Ralph Barbour.

Right Tackle Todd





What do you want? Paper? Wait, theres some here somewhere. Mr. Cade started to rise but Jim had found what he was after. He always carried three or four old letters or similar documents and now he selected one and pulled out his fountain pen.

This will do, sir, he said. Maybe if I can see that plan a minute Mr. Cade handed it to him and he made a hurried copy of it on the back of a folded letter. Then he began again, clearing his throat portentously. You move your right guard and tackle to the other side, sir, and bring your left end over. That gives you two ends on the right of your line. Mr. Cade nodded thoughtfully. Your left half-back or whoever stands behind the center gets the ball on a direct pass and Hold on, though, I forgot. First, this fellow here

Lets call them by name, Todd. Heres Kinsey at the left, heres Frost at the right, this is Tennyson behind Frost, and this is Whittier directly back of the center. All right. Now you were going to say that Tennyson what?

He starts before the ball, sir, running to the left. That thats all right, isnt it?

Absolutely, as long as he runs toward his goal-line as well as to the left. That is, a back may be moving when the ball is put in play so long as he is taking a course which at some time or other would cause him to intersect an extension of his own goal-line. Not very lucid, but go on.

Well, he runs to the left, passing behind Whittier and going over here.

Where is over here, Todd?

I dont know exactly, sir. I suppose about twelve yards back of the scrimmage line and maybe about five yards outside the end. He looked questioningly across and the coach nodded again.

Something that can be best determined by experiment, I fancy. Then what?

Center passes to Whittier and Whittier holds the ball as if to throw it, but he goes back and to the left until he gets here, about half-way between where he was and where Tennyson is. Then he makes a short pass, a sort of a toss

Which must be on-side, interpolated the coach.

Yes, sir, not a forward-pass. He tosses the ball to Tennyson. I forgot to say, though, that he ought to be always facing to the left after he gets the ball from center, sort of making like he means to pass to the left across the end of the line.

Why? demanded Mr. Cade.

So as to make the other fellows, the other team, move that way. You see, sir, the idea is to draw the other players to their right.

I see, but if Whittier emphasizes the intention to throw to his left, wont the opponents argue that his real intention is a heave in the other direction?

Jim studied a moment. Well, maybe they would, sir, he said finally. Maybe hed better not do that.

I dont think he should overdo it, anyway, Todd. He might defeat his own ends and make the opposing backs cover the left side of their territory. Anyway, the real deception comes when he passes to Tennyson.

That makes it look like an end-run for the moment. Now go on.

Well, then, Tennyson passes to the right, just about over the center of the line, to the right end.

Mr. Cade frowned over the diagram in his hand. How does that end get into position, Todd?

He blocks the opposing end until Whittier has the ball and has started back with it. Then he lets the end through and goes on down about ten yards and pretty well over toward the side.

Question is whether Frost couldnt do that part better, Todd. Youre counting on the opposing backs swinging to their right and not coming around our right end, but I dont believe you can do that. Wouldnt the end be in better position than Frost to put out a back coming around? But never mind that for the moment. Whats Kinseys duty?

I thought hed block off the outside back on our left until Tennyson made the throw. Then Whittier, after he has passed to Tennyson, guards him on the inside in case one of the other side gets through. And Id figured it that the right end would just block long enough to keep the opposing end, or, maybe, a tackle, from spoiling the play and then hed go down for the catch. Hed sort of take it easy, too, like the play wasnt on his side and he was out of it. Then Frost there would take care of a back in case one tried to slip around that side.

Sounds fairly reasonable, too, mused the coach. One thing, though, wont do, Todd. Youve got all your heavy men on the left of center and both ends on the right. Now ends mean speed, and when the opponents see two ends on one side theyre going to smell a mouse. Theyre going to suspect the play, whatever it is, is coming on that side, and theyre going to stick around a while. Of course you need the strong side of the line in front of the play, but perhaps you dont need all the strength youve put there. You could leave a tackle and end on the right, or even a guard and end, I fancy, which wouldnt cause so much suspicion on the part of the enemy. Or Mr. Cade stopped, thrust out a lower lip and lifted a speculative glance to Jim. Or, much better yet, Todd, you could simply move your end to the other side.

Then who would take the pass, sir? You mean let Frost get it?

Not necessarily. The last man on that side of the line would be eligible.

Well, but but youve got to have a fellow who can catch forward-passes, Mr. Cade, said Jim earnestly. Thats a long pass, nearly forty-five yards, maybe, and it would need a mighty good fellow to catch it. Thats why I thought it ought to be Jake Borden.

