On hindsight, he may have been better off outside. So, it developed after a tense and wonderfully exciting game, would have Arkansas, which lost as important a game as it ever played and lost, furthermore, in the last desperate 36 seconds 7-3 when Texas Halfback Tommy Ford barreled into the Arkansas end zone with the winning touchdown. Victory for Arkansas would have meant the school's first undefeated season in SWC history and a record four straight Southwest Conference championships for Arkansas Coach Frank Broyles. Instead, it meant Texas' first undefeated season in 39 years, and a third championship for Texas' Darrell Royal, the previous two having been shared with Arkansas.
These teams will dominate the Southwest again in 1963. The Game will move to Little Rock, where 41,000 will be on hand to witness whether Ford and Co. can win again. Ford, an inspired all-conference runner, returns with 27 other lettermen who will give Royal the deepest and soundest squad of his seven years at Texas. There are some third-unit tackles, guards and ends who probably could start for half of the other seven teams in the SWC. There are also 14 seniors who have lost but one regular-season game in two years.
The best of all the seniors is Scott Appleton, a 6-foot-3, 235-pound tackle who is almost certain to become an All-America. Royal, normally as sparing with adjectives as a Trappist monk is with words, says, "He wrecked our spring. He wasn't blocked eight times. It became a joke that whoever was No. 2 weak-side guard [the player across from Appleton in Royal's flip-flop offense] would automatically move down to No. 3 the next week."
While Texas' main strength lies in the line, Ford will not be lonely in the back-field. Ernie Koy, 6 feet 2, 215 pounds and fast, the league's top sophomore a year ago and one of the nation's very best punters, has moved from wingback to fullback. On the wing, explosiveness has been added in the form of Phil Harris, a 6-foot, 195-pound sophomore. Royal has never balked at using sophomores, and Harris is one of four Texas rookies who will play a lot. The others are George Sauer Jr., son of the ex-Nebraska All-America and current New York Jet director of player personnel, a flashy end who can become the Longhorns' finest pass receiver in decades; Tommy Nobis, a wild little linebacker who wants to become the new Pat Culpepper and most likely will; and Kristynik, who, Royal explains, "can't do anything but move a team."
Royal will shuttle Kristynik into the games behind, between or perhaps ahead of seniors Carlisle and Wade. Worst news of all for Arkansas: Royal has never lost a game in Arkansas.
But no one is feeling sorry for Arkansas, which almost never loses to any SWC team except Texas. The Razor-backs, in fact, have not lost a game in November (they play Texas in October) since Broyles became head coach in 1958, and they have meanwhile won a total of 18. There is no reason to think they will not go on winning that way. Broyles has organized the entire state behind him, just as Johnny Vaught has at Mississippi, and very few good high school prospects ever escape his waiting embrace. Arkansas should win nine games this season, losing only to Texas.
Like most college coaches, Broyles is fond of bromides. One of his favorites is "luck follows speed." The Razorbacks live by it and by Broyles' uncanny knack of improvising. Last year, for instance, he transformed his best linebacker, Danny Brabham, into an all-conference fullback. Brabham is gone, and so is All-America Quarterback Billy Moore. The losses would bother a lot of teams, but Arkansas has 24 lettermen, the most good tackles Broyles ever had, the most ends, led by dazzling receiver Jerry Lamb, a superb linebacker-center in Ronnie Caveness, an equally superb "nose [middle] guard" in Mike Hales and a host of nondescript yet furiously determined running backs like George Rea Walker. Billy Gray, who replaces Moore, is the quickest quarterback of Broyles' regime. But the Porker who scares Broyles because he is so good is sophomore Quarterback Jon Brittenum, a deadly passer. Broyles hates to play sophomores and ordinarily would hold Brittenum out, "but I might be leaving a couple of victories on the bench," says Broyles.
TCU, the third best team in the Southwest, is a good step removed from the leaders. To compound its troubles, TCU must face Arkansas in the first SWC game, and this is a task it has found almost impossible during recent years. For this season TCU has 28 lettermen and the largest team in the conference despite the loss of Sonny Gibbs. It will be a power team, featuring the bruising runs of Fullback Tommy Crutcher, who is also an excellent linebacker and, in the opinion of many, the most complete football player in the conference. Outside running should come from Jimmy Fauver, a junior who is a breakaway runner, but quarterback will cause miseries. The line is deep and solid, led by 6-foot-6, 255-pound Center Ken Henson. "They'll do," says Coach Abe Martin, with his unfaltering optimism. "But every time I get to thinkin' we're pretty good, a pro scout comes through talkin' about Texas and Arkansas and Rice and Baylor and all of a sudden I'm fightin' for fifth."
If TCU does wind up fifth, then undoubtedly RICE and BAYLOR will be the reason. Like TCU, the Owls of Jess Neely have seven returning starters, including two fine fullbacks in Russell Wayt and Paul Piper. Unlike the Horned Frogs, however, the Owls have a proven quarterback in Walter McReynolds, who was a good sophomore in 1962.
Should Rice suddenly develop into something more than predicted, the reason will be two players named Walker. Malcolm Walker is a center who was so good as a freshman that longtime Owl supporters rated him the school's all-time center. A junior now, the 6-foot-4, 240-pound Dallas product may be ready to prove it in a conference of good centers. The other Walker (no relation) is Gene, a sophomore running back who is 6 feet 2, weighs 202 and is not only fast but shifty. Neely most often treats sophomores like a disease, but Gene Walker was on the first team almost before spring training began.