Coach's Corner

A day in the life:

January 1 dawns foggy and cold. This is good. I have a long day ahead. I don't want good weather to interfere -- six football games spanning the entire breadth of the day. This year, I'm determined to get serious on New Year's Day. I make these plans mostly in silence. Kelly's all revved up for the Cotton Bowl. I don't lay out the comprehensive plan, which runs far beyond the lifeless match-up in Dallas, and indeed, deep into the night. No need to tell her that now.

8am: I hate running early in the morning. In fact, I hate running at all times. I try to be quiet. I don't want any questions. No reason for her to know this is the last chance I'm going to have today to leave the house. Today's run is like all others. It sucks. I hate each and every step. I've been running for 20 years, and I've never experienced the mythical "runner's high." The only high I ever experience is when it's over. It's over. I'm ready to start my day.

10:03am: The day officially begins. It's fortunate Texas is playing today and playing early. Kelly's pumped. She refuses to wear any of her new Texas sportswear, preferring instead her ratty, torn, but reliable Longhorn T-shirt. Her play calling's uncannily accurate. Like she is in Greg Davis' head. After the third on-the-money call, I stop laughing. I'm impressed. The difference in this game is not Williams, or the defense, but Major Applewhite. The game's over after 15 minutes, as Applewhite makes all the big plays, as he has all year, and his counterpart and fellow freshman, Wayne Madkin, doesn't. If Applewhite keeps improving, UT will have another Heisman candidate in a few years. Texas finishes the season playing as well as any team in the country. Still, the game stinks.

11:10am: I switch back and forth to a bastardization of common sense called the Outback Bowl, featuring a so-so Penn State against a mediocre Kentucky. It's worthy of some eye time due to possible #1 pick Tim Couch. Every time I tune in, though, Couch is throwing a bad pass or an interception. He ends up with lots of yardage, but his team gets killed. Another bad game.

11:30am: Things start getting confusing. Two more games kick off: the Gator Bowl, and another mongrel, the Florida Citrus. The Gator has Notre Dame against Georgia Tech. I wonder what is Georgia Tech? Where is Georgia Tech? I also ponder how GT recruits football players. Do they show them the famous -- uh -- famous what, architecture lab?

12:15pm: My girlfriend's getting annoyed. She doesn't give a shit about Kentucky or Notre Dame. She wants to watch Texas. My frantic channel switching has her unnerved. A breaking point comes when she leaves the room for a second. I switch to the Citrus Bowl and leave Texas on the radio. I figure, incorrectly, she won't catch on for a while. "What do you think you're doing!?" she asks in a not friendly way. I'm banished to another television.

1:30pm: Truth be told, I need a break. I go outside to work on my "golf swing" with my new Christmas whiffle golf balls. My front yard's horribly scarred with multiple unsightly swatches of ripped-up sod, courtesy of my "golf swing." Within two minutes, I yank two balls into my neighbor's tree. Consoling myself with the thought that at least I'd gotten the ball airborne, I head upstairs.

2:12pm: The best game of the morning turns out to be Notre Dame/ Georgia Tech. The Irish are a team I can root against, which is as good as having a team to root for, maybe better -- hate being hotter than love and often, I'm told, more durable. The Yellow Jackets win an entertaining, wild game, 35-28. Tech QB Joe Hamilton and a guy named Dez put on the best show of the day. Kelly comes up to see what I'm screaming about. I tell her about Dez White. She doesn't seem impressed.

3:30pm: During the break before the Rose Bowl, a misunderstanding occurs. Kelly says, "Let's go see a movie tonight." I'm stunned. A movie? "Well honey, uh, well, we got the Rose Bowl at 4 and well, we don't want to miss the Sugar Bowl. Do we?"

4:04pm: The Rose Bowl -- Ron (Great) Dayne is the next Ricky Williams. Have you ever seen a 250-pound halfback outrun an entire team on a 50-yard sweep? Wisconsin's much better than I expected. Cade McNown won't be the first QB drafted, but he may be the best. Bad throws are rare. Fun game, though I now have a nice headache.

6:30pm: It's dinnertime, but the kitchen's empty. I guess Kelly's not making dinner tonight.

7:33pm: Sugar Bowl. It's a rule of thumb of mine: Ohio State's overrated. Not tonight. They kill the Aggies. Total domination. The A&M offense is anemic, maybe not even that. It's a colorless game, but damn it, with only an hour to go, I'm not quitting now.

10:30pm: I stare, blank-eyed, at the KVUE news. My day is done. Twelve straight hours of football. I did it. I feel bad, real bad. My head hurts. My stomach's sour. My wrist aches due to remotecontrolitis.

11pm: I lurch toward bed. Need some sleep. Three more games tomorrow.

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