Texas A & M

"Aggies" 1965-71
(Authentic Reproduction)


 With former Bryant player and assistant coach Gene Stallings as the new head coach for 1965 and a staff of assistants that included five former Cadet players, it was no surprise that many of the old A&M/Alabama characteristics of their championship teams were put into place: tough conditioning, an emphasis on defense, and a harsh work ethic. Some defense was needed too as the offense sputtered and was shut out on four occasions. Soph QB Harry Ledbetter had little help and Stallings was looking to a fast and talented frosh group to contribute in '66 as they closed his debut year with a disappointing 3-7 record. Entering '66, Stallings chose to keep the helmet design he had introduced in his inaugural season, a maroon shell as Foldberg had brought back, but with a distinctive ATM on each side, the A and M quite a bit smaller than the center T. In 1966 Edd Hargett was targeted as the sophomore behind whom this team would succeed. He in turn would run and pass behind transfer Maurice "Big Mo" Moorman, a huge tackle who had fled the boot camp-like atmosphere that Charles Bradshaw had instituted at Kentucky. With Moorman at 6'7", 248, former Aggie and 49er tackle Charlie Krueger's "little" brother Rolf at 6'4", 227, and the 6'6", 236 Jack Pyburn up front, A&M had plenty of size. Soph Wendell Housley took over one RB spot from other more heralded first year players and the team improved a notch to 4-5-1 as LB Bill Hobbs and future LSU head coach Curly Hallman led a developing defense. Hopes were realistically higher for 1967 but Stallings and his team did it the hard way. They dropped their first four games and then stormed back to win six in a row, capture the Cotton Bowl birth with their 6-1 conference record, finally tally a win against Texas at 10-7, and shockingly defeat Alabama 20-16 in the Cotton Bowl as student Stallings beat his mentor Paul Bryant. What became a famous photo showed Bryant hoisting the ecstatic Stallings aloft after the final gun, obviously proud of his favorite student. The defense grew tougher game by game led by Hobbs who was rewarded by being named the SWC Defensive Player Of The Year, All American, and the Cotton Bowl MVP. Rolf Krueger turned into a stud tackle, following in his brother's footsteps, while Hallman was a leader as both a DB and punt returner. QB Hargett and bulked-up-to-fullback Housley again stayed behind the Moorman led line and it appeared that Stallings had a powerhouse in the making. In '68 with SWC Soph Back Of The Year Larry Stegent, Housley, and Hargett returning, it was felt that Stallings would continue to roll but a lack of depth hurt. With only TE Ross Brupbacher (LB for the Bears for four years and a WFL star) leading a lackluster O-line, Stallings was frustrated by inconsistent offensive play. Despite the return of LB Hobbs, DB Hallman, and DT Krueger and the abilities of Dave Elmendorf (Rams DB 1971-'79) who played six positions well, the defense was not good. Only soph DE Mike DeNiro who was tabbed All SWC looked good for the future. The 3-7 finish was not expected. In '69, the graduation of a number of three-year starters set off alarm bells. It was hoped that Stegent would return to his sophomore form but again, other than Brupbacher, the line played in an undistinguished manner. Van Odom and Winston Beam were sophs expected to contribute and they did. Beam played well on the D-line and Elmendorf was back again for another big season. Unfortunately, another 3-7 slate and 49-12 thrashing by Texas led to the end-of-the-year firing of five assistants as Stallings tried to right the ship. 1970 presented Elmendorf as a pre-season All American, and a promising backfield duo in sophs QB Lex James and RB Brad Dusek, Despite the promise, the Ags averaged but 212 yards per game and most shockingly went 0-7 in SWC play and 2-9 overall. The 1967 Cotton Bowl win no doubt bought Stallings another year but the wolf was baying at the door. 1971 spring practice was severely disrupted by illness and injuries leading to some question marks going into the season. However, the Cadets did improve over their previous three years' records but not enough to save Stallings job. James, Dusek, and Mark Green led the limited offense while DT Boise Best, LB Dennis Carruth, and safety Ed Ebrom held together for a few outstanding defensive efforts. The 5-6 finish however wasn't enough to maintain Stallings' status and Wishbone inventor Emory Bellard was hired from the Texas staff to revive the Aggies' football fortunes.

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