This Saturday morning, as the Texas Longhorns take on the Iowa State Cyclones, you may notice a different look when the Horns first take the field on offense at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium.
According to Texas head-coach Mack Brown, his team will line up in the wishbone this Saturday on the first offensive play of the game, as a tribute to Coach Darrell K Royal, the former Texas coach who built the program into what it is today.
Early this morning, news of DKR’s passing saddened the hearts of Longhorn fans and college football fans throughout the country. After putting up a long fight, the legendary coach lost his battle with Alzheimer’s at the age of 88 years.
During his time in Austin, DKR and assistant Emory Ballard perfected the wishbone offense which was considered to be one of the most innovative offenses in college football at the time and through the next several decades.
The wishbone features a triple-threat, three-man backfield in which the fullback is lined up behind the quarterback and a step in front of two other running backs.
After rolling out this offense in 1969, it seemed as though it would be a failure. The Horns went winless in their first 3 games of the season. Frustrated, Royal had back-up quarterback James Street give it a try. Street recalls of how his coach looked him in the eye and said, in typcial DKR fashion, “Hell, you can’t do any worse. Get in there.”
The Longhorns went on to win their next 30 straight games, including two more national titles to add to the 1963 title also won under Royal, and the wishbone offense spread rapidly to schools throughout the country.
Royal will forever be remembered as the man who didn’t just build the Texas Longhorns program, but as a man who forever left his mark on college football.
And Saturday morning, in front of a crowd of 101,000 strong, Darrell K Royal will be honored in the stadium that proudly boasts his name.