1961 - 65 Tigers
(Authentic Reproduction)





Returning to the multiple stripe helmet arrangement of a one-inch burnt orange center stripe, a 1/2-inch white gap, and 1/2-inch navy blue flanking stripes on their white shell, the Tigers were identified by the large five-inch black rounded numerals on the sides of the helmet and were also now bowl-eligible with Bobby Hunt and young Mailon Kent sharing the QB duties. With big Billy Wilson at the tackle spot, the production of the graduated Dyas was taken up by two soph backs, speedy George Rose and FB Larry Rawson, a terrific blocker. Two-way junior end Dave Edwards was a favored target but was more effective stuffing the run on defense. The 6-4 finish was a disappointment but a number of startling freshmen already looked better than the varsity players they practiced against.
1962 marked the debut of two of Auburn's finest athletes, soph QB Jimmy Sidle and HB-DB Tucker Frederickson. Both were big, muscular, and fast and could have played any position on the field. Sidle at 6'2" 215 pounds and Tucker at 6'2" and 220 were a handful. 240-pound tackle George Gross was nicknamed "Mr. Muscles" at Auburn and with the Chargers due to his power-packed physique. The Tigers started quickly but lost the last three-out-of-four to finish 6-3-1 with a stinging defeat by Alabama of 38-0 but Shug saw the potential of using the running abilities of his backs in a way that would set records in '63. A quarterback as the leading NCAA rusher for '63? Big Jimmy Sidle, a threat to pass or run, utilized the roll-out option almost exclusively, convoyed by Larry Rawson and Tucker Frederickson who still spent time going both ways as an effective defensive back, and rushed for a QB record 1006 yards which at the end of the season, ranked him number two overall in NCAA rushing statistics. The Birmingham Banks H.S. product directed Jordan's "Avalanche Attack" behind his big backs, Frederickson winning the first of two Jacobs Blocking Trophies, signifying the best blocker in the SEC. Off-setting Tucker, this was the debut of the first true I-Formation in the SEC and most of the other staffs could not stop it. Shug wasn't surprised as Sidle had been a 9.9/100 yard dash standout in high school track and also held the state record in the high hurdles. Frederickson remained on defense because of his hitting ability. Only a 13-10 loss to Mississippi State in the final 28 seconds ruined what would have been an unbeaten season as the Tigers went 9-1 and defeated up-to-then undefeated Joe Namath and  Alabama 10-8 on great play from backup QB Mailon Kent. Alabama went to the Sugar Bowl, Auburn to the Orange Bowl where they were beaten by Big 8 champion Nebraska 13-7 but the loss did little to dampen enthusiasm for 1964.
The September 21, 1964 edition of Sports Illustrated magazine is a special issue. On the cover it states, SPECIAL ISSUE: COLLEGE FOOTBALL. Featured on that cover is a painting with a title stating, THE YEAR OF THE RUNNING BACK and the featured back is JIMMY SIDLE OF AUBURN.  The magazine goes on to state that "College Football 1964" is "A RUNNERS' YEAR...AND AUBURN RUNS THE MOST." Quoting pro scouts, they note that "our reports show there are more than 50 first-rate runners in the country this year. And of that list there must be 20 who would star on any team at any time." The very best was considered to be quarterback Jimmy Sidle and why not? He was second in the nation in rushing with Jordan's "Avalanche" roll out option offense where he ran more frequently than he passed but it was the threat of his strong and accurate passing that made the run work, especially with the blocking of HB Tucker Frederickson and FB Larry Rawson. Primed for a repeat of the great '63 offensive showing and 9-1 regular season record, disaster struck in the opening game against Houston as Sidle was dragged down by his throwing arm, tearing his rotator cuff. Obviously limited and with the threat of the pass gone, the Avalanche lost its punch. Point productions of 3, 0, and 3 points against their first three SEC foes forced a switch of Sidle from QB to HB and HB Tom Bryan moved to the signal-calling post. The 6-4 record could have been predicted after Sidle's injury though Frederickson continued to do everything, including the acquisition of another Jacobs Blocking Trophy. He was joined on the All SEC team by LB Bill Cody and tackle Jack Thornton. Frederickson was the first draft choice of the Giants but injuries cost him his entire second year and parts of others and he retired after seven seasons. Sidle signed with the Cowboys and did well through camp but suffered another injury to his shoulder that required surgery. Missing the entire '65 season, he was traded to the Falcons for the '66 season and finished his pro career as a TE with the BC Lions of the CFL. Though end Dave Edwards did not make the SEC honor roll, he was signed as a free agent by the Dallas Cowboys and proceeded to become one of their greatest defensive stars ever, manning a linebacking position continuously from 1963 through 1975.
1965 became a 5-4-1 season that actually won the Tigers a bowl berth. Tom Bryan began the year as a running QB but was team MVP and All SEC as the fullback he was switched to as Joe Campbell got more playing time at the helm. With the re-introduction of full time platoon football, Jordan had to split the squad and was short on depth. LB "Wild Bill" Cody was All Conference and then took his 230 pounds to the NFL for six seasons. Jack Thornton's steady play earned him All SEC notice too but this transitional year was a tough one. Still, the Liberty Bowl, after trying Philadelphia and Atlantic City, N.J. with limited success, moved to Memphis and wanted a southern team to attract fans. They instead chose two southern teams as the Tigers lost to Ole Miss and dropped the record to an even worse 5-5-1!
If one can be "under rated" as an All American, the SEC Most Valuable Player, and the highest vote-getter for Auburn's All-Century Team, then Tucker Frederickson never truly received the acclaim his vast ability demanded. As one of the most highly-sought players coming out of high school from Hollywood, Florida's South Broward High School, Frederickson chose Auburn because the University Of Florida did not have a veterinary medicine program. Seeking to follow in the footsteps of his father, that was his primary focus and being what Shug Jordan claimed was "the most complete football player I have ever seen" was secondary. Frederickson at 6'2", 220-pounds, was a devastating blocker, twice winning the prestigious Jacobs Blocking Award as the best at that craft in the SEC. He was 1964's SEC MVP and an All American, as much for his defensive play at safety as he was as an offensive back who led the backfield sweeps of the famed "Avalanche Attack" and that great two-way performance week after week earned him election to the College Football Hall Of Fame. Ivan Charles Frederickson did it all and was the number one overall draft choice of the NFL and an All Pro in his rookie year with the Giants. Missing all of the '66 season due to a knee injury, he also missed much of the following season with a second injury to the other knee and never recaptured his full abilities. Frederickson retired after the 1971 season and became a very successful businessman, eventually leaving New York City to return to Florida where he has developed a series of famous golf courses.

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