Yes, Bordens pretty good, agreed the coach. But thats another part that can be decided later. The first thing weve got to do is try this out in actual play and see whether it goes the way it looks on paper. It ought to, but you cant tell. If it ever did get pulled off just right in a game, Todd, it would be a whaling ground-gainer. The start of this play ought to draw the whole opposing team to our left, and once there theyd never get back again to the other side of the field to prevent a catch. In fact, it wouldnt be surprising if the man who received that ball found a clear path to the goal-line. In any case hed be certain of ten yards, even if he didnt stir after the catch. By Jingo, Todd, I like the thing, I honestly do!

I wish it would go like I like it looks like Jim got tangled there, and before he could get straightened out and go on Mr. Cade was speaking again.

Of course the play has its limitation, Todd. As, for instance, it couldnt be used if the ball was very close to either side-line. Wait, though! Thats wrong. It could be pulled off all right pretty close to the right side of the field, couldnt it? Todd, Im going to sit up with this thing to-night and figure it out! He was staring at the diagram again. Then: Thunder, heres another bad feature! Look here, Todd. About the time when Tennyson gets set to make that forty or forty-five yard heave hes going to have in the neighborhood of sixteen men dodging around between him and the receiver. Well, that means that its going to be mighty hard for him to sight his man. Of course he can throw the ball to a certain specified spot across the field, trusting Borden or some one to be there That reminds me. Mr. Cade added another memorandum to those he had already jotted on the side of the paper he held. It might be possible to make this a two-man pass. How about Frost? I wonder if we could fix it so as to put him over there with Borden in time to make the catch or to interfere.

Jim studied his plan and looked dubious. I dont believe so, sir. Besides, wouldnt it be sort of a give-away if two fellows went over there? One might look like an accident, but two

I fancy youre right. Well, well see. Mr. Cade laid the diagram aside and picked up his pipe. I wish youd tell me something, Todd, he said. You started out like a comer and I had great hopes of you. You went finely until a week or so ago, two weeks, perhaps; then you laid down on us. Whats the matter?

I I dont know, Mr. Cade, answered Jim. I guess there isnt anything the matter. I mean I dont know why I cant seem to play like I used to.

Lost interest?

Jim hesitated. N-no, sir, not exactly.

That means you have. Why? Feeling all right?

Yes, sir, fine.

Anything worrying you?

Jim started to shake his head, but stopped, his eyes falling before the coachs steady look. For the first time he realized what his trouble was. After a moment he answered: Maybe, sir, a little.

Thats it then. Well, I wont ask you what it is thats bothering you, Todd. Its none of my business. But I am going to ask you to put it out of your mind, whatever it is, for the next fortnight. I can use you, my boy, if youll let me. As long ago as the fourth or fifth day of the season I assigned you a distinct and important place in the scheme of winning the Kenly game. I didnt take you into my confidence for a very good reason. You had a lot to learn about the game, about the very beginning of football, and I didnt want you to get it into your head that you were a specialist and neglect the essentials. The only kind of a specialist I want around me is the man who knows every department of the game and then can do one thing better than any one else. Thats why Ive let you go your own gait, in a way, and thats why Im not telling you even now whats been in my mind. For that matter, I havent told any one. Just now it doesnt look as though Id have to, Todd. But if you can just manage to snap out of the doldrums and get back to where you were a week or ten days back, why, thatll be different. Just show me that youre on your toes again, keen and anxious and chock-full of fight and Ill show you how you can help me and the team and the School to a victory a week from next Saturday. Now do you think you can do that, Todd?

Ill try awful hard, sir, answered Jim earnestly. I guess if I knew that that it really mattered, Mr. Cade, I could do a heap better.

Matters! Great Scott, of course it matters! You ought to know that without being told, Todd. The fact that you were kept on the squad when twenty or thirty other chaps, some of whom were showing more football than you were, were let go should have proved to you that you were valuable; or, anyway, that we thought you valuable. Every man on the squad, Todd, is supposed to do his level best, his very utmost, every minute of every day while the season lasts. He mustnt expect the coach to pat him on the back or thank him after every practice, my boy. You went bad on us last year, you know, and Id have had a very good excuse for keeping you out of the squad this fall if Id wanted one. Now it looks as though you were working yourself into the same attitude of mind again, Todd. Its all wrong, though. When we pick a man out of sixty or seventy others we do it not only because he shows football ability football ability alone never won a game but because we say to ourselves, Theres a man who has the right stuff in him: loyalty, obedience, courage, determination, in short, the qualities that win battles whether in war or in football. Do you get the idea, Todd?

