A Familiar Foe
The lights had gone out again. Henry racked the bar, stepped out of the squat rack, and flailed his arms in the air until the motion sensor picked him up and flicked the weight room lights back on. The fact that the sensor couldn't pick him up in the rack was the only downside to Josey's late-night workouts. The runningback sat down on a bench and took a minute to catch his breath. He'd been lifting for a few hours now; a short break would do his body good. He swung his legs up on the seat for a quick stretch and took a quick look around the room. His gaze flowed from one poster to another until it fell upon the countdown to game-time. That big red number that continuously shrank. It wasn't until he had watched a handful of seconds tick away that Josey noticed a light outside the weight room door.
He was usually the only one in the building this late, so an unknown light source merited a quick investigation. Cautiously, Josey stepped out into the hallway. The light appeared to be coming from the coach's office, which was strange. Coach Pinkel had a strict routine for the day before games: an early checkout from practice, a few glasses of wine, and a good night's sleep. Josey had never seen his coach deviate from this pattern, yet here he was. Something was wrong, there was no other explanation for this behavior. Henry took a step into the office and saw his fearless leader staring blankly at a video of the Toledo/Florida game, his brow furrowed in frustration. The sight troubled Josey, so he decided to see what the problem was.
"Coach?" He said, knocking on the door. "Something up?" Startled, Pinkel swung around to see his diminutive runningback standing in his office.
"Henry! I didn't realize anyone else was here."
"Yeah, I always get a late workout in the night before games." Josey said timidly. He wasn't sure if his coach would be pleased with him, or mad that he snuck in the facilities. Smiling, Gary slapped him on the shoulder.
"Your dedication is astounding, son. I'm proud to have you on my team." Pinkel said as he turned back toward the television. Josey leaned over his coach's shoulder to get a look at the screen. Florida's offense had just crossed the 50, but Gary didn't seem to notice. He stared at the screen, eyes glazed over, his mind adrift in space.
"Is there something I can do to help?" Henry asked. He wasn't quite sure what was bothering the man, but he knew he had to get him out of his funk. "I know somethings messing with you, coach. Maybe I can help." Pinkel sighed and turned away from the film.
"I'm worried about Toledo. They know me too well. They know my offense, my defense, my whole philosophy. I want to mix up our plays, but I can't get away from what makes us work. I'm lost here, Henry. I'm lost." Josey was flabbergasted. He'd never seen his coach open up like this, and he wasn't sure how to handle it. He looked around the room in an attempt to gain his bearings, and that was when he noticed what was happening on the screen. As he watched Florida runningback Mack Brown break through Toledo's defensive line for an easy touchdown, an idea began to form in his head.
"Coach, I think I know how we can overcome this problem."
"Really?" Gary asked. "Are you sure?" Josey smiled and put his hand on his coach's shoulder.
"Don't worry, coach. I got this"