1956 - 57 Tigers
(Authentic Reproduction)




1956 began a Golden Age of football for Auburn, one that put them on the national map and forged their reputation as a perennial national contender. Despite the probationary restrictions, the Tigers ripped off twenty-four straight wins from the seventh game of '56 through the end of the 1958 season. The foundation of the success of 1956, a 7-3 year, rested with Jim "Red" Phillips, a big end who played at All American quality on both sides of the football. The other end was anchored by Jerry Wilson who augmented the young backfield of QB Howell Tubbs, and HB's Tommy Lorino and Bobby Hoppe. A supposed weakness at tackle never showed itself and after concluding the year with a decisive 34-7 victory over rival Alabama, Shug knew he had a great team.

Despite NCAA probation that prevented bowl appearances, Auburn was eligible for and won national honors. Wearing the same white Riddell helmet and striping style worn in '56, they again utilized a thick 1.5-inch burnt orange center stripe, had a 3/4-inch white gap and 1/2-inch navy blue flanking stripes which gave their headgear an attractive and distinctive appearance during both the '56 and 1957 seasons. Still ranked as one of the best of all collegiate teams, the 1957 Auburn squad had great strength on the line and they won with defense. They held Georgia on four plays inside their five-yard line, ran four of their own plays before fumbling, and then held Georgia again on four successive goal-line plays. This was typical as the defense gave up but seven points to four opponents, and a seasonal yield of only twenty-eight points! Left-handed HB Lloyd Nix was moved from HB to QB in part to take advantage of his defensive skills and with ball control, a great strategic kicking game, and that stifling defense, beat everyone they faced. Once again the Tiger strength was in the two-way line with sophs Jackie Burkett at center and guard  Roger Duane "Zeke" Smith (earning the nickname in high school as he idolized Georgia QB and future pro standout Zeke Bratkowski), and dual All SEC ends Jerry Wilson and Red Phillips. Phillips also was named All American for his two-way play and went on to a ten-year pro career with the Rams and Vikings. With the 165-pound halfback Bobby Lorino sharing the rushing duties with FB Billy Atkins (who played eight years for the 49'ers and as a two-way back for three AFL teams including two separate stints with the Bills), QB Nix had plenty of weapons. The great defense led the nation in both total and rushing defense and without a chance to go to a bowl game, took out that frustration in a furious 40-0 defeat of Alabama, a loss that served as the impetus for the Tide to hire Bear Bryant.

If interested in any of these Auburn helmets please click on the photos below.