Yes, sir. Jim looked troubled. Im sorry, but no one ever said it was like that. You see, Mr. Cade, I never saw much football till last fall, and I never knew much about about schools and how fellows feel about them. Maybe I aint making myself clear

I understand, my boy. Well, dont you feel somewhat about this school, your school, as youve discovered that other chaps feel? You understand, dont you, why a fellow will work and drudge and take hard knocks for two long months with no hope of glory, no expectation of getting into the limelight, as those fellows on the second team are doing?

Yes, sir, I understand that. Only

Only what?

Jim smiled apologetically. It never seemed that anything I could do would would make much difference, sir. I just aint much of a hero, I guess.

Well, youve got the wrong slant, Todd. Heroes dont all win the Croix de Guerre. A lot of them just eat mud and never get their names on a citation. Modesty is all right, too, Todd, but too much of it is worse than too little sometimes. Perhaps what you need is a little praise. He leaned forward and laid a hand on Jims knee. So Ill tell you this, and you can believe every word of it. Youre a natural-born football player, Todd. If you were going to be here one more year Id turn you into as pretty a tackle as this school ever saw; and Im not forgetting men like Martin Proctor, either. Even now, as inexperienced as you are, Id back you against a lot of the fellows who have played your position on Alton Field this fall. Now does that help any?

Jim shook his head, supremely embarrassed. I dont know, Mr. Cade. If you say so I guess Ive got to believe it, but, gee, I aint I cant

Mr. Cade slapped the knee under his hand and sat back with a laugh. Todd, youre hopeless, he said. Youve got a bad case of ingrowing modesty; what the psychologists call an inferiority complex, I suppose. But never mind. You start in to-morrow and show me that you mean business, and about the middle of the week Ill tell you what I want you to do to help win the Kenly game. The best thing about it, too, is that you can do it if you will.

Ill try mighty hard Gee, thats ten oclock. At sound of the strokes Jim jumped to his feet in dismay. Ill get the dickens for being out of hall!

Perhaps I can fix that. Whos in charge of your hall?

Mr. Tarbot.

The coach rummaged about the table and finally uncovered a writing pad. When the four lines were finished he tore off the sheet and handed it to Jim. I fancy that will pacify him, he said.

Dear Mr. Tarbot: (Jim read) This is my fault. Todd has been detained by me at my room on a matter concerning the football team. Inter arma silent leges! Cordially, John Cade. Jim grinned as he folded the paper once and thrust it into a pocket.

Thank you, sir, he said gratefully. I guess that will fix him.

I hope so. Thanks for coming over, Todd, and Wait just a minute. Stand where you are, please, and put your hand up. Away up. Thats it. Fine! Mr. Cade stared across the room a moment while Jim, perplexed, stood by the door with one hand that, as it chanced, of which two fingers were bound with an already soiled white bandage extended almost to the ceiling. Then: All right, Todd. Much obliged. Good night!

Now, Jim asked himself as he let himself out and took long strides across Academy street, I wonder what that was for!

Mr. Tarbot, looking as Jim thought a whole lot like a spider awaiting the unsuspecting fly, sat in view of the corridor as Jim entered the dormitory.

Ah, Todd, he began blandly. But Jim presented his note before the instructor got further. Mr. Tarbot read it, smiled faintly and laid it aside. A football coach who quotes Latin so aptly, Todd, is not to be refused. Good night.

Good night, sir. Thanks.

Ah, just a moment. Was the mystery of the stranger in the cloth cap ever fathomed, Todd?

Mystery, sir?

Ah, I see you are not in your room-mates confidence, so never mind. Possibly I have been indiscreet. Pay no heed to my maudlin mutterings, Todd. Good night to you.

Gee, reflected Jim as he went on upstairs, every ones acting sort of crazy to-night!

Clem was in bed, although he had left the light burning for Jim, and he raised an inquiring, even slightly anxious, face above the clothes as the latter entered. Did he nab you? he asked.

Jim nodded. Mr. Cade gave me a note for him, though, and he didnt say a word.

Clems face disappeared again. Lucky for you, he muttered from under the sheet. Good night.

