Ralph Barbour.

Right Tackle Todd





There was a conference in Coach Cades quarters that Monday evening. The coach occupied rooms in the old-fashioned white house at the corner of Academy and State streets, opposite the main gate to the campus. His living-room was a comfortable place of faded carpet and old walnut furniture brightened by such modern things as a handsome electric lamp on the big round table, a steel filing cabinet and many books and magazines littering the apartment. To-night were present the host himself, Captain Gus Fingal, Lowell Woodruff, Johnny Barr, Pep Kinsey, Steve Whittier, Rolls Roice, Billy Frost and Charley Levering. Coach Cade, seated by the table, held several sheets of paper in one hand and a briar pipe in the other. The visitors sat around the table or adjacent to it and were respectfully attentive to the coachs words.

I thought, Mr. Cade was saying in his quiet, pleasant voice, it was about time for some of us to get together and look over the ground. I asked two or three more to be present to-night, but I dont see them. Perhaps theyll show up later.

My fault, Coach, said Lowell. I couldnt get in touch with them in time.

Then it wasnt your fault, Lowell. But there are enough of us here to discuss things, and a discussion is about all I had in mind. You see, fellows, Saturdays game finished the half-season. From now on well be pointing to the Kenly game. What comes before that must be met as best it can. Our job now, and its a big job, too, is to build up for Kenly Hall.

Dont forget Mount Millard, Mr. Cade, said Billy Frost. Weve got to lick them, sir, after what they did to us last year!

Well do our best, Frost, but we mustnt go out of our way much. So far, weve come along pretty easily, fellows. Were fairly well grounded in the rudiments, although theres still chance for improvement, of course, and weve developed some team play. Now, however, weve got to consider a plan of campaign. In doing that we must take into account our own material and Kenlys, decide what sort of a game we are best fitted to play and what style of game we may expect from the enemy. The one outstanding feature of our team so far is speed. Weve shown more speed than we showed at any time last year, and Im convinced that we can show still more. I like speed, fellows, speed in starting and speed afterwards. Ive seen a fast team win from a team that knew more football and played far smoother more than once, only because the better team better theoretically, that is lacked speed. The simplest plays will go well if they go fast, and the cleverest, most deceptive ones will fail if theyre run off slow.

This year weve got a fast line and a fast backfield. We arent quite as heavy in the line as we were either last year or the year before that, and we dont begin to have the weight in the backfield. But lack of weight can be more than offset by speed, and so its speed and more speed that we must go after.

Its rather early to say what were to expect from Kenly. Shes made a good start, but no better than our own, and hasnt had to show anything but ordinary formations and old-stock plays. But we know that shes got most of her last years line back again and three or four of the backs that gave us so much trouble. Her line is heavy and her backfields heavy, and its reasonable to suppose that shell build her game on those facts. Kenly has always favored the line-smashing game and Id be surprised if she changed much this year. However, well know more about that later.

Mr. Cade studied a paper a moment. It comes to this, then, he resumed. Granted that Kenly will rely on line bucks and runs outside tackles for most of her gains, its up to us to build a defense that will meet that style of play. Weight wont do it, for shell beat us there. Shell go through us if we give her the start. The only way to stop her is to not let her get started. We must get the jump on her, fellows, and that means speed. If we can hold her in the line we can meet her on equal terms in other departments, I think. We may even have a slight edge on her when it comes to the kicking game. What Kenly will bring in the way of forward passes I cant say. That, too, is something well have to get a line on later. But she has never been dangerous with her overhead stuff. Her coach has never taken to that style of game much. But if she does develop a good passing game weve got to meet it with the same stuff, speed. Speed, then, is going to be the big cry here this Fall. I want to impress that fact on you here and now. I want you to go away from here thinking speed, and I want you to keep right on thinking it until the last play of the Kenly game is over.

Now lets talk about offense a little. For the sake of argument, well say that weve got the edge on Kenly for fast playing. Well assume that our line charges quicker than hers, that our backs get started faster and run faster, that we pull off our plays and our kicks faster. Now, then, what sort of an attack are we going to use? What style of offense are we going to build on? What do you think, Captain Fingal?

If were faster than Kenly, and speed makes up for the difference in weight, were starting even, arent we?

Possibly, yes. Well say so.

