A long strange trip it was

Hooter is one of the few Owls to get better looking with age.

Sitting at my desk at the Doylestown Intelligencer three days before this game at BYU in 1986, the phone rings and I get a call from the great Al Shrier: “Mike, we have a seat on the team plane. We’d love you to join us.”

I walk into Editor-in-Chief Jim McFadden’s office and ask if I can go, he said, “Only if you tell Al the paper will reimburse all expenses.” Both Al and Jim kept their word.

Great game and I was reminded of this when Joe Tolstoy finally posted a film of the game last week. I haven’t seen this film in 37 years.

Current Owls working on future memories at 10th and Diamond.

Two things I remember about this trip. Meeting the great Neil Diamond on the street in Provo and not being able to drink a brewski due to the draconian local laws. Diamond couldn’t have been more gracious and down to earth meeting this stranger from Philadelphia by pure chance. He and I talked about Philadelphia, the Spectrum and our other musical tastes.


The game itself? Still convinced to this day Temple stopped BYU at the goal on a 4th and 1. Mike Palys (the only player with a Penn State offer who turned down the Nittany Lions for Temple) with two great punt returns. Palys picked Temple because Paterno would not allow him to play baseball at PSU. He was an All-American baseball player at Temple. (Ironically, Al didn’t make the trip because he hated flying.)

That wasn’t the only strange thing about the trip.

While in Philadelphia, we waited on the tarmac for the plane sweating in 86-degree weather for a couple of hours to board.

Landing in Utah, we waited for our luggage outside in 32-degree weather.

Not surprisingly, a week or so later I ended up in the hospital with a bad case of pneumonia and the virus that accompanied it attacked my heart. I had to have heart surgery to remove the pericardium.

The first call I received in the hospital was from Shrier, followed closely by other calls from Wayne Hardin and Bruce Arians wishing me luck. (No doubt the first guy had plenty to do with the next two guys placing the calls.)

It worked.

I was in my early 30s at the time so everything else since then has been a bonus.

Even the down times because they led to better ones.

After 19 straight losing seasons, I got to see Temple return to a bowl for the first time in 30 years and finally beat Penn State.

With the advent of the NLI and the transfer portal, you’ve got to wonder if the future is going to get better than the recent past. I have my doubts but I also have my hopes.

Whatever happens, seeing it unfold in the flesh sure beats the alternative.

Friday: Too Close for Comfort


Withers: The New Normal in College Football

Along with the NLI and the transfer portal, college football has another new normal.

Coaches sign for jobs at one school, turning around a couple of months later and signing at another.

It’s called “The Manny Diaz Syndrome.”

Before Diaz signed to be the head coach for 18 days at Temple and left for the same job at Miami it was unheard of for a coach to sign a contract at one school, break that contract, and seemingly minutes later leave for the same job at another school.

“I never wanted to be THAT guy,” Diaz said when he signed at Miami and profusely thanked Temple.

Well, Manny, you were that guy and now plenty of guys followed your lead.

Even Steve Addazio had more ethics than that. Ten days after getting the Temple job, he was offered the job at the biggest school in his home state, UCONN, and said thanks but no thanks I gave my word to Temple and will keep it.

Now everyone breaks their word, both players and coaches.

Not many at the head coaching level, but plenty at the assistant level and–according to football scoop–Everett Withers, 59, is the latest big-time assistant to do that and revert to Temple.

The last time we saw Withers leading Temple was when Stan Drayton got sick and missed a game. Whether it was his fault or offensive coordinator Danny Langsdorf’s fault, the Owls had a horrific call on first-and-goal at the Navy 5, and that led to an overtime defeat in a game they should have won. First-and-goal at the 5 and the Owls hand off on dive that had not worked for the previous 59 minutes of the game.

They got what they deserved, a game-tying field goal and not a game-winning touchdown.

Have Edward Saydee fake that dive, complete with the leap ahead, to freeze the defense and roll E.J. Warner right (away from the pressure), and have him throwback to the tight end for six and that’s a completely indefensible play. Temple wins, the kids sing “T for Temple U” or “Dancing on My Own” all the way home on the bus ride.

Drayton gets out of bed like Lazarus and is immediately feeling better.

Langsdorf should have known that.

So should have the CEO in that game.

Withers was the CEO that day while Drayton watched at home on TV.

Water under the bridge.

The new normal also includes a head coach grabbing for his binky–the comfort zone–rather than going outside the box to get the best person for the job.

