It's just another Thursday for us," said linebacker Brad Van Pelt, tucking a playbook under his arm. "Yesterday was hectic, sure, but now everything's going smoothly. And Sunday will be, hopefully, the same kind of Sunday we've been having lately."
For Van Pelt and his New York Giants teammates, the brief time before another practice was not spent reflecting on Coach Ray Perkins' leaving at season's end but on thinking about playing the Redskins Sunday in Washington.
"They know everything about us and we know everything about them," rookie running back Butch Woolfolk said. "No surprises."
When Perkins announced Wednesday he would be replacing Paul (Bear) Bryant at Alabama, Woolfolk said, surprise at the move quickly gave way to the everyday matters of football. Game preparation, not idle speculation, was on each player's mind.
"I just don't see how there's been much of a change right now," he said. "Ray is still coach now, and next year is too far away to think about. The St. Louis game (Dec. 26) is even too far off to think about. Any change -- well, I just don't think there'll be one."
Perkins' replacement, Bill Parcells, was beaming from the moment he was selected to take over the Giants, stepping up from defensive coordinator.
"The New York Giants are for Bill Parcells what Alabama is for Ray Perkins," he said Wednesday. "Not many people get to do exactly what they want to do. But right now, I'm still working for Ray Perkins."
Parcells is not bothered by the fact that he never has never coached any aspect of the offense. "My intention is to have an offensive coordinator to turn to, and with the right resources, it'll work out," he said.
Surrounded by nosy notetakers wondering just who is this guy who will replace a fellow who will replace a legend, Parcells patiently answered each momentous question.
Yes, it's true he has a daughter named Dallas. That's D-a-l-l-a-s, as in Cowboys. "Got to change that," he deadpanned.
"Is it too soon to ask who your quarterback will be?"
Parcells laughed at that one. "Way too soon," he said, repeating, "I'm still working for Ray Perkins."
Parcells has been a head coach only once before, at Air Force Academy in 1978, when the Falcons went 3-8. "But that was more games than they had won in seven years," he said with a hint of pride. A year later, he joined the Giants, then left for "personal reasons," spending a year out of football while yearning to be back in it.
"I wasn't despondent, but I was unhappy," he said. "I knew that in a short time, I'd have to get back to football. It's been my life."
The interim year, spent working for a Colorado land development company, put the game into a new light for Parcells. "I saw how outsiders look at football, something I'd never thought about because I'd always been an insider," he said. "I would say that time was a good educational experience for me. But football has always been my life. It's what I've zeroed in on.
"I'm grateful to him (Perkins), but . . . I haven't had time to think about what may transpire later."
His players haven't peered down the road much, either.
"I don't anticipate many changes next year," Van Pelt said. "When things are going well, as they are here, you don't do a heckuva lot of new things. For now, we'll make the playoffs and it'll be a positive year."
Lineback Harry Carson does foresee one change: "Bill will probably smile a whole lot more than Ray."
For two days, Parcells' smile has been constant. "I know my way around here," he said. "I grew up around here (in Bergen County) and I know all the back roads and short cuts to work. I would say I know the territory pretty well."