THE BIRDDOG HALL OF AWESOME: JAROD BRYANT

Jarod Bryant’s was a long and strange college football career. Having been named Alabama’s Mr. Football in high school, fans saddled him with ridiculous expectations as a plebe, hailed him as the solution to all the team’s problems when he was on the bench, then blamed him for all the team’s problems when he was on the field. All the while, Jarod just kept trying to find ways to help the team win, whether as a quarterback, slotback, placekick holder, or whatever. It’s a quality that led to him being named team captain senior year, and hopefully it’s how he’ll be remembered in the long run.

With the occasional turmoil the offense saw in 2008, it would be easy to forget the fantastic job that Jarod did in relief of Kaipo on more than one occasion in 2007. He ran for 139 yards against Northern Illinois, sparked a comeback to force overtime against Ball State, went 8-11 passing against Delaware, and led touchdown drives on four of six possessions against North Texas. At the top of the heap, though, was Jarod’s performance against Duke on a hot September afternoon in Annapolis. Stepping in with the team trailing by 11 in the fourth quarter, Navy’s closer led a 17-play field goal drive, caught a touchdown pass from slotback Bobby Doyle, then scored on the ensuing two-point conversion to tie the game. Duke took over with 3:49 remaining, but their drive ended when Ketric Buffin made an interception inside the Navy 20. Buffin was pushed out of bounds at the 26, where the offense took over with only 38 seconds left. What followed was a 35-yard scamper to glory that can really only be appreciated in slow motion, with appropriate musical accompaniment.

Jarod ran out of bounds at the Duke 39. The big gain allowed Coach Johnson to run the ball to run down the clock and set up the game-winning field goal, a given when your kicker is a cruel, heartless cyborg like Joey Bullen.

There’s lots of greatness to be had on this play. There’s the expert setup of the draw, the 360 move to escape one tackle, the ankle-melting jukes to escape two others, the splendid use of downfield blocking, and the situational awareness to get out of bounds. But it all pales in comparison to the singular awesomeness of finding the time to adjust your helmet in the middle of that bedlam. Now that’s multi-tasking, and it earns Jarod a spot in the Hall of Awesome.

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10 Responses

  1. He certainly was a team player, and he seemed to be a leader. No doutbt about that. But when it was on his shoulders, and he was the starter, the offense generally didn’t click. Sure, he’s not the only reason that Navy’s offense at times looked anemic. But for whatever reason, when the other 2 QBs were in the game, the offense seemed much more potent. I haven’t broken down game film, but I’m sure that’s not just a coincidence.
    Either way, he was a selfless player – and great teams need those types. I wish him well.

  2. JB is one of the nicest people I have ever met. FYI- He is working as an assistant for part of the season, so if anyone gets a chance to drop-by practice or a scrimmage be sure to let him know how much he means to this program. I know I sure will.

  3. Yeah, the offense stumbled all the way to a rushing title and eight wins against the toughest schedule in the triple option era.

  4. that is awesome – i guess you notice those things when you break down game film as much as phat does

    we all know JB had a rough go of it at time this year, but he also led us to some great victories. we got spoiled by kaipo and the 2007 offensive explosion we witnessed. it will be interesting to see RD this year at the help

    there’s too much grass is greener on the other side with Navy fans sometimes

  5. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a player adjust his helmet on a long run like that. That is really funny.

    As a former bench-sitting, role-playing QB, advancing in both age and weight, I can appreciate his position. I met him on a number of occasions when visiting, and you don’t often run across anyone with that much character. When is the last time anyone has seen a role player elected by his peers as team captain? I cannot recall one.

    Hall of Awesome. I second that!

  6. What a great video. I think I just watched it 50 times. Nice music selection, Mike.

  7. I think JB is one of those players who gave his all but fans like me always expected more. He looked better throwing the ball than Kaipo (who looked like he was shot putting) but wasn’t even close to Kaipo in passing accuracy. He was one of the most exciting QB we had in terms of being able to cut on a dime. I still remember the first game action I saw him in during garbage time of the bowl win vs Colorado State. He cut so hard that the CS DB had to send out a search party for his shoes after he was left in the dust. However like others posted the offense wasn’t as efficient with him at QB in 2008. It was sort of like when Brian Madden was Navy QB and he dominated the ball. I thought Ricky had passed him by midseason last year. JB’s limitations were highlighted when he played extensive minutes.
    However I’m glad you mentioned what he accomplished as a super sub in 2007. It was the greatest offensive season I’ve ever seen.( and I am a lifetime 49er fan ) The defense couldn’t stop anyone and the offensive was under enormous pressure to score everytime they had the ball. Kaipo left this Duke game from exhaustion and JB came off the bench and got it done . In 2007 JB had some great moments and was a big part of that great season.

  8. Definitely a circle button and two r1 buttons in there. Awesome video.

  9. Mike,
    Thanks again for helping give credit where credit is due.

  10. Jb is my cousin and he is the hardest working nicest guy in the planet who right now is in Afghanistan fighting for our country

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