Soon, however, Hubbard had A&M football on the road to victory. In 1975, the Rattlers were 9-2, the first time in 11 seasons that they had won that many games. And while they were 6-3-2 in '76, Hubbard felt he had players who were winners. The proof is the winning streak. Goldsmith says, "Rudy is optimistic even when he has no cause to be." Which explains why Hubbard thinks he can raise $100,000 this year from boosters who never have given more than $5,000; he is now about $85,000 short.
And sometimes Hubbard is impatient. It took him four years to get a tower built on the practice field so workouts could be filmed. Now the tower is complete—but a miffed Hubbard is still waiting for the steps to be attached so he can climb up. Appropriately, there's a sign outside Hubbard's office saying, "Getting things done around here is like mating elephants. It's done at a high level. It's accomplished with a lot of roaring and screaming. It takes two years to get any results."
Hubbard had to wait for his confidence in Quarterback Chester to pay off. When Hubbard first saw Chester, on film, as a high school senior, he was appalled to find him alternating at quarterback with a sophomore, on a team that went 2-8. That was bad enough, but the film ended with Chester being hauled off in an ambulance with a broken arm. Nevertheless, A&M decided to take a chance. "He was big," says Hubbard. Today Chester, who is 6'1", 195 pounds, is the Rattlers' best pro prospect. "I can play," he says. "I always reach for the stars. I want to be a Supreme Court Justice."
It was Chester who directed the Rattler blitz of Howard on Saturday, engineering three touchdowns in the first quarter. In A&M's first drive, Albert hit Wingback Bobby Hawkins with consecutive passes good for 31 and 28 yards. Freshman Mike Solomon then went 12 for the score. Three minutes later, Chester passed 12 yards to Tight End David Greene for another touchdown. And just before the end of the quarter, he guided a 59-yard scoring drive, which was climaxed when Tailback Ike Williams, who rushed for 120 yards, went over from the two. Howard came back to score the second touchdown of the year on the Rattlers, but A&M was obviously superior and would extend its streak. Late in the game, Solomon emphasized the point with another score on a three-yard run up the middle.
Hubbard denies the winning streak is subjecting him to pressure. "This is fun," he insists. "Pressure was being an untried head coach with no wins. This is gravy." Indeed, he seems to relish high-risk situations. When he was assistant at Ohio State, he once screwed up his courage and went to Hayes' office to ask for a chance to really coach. Said Hayes, "If you coach, what am I going to do?" The thought was not lost on Hubbard, who is very much the coach at Florida A&M.