Then we can play any style there is, cant we? I mean, Coach, we stand just as good a chance of making our line plays good as she does; and the same with kicks and passes and end runs.

True, assuming that the teams are evenly balanced, which we are assuming. But what we want for an attack isnt something just as good, Gus, but something better. Now, suppose

Id say we ought to dope out a passing and running game, Coach, broke in Pep Kinsey. Something based on speed that might take them off their feet. Say we had a formation that was good for a punt or a pass or a run outside tackle. Then suppose we put a lot of fizz into it and had them guessing what was coming. If Tom Crumbs out of the game we cant look for a whole lot against their line between tackles, I guess. I dont know how Sam Tennyson will develop, but hes light, sir, and the rest of us arent whales. I guess youve got the right dope, all right, when you talk speed!

A corking good passing game is our best bet, Mr. Cade, offered Levering. Dont you think so, sir?

Ill tell you what I think, Levering. I think whatever we build on that things got to have speed underneath it. All right. Heres speed. He held a hand out, palm upward. Now what? What shall we put on next for a second story?

There was a moments silence. Then the quarter-back spoke eagerly. Deception!

Right! Speed and deception, fellows. Thats a tough combination to beat. And its tougher than ever if the other fellow is slow in getting off. Kinseys idea of a triple-threat formation is what Ive had in mind. Thats what we ought to have, Im sure. Last Fall showed me one thing conclusively, and that is that having more than two formations, one for kicking and one for everything else, is a big mistake. You remember that we changed our backfield all about when we made a forward-pass. Of course, we did run from that formation now and then, but the thing was a give-away, just the same. When Kenly saw that C Formation she knew pretty well what to expect, and after the first half she looked for a pass every time and, if I remember correctly, we made just five out of fourteen attempts. This year I propose that we find a formation for the backs that will answer every purpose of attack, even punting. When we decide on that well build our plays on the formation instead of suiting the formation to the plays.

That sounds good, said Gus. Only I dont just see how its to be done. If we place our backs too far behind the line we cant get them through on quick openings. If we put Steve too close he wont be able to get punts off before Kenly gets on top of him.

As for the latter, said Coach Cade, I dont agree. Remember, Gus, were building on speed. If Steve gets his kicks off a bit quicker than he does now he can kick from nearer the line.

Besides, said Pep, how is Kenly going to know that it is a kick if Steve doesnt go back? Seems to me thats the beauty of it. Keep em guessing every minute! Hot stuff!

Well take up the matter of that formation later, said the coach. Just now theres another thing I want to talk about. What kind of a passing game can we work out? I have my own idea, but Id like to hear from you.

Whatever it is, its got to be a heap better than last years, said Rolls Roice. As you said, Coach, they were looking for our tosses every time toward the last and they didnt go for a hang. If Kenly had had the sense to grab the ball sometimes instead of knocking it down shed have licked us worse than she did.

Theres one thing about the passing game, said the coach. If you cant have a good one youre better off with none. And having a good one isnt so easy. You can plan it out on paper so that it looks like a world-beater, but if your ends and backs cant reach the ball and handle it perfectly, your plans a fizzle. You didnt have much luck last year, Pep, and neither did Knowles or Suydman. Catches were mighty few, even when there was a fair chance. Im not saying this in criticism of you, but just to emphasize the fact that its the individual player who counts in the passing game, and that if were to show anything in that line, anything worth while, weve got to go into the business in real earnest. Half the value of the forward pass is in keeping the opponent scared. If you have a passing game and he knows it, hes looking for it more than half the time. But youve got to really have something. If you havent, he soon discovers it and pulls his backfield in. Just as long as youve got the goods, even if you dont deliver them, he will play a fifth man back and weaken his line by just so much. That fifth man is almost invariably the center, and a quick plunge at the center position will usually gain. Personally, I think that no one has yet discovered nearly all the possibilities of the forward-pass as an offensive play. I believe that, unless a change in the playing rules comes that will place restrictions on the pass, another five years will see the old line-plunging game subordinated to it. But Im getting away from the business of this gathering.

