ESPN’s ‘Junction Boys’ off the mark

Most of the comments I’ve heard about ESPN’s movie, &uot;The Junction Boys,&uot; have been less than flattering.

One of the comments was, &uot;I kept expecting the movie to go somewhere, but it didn’t.&uot;

And then the real Junction boys felt that the movie misrepresented Bear Bryant and his first training camp as the Texas A&M coach.

For one, they said the movie, with a plethora of gratuitous cursing, was off the mark in that respect &045; that Bryant and his staff were not that foul-mouthed; that, in fact, they discouraged off-color language.

For another, despite the hard conditions in that back-water Texas location, they contended that the movie depicted the training as being more violent than it actually was; that the coaches were tough but not mean as shown in the movie.

This isn’t to say that all was peaches-and-cream for the players. That is evident in the fact that more of the players defected than stayed. The ones who did survive the camp laid the groundwork for later success for the Aggies under Bryant.

One impression from the movie was that the actors hardly resembled football players, that they looked too small and two inept.

Along that line, at the end of the movie when Bryant joined the Junction survivors for their 25th anniversary reunion, the men who represented the former players were far taller and larger than the ones who had represented them during the training.

One incisive line jumped out at me. That was when Bryant told the father of one of the players that &uot;football is war.&uot;

&uot;I know war,&uot; the father responded, &uot;and football isn’t a war; it’s a sport.&uot;

The Junction survivors also took issue with the fact that their trainer was depicted as a heavy drinker; not so, they said. It doesn’t make sense that a man charged with keeping players in good condition would provide such an example.

Despite his hounds-tooth hat, the actor portraying Bryant bore little resemblance to the real thing. Granted, it would be difficult to find an actor whose looks and demeanor could capture the essence of Bryant.

At least the movie was better than that fiasco of a Bryant movie that debuted in Birmingham years ago and then faded into oblivion.

Very rarely has there been a good sports movie of any kind, and neither of the Bryant movies was one of them.

Changing the subject, during the college football season I’ve tried to keep tabs on which teams wore the ugliest uniforms.

I might have missed a few but here are the ones that made the cut for having uniforms that left plenty to be desired: Cincinnati, Oregon, Texas Tech, Pittsburgh, Hawaii, San Diego State and Miami.

No fashion plates among them.

Next week, Christmas week, I’ll give my predictions for the bowl games, especially the seven involving Southeastern Conference teams.

(Hoyt Harwell is a retired Associated Press Correspondent who covered major sports in Alabama for 26 years. Harwell lives in Hoover. (e-mail: