Steve Worster, Texas' All-America fullback, has been called, at various times, King Kong, as in "Like King Kong, Worster plays anywhere he pleases"; Gorilla, as in "Worster runs like a 400-pound gorilla—crooked, but with power"; and Baby Huey, as in "Worster doesn't go around people. He's like Baby Huey, he just goes through them." Call Worster what you may, Texas knows, simply, that if it is going to defend its national championship successfully, much will depend on him. "Take away Worster," James Street is fond of saying, "and the Wishbone T becomes nothing but another broken bone."
Sure, there are still plenty of good strong boys left from last year's undefeated champions, 34 all together, including people like Jimmy Bertelsen, whom they're already calling one of the best halfbacks in Texas history; and Cotton Speyrer, one of the top receivers in the country; and Bobby Wuensch, the All-America tackle; and Bill Atessis and Scott Henderson and Bill Zapalac on defense. And, sure again, like always, there are some tough characters moving up, especially that redshirt Eddie Phillips, whom everyone expects to take over at quarterback. And, yes, of course, Darrell's still around, sometimes losing to Arkansas Coach Frank Broyles in golf but beating him in football, and always offering up his homespun aphorisms. Such as finding a new team leader: "You don't select one. He'll emerge." And on not being complacent: "We not only have to want to win, but we must despise defeat as well." And on Texas' 20-game winning streak: "I don't know if we go out now and enjoy being winners or whether we fight to just keep from being losers."
Those sayings have become so habitual that clichés, though not quite as phlegmatic, are now coming from his players as well. Especially from that Worster, the stud of the crew. "Football is one of the few things left where you can work and watch everything fall into place," he says. "Other places it's not what you know, but who you know." And, "People want to know whether we'll go 10-0. Shoot. I don't know. I do know what we're working for." And, "You know, we seniors haven't lost yet. We'd like not to. Think of it. Beautiful!"
Worster is a model product of the Texas high school football factory. He went to the university trailed by a pile of press clippings and four years as a starter, the last as a high school All-America. National television filmed him during recruiting season, and the Houston bird dog became so familiar at his high school that Worster's own coaches set up a chair for the man and taped his name across the back. Still, going to the university wasn't easy for a boy from Bridge City, and now Worster smiles when he thinks of that transition from high school star to college nobody. "I was small town. I walked on campus carrying all my yellow and white sweat socks. That just showed how green I was."
September 13, 1970
Worster may be more sophisticated now, but on a football field he is all brute. He has scored 22 touchdowns for Texas, most of them while leaving fallen bodies behind him. This autumn he will score more touchdowns and leave more bodies behind him, often enough to keep Texas near the top of the heap.