A son of Depression-era Oklahoma, Darrell Royal came to Texas to take over a sleeping giant of a football program. Over 20 years, his folksy approach to sports and life, his inventive wishbone offense and a victory in the "Game of the Century" - where a U.S. president declared his team national champion - made him an icon of college football.
“There’s an old saying, ‘You dance with who brung ya.’”
– First cited in 1965, in the midst of a Longhorns losing streak, and frequently thereafter, on the importance of consistency.
“I’ve always felt that three things can happen to you whenever you throw the football, and two of them are bad.”
– From 1963, on the perils of the passing game.
“Really, it was said about two-thirds in jest. Since we won the Arkansas and Notre Dame games with fourth-down and short-yardage passes, another image has arisen. I’ve been pictured as a man who takes chances. Two stinkin’ plays, and I’m a helluva gambler.”
– From 1970, on the passing game quote.
“Punt returns will kill you before a minnow can swim a dipper.”
– From 1963, on the perils of special teams.
“Breaks balance out. The sun don’t shine on the same ol’ dog’s rear end every day.”
– From the book “Hook ‘em Horns” by Denne Freeman.
“Some of them are so green you could hide ‘em on top of a lettuce leaf.”
– On his youthful 1968 team.
“A little bit of perfume doesn’t hurt you if you don’t drink it.”
– On praise for the Longhorns after a 1970 win over Arkansas, Texas’ 30th consecutive victory.
“That will be the big shootout.”
– On the 1969 game between No. 1 Texas and No. 2 Arkansas for the national championship in the centennial year of college football.
“He could run like small-town gossip.”
– From 1963 on running back James Saxton.
“Ol’ Ugly is better than Ol’ Nothing.”
– From 1974, on the perils of recruiting.
“They’re gonna come after us with their eyes pulled up like BBs.”
– On Arkansas’ attitude entering the 1969 game with Texas.
“I was as nervous as a pig in a packing plant.”
– On preparing for Arkansas in 1965, when the No. 1-ranked Longhorns were upset 27-24.
“There was a hornet’s nest waiting for us in Houston, and we were walking into it like Little Red Riding Hood with jam on her face.”
– After a 1958 loss to Rice.
“They are like a cockroach. It isn’t what he eats or totes off but what he falls into and messes up.”
– After the No. 1-ranked Longhorns were upset by TCU, 6-0, in 1961.
“Winning coaches must treat mistakes like copperheads in the bedclothes – avoid them with all the energy you can muster.”
– From “Hook ‘em Horns.”
“The best thing a coach can hope for is to please the majority. And the only way to please the majority is to win.”
– From the book “Darrell Royal Talks Football” with Blackie Sherrod.
“The guy with the blue serge suit with his green socks rolled down didn’t go to Texas.”
– From 1963, on Longhorns alumni.
“I’m pretty thin-skinned. When they say, ‘Do you want some constructive criticism?’ I say, ‘No.’”
– On press relations, after a 1974 loss to Oklahoma.
“It’s an in-the-trench battle. It’s meat on meat, flesh on flesh and stink on stink. And that’s the only way you can play it.”
– On preparing for Oklahoma in 1973.
“Trends are bunk. Only angry people win football games.”
– From 1966.
“We don’t want candy stripes on our uniforms. These are work clothes.”
– From 1970.
“He’s as quick as a hiccup.”
– From 1957 on quarterback Walter Fondren.
“He doesn’t have a lot of speed, but maybe Elizabeth Taylor can’t sing.”
– From 1963, on backup running back Harold Phillipp.
“Diron likes to compete, You name a game. If he walked by and saw a guy spitting at a crack, he’d join in.”
– From 1966, on lineman Diron Talbert.