Suppose you fellows put your minds to work along the lines suggested this evening. Start with the fact that, no matter what else we have when we meet Kenly, were going to have speed, and lots of it. Then try to think of the best way to use that speed on attack. Ill take care of using it for defense. Figure out a let us call it an all-purpose formation, a formation from which we can hit the line, run the ends, punt and pass. Its possible. Im not certain that the Princeton formation doesnt come pretty close to it except as to punting. Anyhow, put your minds to work, fellows, and see what comes of it. Well get together again Wednesday evening here, and well try to get more of the team on hand. Remind me about that, Mister Manager, and Ill tell you who I want here that evening.

Shucks, said Charley Levering, I never could dope out plays. On paper, I mean.

As long as you dope them out on the field well be satisfied, replied Mr. Cade. Im not looking for plays from you, Levering. We can find plenty of those when were ready for them. What I want is ideas. You know the team and you know pretty well what its merits are and what its faults are. Credit it with speed. You can do that fairly enough, for Ill say frankly that you fellows look mighty good to me at that angle. Then try to think up the sort of game we can best play to make full use of that speed. Never mind trick plays and all that sort of thing. Those will come later. Consider the Kenly game as a campaign and decide how, if you were the General in command of our Army, youd conduct it. Not as to detail. A General cant foresee the skirmishes, sometimes not even the battles. The best he can do is plan. Im hoping that some of you will bring ideas that will help in determining our campaign. Two heads are better than one, you know, and so eight ought to be still better. Now, if any one likes Swiss cheese, made in Wisconsin, and pilot bread and ginger ale, well blow the whistle!

CHAPTER X
JIM ASKS A LOAN

On Tuesday all but one of the Alton football squad reported for practice, the exception being Greenough, a substitute end, who had sustained a badly wrenched ankle in the Southport game. To be exact, there were twenty-nine khaki-trousered youths on hand when three oclock struck. Of this number, nineteen were linemen, one of them a second team fellow named Cooper who had that day been snatched to the first as a substitute guard, that Fillmore might go to the backfield to understudy Tennyson. To-day new emphasis was laid on throwing and catching, end, tackle and backfield candidates to the number of seventeen being put through a long drill. Subsequently, during signal work, forward passes were more frequent than usual. Jims knee bothered him at first, but he speedily forgot about it, and when the afternoons session was at an end it seemed just as good as ever. The second was cocky that day and twice held the first inside her five-yard line, and, since Coach Cade had ruled out field-goals, there was no scoring until, just before the end of the second period two halves of fifteen minutes constituted the practice game Plant, at right half for Billy Frost, got away on his own twenty-four and raced some seventy-six yards for a touch-down.

Jim played through all of the last half and pleased himself thoroughly. Those second-team fellows werent so hard to handle to-day. He had three men opposed to him while he was in and none outplayed him in his opinion. To be sure, no one stopped proceedings to tell him he was doing well, but Jim had learned that praise, even commendation, was dealt out sparingly, and that so long as a player got along without being scolded it could be assumed that he was performing very creditably. Although he had been at training table but two days he found things not a little different on the field. He was no more a part of the squad than before, but it seemed that being taken to the table had served as an initiation that had admitted him to an inner sanctuary. Fellows who had never recognized him three days ago now hailed him as Slim possibly without always knowing his last name quite in the off-hand manner of age-old acquaintances. At first it embarrassed him greatly, but he liked it even then. He felt of importance for the first time since he had begun to play. He was, at last, somebody in the football world of Alton! Before, he had thought of himself as being there on sufferance; now he belonged. The sense of camaraderie helped a lot, too. Somehow, now when Pep Kinsey or Latham or Barnhart, playing quarter, yelped at him for playing too far in or too far out or, as once happened, starting before the signal, he didnt take it to heart. The quarter was just one of his own crowd!

It was still light when Jim got back to Haylow that afternoon, and Clem was sprawled on the window-seat, reading, his book held close to the pane. Theres been a gentleman here to see you, Jim, he announced. There was faint emphasis on the word gentleman, and Jims brows contracted as he turned to the closet to hang up his cap. Said hed be back again.

What did he look like? asked Jim soberly.

Well, to tell you the truth, old son, he looked rather seedy. Slight chap, about twenty-four, perhaps. In case hes a particular friend of yours, I wont be too detailed. Clem grinned. Anyhow, hes coming back, and if I were you, Jim, Id pay the bill.

What bill?

How do I know? chuckled Clem. Perhaps the bill you owe his poor old widowed mother for the washing. He struck me as the sort of guy whod be likely to land you one on the nose if you didnt settle prompt. How did football go?

