1949 - 50 Gators
(Authentic Reproduction)



The 13-24-2 record of Ray "Bear" Wolf between 1946 and 1949 brought the decision to make a change in the head coaching position at the University Of Florida but it might amuse some to know that Wolf's debut run of thirteen consecutive losses earned his coaching tenure the sarcastic term of "The Golden Era" because it wasn't. Wolf had been a TCU standout and then the head man at North Carolina until the military brought him to the rank of Major during WW II. His Double Wing offense never really got off the ground with 1948's 5-5 record the high-water mark. Even with talented HB Chuck Hunsinger, famous enough to have a song written and sung about him throughout the South and a good 28-7 win over an uncharacteristically weak Georgia team, Wolf's 4-5-1 record in 1949 would not be enough to hold his job. Florida would remain a tough place to win until changes were made in admission policies, but even the governor became involved, wanting the state to have a football-playing university that was representative and could on occasion, beat their neighbors from Georgia. On January 6, 1950, Baylor head coach Bob Woodruff was hired but only after he insisted on a commitment that would at least give him a fighting chance to compete. While the football budget allowed for the 1949 introduction of blue plastic Riddell helmets with a one-inch orange center stripe, much more was needed. Woodruff was a former Tennessee linemen under General Bob Neyland, the line coach under Bobby Dodd at Georgia Tech, had risen to the rank of Major in the Army during the War and then coached under Earl Blaik at West Point, thus he had the pedigree needed to be successful. He brought Baylor to a point of respectability as their head coach in 1947 through '49 and took the Florida job on January 6, 1950. However, he insisted upon and received the commitment to expand Florida Field and play home games there instead of barnstorming all over the state as had been done previously. An annual high school coaches clinic and All Star game was initiated to make for better relationships and recruiting and he was able to assemble a larger coaching staff that included future Arkansas legendary head coach Frank Broyles. Unfortunately, Woodruff could not overcome the increased admissions standards that were instituted because of Florida's expanding population. A placement test and the need for higher grades made the Gators' admission requirements much more stringent than those required for other SEC schools, which hampered recruiting and left many excellent Florida players to attend out-of-state rivals. Woodruff was best known as a terrible public speaker who had poor media relations and did not particularly care. He was extremely conservative, running a T-Formation Offense designed to keep games close so that his defense could control most games. These two factors would eventually be his undoing. His odd expression, which he screamed at the defense before and during games to psyche them up, was "Oski-wow-wow" and the players would holler this strange scream out when they did something positive defensively, such as making an interception. Through the fifties and into the sixties, it became common practice, especially for the Southern teams, to have the intercepting player yelling "Oski, oski" to alert teammates that they had gained possession of the football, and this is where the expression originated. Woodruff's 1950 squad was little improved over Wolf's final record at 5-5 but the early development of soph QB Haywood Sullivan who was a great passer, stout FB Rick Casares, and HB's Charley LaPradd and Buford Long made him look forward to 1951.

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