Sports Outside the Beltway

Emory Bellard, creator of wishbone offense, dead at 83

The Wishbone, along with the I formation, were forms of offensive setup when I first started watching college football in the late 1970′s. Alabama won several national championships using the wishbone. Oklahoma ran it to perfection also. I remember how Florida State couldn’t stop the Sooners offense led by JC Watts and Billy Sims in the 1980 Orange Bowl. The Sooners grinding down FSU on the way to a 24-7 win. Sometime in the 80′s the amount of the schools that used the wishbone began to decline. The only two Division I schools I know that use it today are Army and Air Force.

I don’t remember Bellard any where near as well as the offense he created. He left a mark on College Football history. RIP.

Emory Bellard, a former Texas A&M and Mississippi State coach credited with developing the wishbone offense when he was an assistant at Texas, has died. He was 83.

Cathy Capps, director of the Texas A&M Lettermen’s Association, said Bellard died early Thursday at a care facility in Georgetown in Central Texas. She said Bellard had Lou Gehrig’s disease.

Bellard was on Darrell Royal’s staff at Texas in 1968 when the Longhorns developed a multiple running back formation that came to be known as the wishbone.

Bellard later led the Aggies to a 48-27 record in seven years before resigning during the 1978 season. He was 37-42 in seven seasons at Mississippi State.

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