A Warner Primer for Finding Your Roots

Bobby Salla Jr., son of the one-time Temple career interception leader of the same name, is the latest in a long line of legacy players at Temple. (Photo courtesy Zamani Feelings)

Someone needs to give Henry Louis Gates the phone number, email, or Twitter handle of Kurt Warner.

Gates is the Harvard professor whose “Finding Your Roots” on PBS is low-key one of the best shows on television. In the show, notable guests discover their family roots based on genealogical research and DNA results.

Now we don’t know if Kurt Warner is related to Pop Warner but it would be a terrific story if he was.

The storyline goes like this: Gates turns the page only to show Kurt a photo of Pop Warner, the legendary Temple coach, and reveal that Pop is his third Great Uncle.

Or something like that.

Kurt leans back in his chair, puts his hands behind his head, and lets out a big: “Wow.”

Come to think of it, Pop bears a slight facial resemblance to Kurt Warner (or Harry Chapin).

The TV screen then shows photos of Pop coaching Temple and Kurt’s son, E.J. playing for Temple and both Kurt and Pop being inducted into their respective Halls of Fame.

“I guess it was meant to be,” Kurt might say.

What we do know is that Kurt and Pop were born exactly 100 years apart. Pop in 1871, in Springville, N.Y., and Kurt in 1971, in Burlington, Iowa.

(Ironically, both of Kurt’s current college sons, Kade and E.J., started their careers in Pop Warner football.)

If so, Temple can somewhat claim E.J. as a legacy player in the long line of guys who succeeded relatives who made a name at the school.

I don’t think a single school has the history in that area that Temple does.

Almost in all instances, at least at the college level, the sons exceeded the contributions of the fathers. Even Joe Klecko’s son, Dan, arguably did more at Temple from a recognition standpoint than Joe did. Dan was named Defensive MVP in the Big East, then a Power League on the par of all the current Power 5 schools. Dan has three Super Bowl rings. Dad will be the one going into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in January, though.

Temple defensive end Raheem Brock, the son of 1,000-yard rusher Zach Dixon (1978 Owls), also became an NFL player.

Mark Bright, the 1979 Garden State Bowl MVP, is the son of Jim Bright, the starting fullback for the 1950 Owls who tied Penn State. When the younger Bright was a fullback at William Tennent, he had no offers. Then Jim sent Wayne Hardin his film. Hardin knew Jim played at Temple and offered him on the spot.

Temple opened the checkbook to hire Warner away from Jason Wingard’s alma mater, Stanford.

“At Temple, we take care of our own,” Hardin said at the time.

Mark more than repaid the scholarship.

Those are just a few examples. There are at least a couple more, including kickers Jim Cooper and Jim Cooper Jr. Mike Walsh, a three-year starter at tackle for the Owls in the mid-70s, is the son of Bud Walsh, a former tight end for the Owls in the late 40s.

The latest is Bobby Salla Jr., the son of Bobby Salla, who at the time he graduated (1977) was the all-time interception leader at Temple. Salla Jr. is only getting started, a true freshman who was in on the kick coverage team when De’Von Fox blocked three kicks a week ago.

Judging from history, his best contributions are yet to come. Only a possible future Finding Your Roots episode will reveal if one of his current teammates is a legacy guy, too.

Friday: UMass Preview

Sunday: UMass Analysis

Monday: Optics

10 thoughts on “A Warner Primer for Finding Your Roots

  1. Mathis at WR 🙂 , it can only lead to better football. Drayton genius? Perhaps!

    Mathis is one of the, if not the, fastest guys on the team. And, most likely now the fastest receiver. At 6’6″ w/4.4 or 4.5 speed…, wow. Mathis outran Jaden Blue…,

    why didn’t we think of this? we are only arm chair qualified

    you are not a TUFB fan if this move doesn’t get you excited

    • Coaches told alumni that he would be best we on team if he would make the switch and that was a month ago.

      • the WR room just graduated to the Div-I level. Now, the RB room…., Collins and Carey both whiffed on RB recruiting..,

      • Here’s the weird thing. The coaches who were talking to Temple football alumni said Mathis would be the best receiver by FAR on the team also said Patterson would be the best RB by far. They’ve given up on Mathis as a QB but moving Patterson to RB would be a bridge too far because there’s absolutely nothing FBS viable behind Warner.

      • they need to do it, now. Start Patterson at RB, move him back to QB only if kid Davey gets hurt.

  2. There is no denying Mathis physical skills, this move could potentially take maximum advantage of them and give him a better shot at the pros. Plus more opportunities for trick plays thrown in now and again

  3. Great idea on nbr 11, now is this a wish or something in training now ? I did not love it when I wrote no more QB11, it was a sad comment. The idea this kid can still contribute is really nice. How about at special full back also ??? Was it 11 or the other guy from Dakota that took a snap like a wild cat play on Saturday

  4. Mike, don’t move him to RB but maybe put in some wildcat series throughout a game for Patterson, like Rutgers ran on Saturday

    • Patterson threw fine in that game for Virginia Tech. He’s just not the passer E.J. is. Gives the team a lot of options when he’s in at RB. I think he would have gotten the first down that Saydee’s knee game up short and that might have been the key play in the ballgame.

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