Withers left Temple (where he was Chief of Staff) to become “assistant head coach and passing game coordinator” at FAU.

Now he’s back at Temple as DC.

Do I believe Withers is the best person to be the Temple DC?

Hell no.

This is a guy whose last DC job was at FIU in 2021.

What did they do then?

Allow 54 points to Texas Tech, 58 to FAU, 45 to Charlotte, 47 to Old Dominion 50 to MTSU, and 49 to North Texas.

Yeah, that’s just the kind of DC I want at Temple.

If I was doing the hiring, I’d jump out of the group of guys I’ve known and worked with and hire someone who was a DC who shut out an offense somewhere–anywhere–before.

I did find a shutout in Withers’ past and it came all the way back in 1995 when his Louisville defense shut out Maryland, 31-0.

By comparison, 16 years later, Chuck Heater, now 70, shut out Buffalo and Ball State in consecutive games for Temple.

Since then, though, modern offenses have seemed to pass Withers by even though Heater has caught up to them in every job he had.

Yet Drayton likes the guy and he’s going to be Temple’s DC. I love Drayton the man but I hate this decision. Go out and hire the best guy not a guy you like and are comfortable working with.

That didn’t happen and we have to hope Temple doesn’t pay the price. Hope doesn’t get me to a bowl game, though.

Monday: Almost Dying for Temple football

Sean Desai: From Temple to NFL coaching star?

Instead of conducting a coaching search the traditional way, Temple’s recent most important football hires were done without a national search.

There were some good, and some bad.

Stan Drayton’s birthday was yesterday and so far it looks like his best days are ahead of him.

By best days, we mean a lot of wins and at least one championship.

There were only two Temple coaches who mentioned championships either before or right after they were hired.

One was Matt Rhule.

The other was Drayton.

Everybody else, including Steve Addazio and Al Golden, spoke in more vague terms.

Daz said he wanted to win “great bowl games” and Golden said he wanted to “build a house of brick, not straw.”

Rhule set his goal in stone, telling a basketball crowd at halftime a few days after he was hired that “we will win championships here.”

Drayton told the team at the end of last year “you will be champions.”

Rhule delivered in the singular, not plural sense. If Drayton does the same, Temple fans will take that.

When Temple hired Drayton, Sean Desai was named by The Temple News as one of the top four candidates.

Still, after hearing people gush about Sean Desai–who was up for the job before Drayton got it–you have to wonder where Temple would be if they hired him.

Former Miami Hurricane and Tampa Bay Buc Dan Sileo called the Philadelphia Eagles hiring Desai a “home run” and said that Desai “will be a superstar head coach in the NFL.”

Former Temple Owl and Carolina Panther Colin Thompson echoed that sentiment.

In a way, both Daz and Golden delivered on their promises if you consider the New Mexico Bowl a “great bowl game.” Golden turned a 20-year loser into back-to-back eight- and nine-win seasons and his brick house was a solid enough foundation for Rhule’s success.

Championships, though, are where Temple coaches should set the bar and Rhule and Drayton were the only coaches who grabbed at it.

Rhule delivered. If Drayton does the same, nobody will ever wonder what Desai would have done if he was hired instead.

Even if he becomes the next Bill Belichick or Vince Lombardi.

Temple Football: A rare chance to get better now

Temple under Chuck Heater.

In perhaps the strangest Temple football spring schedule yet, the Owls practiced for a couple of days and then have a long break before they get together next week.

In between, there is some scheduled downtime.

Logically, there’s no chance for the Owls to get better in the next few days because everything is on pause.

In reality, the Owls can get 10,000 percent better.

Hell, Chuck is 70 now and maybe Stan already hired him and set him up in that nice house across the street. We can only hope.

All Stan Drayton needs to do is pick up the phone and call Chuck Heater.

That’s because defensive coordinator D.J. Eliot left to become linebackers coach with the Philadelphia Eagles.

While there is much gnashing of teeth with that departure, the numbers indicate otherwise.

In the one year Eliot was DC with the Temple Owls, they gave up 29.2 points per game.

Is that the work of a great or even good DC to you?

I must be a hard marker because that’s an F to me.

You know who gets an A in the same job at Temple?

Chuck Heater.

Marshall under Chuck Heater

To me, the sign of a great defensive coordinator is shutting out the bad guys.

Heater didn’t do that just once but twice in back-to-back games in the same season.

The last Temple DC to shut out an opponent twice?

Chuck Heater.