CHAPTER XIX
FULL-BACK TO RIGHT TACKLE

Returning to Number 15 Tuesday to look over his mathematics before an eleven oclock recitation, Jim found Clem reading a letter from Martin Gray. Jim knew that the letter was from Mart because the envelope of thin, ash-hued paper, adorned with a foreign stamp, lay face-up on the table. Mart had written to Clem several times since school had commenced and each letter had reported improvement. When Clem finished the present missive he folded it and returned it to the envelope rather thoughtfully. Then he raised his eyes and regarded Jim, who had taken possession of the window-seat, for a long moment before he finally announced: Had a letter from Mart.

How is he? asked Jim.

Fine, and having a wonderful time. Theyre at some place outside Florence. Theyve taken a place called the Palazzo Something-or-Other which Mart says is a stone morgue entirely surrounded by flowers. Hes playing tennis a lot, so I think he must be a good deal better.

Im awfully glad, said Jim.

Yes, so am I. Clem paused in the manner of one who has not finished, and after a moments silence he added: He writes that he thinks now he will be able to come back to school after Christmas.

Jim raised his eyes from the book he held and looked out of the window. Well, thats certainly fine news, he commented. Maybe he can make up enough to graduate next spring.

He seems to think so, agreed Clem.

Well, as soon as you know for certain, Clem, let me know and Ill fix to get out.

No need of that. I dont think hed expect you to. Dont see how he could.

It would be only fair, though. Id rather, Clem.

Clem flushed slightly and shrugged. Oh, if you feel that way, he said stiffly. But I dare say he and I could get into Lykes, and so you wouldnt have to budge.

Jim considered that placidly. Mean Id stay here and get a room-mate?

Yes, or you could keep the room alone, unless Faculty put some one in with you.

Would I have to pay for the whole room if I was alone?

No, of course not. But I fancy theyd find some one to dump in on you. Trust them for that! Well, theres nothing sure about it yet. Maybe youll have to put up with me for the rest of the year.

I wouldnt mind, replied the other mildly.

Clem frowned slightly, placed Marts letter in his pocket and went out, closing the door behind him with a soft violence that to a close observer might have suggested disapproval if not indignation.

At about the same time Lowell Woodruff and Coach Cade were in consultation in the latters room regarding the accommodations for the football squad at the hotel in Lakeville. The team and substitutes were to have luncheon at the hotel and were to dress there before and after the game, and the price submitted by the hotel had brought the alarmed manager to Mr. Cade post-haste. Of course, Lowell was saying sarcastically, the poor fish misunderstood my letter. Hes laboring under the delusion that I asked a price on a weeks accommodations for the whole thirty-five.

Mr. Cade chuckled. It does sound so, doesnt it? But I suppose, as the letter says, prices have risen since two years back. Id tell him what a small appetite you have and ask him to knock off about fifteen dollars.

Lowell grinned, but became serious again in the instant. Oh, well, if we had plenty of money in the old sock, it wouldnt matter a whole lot, but the jolly old treasury is so low you can see the bottom of it. And, what with fares and getting out to the field, well be closing the season no better than even.

The field, said Mr. Cade, is merely a pleasant walk from the hotel, and I dont think it would hurt any of the crowd to do it afoot. You can save ten dollars or so right there.

Thats so. Some of the fellows will kick, though. Weve always ridden out before, you know.

Therell be no chance of a kick, returned the coach. Ill tell them I want them to have the exercise. As a matter of hard fact, I think it will do them good.

All right, sir. Then Ill close with the old robber. See you this afternoon.

By the way, I had a caller last night. That fellow Todd.

Todd! Dont tell me hes resigned again!

No, he followed me after I left you to say that that paper you handed me was his.

The one Squires found? Well, why didnt he say so when

I asked him that and he said he was afraid the fellows would make fun of him.

And I guess they would have. Is the play really any good, Coach?

Tell you more in a day or two, after weve tried it out. It looks promising, though. I sat up with it until after midnight and I think weve got a pretty smooth-running play. By the way, get this back to Todd, will you? Theres some sort of a letter on the other side. Not valuable, probably, but he may want it. He left it on the table. Im certain to forget it, myself.

Yes, sir. Lowell accepted the folded sheet and dropped it in an inside pocket. Ill see him in math class. That all? Then Ill beat it.

Jim went out for practice that afternoon determined to make good. He had thought a great deal about what Mr. Cade had said the evening before and as a result the task ahead of him seemed now vastly more important and much more worth-while. He had taken the coachs praise with a generous pinch of salt, but it had encouraged him nevertheless. To-day he showed up a great deal better than he had at any time since his misunderstanding with Clem, and those who played opposite him on the second team had their hands more than full. Both he and Sam Tennyson were relieved before the last period of the scrimmage game was over and sent off behind the north stand by Mr. Cade.





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