Clay Henry is the publisher and executive editor of Hawgs Illustrated. He is a voter for the Heisman Trophy and has been inducted into the Arkansas Sportswriters and Sportscasters Hall of Fame.
State of the Hogs: Hines was a great of his day
Arkansas' offensive line in 1964 included Jerry Jones (61), who a quarter-century later bought the Dallas Cowboys. Other line members included Glen Ray Hines (78), Jerry Welch (75), Randy Stewart (66) and Ernest Ruple (77).
The phone calls from Jerry Welch are starting to get too frequent as more members of Arkansas' 1964 national championship team are lost.
“There are not many of us left,” Welch said this past weekend as we discussed the passing of Glen Ray Hines, one of the all-time great offensive linemen to play for the Razorbacks.
Hines, 75, passed away last Friday in Fayetteville. He was a member of the Arkansas All-Century team. The Houston Post named Hines the Southwest Conference's most outstanding player in 1965 and he was selected to the SWC All-Time team in 1996. In 2005, Football Digest named Hines to the Houston Oilers’ all-time team.
Hines was inducted into the UA Sports Hall of Honor in 2001, the Union County Sports Hall of Fame in 2012 and the SWC Hall of Fame in 2018.
Welch talked as if he'd lost a brother. In fact, that's about right for that group of players, most who were as successful in life after football. That's saying a lot for those like Hines, who was a starter and rarely missed a play in a 22-game winning streak from 1963-65.
It was a few years back when Welch called me with the news that Ronnie Caveness had died that it was explained his role with that '64 bunch.
“I guess I'm like the mom of the team,” he said. “I am on the phone a lot with everyone, from wives to their kids to check on our group.”
That great group of offensive linemen have been particularly close. Welch said it was just the way it was in the athletic dorm. The lack of athletic dorms is a problem in today's college football world.
“That's another story, but in our days the life in the dorm created a special bond,” Welch said. “And, that group of offensive linemen from our team in 1964 was really close. I think something is gained when you live together in a dorm and that's missing in today's game.”
Hines roomed with Mike Bender. They were the starting tackles.
“If you saw those two, you'd usually see me and Bobby Roper, too,” Welch said. “We shared everything, including our money. None of us usually had a penny, but if one had any money, he'd give you some and we never kept track of who owed who what.
“The dorm also meant you couldn't escape and you might wear on someone. There would be about two fights a month, usually over nothing.
“You'd fight until you were exhausted, then someone would say, 'Hey, let's get a shower and go get a beer.' Probably too much testosterone.”
That did happen, said Ken Hatfield, like Welch a senior and one of the captains of the '64 team.
“You did see that from that bunch,” Hatfield said. “The four of them were together, like Welch said. They were part of a great offensive line. All of those were big-time players and that line was dominating.”
The Hogs flipped linemen from weak to strong side then, with Hines and Welch playing the weak. Bender and Jerry Jones were on the strong side. Randy Stewart was the center. Basically, the weak side is the open side without a tight end. Athletic ability is critical to play that open side. You may note Ernie Ruple's picture above as the tackle, but Bender replaced him in camp and was the starter.
“We went down the field behind Glen Ray,” Hatfield said. “There was no doubt about that.”
Hines played offensive end in high school, when he was all-state in football and basketball at El Dorado. He was one of the first truly giant linemen of his era. Listed at 6-5, 235 pounds, Hines towered over his teammates in the offensive line.
“We were mostly 6-foot,” said Welch, who played at 215 pounds. “I know that Glen Ray played in the NFL at 275 or 280. He was huge in our day. He was listed at 6-5, but I always thought he was 6-6. And compared to the rest of us, he looked like he was 6-8 or 6-9, just that much bigger.
“I know that our coaches were constantly on us to be light and they were hard on Glen Ray to stay thin. Jim Mackenzie, our defensive coach, always had a saying, 'You won't play for us with a belly hanging over your belt.' And, so we were all light.”
The story goes that Hines was assigned a weight of 235 pounds when spring football concluded and he hit it with a diet that eliminated “everything white.” And, he hit his weight when he reported in August and that's what made the game program.