Temple did shut out Stony Brook under Phil Snow in 2016 but I will take Heater’s back-to-back shutouts over Buffalo and Ball State over that accomplishment any two days of the week.

Fortunately for Temple, Heater is sitting by his phone and waiting for a call from Stan Drayton.

He worked most recently at Maryland, Marshall and Colorado State but due to coaching changes at those places is out of a job.

The culprits in all of those cases were the head coaches, not the defensive ones.

While Eliot was known for “simulated pressures” Heater is known for “real pressures.”

Colorado State under Chuck Heater.

Colorado State, under Heater, led the nation in defensive pressures as recently as the 2020 season. He has also worked with Temple defensive line coach Antoine Smith there and would be a great fit at Temple again.

While here, Heater biked from his Spring Garden home to 10th and Diamond every day and told the interviewer from the Philadelphia Inquirer that he loved both Philadelphia and Temple.

The kids loved him.

You know who else loves him?

Urban Meyer, who was with Heater from the beginning and that loyalty led to Heater being the DC for Meyer’s Florida National championship team.

At Temple, Heater held Maryland to only 7 points–a meaningless fourth-quarter garbage time touchdown–in a 38-7 win.

When Temple beat Wyoming in the New Mexico Bowl, it was the Temple players giving DC Heater the Gator-Aid bath, not Steve Addazio, the head coach.

National champion Florida under Chuck Heater.

As good as that job was, I thought Heater’s best job was the next year at UConn when he led the defense to a 17-14 upset win in overtime against 5 1/2-point favorite UConn.

Waiting for the kids to leave Rentschler Field for the Temple busses, I stood next to Chuck at the busses and told him I thought that was a masterful game plan on defense.

“That wasn’t me, Mike,” Chuck said “That was the boys.”

That’s what Heater called his players: The boys. It was never about him. It was always about them.

He would not need to be shown directions to Temple. Stan Drayton shouldn’t need to call anyone other than Antoine Smith to get Heater’s number. Or Steve Addazio. Or any Temple player who played for Chuck.

For all the hard work Temple does before Cherry and White Day, hiring Heater tomorrow probably makes this team twice as good today than it was yesterday.

Monday: Sean Desai

Friday; That’s a Long Drive

Bonus coverage (no truth to the rumor that is AOD running out into the end zone):

Fortunately, Hooter has gotten better-looking with age.

Spring Ball: Necessary work without tangible results

Somebody told the truth about spring football at Temple this week.

We won’t say the name to protect the innocent but he was wearing what looked like the No. 24 and came up with this gem of a quote:

“It feels fake. It’s not the real season. I’ll see y’all in August.”


And true.

Really, how much will you or me or even Stan Drayton know about the Owls after April 8th (Cherry and White Day)?

Almost nothing.

To me, the three priorities in the offseason were to improve both lines and the running game.

Two out of three ain’t bad but is it good enough?

I don’t feel like the running game has improved but other areas of the team have, like talent on both sides of the line. Expecting running backs who were not able to break a tackle in 2022 to break them in 2023 might be a bridge too far.

That’s Drayton’s problem, though, and I don’t see him solving it unless some disgruntled back slips through someone else’s cracks this spring.

A “Khalif Battle” of football if you will. Someone with a great deal of talent but maybe someone who might upset team chemistry. Not many boy scouts leave spring practice disgruntled.

Back to No. 24’s original point, though.

Spring ball has always been about the good guys practicing against other good guys with the climax being a game between good guys.

It’s necessary work because big-time college football is a 365-day-a-year business and those who don’t do the work fall behind those who do.

The Owls are doing the work now. They should be better than they were in 2022 but, at least right now, not as good as they should be.

Friday: Some high praise for a Temple guy

Other schedule storylines: Why not us?

Not a whole lot of respect for Temple from this Miami fan. He didn’t have much respect for MTSU either

Posted the other day on Facebook this simple thought.

“If Middle Tennessee State can beat them in Coral Gables, Temple can beat them in Philadelphia.”

Obviously, I was referring to MTSU’s demolishing Miami, 44-21, in one of the more shocking college football results of 2022.

Was it really, though?

One of my Facebook friends, who shall remain nameless, immediately tried to temper my thought with this response:

“Yeah, but they are a much different team this year.”

Perhaps the most perfect spiral ever in the history of football was thrown by E.J. Warner here in an otherwise routine practice on March 2, 2023. Zamani Feelings captured this image.

