll be a ---- touchdown."
|Last Updated ( Tuesday, 25 March 2008 )|
|< Prev||Next >|