3 A Helluva Mess

The first few days of practice after the win over the Czechs were difficult, for the coaches as much as the players. It was as if the recruiting season had leveled them all with one big roundhouse punch. Weber was physically and emotionally drained from long hours and the birth of his daughter. Stallings, at 27 a relative newcomer to the experience, and a high-strung personality to begin with, crashed the hardest, coming down with a virus.

Keady was battling a sore throat, but otherwise was anxious to keep up the pace. The start of the regular season not only quickened his pulse, it also meant his life would become more streamlined for the next six months. One of the reasons for his widespread popularity among Purdue fans is his willingness to get out and mix it up with the public. At 51, an age when most coaches cut back on public appearances, he continues to travel throughout the state. Pat had noted late in October that he had just spent three consecutive nights at home for the first time since the previous June.