I took the bait and turned it into a 360:

“Absolutely right, Temple is a much better team with E.J. having one year under his belt.”

There is a significant defeatist part of the Temple football fan base that we need to defeat this year along with our opponents.

Obviously, my friend was referring to Miami being “different” and “better” but why can’t those adjectives refer to Temple as well as Miami?

Why not us?

Why indeed?

The same people who set the bar as low as 6-6 for Temple in 2023 are already counting games like Miami and Rutgers as losses.

That type of thinking has to end now.

MTSU didn’t think going into spring practice a year ago it would lose to Miami because the Hurricanes were “better” or “different” than the 2021 season due to Mario Cristobal replacing Manny Diaz.

Nor should Temple now.

Cristobal was the guy who applied for the Temple job and was considered the leading front-runner until he called then-athletic director Bill Bradshaw from the airport and asked for directions to Temple. Bradshaw then told other Temple people that was the moment he heard Al Shrier’s voice in his head, “Bill, listen to me. Hire Matt Rhule.”

Bradshaw told Cristobal to cross the Platt Bridge, find Broad Street and head north. In those 45 minutes, he decided to do what Shrier told him to do.

Hire Matt Rhule.

It was a key moment for Temple football.

Nobody thought going into the 2014 season (at least among the Temple fan base) that the Owls were going to win at Vanderbilt. Fortunately, Matt Rhule didn’t let those Owls think that way and Temple came away with a 37-7 road win over an SEC team.

Guaranteed Stan Drayton is taking that same kind of mindset into spring practice currently going on at 10th and Diamond.

One game at a time means Akron is the most important game of the season as it should be.

That’s the job of the coaches and players.

Peaking ahead to the other teams left on the schedule is the job of the fans and not a single Temple fan should be thinking there is not a single Temple opponent the Owls can’t beat.

Not true last year, but certainly this one.

Monday: Spring Practice Thoughts

How Temple’s offense looks like the Super Bowl winner

The Kansas City passing offense and Temple’s are so similar it’s uncanny.

Everyone has a blind spot.

For me, it’s the rear-view mirror on the driver’s side. There’s about a four-foot gap where I can’t see anything coming up on the left.

I’ve learned to deal with it by not getting into the left lane on a super highway.

For Stan Drayton and Temple football, though, that blind spot apparently is the running game.

The Owls didn’t put a premium on getting a big-time back in here and it MAY cost them at least one game, maybe more, in 2023.

Everyone remembers the 3d-and-1 call at midfield against ECU, which was a pass.

Obviously, Drayton and company had no confidence in a running back getting the first down and the “tush push” quarterback sneak that the Eagles do so well is not in the Temple playbook.

Had the Owls gotten the first down there late in the fourth quarter, they might not have scored–although after scoring 46 points that’s not a given–but they almost certainly would have been able to run out the clock and win the game.

No worries.

Temple and Kansas City don’t run similar passing games, they pretty much run the exact same offense.

We thought Drayton would go out and get a big-time back in the transfer portal and that just hasn’t happened.

With only one open portal window left (after spring football), it doesn’t look like it’s going to happen. You are not going to get anyone better than Edward Saydee or Joquez Smith at this point. Let’s hope Saydee takes a leap forward. If Owl fans noticed one thing about recent running backs like Bernard Pierce and Jahad Thomas, they never let the first guy tackle them. Hell, that goes all the way back to Paul Palmer and even before him.

Notice how Paul Palmer never lets the first tackler bring him down in this game against Alabama

Too many times, Saydee let the first guy tackle him.

That needs to change this season if the Owls are going to double their win total.

Imagine if the Owls had the quarterback “tush push” in this playbook with someone like 330-pound Freddy Booth-Lloyd pushing E.J. Warner ahead for a yard.

Obviously, Drayton will go into the 2023 season rolling the dice on the same offense that (mostly) worked in the second half of the 2022 season.

That’s great if you want to put up points but not so great if you need to get a yard on 3d and 1.

We’ll see.

What we do know is that the Temple offense we saw in the second half very much resembled from a schematic standpoint the Kansas City Chiefs’ offense that baffled the Eagles so much in the Super Bowl.

Simply, it’s a short passing game that neutralizes the pass rush.

That was enough to win the Super Bowl.

Will it be enough to get a 3d and 1 at midfield next year at ECU? Or at Rutgers in Game Two? Or really any other game?

That’s a question that will probably be the difference between six and eight wins for the Owls this season.

