The Texas Longhorns and Darrell Royal had a very average season in 1967 and that was the third season in a row with 4 losses. Their offense just wasn’t working out for coach Royal and he wanted to pound the football with the running game. He told his Offensive Coordinator Emory Bellard to come up with an offense that could move the ball more easily on the ground.
The Wishbone Offense was born. That’s a very, very brief history of the birth of the offense that ruled college football throughout the 1970’s and some of the 1980’s. Although the offense can be traced back to a Fort Worth, Texas junior high football coach named Charles ‘Spud’ Cason, it is always going to be Emory Bellard who is credited with it’s invention.
Texas won two national championships with this offense and then other teams like Oklahoma and Alabama used the Wishbone to win numerous national titles.
Some coaches are just designed to be in charge and not an assistant. Bellard had been a successful high school football coach and won 3 state titles. Other schools were naturally going to come around wanting to hire Emory Ballard to see if he can do in college what he did in high school coaching.
Emory Bellard left Texas to take the head coaching job before the 1972 season at rival Texas A%M where he coached for 6 full seasons before resigning in the middle of his 7th year.
Bellard moved on to Mississippi State before the 1979 season. At both schools he naturally ran his Wishbone offense which resulted in some success with the Aggies including two 10-2 seasons.
In spite of his success at Texas A%M, he started his time in Starkville at Mississippi State pretty slowly posting a 3-8 record in his first season. But, then, that’s how he started his coaching days in College Station, Texas as well.
For his first real recruiting year in Starkville, 1980, he brought in a Quarterback from Valdosta, Georgia named John Bond. The young Quarterback hadn’t played all that much in high school because he backed up future Georgia Quarterbacks Buck Belue and John Lastinger. Valdosta Quarterbacks
But, his single year as a starter in high school was a really good one.
John Bond came in and started immediately at Mississippi State as it’s new Wishbone Quarterback.
What a surprise the Bulldogs were in 1980 winning 3 times as many games as the previous year. John Bond came in and started right away at Quarterback and led Mississippi State to an impressive 9-3 record with a huge win over SEC king, Alabama. That win was mostly on their defense, but the Wishbone offense eats up that clock and the Bulldogs were able to come away with a big 6-3 victory. Alabama had been ranked number 1 when they lost to the Bulldogs.
Bond led the Bulldogs to an 8-4 record in 1981 and their 4 losses were mostly close games that could have gone either way.
Things didn’t end so well for John Bond and his teammates in the next two seasons. Bond’s stats improved but the team took a dive to 5-6 and then 3-8.
However, he’s the only Quarterback that’s ever beaten LSU 4 times which is a pretty big deal with the way that LSU and Mississippi State do not like each other.
I don’t know John Bond at all, but coming from Valdosta, Georgia and being used to winning the first 2 years at Starkville must have been very good for him. But, the last two years were no doubt very tough times for the player that is from Title Town, USA.
Unless you have truly superior athletes, it’s really hard to maintain consistency against great defenses game after game. It’s a really easy system to defense if you have the great athletes on your defense and the offense is not filled with guys like Billy Sims, or David Overstreet like they had at Oklahoma in the 1970’s or 1980’s. SEC defenses caught up with the Wishbone at Mississippi State, in my opinion.
By the time that Emory Bellard began coaching at Mississippi State he had tweaked his offense somewhat from the one he used at Texas and the one that Oklahoma used successfully for so many years. He called it the Wingbone and it usually featured 2 Running Backs in the backfield and another in the Wingback position. Georgia Tech runs a somewhat similar offense with 2 Wingbacks and a Fullback and it’s called the Flexbone. They are all the same, basically, just an option offense with different variations. What makes it click are top athletes.
John Bond threw for 4,621 yards 18 Touchdowns, while running for 2,280 yards and another 24 Touchdowns. He really was something of a magician of a ball handler while at Mississippi State and the rushing record was an SEC record for Quarterbacks until Matt Jones of Arkansas and Tim Tebow of Florida came along.
The NFL doesn’t impress easily over option Quarterbacks and Bond went to Canada to play. But, he was only up there one season.
Today, John Bond is back and living in Mississippi and he will always go down as one of the better running Quarterbacks in SEC history.
He also made Valdosta, Georgia and Title Town, USA really proud.