The ball was on Baylor's 10-yard line and as Quarterback Don Trull began calling signals, Rice shifted into a short-yardage defense. Trull quickly changed signals, calling a pass to Flanker "Back Lawrence Elkins. The play gained 42 yards and sent Baylor on its way to a touchdown that broke open the game and resulted in a 28-15 victory.
"Don's so smart and alert at reading defenses," says Baylor Coach John Bridgers, "that we got more check-off plays under him last year than we ever have before. He's apt to give you 15 or 20 audibles in a game. Against Texas, the toughest defense in the league, Don took us the length of the field for a touchdown, calling plays at the line of scrimmage on every down."
Baylor's Don Trull, who is back for his senior season, does much more than read defenses. He throws the football in the lusty tradition of the Southwest Conference that has produced such passers as Sammy Baugh, Davey O'Brien, Bobby Layne and Don Meredith. Trull (it rhymes with drool) was the most successful major-college passer in the U.S. last year, with 125 completions in 229 attempts for 11 touchdowns.
September 22, 1963
"His sense of timing is as good as any college quarterback's I've ever seen," says Bridgers. "He anticipates so well. He has good judgment. He can stay in the pocket and throw, and he can run, too. Best of all, he has a quick arm and he's worked hard at learning how to throw an easy-to-catch ball. He's going to make a fine pro quarterback."
An easy-to-catch pass is a football thrown with the nose up. Don Trull, who went to Baylor for the price of a postage stamp (Bridgers wrote a letter to Oklahoma City), may be the only passer who ever learned how to keep the nose up by throwing constantly at a gymnasium wall. Explains Trull: "If you throw the ball at a wall and it bounces straight back, the nose is up."
Trull keeps his grades up, too. Thus, his praise comes from all directions, including Baylor's mathematics department, where the 6-foot-1, 179-pound quarterback is an A and B student. Already drafted by the Baltimore Colts, Trull would like to become another John Unitas and already talks like a pro. "The passing game, properly done, is unstoppable," he says. "The receiver has the big advantage. He knows where he's going. The defensive man doesn't."
Trull is a talkative, warm, fast-grinning youngster, who exposes such a mouthful of teeth that his teammates nicknamed him "Gator." He was an all-state quarterback in Oklahoma City but Baylor was one of only three schools remotely interested in him. This year he will have little competition from other quarterbacks in the SWC. At least four teams have serious quarterback problems. Arkansas' Billy Gray is a quick, roll-out-type threat, and Rice's Walter McReynolds has a good arm. Texas' strange combination of Duke Carlisle (who may be a better defensive safety than anything), Tommy Wade, a fine drop-back passer, and run-conscious sophomore Marv Kristynik could conceivably equal Don Trull, but that is three against one and against the rules.
It was not always so. but when TEXAS and ARKANSAS meet these days there is a madness in the air. Their game has become The Game of the Southwest Conference. Last year 68,000 watched the teams play in Memorial Stadium in Austin, which is a matter of record and not surprising, considering the circumstances, except for one minor point—there were only 65,810 seats. Outside, a would-be spectator's sign read, 'if I don't get in, I'll kill myself."
On hindsight, he may have been better off outside. So, it developed after a tense and wonderfully exciting game, would have Arkansas, which lost as important a game as it ever played and lost, furthermore, in the last desperate 36 seconds 7-3 when Texas Halfback Tommy Ford barreled into the Arkansas end zone with the winning touchdown. Victory for Arkansas would have meant the school's first undefeated season in SWC history and a record four straight Southwest Conference championships for Arkansas Coach Frank Broyles. Instead, it meant Texas' first undefeated season in 39 years, and a third championship for Texas' Darrell Royal, the previous two having been shared with Arkansas.
These teams will dominate the Southwest again in 1963. The Game will move to Little Rock, where 41,000 will be on hand to witness whether Ford and Co. can win again. Ford, an inspired all-conference runner, returns with 27 other lettermen who will give Royal the deepest and soundest squad of his seven years at Texas. There are some third-unit tackles, guards and ends who probably could start for half of the other seven teams in the SWC. There are also 14 seniors who have lost but one regular-season game in two years.
The best of all the seniors is Scott Appleton, a 6-foot-3, 235-pound tackle who is almost certain to become an All-America. Royal, normally as sparing with adjectives as a Trappist monk is with words, says, "He wrecked our spring. He wasn't blocked eight times. It became a joke that whoever was No. 2 weak-side guard [the player across from Appleton in Royal's flip-flop offense] would automatically move down to No. 3 the next week."
