...lost his battle with cancer this week. Mildren was the first of a line of OU quarterbacks to taunt Texas with the weapon first displayed by the Longhorns -- the Wishbone offense.
Mildren was a High School phenom out of Abilene Cooper. He had a reputation as an outstanding passer, and his senior year had Cooper being touted as one of the best, if not the best HS teams in Texas Schoolboy History. Abilene Cooper reached the State 4A Finals with a perfect 13-0 record, and met newcomer Austin Reagan for the title.
Reagan had only been open for two years, but was the beneficiary of a growth boom in North Austin. The Raiders had a high level of D-1 talent as well, players like Mike Bayer, Ray Dowdy, Donald Ealy and Johnny Klienart. Reagan ran back the opening kickoff and the game was on. The Raiders led 20-19 late in the 4th quarter when Abilene Cooper made one last push. With seconds to go, Cooper faced a 4th and goal inside the one. They disdained a winning field goal, and Mildren tried a QB sneak. He was stopped inches short by future UT defensive lineman Ray Dowdy.
Mildren went to OU with the reputation as an outstanding passer. But when Chuck Fairbanks decided to switch to the Wishbone at mid-season in 1970 (right before the Texas game), Mildren turned out to be the perfect fit.
By 1971 OU had the players in place for the offense, as witnessed by their destruction of everyone on their sechedule, aside from Nebraska.
OU put up offensive Playstation numbers in 1971 . They averaged an NCAA record 472.4 yards rushing per game, 566 total offense per game, and 44.9 points per game. With Mildren, Greg Pruitt, Joe Wylie and offensive linemen like Tom Brahaney, the Sooners turned the Wishbone in to an offense that as Darrell Royal described it, was " football on roller skates."
Mildren was only 58 years old.