When the University of Texas originally planned to build a new Lyndon B. Johnson Library to house the President's papers, some school authorities felt that Memorial Stadium, which houses Coach Darrell Royal's Longhorns, would have to go. The library would need a broad boulevard leading up to it, a beautification move that could be accomplished only if the north end of the stadium grounds was demolished. But no matter. The university would simply build a new stadium at the edge of town.
Royal thought about a stadium off the campus for about five seconds and decided he would rather keep the one he had, thank you, a 66,000-seat horseshoe complete with a $100,000 ex-lettermen's lounge. For both the convenience of students and recruiting, stadiums on campus—often surrounded by trees, malls and academic temples, as the one at Texas is—are far better. Stadiums off a campus tend to be surrounded by motels and taco huts. Royal went to the top, calling his friend Lyndon, who sometimes telephones congratulations to Royal after big Longhorn victories. The coach convinced the country's most famous library builder that the stadium should be preserved—the boulevard could simply lop off the property right up against the end zone. Furthermore, Royal pointed out, the stadium would be filled five times a year, exposing hundreds of thousands of visitors to the beauty of the new Johnson edifice. Royal won another victory for Texas football.
Work is beginning immediately on the library, and Royal is beginning to work on another team that has a chance to be the best in the land—a feat he last managed in 1963. Whether Royal produces another No. 1 team before the President has his building may depend on how well the Longhorns have mended their injuries of last season and how well the coach has managed to restore pride from the ground up.
Between the middle of 1965 and the middle of 1966, Royal's empire collapsed. His teams lost eight of 13 games over that stretch—the same number that Texas had lost in the six full seasons preceding it. The losses were largely due to injuries—at one time or other last season 13 starters were out—but bothering Royal more than the injuries was his concern over what losing was doing to the team's attitude.
"Just because we beat Ole Miss in the Bluebonnet Bowl, somebody started selling bumper stickers which say YEAR OF THE HORNS. That's great, but we don't have a kid who's seen anything better than a 6-4 record, and you can't be really good without seniors who are big winners," says Royal.
If Quarterback Bill Bradley (see cover) and the rest of the Texas wounded are well, the coach may want to retract his statement by November. As a sophomore, Bradley was injured early, and never was what he could be, an old-fashioned triple-threat back with a flair for the dramatic. Now he has had a knee operation and is supposed to be his real self—which means he is more than capable of topping last season's one-legged statistics: 36 completions, 335 yards rushing and a punting average of 42.5.
Bradley will be the deadliest quarterback in football on the keeper play, not just because of his own style but because he has Tailback Chris Gilbert to hand off to. Gilbert, a low-moving runner with terrific balance, gained more than 1,000 yards last year as a sophomore.
Like Bradley, Gilbert was a prized recruit, one sought by more than 50 colleges. His father, Earl Gilbert, a prominent Houston contractor, still looks back with relish on the recruiting days. "One time because of a mixup in the appointment book, we had John David Crow in one room, Lance Alworth in another, a Notre Dame man at the door—and Darrell on the phone."
Chris Gilbert expects defenses to be more poised for him this year, since they have seen what he can do, but if Bradley is healthy, Gilbert does not see how any defense can risk ganging up on him.
Bradley and Gilbert will not require a lot of backfield help, but it is there, anyway, largely in the presence of such glistening sophomores as Ted Koy, the meaner, faster young brother of ex-star Ernie Koy, and Randy Peschel. Where the Longhorns may falter is up front, since Royal is counting heavily on sophomores, slow-healing juniors and one big man, Danny Abbott.
Defensively, Texas should be as vicious as ever with a fleet, experienced secondary, savage linebacking—led by Captain Joel Brame and a sophomore named Glen Halsell, whom one coach calls "a rolling ball of butcher knives"—and fast rushers, among them End Corby Robertson, who was all-conference as a sophomore.
Along with being a top athlete and honor student, Robertson could achieve another distinction before he leaves Austin. On his 21st birthday he may become a millionaire. Robertson is a grandson of the late Hugh Roy Cullen, the famed Houston oilman, and grandsons of Cullen usually inherit a little something when they turn 21.
When you consider that the University of Texas has the President of the U.S., a future millionaire, Bill Bradley and Chris Gilbert all going for it, you can see why the fellow who invented the bumper stickers that say YEAR OF THE HORNS thought he had found a chance worth taking.
Oklahoma at Dallas
at Texas A&M
*Box indicates team's toughest game