With 123 coaching victories, R.C. Slocum is the winningest head coach in Texas A&M football history. He guided the Aggies to three straight Southwest Conference championships and one Big 12 title. He shared the secrets of the famous Texas A&M “Wrecking Crew” defense in episode 15 of the Texas Sports Hall of Fame Podcast.
History of Texas A&M Wrecking Crew
The Texas A&M Aggies won three straight Southwest Conference football championships between 1985 and 1987. During that period, the famous nickname for the Texas A&M defense, the “Wrecking Crew,” came about.
Coach Slocum told the background on the podcast. “Chet Brooks, at one point, made the comment with some guys about how we were just like a bunch of blue-collar workers. We take our lunch pail, we go to work, and we wreck stuff. That kind of caught on at a very, very low level initially. Then we started joking about it and talking about it. I told our coaches, ‘You know we’ve got something special kind of growing right here. Let’s do this from now on: when you talk about our defense, or you’re doing an interview, about our defense, instead of saying (defense), just say the Wrecking Crew.'”
The nickname gained huge popularity with Texas A&M football fans. The moniker also helped with recruiting. Coach Slocum added, “We kind of gave it a little boost there, and it caught on. Then our fans had a little sign for the Wrecking Crew, and then the whole stadium would be hollering, ‘Wrecking Crew! Wrecking Crew’ So, kids really bought into that. Then in recruiting, I’d go into homes, and the guys said, ‘Coach, I want to be a part of the Wrecking Crew.'”
Chet Brooks later went on to play for the San Francisco 49ers and started in Super Bowl 24.Embed from Getty Images
Philosophy Behind Wrecking Crew Defense
Coach Slocum gives a lot of credit to the players on the Texas A&M Wrecking Crew defense, both when he was a defensive coordinator and head coach. He fills us in on some of the philosophy behind the Wrecking Crew defense.Embed from Getty Images
“We were reckless, and we were going to go after people, you know. The kids bought into that, and they made it happen. I told them, ‘When we call these blitzes, it’s kind of like pulling the pin out of a hand grenade. We’re going to pull it, and it’s either going to go off on our side or their side of the line of scrimmage. And we’ve got to make sure it goes off of their side. Your buddy’s hung out there playing man-to-man coverage when you guys are blitzing. You’ve got to get there!'”
Coach Slocum also said that just like the A&M teams in the mid-1970s, the players gave all they had for the team and for each other from the starting lineup on down the depth chart. Giving your best effort to help the team was the order of the day.
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