Friday: Other Schedule Storylines

A couple of telling storylines in Temple football schedule

The complete AAC schedule

Hard to find a Temple football schedule in recent memory with the number of storylines this recently released one has.

We’ll just cover a couple with this post. There are many more to talk about latter.

For now, we’ll concentrate on the opener–which we hope Stan Drayton’s staff is doing.

Joe Moorhead, the Akron coach, was one of those names floated for in the search for a Temple head coach after Rod Carey was fired.

We don’t know how much interest Temple had in him or Moorhead had in Temple, but we do know this:

Moorhead has experience taking a less talented team and beating a more talented Temple team. He did so in 2013 as head coach at Fordham, which probably was the most disappointing Temple football single outcome in the last 20 years.

On the other hand, a worse Temple coach–Carey–was able to beat a better Akron team, 44-24, on the road with a worse Temple quarterback (Justin Lynch) than the one the Owls have now.

This Akron team, despite last year’s 2-10, is no slouch.

It finished strong, beating a decent Northern Illinois team, 44-12, and losing, 24-22, to a Buffalo team that made a bowl game.

Temple SHOULD win, but we’ve seen too many Temple games in the last few years where Temple hasn’t won the winnable games.

That’s just one storyline.

The next week, at Rutgers, provides another.

E.J. Warner was starting his first game as a college quarterback and looked decent. He was 19-for-32 with 215 yards, adding a touchdown and an interception.

After that game, Temple head coach Stan Drayton said:

“Back in fall camp, I knew he had the potential to be a leader and a really good quarterback.

“He studies the game, he understands the game. He came into our program already knowing our offense. I knew it would be a matter of time, I didn’t know it was going to be this soon. He really earned our trust in fall camp.”

There can be no doubt, though, that Warner improved significantly in every subsequent game and against two arguably better teams than Rutgers (really, inarguably in my mind), Houston and ECU.

Look what Warner did in both of those games:

Warner had the Owls on the precipice of a big win at Houston, grabbing a 36-35 lead with 1:22 left on a touchdown pass to Zae Baines. For the day, he had 42 completions in 59 attempts for 486 yards and three touchdowns.

Against East Carolina two weeks later, he was much better throwing for five touchdowns and 527 yards in a 49-46 loss.

Both of those games, although the outcomes Temple didn’t want, provide a glimpse into the future.

Both of those teams–Houston and ECU–would have blown the doors off of Rutgers in November.

He was a much more poised, confident, quarterback in those games than he was against Rutgers.

The fact that Warner has that year under his belt and that the great majority of the Temple team returns is a clue that the Owls can get off to a 2-0 start.

If they do, the sky’s the limit for this team.

This won’t be the team that opened the season walking on eggshells in a 30-0 loss at Duke and that is the best reason why Temple fans should be excited about the schedule just released.

Monday: Temple’s offensive concepts

A Temple favorite for Eagles’ DC

Now that the Philadelphia Eagles have hired an offensive coordinator, the second-biggest hire of this offseason could occur this week.

If they are smart, a Temple Owl could fill the position.

Sean Desai, who spent five years coaching at Temple, is rumored to be one of the top five candidates for the job.

Currently at Seattle, Desai coached at Temple under current Notre Dame defensive coordinator Al Golden and was the Temple special teams’ coach before the legendary Ed Foley took over the same position.

Desai would be a good fit and not just because he’s an Owl.

He is a disciple of Vic Fangio, who probably would have gotten the job had he not accepted the same position with the Miami Dolphins recently. Fangio is generally considered the best defensive mind in the NFL and Desai would bring all of those principles to the Eagles with the added benefit of youth.

Sean Desai did a good job with the Bears and with the Eagles talent on defense he probably would be an upgrade over Jonathan Gannon.

Desai was back at Temple less than a year ago, serving at the Commencement Speaker for the College of Education and Human Development in May.

Not only was he a coach at Temple, but he served as an adjunct professor in the College of Education in 2009 and 2010, teaching a master’s and doctoral program in education administration.

In the NFL, he has plenty of experience as a DC having served as the Chicago Bears’ DC in 2021. With the Seahawks this past season, he was “associate head coach for defense” under Pete Carroll.

Desai earned his doctorate in educational administration, with an emphasis in higher education in the College of Education and Human Development in May 2008. He served as an adjunct professor in the College of Education in 2009 and 2010, teaching in the master’s and doctoral programs in education administration.

