September 25, 2005

Dick Butkus, Johnny U -- The ghost of Knute Rockne

The Broncos vs. da Bears. Both teams undefeated. The power and size of the Broncos against the speed of the Bears. For two weeks my Bears have scored at will, never a punt. Yesterday, we punted 6 times in the first half. It was a mighty struggle to move the ball, my four speedy runners thwarted in every attempt to run. The crashes up the middle were met with crunching force. The speedy sweeps and reverses were met with devastating tackles in the backfield.

The Bears defense was equally effective. At the end of regulation it was a 0-0 tie. College overtime rules apply. The ball would be placed on the 10 yard line. The coin was tossed, the Bears win the toss. We were faced with the decision, offense or defense? The other team has an excellent field goal kicker. We have not made a PAT yet in 9 attempts. I chose defense, if we go first and do not score, the Broncos will win on a field goal.

The ball was placed on the 10. My best eleven were on the field, it was warm, they were tired and bruised. The Broncos powered forward behind their big line. Third and two, the line held. Fourth and one, we get great penetration and throw them for a loss. Now it is our turn.

I called the play, smash right. We move two yards behind our big right tackle. We go with the same play, three yards, the running back dragging four defensive players each step. I tried a toss, again little or no gain. It is fourth and six. What to do? I look at my assistant coach he mouths the word "bootleg". I made the call -- fake smash left, bootleg right.

The little one lines up under center. The ball is snapped. He bobbles the snap, fumbles. The defense picks it up and runs the length of the field for a touchdown. We lose.

That is what I see in my mind, as the ball comes back from the center in slow motion.

My boy takes the snap, comes back, reverses into the left side handoff. He reaches out the ball to the running back, pulling it back at the last minute. He turns to his left tucking the ball into his elbow as he has been taught. The defense converges on the decoy running back. The QB hits his stride curving to the far sideline. The big right tackle flattens the outside linebacker. The tight end gets the safety, the cornerback is blocked by the wingback. The QB crosses the endzone right at the out of bounds marker. Game over. Bears win, Bears win. The little one is mobbed by his teammates, the sparse crowd goes wild.

The Broncos coach summed it up, a disappointed smile on his face -- ""Hell of a game, Joe, Hell of a game." I could only agree.


GUYK said...

Sounds to me like you have a heck of a team, coach! Congratulations on a earned win.

The Conservative UAW Guy said...

yes sir!

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