All right. Jim seemed rather thoughtful. Instead of sitting down he walked twice between the window and the door, his hands in his pockets. Then, All right, he said again.

Still all right, eh? asked Clem. Thats fine. When a things all right I do love to have it stay that way. Jim looked at him in puzzlement. If it happened to change, youd let me know, wouldnt you? pursued Clem anxiously.

What are you talking about? asked Jim, frowning perplexedly. But he didnt hear Clems reply, for just then the sound of footsteps in the corridor caused him to swing expectantly toward the door. But the steps went by. Clem was still talking.

If its anything serious, Ill be glad to help any way I can. You know that, Jim. I havent much influence with the police, but what I have will be gladly exerted in your behalf. Perhaps a confession would ease your mind, old son. Where and when did the crime take place, and what motive induced you to kill the beautiful girl?

I dont know what youre talking about, protested Jim worriedly. You asked about practice and I told you

All right. Quite so. But if ever a fellow had guilt written all over his phiz, youre the fellow, Jim. Youll have to do better than that when you face the jury!

Jim managed a laugh. Oh, I thought you were talking serious about something. He sat down then, but he didnt relax as he might have been expected to after as strenuous an afternoons work as he had put in. It became apparent to Clem that he was really uneasy, and probably about the visitor.

If youd rather not see that chap when he returns, said Clem carelessly after a moments silence, if he does return, Ill send him away. I wouldnt be surprised if he was just some one trying to sell books or something, you know.

Yes, replied Jim vaguely. Thanks. After a pause he added: Guess Id better see him, though.

Have your own way, but you wont be seeing much. He struck me as

But at that instant there was a knock on the door, a knock that had been preceded by no warning footfalls outside. Thats probably he now, said Clem. Want me to

But Jim had sprung up and was already at the door. He opened it no more than a foot, and from where Clem sat the visitor was invisible. Hello, said Jim. There was no pleasure in his voice, and Clem smiled even as his curiosity increased. There was a subdued response from beyond the portal which Clem couldnt catch, and then: But I asked you not to, said Jim accusingly. You ought to do like Then Jim slipped through into the corridor and the door closed tightly behind him.

Clem pursed his lips and shook his head. Now what the dickens? he asked himself. Mystery, by gum! Conspiracy even! And old Jim acting like the villain in A Guilty Secret! What do you know? Gosh, you never can tell about these innocent-looking chaps. Wonder what that cheap skate wants with Jim. No sound came from the corridor. Probably the two had moved away from the door. Some five minutes passed, and Clem, staring into the darkening world, was watching the campus lights come on one by one and had forgotten Jim and his mysterious caller when the door opened once more.

Jim came in alone, thrusting the door back behind him. Clem said: You might switch on the light if you dont mind, Jim. Jim did so, and the yellow radiance that still showed through the crack of the door and proclaimed the corridor lights going, paled. Well, continued Clem gayly, did you have to pay him hush-money? Then he saw Jims troubled and embarrassed countenance and the raillery died out of his voice, Whats up? he asked.

Clem, I hate to ask you, but I Jim stopped, gulped and went on. Can you lend me five dollars, Clem?

Great Scott! Is that all it is? Clem laughed with relief as he jumped up. I thought murder had been done and you wanted me to help conceal the body! Five dollars? Ten if you want it, old son. I happen to be in funds just now.

Five will be plenty, said Jim in a subdued tone. Ill give it back to you just as soon as I can, but maybe it wont be this week, because

Theres no hurry at all, Jim, so dont be so down-hearted. He opened a drawer in his chiffonier, found a bunch of keys and then went to his closet. We will now open the strong-box, he continued as he pulled a black leather suit-case from the shelf. Say, I hope you arent being blackmailed, old son, he added, chuckling.

From the suit-case, which apparently held only a discarded shirt and two ancient tennis balls, he magically produced a folded envelope. This he took to the table and opened. From it came several bills and four gold coins. You may have gold if youd rather, he laughed. Thats Christmas money from last year and the year before. Ive got an uncle who always comes across with two of those, and somehow they never get spent. I meant to put them in the bank before I came back, but forgot it and I found them in my trunk when I landed. Here you are, old son. Sure fives enough? Heres two more if you say the word; or you can have one of these lovely gold coins.





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