While Desai never got a chance to coach current Eagles’ defenders Shaun Bradley and Haason Reddick, he has connections with those who recruited both and probably knows both well.

At Temple, Desai was the special teams’ coach in 2008 when the Owls averaged 26.6 points per return (tying for second in the nation) and had two kickoff returns for touchdowns.

The Owls haven’t had a kickoff return for a touchdown since Desai left.

With the current putrid state of the Eagles’ special teams, having Desai close by can only help Nick Siranni.

Let’s hope he comes to the same conclusion.

Friday: Some Great Storylines in the Temple schedule

Monday: Pre-camp Game by Game Analysis

Friday (March 3): How the Temple offense compares with a champion

Interview: Joe Klecko doesn’t forget his Temple roots

Radio Hall of Famer Mike Francesa brings up Temple football to Pro Football Hall of Famer Joe Klecko here.

In about only five months, there will be a sea of Green and White and maybe a small lake of Cherry and White in Canton, Ohio for the induction of former Temple and New York Jet football star Joe Klecko into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Perhaps that’s not the way we’d like it to be on this Cherry and White site but that’s the way it will be. My druthers are Ocean of Cherry and White and sea of Green and White but I’m a realist and not necessarily an optimist.

Hell, maybe that’s the way it should be because it is, after all, the “Pro Football Hall of Fame” and not the college one.

Still, it’s only been a week or so and Klecko has seen double twice as far as Hall of Famers go.

He learned that he got into the hall with a knock on the door from fellow New York Jets’ Hall of Famer Joe Namath.

Two days later, he was interviewed by radio Hall of Famer Mike Francesa.

That’s a lot of Hall of Fame to consume in a couple of days and Klecko handled it like a pro.

Francesa, though, has to be the one given the credit for bringing up Temple football for the first time with a reference to Wayne Hardin.

Dan Klecko wearing his dad’s pro number at Temple.

Klecko handled the question like Larry Bowa usually handled a line drive backhand deep into the shortstop hole. Smoothly with a solid throw to first base.

Klecko gave credit to Hardin for preparing him for what was to come. You can hear the complete interview at the top of this post with the Temple part at the 7:37 time stamp but what struck me was Joe didn’t refer to himself as much as his Temple teammates for what Hardin did.

It was a short reference and kind of gave a preview of his acceptance speech, which will be about 92 percent New York Jet oriented.

Up the percentage for the presentation speech because there is no doubt in my mind that son Dan Klecko will give it. If Joe talks mostly about the Jets, we hope Dan will work in the mutual Temple football experience both shared. Hopefully, at least 14 percent of Dan’s speech will be about Joe’s Temple days.

Like Joe, Dan played football at Temple.

Joe was an honorable mention All-American at Temple but it could be argued from a receipts standpoint that Dan had the better college career, as Dan was named the Big East Defensive Player of the Year for the Owls and Joe played an independent schedule.

Having seen Joe post 11 sacks in one game at Delaware (before sacks were an official NCAA stat) there was no doubt that Joe was a better college player. That’s no slight on Dan, who might have been the second-best Temple lineman I’ve ever seen. Remember, Temple had 10 sacks AS A TEAM in the 27-10 win over Penn State in 2015 and that was the biggest story coming out of that game.

With the kind of left jab to the helmet that made Joe Klecko the two-time NCAA boxing champion at Temple, he made life miserable for future Detroit Lions’ quarterback Brian Komlo, getting on him no more than one or seconds after the snap. Most of those 11 times, Joe only had to touch him and Komlo was on the ground.

The late great Chuck Newman, who covered Temple football for The Inquirer then, took the microphone in the U. of D. press box that day and announced, “Is there a doctor in the house? The Blue Hens’ center needs one now.”

Everybody laughed, even the guys at the Wilmington News-Journal who hated Temple.

Delaware then was a national championship contender at the FCS level, and Klecko’s sacks came in a 31-8 win before what is still to this day the largest home crowd in Delaware history. Klecko also dominated Pitt All-American center Mike Carey who entered the post-game press conference after the close win over the Owls and simply said this: “Joe was the best player I’ve ever gone against.”

Later, Cincinnati Bengals’ all-pro Anthony Munoz said the same thing at the pro level.

No one has ever been more deserving to get into the Hall than Joe but, from Temple’s perspective, Owl Nation turns its lonely eyes to Dan to work some Temple references into the second most important speech of the day.

Monday: A Most Interesting Candidate

Friday: The AAC Schedule