In the last two seasons, Georgetown University quarterback Bob Sitz and his offensive teammates had endured 14 losses in 17 games as he Sitz learned the wishbone offense and they all gained experience.
Now Sitz and eight teammates who started the first game of the 1976 season are sitting atop NCAA Division III football. After two games, the unbeaten Hoyas are averaging 472 yards total offense, which, when the NCAA complies statistics today, should keep Georgetown the leader in Division III offense.
"When I started my first game three yers ago, I was a runner and a thrower," Sitz said. "Now I'm a quarterback. It is very hard to lead to team when you don't have confidence in youself.
"I knew I could throw, but that's not the major facet of the wishbone."
At Springbrook High, where he was All-Metropolitan despite the size (5-foot-10, 155 pounds) that kept major-college recruiters away, Sitz quarterbacked a version of the wishbone.
The team ran from that formation but there was no triple-option available to the quarterback. The coach called a specific play, so that the first option, the fake or give to the fullback, was always planned, as was the pitchout or keeper.
"Our success this year is an accumulation of the last two years of nine guys playing together," Sitz said.
"You don't realize until you watch the films how much our offensive line is doing and now I'm reading the defenses. The wishbone is the kind of offense you never know where the play is going to wind up."
At that point in an interview, Sitz made a request: "Can you mention the linemen? They never get recognition. That's Joe Gaul (center), Dave Elliott (guard), Rich Tranter (tackle), Ed Carroll (guard) and Keith McCormick (tackle)."
Hoya Coach Scotty Glacken, a former All-Metropolitan quarterback himself who went on to play college (Duke) and pro (Deaver) ball, also had a request: "How about helping Sitz make Division III All-America?
"In my humble opinion - well, you know I'm not humble - he's probably one of the best, if not the best, quarterback in Division III this year."
How good Sitz and the Hoyas are is likely to be determined Saturday on the Hilltop when they host 3-0 St. Peter's whose opponents have averaged minus 10 yards a game rushing this season. That statistic leads Division III.
Sitz, having completed 63 percent of his passes this season or a 13-yard average, remembers when the Peacocks ruffled this feathers with a safety blitz last season.
"They come at you. They try to intimidate you," Sitz said. "I know last year they intimidated me and intimidated the offense. They had 185 yards in penalties last week and that's about average for them.
"They're a reckless team - very physical - and take a lot of late shots at you. And that safety blitz is how they killed us last year. We'll be ready for it this week."
Sitz said he always is ready to play football, as he has competitively for the past seven years.
"I enjoy the game a great deal and I'll miss it after this year," Sitz said. "Every year, fall comes around and I enjoy getting ready, I love the strategy and everything."
But he does have a football future, of sorts. Last spring he started playing in the Montgomery County spring men's league.