BELTON — As two NFL coaches remained hospitalized Monday, Mary Hardin-Baylor’s Pete Fredenburg was thankful to be part of the healthy portion of the coaching fraternity.
“The stress level that goes into the job, especially at the NFL level, can be unreal,” Fredenburg said. “I’ve had friends that decided to coach at that level, and all of a sudden they’re spending every minute up there and sleeping in their office.”
Denver Broncos coach John Fox underwent heart valve replacement Monday, and Houston Texans coach Gary Kubiak remained hospitalized as he underwent tests after collapsing at the end of the first half of Sunday’s game.
“Those guys never get any sleep,” Fredenburg said. “I know just for myself, there are times that I wake up thinking about formations or how to defend things and it keeps running through your mind and you can’t sleep.
“You live it so much that it’s always on your mind and you can’t sleep.”
Second-ranked UMHB steamrolled Howard Payne 80-0 last Saturday, with the final touchdown coming on a 21-yard pass from third-string quarterback Brian Gallagher to freshman receiver Jake Bumgardner.
Quarterbacks coach Cody Fredenburg had taken over play-calling duties by that point in the game, and the elder Fredenburg explained how the play came about.
“You get in a situation where you want to give Brian Gallagher a chance to execute the offense,” he said. “Cody said, ‘Do you care if I run a bootleg?’ I said it was fine. I was envisioning Brian throwing to a guy slipping out in the flat. Well, Brian rolls out and sees the guy on the post route and, bang, it’s a touchdown.
“We never wanted that to happen, but you can’t tell a guy not to do that. Brian Gallagher is a competitor and made a play.”
The Crusaders have been involved in similar blowouts in the past, and Fredenburg knows it’s part of the game.
“You can’t apologize for how your opponent plays,” he said.
The Crusaders returned two interceptions for touchdowns against Howard Payne, marking three times they’ve done that in a span of two games.
“I’ve been part of a game where three were returned in that game, but it wasn’t for my team,” Fredenburg said. “LSU at Auburn. Jamie Howard.”
Fredenburg was on the LSU defensive staff in 1994, when LSU held a 23-9 lead after three quarters at No. 11 Auburn. Howard then threw five fourth-quarter interceptions — three of which were returned for touchdowns — as Auburn stormed back for a 30-26 win.
Junior Kamray Runnells, one of the Crusaders’ top two receivers, missed last week’s game with a foot injury. His status is undetermined for Saturday, when UMHB (8-0, 4-0 American Southwest Conference) hosts East Texas Baptist (2-6, 0-4) at 1 p.m.
“Kamray is getting his walking cast off today, and we’ll see,” Fredenburg said. “If he limps, then they’re going to put it right back on.”