When Jack Mildren came out of the huddle, ready to terrorize defenses like they've never been terrorized before or since, he was a load. Even before the ball was snapped. "He was all business,” said Joe Wylie, Mildren's old Oklahoma halfback in that magical season of 1971, when the Sooner wishbone staked its claim on college football history. "Jack was such a challenge to keep up with.” Many a Texan has crossed the Red River to become a Sooner. Many have stayed. No one stayed like Jack Mildren, who died Thursday at the age of 58. Mildren was all business when he crossed that river. He was all business to the very end, even did his radio show as late as this Tuesday, despite fighting cancer that was eating away at his body. "Great leader,” said Vic Kearney, a fellow 1971 Sooner senior. "One of the toughest-minded guys I ever met. He walked the walk.” Mildren lived up to high school hype so stout that his recruiting warranted a Sports Illustrated feature. He was not just the best quarterback in OU history (sorry Jason White), but its most important (sorry Josh Heupel). Mildren's instant mastery of the ‘bone ignited the Barry Switzer glory years of the ‘70s and ‘80s. Mildren played pro football for the Colts and Patriots. He became an oil man and lieutenant governor; a banker and a sports radio star. "Jack had a confidence level about him,” said Kearney. "He took education seriously and did a lot with it.” Said Wylie, "If you were in the army, he would be the general. And everybody knew he was the general.” That kind of leadership is why Chuck Fairbanks and Switzer risked their reputations — their jobs already were in jeopardy — by turning to the wishbone in mid-season 1970. The offense was made for Mildren, who was fast, tough and could throw. Mildren's 1971 center, Tom Brahaney, was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame last spring. "One of the first guys to call me was Jack,” Brahaney said. "If anybody from our team should be in the College Football Hall of Fame, it's Jack Mildren.” The irony of Mildren's career is that he lost the two biggest games of his life and the biggest election. Republican Frank Keating beat Mildren in the 1994 Oklahoma governor's race. Nebraska beat Oklahoma 35-31 in the 1971 Game of the Century, in which Mildren played near-flawlessly. And in the 1967 Texas state high school title game, Austin Reagan beat Mildren's Abilene Cooper 20-19, with Mildren's quarterback sneak stopped inches short of the end zone on the last play of the game. That Nebraska defeat "could not compare with that day when we lost to Austin Reagan,” Mildren once said. "Amazingly, however, tomorrow did come.” There will be no more tomorrows for Jack Mildren. But his yesterdays will live forever on this side of the river, where General Jack was all business.