Texas Longhorns

1977 - Present
(Authentic Reproduction)




It was Fred Akers who was asked to pick up the pieces after Darrell Royal's .774 winning percentage and he got off to a fine start as Earl Campbell carried the Longhorns to an 11-1 Akers' debut. A nine-year Royal assistant and two year mentor and WAC champion at Wyoming, Akers was well qualified but long time defensive coordinator Mike Campbell was a favorite of the players and Royal but Akers had the grooming and polish of the "new" image the Texas hierarchy wanted to present. Part of that new image was a change to a white face mask that set off the gleaming white UT shell beautifully. With Earl Campbell the focus of an offense that combined the I Formation and Veer Option, the Tyler Rose carried for a Southwest Conference record 1744 yards, nineteen touchdowns (which led the country), and at the end of the season, marred only by a Cotton Bowl loss to nemesis Notre Dame in a 38-10 contest, won the Heisman Trophy. HB Lam Jones did his part and eight starting sophomores on the defense carried Texas to the start of a series of fine seasons for Akers and his Longhorns. 
1978 was somewhat of a let-down for Akers with losses to arch-enemy Oklahoma and SWC upstart Houston as part of their 9-3 record which culminated in a 42-0 whitewash of Maryland in the Sun Bowl. Injuries to DB and future All Pro Glenn Blackwood, LB Tim Campbell, Earl's little brother, and at the quarterback position held the Horns back all season. The defense remained solid with the play of All American DT and future Chicago Bear and pro wrestler Steve McMichael but safety Johnnie Johnson who had a lengthy and productive career with the Rams was the star on that side of the ball. Lam Jones and kicker Russell Erxleben supplied a disproportionate amount of the offense. '79 was another 9-3 season and another Sun Bowl visit although this one proved disappointing with a 14-7 loss to Washington. The record was also affected by playing five undefeated teams although the Longhorns did defeat four of them. Oklahoma and Houston would have had undefeated seasons if not for the losses to Texas. Johnson and McMichael were again All Americans with Johnson also getting national acclaim as a punt returner. RB's Lam Jones and "Jam" Jones made for good copy and good football but the senior-laden defense was the heart of this squad, holding seven opponents to nine points or less. In 1980, Texas had what was for them, a mediocre 7-5 season, marked by another bowl loss, this time to North Carolina in the Bluebonnet Bowl. The record was a bit more palatable to the alumni due to wins over Arkansas in the opener and a big 20-13 upset of Oklahoma in the annual shootout in Dallas. Texas was ranked number two with its 5-0 record after that game but then stumbled against SMU in a 20-6 embarrassment. QB Donnie Little was game but the offense remained inconsistent, even with the talent of Jam Jones. The defense, featuring DE Kenneth Sims (future number one draft choice of the Patriots) and LB Lawrence Sampleton who later played for the Eagles and Dolphins was as inconsistent, yielding critical points to Texas Tech, a game marred by charges against the Horns of ticket scalping, A&M, and then in the Lawrence Taylor dominated loss to North Carolina in the bowl game. Akers would maintain winning records and the traditional Longhorn helmet throughout his reign though the 1986 season but he would never quite live up to the promise the Texas-Exes had for him nor the record of Darrell Royal.

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