Texas A&M's strength is in its offense and its attitude. It is a relatively young team, loaded with juniors and sophomores—no less than 12 rookies may wind up earning starting berths on offense and defense—and how it fares early will be very important. The Aggies must prove quickly that they are not stage shy. Their opener on Sept. 16 with defending conference champion SMU will be televised nationally. They follow this one by facing powerful Purdue in what is sure to be a packed Cotton Bowl at Dallas. "If we get by those two," says Stallings, "then folks will have the right to rate us pretty high. But doing it is something else. We do have good backs, but we can't afford any injuries in the offensive line, and our secondary will have to keep its poise. If it doesn't, the old Aggies will still have a long way to go."
The chances are that the Aggies are not as far away as Stallings would like to have his rivals believe. After scouting them in the spring, an LSU assistant coach, Bill Beall, said, "They'll be the surprise team in the country."
If so, more Aggies than Robert Cortez will end up with paint stains on their headgear.
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