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The ball was on Baylor's 10-yard line and as Quarterback Don Trull began calling signals, Rice shifted into a short-yardage defense. Trull quickly changed signals, calling a pass to Flanker "Back Lawrence Elkins. The play gained 42 yards and sent Baylor on its way to a touchdown that broke open the game and resulted in a 28-15 victory.
"Don's so smart and alert at reading defenses," says Baylor Coach John Bridgers, "that we got more check-off plays under him last year than we ever have before. He's apt to give you 15 or 20 audibles in a game. Against Texas, the toughest defense in the league, Don took us the length of the field for a touchdown, calling plays at the line of scrimmage on every down."
Baylor's Don Trull, who is back for his senior season, does much more than read defenses. He throws the football in the lusty tradition of the Southwest Conference that has produced such passers as Sammy Baugh, Davey O'Brien, Bobby Layne and Don Meredith. Trull (it rhymes with drool) was the most successful major-college passer in the U.S. last year, with 125 completions in 229 attempts for 11 touchdowns.
"His sense of timing is as good as any college quarterback's I've ever seen," says Bridgers. "He anticipates so well. He has good judgment. He can stay in the pocket and throw, and he can run, too. Best of all, he has a quick arm and he's worked hard at learning how to throw an easy-to-catch ball. He's going to make a fine pro quarterback."
An easy-to-catch pass is a football thrown with the nose up. Don Trull, who went to Baylor for the price of a postage stamp (Bridgers wrote a letter to Oklahoma City), may be the only passer who ever learned how to keep the nose up by throwing constantly at a gymnasium wall. Explains Trull: "If you throw the ball at a wall and it bounces straight back, the nose is up."
Trull keeps his grades up, too. Thus, his praise comes from all directions, including Baylor's mathematics department, where the 6-foot-1, 179-pound quarterback is an A and B student. Already drafted by the Baltimore Colts, Trull would like to become another John Unitas and already talks like a pro. "The passing game, properly done, is unstoppable," he says. "The receiver has the big advantage. He knows where he's going. The defensive man doesn't."
Trull is a talkative, warm, fast-grinning youngster, who exposes such a mouthful of teeth that his teammates nicknamed him "Gator." He was an all-state quarterback in Oklahoma City but Baylor was one of only three schools remotely interested in him. This year he will have little competition from other quarterbacks in the SWC. At least four teams have serious quarterback problems. Arkansas' Billy Gray is a quick, roll-out-type threat, and Rice's Walter McReynolds has a good arm. Texas' strange combination of Duke Carlisle (who may be a better defensive safety than anything), Tommy Wade, a fine drop-back passer, and run-conscious sophomore Marv Kristynik could conceivably equal Don Trull, but that is three against one and against the rules.
It was not always so. but when TEXAS and ARKANSAS meet these days there is a madness in the air. Their game has become The Game of the Southwest Conference. Last year 68,000 watched the teams play in Memorial Stadium in Austin, which is a matter of record and not surprising, considering the circumstances, except for one minor point—there were only 65,810 seats. Outside, a would-be spectator's sign read, 'if I don't get in, I'll kill myself."