The great Bear Bryant once said: “It’s not about the X’s and O’s, it’s about the Jimmie’s and Joe’s.”
Given Byrant’s six national championships at Alabama, there is a lot of street cred behind that remark.
Still, when it comes to Temple’s football history, if you really look at it, it’s more about the X’s and O’s.
Look at the 1979 team for instance. The above video is the coaches’ game film from the 28-17 Garden State Bowl win over California. (A big thanks to Zamani Feelings for unearthing this pure gold. I once had a copy of the national broadcast of this game but lost it.) In it, you will find a lot of guys who had only one other scholarship offer or none outplaying a lot of guys who were four stars for one of the PAC-10 powers of the day.
None other than Bill Belichick has said that game film illustrated a masterful coaching job by Wayne Hardin that day. “I looked at that a lot and I lot of things didn’t make sense at first, but then rewound it and said, ‘Geez, I knew what Wayne is trying to do there and now it makes sense.’ ”
The MVP of the game, fullback Mark Bright, had no scholarship offers out of William Tennent High school in Warminster but Hardin took a flier on him because Mark’s dad, Jim Bright (the then principal at New Hope-Solebury High), was a starting fullback for the 1950 Owls. “At Temple, we take care of our own,” Hardin said the day he signed Mark.
Hardin broke down film as well as he made it mandatory viewing for other legendary coaches and he saw something in Bright’s game that he liked. Same for starting quarterback Brian Broomell, who was recruited out of Sterling High in South Jersey as a strong safety. Broomell was good enough to crack the starting lineup as a true freshman on defense, something that never happened in those days and Hardin, needing a quarterback, converted that athleticism to the offense the next year.
Other players on that team like linebackers Steve Conjar and Mike Curcio became the Jimmies and Joes under Hardin they probably weren’t before they got to Temple and it all added up to the best team in modern Temple history. Hopefully, with 2019 being the 40-year anniversary of that first bowl win they will be honored at halftime of a game this fall.
That’s where 2019 comes into play. There are a lot of Jimmies and Joes on the team along with the documented fact that Rod Carey is the first proven winning FBS-level head coach to come into the school since Hardin. Geoff Collins really did not have that kind of knowledge nor did even the Sainted Matt Rhule or the devilish Steve Addazio. Carey is not Hardin, but if he’s even close it’s a significant upgrade in the X’s and O’s department.
Mix the knowledge of X’s and O’s that Carey has with the Jimmies and Joes who have been mostly the product of Matt Rhule’s hard recruiting and this could be a special season. For it to be the most special season of all, this is the minimum benchmark: 11 wins, including a bowl game, and at least a No. 17 or better ranking in both major polls.
The 1979 Temple team proved you needed both X’s and O’s and Jimmies and Joes and it should be fascinating to see if the 2019 team can use that same formula to produce similar results.
Tuesday: Tweet Storm
Thursday: Hinting at a New Offense
Saturday: Season Ticket Call