Friday, September 11, 2009
Where are they now: Miss. State's John Bond
By ESPN.com staff ESPN.com
Posted by ESPN.com's Chris Low
Mississippi State quarterback John Bond is shown here getting sacked in a 31-17 loss to Nebraska in the Sun Bowl in 1980.
John Bond was one of the most prolific running quarterbacks in the history of the SEC while playing in Emory Bellard's wingbone offense at Mississippi State from 1980-83.
Bond, who started from the time he was a true freshman, carried the ball 572 times during his career, an astounding number of carries for a quarterback in any era. It's one of those records that looked like it would never be broken.
"I still wince when I watch Tim take all those shots. I know I still feel every one of mine," said Bond, who was the SEC's all-time leading rusher as a quarterback with 2,280 yards until Arkansas' Matt Jones (2,535 yards) passed him earlier this decade.
Tebow is likely to pass them both this season. Heading into Saturday's game against Troy, he has 2,038 career rushing yards on 477 carries.
"At least Tim's got some better angles than I did. He's got them spread out a little more," Bond said. "We'd pile them all up in there and try to run it. Emory always said, 'If somebody's on you and somebody's on the pitch man, then you keep it.'
"It made sense, but damn did it hurt."
Bond, 48, is now living in Madison, Miss., a town just north of Jackson. He's the director of business development for Eutaw Construction. His company specializes in heavy construction, although they branched off in the last few years and built some game-day condos near the Mississippi State stadium.
He still attends as many Mississippi State games as he can. That is, when he's not off somewhere deep sea fishing. He travels extensively around the southeast with his job and is an avid golfer.
Bond's wife, Mary Beth, is also a Mississippi State girl. Her brother, Chuck Daniel, played on some powerhouse Mississippi State baseball teams back in the Will Clark days. Bond and his wife have a little girl, 3-year-old Emily Grey. He also has two older sons living in Tampa, Fla., 20-year-old Andrew and 17-year-old Wesley.
Bond, who spent a year playing in the CFL after college, has been in the construction business ever since a three-year stint as a graduate assistant at Mississippi State under Jackie Sherrill in the late 1990s.
"Jackie Wayne cured me of my coaching wants," Bond joked.
Having not played quarterback until his senior season of high school in Valdosta, Ga., Bond fit perfectly into Bellard's wingbone, which is essentially what Air Force is running today. He was 200-plus pounds, tough and could run. He once had an 87-yard run against Auburn in 1982 and threw two 80-yard passes that same season, although the Bulldogs didn't throw it much in those days.
As a senior, Bond rushed for 13 touchdowns, which is still tied for second most in a season for an SEC quarterback.
His favorite moment at Mississippi State was beating Alabama in 1980 as a freshman and snapping the Crimson Tide's 28-game winning streak.
"To beat the Bear when they hadn't lost a game in over two years was huge," Bond said. "That's something I'll never forget."
The Bulldogs also beat LSU all four of Bond's seasons, once when the Tigers were ranked in the Top 10, and beat Miami and Jim Kelly in back-to-back seasons in 1980 and 1981.
Bond said the two best defensive players he played against were Alabama's E.J. Junior and Florida's Wilber Marshall.
"They both were linebackers, if that tells you something," Bond said. "I remember Marshall hit me about a yard out of bounds when Florida had that turf. It had sprinkled enough that it got slick. He hit me and sent me sliding right up under the benches. They had them bolted down back then. My shoulder pads got wedged up under them, and I couldn't get out.
"I looked like a turtle on its back."
Bond's two least favorite memories are easy -- both of his losses to Ole Miss. He still seethes at what he says was a bogus pass interference call in 1981, helping the Rebels prevail 21-17. He said the official who made the ball later wrote a letter to Bellard apologizing.
"Little good that did," Bond said. "It was an awful call. They put the ball on the 1 and beat us."
Bond's last college game was also a loss to Ole Miss, the infamous wind-gust game. The Bulldogs lined up for a 27-yard field goal that would have won it with 24 seconds left, and freshman Artie Cosby's kick appeared to be good. But a 40-mph wind gust knocked it back just before it crossed through the uprights.
"I think it landed back about where we snapped it from," Bond lamented. "How do you get over something like that?"