While Texas' main strength lies in the line, Ford will not be lonely in the back-field. Ernie Koy, 6 feet 2, 215 pounds and fast, the league's top sophomore a year ago and one of the nation's very best punters, has moved from wingback to fullback. On the wing, explosiveness has been added in the form of Phil Harris, a 6-foot, 195-pound sophomore. Royal has never balked at using sophomores, and Harris is one of four Texas rookies who will play a lot. The others are George Sauer Jr., son of the ex-Nebraska All-America and current New York Jet director of player personnel, a flashy end who can become the Longhorns' finest pass receiver in decades; Tommy Nobis, a wild little linebacker who wants to become the new Pat Culpepper and most likely will; and Kristynik, who, Royal explains, "can't do anything but move a team."
Royal will shuttle Kristynik into the games behind, between or perhaps ahead of seniors Carlisle and Wade. Worst news of all for Arkansas: Royal has never lost a game in Arkansas.
But no one is feeling sorry for Arkansas, which almost never loses to any SWC team except Texas. The Razor-backs, in fact, have not lost a game in November (they play Texas in October) since Broyles became head coach in 1958, and they have meanwhile won a total of 18. There is no reason to think they will not go on winning that way. Broyles has organized the entire state behind him, just as Johnny Vaught has at Mississippi, and very few good high school prospects ever escape his waiting embrace. Arkansas should win nine games this season, losing only to Texas.
Like most college coaches, Broyles is fond of bromides. One of his favorites is "luck follows speed." The Razorbacks live by it and by Broyles' uncanny knack of improvising. Last year, for instance, he transformed his best linebacker, Danny Brabham, into an all-conference fullback. Brabham is gone, and so is All-America Quarterback Billy Moore. The losses would bother a lot of teams, but Arkansas has 24 lettermen, the most good tackles Broyles ever had, the most ends, led by dazzling receiver Jerry Lamb, a superb linebacker-center in Ronnie Caveness, an equally superb "nose [middle] guard" in Mike Hales and a host of nondescript yet furiously determined running backs like George Rea Walker. Billy Gray, who replaces Moore, is the quickest quarterback of Broyles' regime. But the Porker who scares Broyles because he is so good is sophomore Quarterback Jon Brittenum, a deadly passer. Broyles hates to play sophomores and ordinarily would hold Brittenum out, "but I might be leaving a couple of victories on the bench," says Broyles.
TCU, the third best team in the Southwest, is a good step removed from the leaders. To compound its troubles, TCU must face Arkansas in the first SWC game, and this is a task it has found almost impossible during recent years. For this season TCU has 28 lettermen and the largest team in the conference despite the loss of Sonny Gibbs. It will be a power team, featuring the bruising runs of Fullback Tommy Crutcher, who is also an excellent linebacker and, in the opinion of many, the most complete football player in the conference. Outside running should come from Jimmy Fauver, a junior who is a breakaway runner, but quarterback will cause miseries. The line is deep and solid, led by 6-foot-6, 255-pound Center Ken Henson. "They'll do," says Coach Abe Martin, with his unfaltering optimism. "But every time I get to thinkin' we're pretty good, a pro scout comes through talkin' about Texas and Arkansas and Rice and Baylor and all of a sudden I'm fightin' for fifth."
If TCU does wind up fifth, then undoubtedly RICE and BAYLOR will be the reason. Like TCU, the Owls of Jess Neely have seven returning starters, including two fine fullbacks in Russell Wayt and Paul Piper. Unlike the Horned Frogs, however, the Owls have a proven quarterback in Walter McReynolds, who was a good sophomore in 1962.
Should Rice suddenly develop into something more than predicted, the reason will be two players named Walker. Malcolm Walker is a center who was so good as a freshman that longtime Owl supporters rated him the school's all-time center. A junior now, the 6-foot-4, 240-pound Dallas product may be ready to prove it in a conference of good centers. The other Walker (no relation) is Gene, a sophomore running back who is 6 feet 2, weighs 202 and is not only fast but shifty. Neely most often treats sophomores like a disease, but Gene Walker was on the first team almost before spring training began.
Baylor, thin as usual, not only has to combat the conceded depth of its foes, but Coach John Bridgers' Bears must listen to all of the jokes about not winning a conference title since 1924. Baylor fans can take heart that their team loses championships excitingly. No team in the country opens up the game more than the Bears, and with Don Trull still around, the trademark will stick this season. A fine crop of receivers for Trull, including Lawrence Elkins and James Rust, will make Baylor fun again and capable of upsetting the best.
