The pregame music at a Wichita Wild football game is eardrum-busting under normal circumstances, so general manager Mike McCoy's decision to turn the volume up before last season's conference championship game was nothing less than shocking.
But he had good reason.
River City wide receiver Hurtis Chinn was in town, and the little guy with a big mouth — as he was known around the league — could be counted on to target opponents and fans with non-stop chatter, finely tuned insults and general obnoxiousness. All before kickoff.
Thus McCoy's preemptive strike: Pumping up the jam more than usual.
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"Whenever he came to Wichita, it seemed like he was especially annoying. Drove me crazy," McCoy said. "He was always smiling or smirking when he said something and there was never anything obscene, but I still didn't want to listen to him."
After the game, which River City won, Chinn continued yakking, telling McCoy that he loved Hartman Arena and could envision himself playing in the new building.
"Uh, I don't even like you," McCoy responded.
Still, the pair hugged it out and, when River City folded during the offseason, coach Ken Matous took a chance and signed Chinn as a free agent.
A wise move. He has certainly made all the right noise for the Wild.
After a slow start, Chinn is showing signs of developing into a reliable No. 2 receiver — exactly what the Wild offense desperately needs as a complement to standout Clinton Solomon.
Last week, in the Wild's victory at Sioux City, Chinn enjoyed a breakout performance, catching eight passes for 115 yards and a touchdown.
"He's coming on every week," said quarterback Dixie Wooten, who played with Chinn in River City and helped recruit him to Wichita. "The thing that makes him so tough is he can catch a one-yard pass and take it the whole field or he can go deep and catch the long ball."
Indeed, Chinn showed his explosiveness early last week. In the first quarter, Solomon ran a hitch route, drawing in the safety, and Chinn blew by the cornerback, hauling in a 44-yard touchdown catch.
Solomon, the unquestioned star of the receiving corps, is amazed that some teams still double team him, leaving Chinn with one-on-one coverage.
"Honestly, I don't know what's wrong with these defensive coordinators," Solomon said. "They must not understand he's a great receiver. He has hands, great routes, speed. Shoot, if I had his speed, I'd be in the league (NFL).
"I figure his only downfall is his height, but he plays real big."
Ah, size. Eventually, when discussing Chinn, the topic always turn to his height — or lack thereof. The facts are slippery, just like Chinn on a post route.
At Western New Mexico, he was listed at 5-9. At River City, a laughable 5-10. The Wild roster says 5-8.
Officially, according to the team's training staff, Chinn checks in at 5-7 1/2.
"I think that works to his advantage sometimes," Matous said. "He lulls people to sleep because they think, 'Shoot, I can cover this little guy.' Before they know it, he's past them."
Chinn may be small, but he can pack a powerful punch, thanks to a muscular, 198-pound frame. Wooten said Chinn owns the weight room, and that strength allows him to be an uncommonly effective blocker for a wide receiver.
Chinn relishes such praise.
"If you take pride in blocking, it makes you the all-around receiver," Chinn said. "I never wanted my man to be the one who stopped the running back from scoring a touchdown."
The Wild (7-3) plays host to San Angleo (also 7-3) tonight, and the Stampede should be forewarned that Chinn will almost assuredly be vocal. (And there won't be any volume-control help from McCoy.)
What should San Angelo expect?
"It's gonna be a long night for you."
"Why'd you even bother showing up?"
"Great night to be in Wichita — unless you're from San Angelo."
The verbal jabs are designed to annoy and unnerve the opponent.
"Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't," Chinn said. "When it does work, it's beneficial to my team. And I love doing it.
"But the best is when you back up the talk with a couple big plays."