Texas A & M

"Aggies" 1972-77
(Authentic Reproduction)


Ushering in a return to a white helmet was Emory Bellard, "Father Of The Wishbone" under Darrell Royal at Texas. Bellard was revered in Texas as a successful high school coach and then the trusted UT assistant who developed the potent Wishbone formation that led Texas back to the SWC throne room. Excitement was high but he did not have the horses to run his pet offense effectively in '72. The new look included an all-white shell with the same kind of large T flanked by smaller A and M letters on each side, now in maroon, and new jerseys but the offense was so ineffective in a 3-8 debut season that the following spring actually brought a shift away from the classic Wishbone formation. History has shown that you need the right QB to run this specific offense and Bellard didn't have one. Newcomer Bubba Bean was a beacon at RB and 165 pound Carl Roaches who later enjoyed a six year NFL career was good on the flank but other than two-way end Richard Osborne who had been the most highly recruited player in Texas the year before, the Cadets had little. The record improved to 5-6 with another frightful loss to Texas in 1973 as Bellard experimented with a straight T or T-Bone option look because he still didn't have the manpower to run the "real" Wishbone. The hybrid offense made the Aggies the third-highest scoring contingent in school history. QB David Walker took over late in the season and spiced up the running game with passes to Roaches (who doubled as an effective return man) and Osborne who settled in at TE. The defense however turned things around, leading the SWC in a number of categories. LB Ed Simonini was a standout and teamed with LB Garth Ten Napel, DB Pat Thomas, and DT Ted Lamp for the surprise turnaround. Things came together in '74 as the Ags posted a jump to 8-3 behind a typical Bellard Wishbone and only the final game loss to Texas kept them from the Cotton Bowl and SWC championship. Bubba Bean again was the workhorse back with Bucky Sams. Roaches and Osborne as the lead receivers. Pat Thomas was named All American and was joined in the secondary by a young Lester Hayes, later to gain notoriety as the stickum-covered DB for the Raiders. Simonini and Ten Napel provided the pounding behind the line as the A&M defense began to develop a reputation, a precursor to the "Wrecking Crew" that came years later. 1975 had the Aggie alum delirious as the Cadets motored through ten consecutive opponents including Texas but had to share the conference title as they dropped the season finale to Arkansas 31-6 and then lost to USC in the Liberty Bowl. Again the defense was superb allowing only eighty rushing yards per game as Tank Marshall (a brief five-appearance career with the Giants), Navarro J.C. transfer Edgar Fields, Simonini (a solid player with the Colts in years to follow), Ten Napel, Robert Jackson, and the developing Hayes became a feared unit. David Shipman was a good running QB and huge frosh FB George Woodard teamed with Bubba Bean (Falcons for three years) to run an effective Wishbone. There was enough passing to Osborne who had a productive five year NFL stint to open things up for the runners. Bellard's problem in '76 was the replacement of nine four-year lettermen and eleven starters. Marshall and Fields (later with the Falcons and Lions) returned to again lead a stifling run defense with only three foes gaining more than 100 yards on the ground. LB Robert Jackson developed into an All American player before heading off to the Browns and Lester Hayes was one of the best DB's in the nation. The offense finally found a QB in former starter David Walker and his backfield was devastating. FB Woodard, now up to 265 gained 1153 yards while freshman Curtis Dickey, the focus of a spirited recruiting battle, added 726. The O-line finally had some name players in Cody Risien who used his 6'7" frame effectively for the Browns over an eleven-year pro career and center Mark Dennard who later performed well for the Dolphins and Eagles. The resultant 10-2 record and victory over Florida in the Sun Bowl was helped along by a matinee kicker named Tony Franklin and it seemed as if Bellard finally had a dynasty in the making. Many thought that 1977 would bring national honors to A&M and they had the material to bolster those aspirations. Walker at QB backed up by super-frosh Mike Mosley, Woodard at FB, Dickey at HB, Riesen and Dennard up front led a stacked offense.Yet, a disappointing 8-4 mark resulted from a suspect and thin defense. The vaunted offense came through, with Woodard and Dickey combining for 2085 rushing yards and a late-to-start Mosley excelling. The defense got stoned for big yards and big scores against Michigan and Texas and was generally inconsistent. Jacob Green flashed the brilliance that led to his first-draft-choice status of the Seahawks and future Pro Bowl selections at DE. Kicker Franklin remained a potent weapon but Bellard was clearly frustrated by this team's results which included a 47-28 loss to USC in the Bluebonnet Bowl.

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