One team that just as well could have forgotten football a year ago is TEXAS A & M. Coach Hank Foldberg, who replaced Jim Myers in 1962, instituted what some critics called the "confusion T," and the Aggies ran more than 50 different formations. They still were led in scoring by departed field goal kicker (he kicked seven) Mike Clark.
This year the pragmatic Foldberg is ditching most of his formations and returning to an attack based on a few plays and power. Jim Linnstaedter, a fine runner, has moved to quarterback. In the line are 6-foot-5, 259-pound Ray Kubala, a tower of a center and linebacker, and Guard Melvin Simmons. The Cadets figure to be ornery down the middle, with Fullback Jerry Rogers running behind Kubala.
SMU is another school seeking recovery under a new coach, Hayden Fry. All through last season, his first, Fry's talent was sparse, but he came up with enough gimmicks to promote a fanatical Mustang spirit, and SMU not only played a close game with every opponent save one, it won two, and Fry was voted the SWC Coach of the Year. This season most of the same Ponies return, including Quarterback Don Campbell, nifty runner Billy Cannon, exceptional Linebacker John Hughes and standout Tackle John Knee. Moreover, Fry has products of the best freshman team in the SWC last year, including such outstanding prospects as Mac White, a quarterback, Mike Tabor, a 215-pound fullback, and Guard Jim Sitton. "All we were looking for were warm bodies a year ago," says Fry. "The bodies are a little warmer and there are a few more of them now."
The warmest body in the league may well belong to Donny (Boom Boom) Anderson, who is expected to lead Coach J T King and TEXAS TECH out of the wilderness of the South Plains. Anderson is 6 feet 3, weighs 195 and is already called by some the finest back ever to enroll at Tech. In high school he put the shot 53 feet, ran the high hurdles in 14.9, high-jumped 6 feet 2 and turned down a baseball offer promising him an off-season eight-year college education at $800 per month. Anderson is one of many sophomores King will rely on as Tech recruiting begins to pay dividends. Quarterback will be shared by two rookies, Ben Elledge and Danny Scarborough, both among the "most wanted" list during their senior year in high school. Another sophomore, Leo Lowery of Lovington, N. Mex., will be at fullback. There is one outstanding senior, End David Parks, whom King considers to be "the kind of boy a coach gets once in 10 years." Tech will have to prove itself in 1963, but Donny Anderson may have the Red Raiders coming faster than anyone suspects.
Outside the Southwest Conference, exceptional backfield men continue to float around all over Texas. The UNIVERSITY OF HOUSTON even has a gravedigger for a halfback. He is Joe Lopasky, a 205-pound junior from Lehman, Pa. who worked in a cemetery at home before scoring three touchdowns against Baylor and personally annihilating Miami of Ohio in the Tangerine Bowl. "He's one of the best runners I've seen inside the 20," says Coach Bill Yeoman, who came to Houston from Duffy Daugherty's staff at Michigan State. "Our whole backfield potential is greater than any I saw at Michigan State, but we'll need it." The Cougars have a stiff independent schedule that includes Auburn, Ole Miss, Alabama, Baylor, Texas A & M and Mississippi State.
Another foreigner in Texas, Pistol Pete Pedro from Massachusetts, is back for his senior year at WEST TEXAS STATE. Pedro is only 5 feet 9 and 165 pounds, but he has exceptional speed and superb balance. Although injured for the better part of four games as a junior last year, he still gained 831 yards and put Coach Joe Kerbel's team in the Sun Bowl. The Buffaloes should be headed there again.
If Pete Pedro is too fast for the pro scouts to keep up with, they will probably linger a while at NORTH TEXAS STATE, where Coach Odus Mitchell has three bright prospects across the top of his T—All-Missouri Valley Fullback Dwain Bean and Halfbacks Bobby Smith and A. D. Whitfield. For two years Smith has been called "the new Abner Haynes," but Bean and Whitfield have proved just as devastating.
Texas Western and Trinity have little experience and the accent is clearly on the future for both. Sophomore Jerry Tucker adds passing to Texas Western's attack. Halfback Obert Logan, who averaged 5.2 yards a year ago, is Trinity's man to stop. Everything at ABILENE CHRISTIAN hinges on the slick running of Owen Morrison again. His habit is breaking up games, as Fresno State and MCMURRY can testify. If McMurry's Don Mraz, who runs and passes, does well by his quarterback inheritance, the Indians should be better than their 6-4 record, HARDIN-SIMMONS is putting all of its hopes on Pat Batten, a 220-pound halfback who makes 4.2 yards each time he carries the ball. Good as Batten is, his team must expect nothing but the worst.
Smartest is Trull
After Texas and Arkansas, a big gap
A&M, SMU and Tech are coming on