“He was bigger than that by the season,” said Loyd Phillips, the All-America defensive tackle.
Phillips thought Hines played at 245 pounds and maybe bigger as the season progressed.
“I can tell you, he was a giant,” Phillips said. “He just covered you up and there wasn't one bit of fat on his body. He had a huge, wide back.”
Many on the 1964-65 UA teams played in the NFL, but none as long as Hines. He split his time between the AFL and the NFL, first with the Houston Oilers, then later with the New Orleans Saints and Pittsburgh Steelers.
He played in the AFL's all-pro game with the Oilers. Hines played from 1967-73, one year longer than Jim Lindsey's time with the Minnesota Vikings.
“The Saints had Archie Manning, but their line couldn't protect him,” Phillips said. “So the Saints traded to get Glen Ray.”
Phillips recalls that his last game as a professional, with the Saints, pitted him against Hines and the Oilers at the Astrodome in Houston.
“It was an exhibition and I retired the next week because of the problems with my ankle," Phillips said.
There were questions about Hines the player, but Phillips wanted to talk more about the man.
“I don't remember the practices against him, but we surely did scrimmage a lot,” Phillips said. “What I recall is that he was such a good human being, incredibly humble. He didn't want to talk about himself. You might not realize he played all those years in the NFL.
“I went to see him last week in hospice. There was a gentlemen there who had become Glen Ray's friend working out with him at a senior center. I don't think he knew what kind of football player Glen Ray had been. He had no idea because Glen Ray never mentioned it.”
Welch called Hines one of the greats.
"He was prototypical of what they want in the NFL today, those long arms and quick feet at offensive line," Welch said. "He could really run and had that great body.”
Teammates were in awe of his quickness in such a long body.
“He had the quick feet of a basketball player and that's what he was, too,” Welch said. “In the offseason, we did our workouts in Barnhill Fieldhouse and at lunch the football coaches were always playing basketball when we got there after classes. There would be Glen Ray out there with them.”
Barry Switzer helped coach the offensive line with Merv Johnson. Switzer said they were quick to pull Hines into their games.
“We'd fight over Glen Ray for the basketball because he was such an incredible athlete,” Switzer said. “I'd say he was a hell of an athlete.
“Still, what you remember about Glen Ray was the personality, just a great person. There was always a smile, just a class act.”
Hatfield called Hines unassuming and the nicest guy.
"There was always stuff going on in the dorm, but he was not a ring leader," Hatfield said. "I do recall that when we'd go out, we wanted him with us, just for muscle. You'd just see him – and his size – and people would leave us alone. He was well thought of by everyone.”
The athletic ability was easy to see on the field, too. He often handled kickoffs. Not many offensive tackles earn that assignment.
Hines lettered in 1963, but became a full-time starter in 1964, the first year of two-platoon football. He made 21 tackles in limited action in '63.
“Glen Ray just wasn't a great defensive player,” Welch said. “But when we went to two platoon, he could just play offense and that was perfect.”
Hines was All-SWC in 1964, then a consensus All-American in 1965 when he was judged the best offensive player in the SWC. That's an honor mostly won by quarterbacks or running backs.
“Because of the way he ran, he was a great downfield blocker,” Welch said. “I played beside him and we'd marvel watching the film. He was always a full head ahead of me at the snap.
“In fact, the coaches in the league always complained that he was offside, but he was never offside. He was just quicker than the rest of us.
“What I'd say about the way he played, very business-like. He always got the job done. He handled his assignments.”
Phillips said the same thing, then thought back to the scrimmages in two-a-days.
“You really couldn't separate any of those offensive linemen,” Phillips said. “You start on one side with Mike Bender, then go all the way across to Glen Ray Hines. They were all tough.
“But that's really not the way I remember them. Our numbers are dwindling and what I'll tell you is that all of that bunch, they are really quality people and that's really true of Glen Ray Hines.”
When you live together 24 hours a day for four or five years, that would stand out.
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