PHIL FULMER'S MORNING ROUTINE, INTERRUPTED

You realize that Phil Fulmer probably waddled strode confidently into his office this morning, grabbed his cup of coffee and slab of batter-fried venision bagel, and thought happy thoughts. Tough days make tough people, Phil. Tough people get through tough times. He probably checked the wall: yup, trophies still there. Looked in the mirror. Yup, Pumpkinhead Champion still looking back at him.

He reviewed the emails for the day. He perused some notes Chavis left for him, and then probably brought in Dave Clawson to slap him until his cheeks bled talk some third down strategy. Then a few recruiting calls: just a check-in, a little how ya' doin' with his cheat sheet in hand to remember who he was talking to and what they liked, being careful not to confuse them and insult the tender but unstable ego of the blue-chipper he was trying to woo to Knoxville.

Then, he looked through his mail and found an envelope. It was postmarked "Starkville," and contained one thing: an 8 X 10 glossy:

And a note that read "YOU'RE NEXT.--CROOM"

Then the world grew cold, his blood coagulated to icy sludge in his veins, and for the first time Phil Fulmer knew fear, for it was holding him tight in his very arms like an arctic boa constrictor.

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