I'll title this story (one, no doubt you've heard before) as . . . "Up the middle, Up the middle, Pass, Punt". During the week prior to a Saturday football game, the football coaches and team would study film (yes, film) of our upcoming opponent's previous games. From this, the coaches would develop specific offensive and defensive strategies and plays to counter what we observed in the film. We refined the strategy and practiced those plays during the week in preparation for Saturday Game Day!
As you all know from watching those games on Saturday, we went right back to that which the Falcon offense had became famous (see title of this story). The upcoming pass play fooled no one and usually resulted in a desperation throw to avoid the sack by one or two blitzing linebackers. I'm sure it frustrated the fans. You can't imagine how it frustrated the players. Bob Farr and I were the Falcon wide receivers. At the completion of our pass routes we usually looked back only to find the quarterback running for his life.
During one game . . . forgive me, I'm old and can't remember which one . . . the Falcon offense found its way to a first-and-goal situation from about the five yard line. Our quarterback, Mike Worden, called the play that Coach Terry Issacson (All-American, AFA '64, I believe) signaled in from the sideline (see first part of title for play called).
On second-and goal from about the five, the coaches sent in a substitute for me. I'm thinking, "Great! The coaches are sending in a play that we practiced this week for this specific situation!" (see second part of title for play called) only, the play was called off tackle, not quite "up the middle."
On third-and goal from about the five, the coaches send me back into the game with the next play to be called . . . another running play. I think my frustration got the better of me. I changed the play to a pass play, which we had practiced during the week, before I got to the huddle. Bob is split wide. I'm in the slot. We ran a crossing pattern to "pick off" each other's defender. Mike spotted the open receiver (Bob, in this case) and threw a perfect spiral for a touchdown. The Fans Go Wild!
As I'm trotting back to the sideline with the noise of the fans still deafening my ears, I see Coach Issacson. He is fuming (and I think maybe even foaming at the mouth) that I changed the play called by the coaches! He grabbed me by the face mask on my helmet, dragged me to the bench, slammed me down and said some four-letter words that told me my playing days were over. As I turned around and looked at the cheering fans, I remember thinking, "If my playing days are over, what a great way to see them end!”
And here I thought Bready’s shining moment of AFA football lore was the ball bouncing off of his helmet on national TV during a punt in the Notre Dame game! Al is correct though . . . it was hugely discouraging in the stands watching the offense run-run-pass-punt. I remember as a Doolie, my best friend and I were up in the stands grousing about the play-calling, only to be jumped on (can't remember if it was an officer or upperclassman) about being disloyal, yadda, yadda, yadda . . . But game days were still my favorite times during all of those years (and hockey nights) . . . just a wee bit of normalcy inside the asylum.
One cannot think of Al Bready without remembering Thanksgiving Day, 1973, in Notre Dame Stadium, on National TV. It was a beautiful clear November Day with a cloudless sky. Al was in deep punt formation ready to receive a punt (I think the only Notre Dame punt of the day) when the kicker boomed a high, hanging kick. Al settles under it, ready to make the catch, put a spectacular move on the defenders, and run into Falcon glory returning the punt for a touchdown . . . on national TV!! However, as I said, it was a cloudless sky, and as Al settled under the ball, he lost it in the blinding sun. He desperately searches for it . . . and it finds him, right in the middle of his helmet. The ball bounces at least 10 feet in the air, and Al, except for his helmet, never touches the ball. To add insult to injury, the national TV audience was given at least three replays of "Al's moment in the sun".
I remember Rusty the stripper at Arnold Hall when we were smacks. I remember the pre-game X-rated skits the Donaldson twins did as cheerleaders: “The Wonderful Wizard of Trou-Town!”