Dear Coach Collins,
Welcome to Philadelphia and I hope your stay here is both long and successful, although recent coaching stays have been partly successful and not as long as the fans have wanted.
Temple University is a great institution with a special mission and that mission has been so important to a lot of great coaches that they have considered it an honor and a privilege to make it a last stop on the way to Hall of Fame careers. As a favor to yourself, while you still can, please sit down and discuss why with football’s Wayne Hardin, basketball’s John Chaney and Fran Dunphy and 1,000-plus win baseball winner Skip Wilson. You will certainly do both yourself and the university a favor if you do. Start telling recruits you will be here four years from now when they graduate and leave the obscure answers for coaches recruiting against you. Plan to attend the alumni tailgate at the bowl game. Since you will not be coaching, stop by and have a brewski or two in front of the largest two tents of Temple fans ever assembled in the history of the school. That’s some damn good networking right there. Once back on campus, get to know and love The Bell Tower. It is to us what the Golden Dome is to the Fighting Irish.
Oh, by the way, that’s who we open the season with next year.
Also, keep Matt Rhule’s number on the rolodex and in your contacts and consult with him whenever you have a question about the current personnel. Leave the upward mobility discussions for coaches Chaney and Hardin, though.
What Matt Rhule is likely to tell you is this: Although this roster is suffering significant losses, specifically a four-year starting quarterback in P.J. Walker, the program was built with an eye on staying him here a long time so there is sufficient talent in the cupboard to move forward. He did not burn redshirts, like his predecessor, so this is the guy who will likely be your quarterback for the next four years:
You’re welcome. Ask Trent Dilfer if he’d like to be your quarterback coach. If not, Adam DiMichele comes cheaper and would do just as good a job. Consider keeping good guy coaches and consummate professionals in Ed Foley (special teams) and George DeLeone (offensive line) to ease the transition.
The Running Game
While the Owls lose a great running back in Jahad Thomas, they still are deep and talented at that position with Ryquell Armstead, Jager Gardner and David Hood and have a Thomas-like threat coming up in four-star running back Tyliek Raynor.
Also, please keep the fullback in the offense because you have a great one returning in Nick Sharga. Watch this fullback:
The Case For the Defense
On defense, your strength next year is the line when single digit defensive end Jacob Martin becomes a starter, and medical redshirt Sharif Finch spends his sixth year here at the other defensive end. All Finch has done his entire time here is make plays like this one against a future NFL second-round pick:
Finch has all the physical tools to become this year’s Haason Reddick. He’s going to have the spent the offseason continuing his rehab and putting up Reddick’s insane numbers in the weight room to set him up for the big payday ahead. The interior of the defensive line is in good hands with Karamo Dioubate, Michael Dogbe, Greg Webb and Freddy Booth-Lloyd.
With that in mind, and with three starting linebackers departing, please consider revamping the defense and going from a passive 4-3 to an aggressive 5-2. Those five guys can cause a lot of havoc—or mayhem—and you will only need to replace two linebackers, not three. One of the starters should be Jarred Folks but, in a pinch, just know that your starting fullback, the shots fired guy, is a great linebacker as well.
Defensive backs should be in good hands as Artrel Foster (16) returns to start at one corner with four-star recruit Kareem Ali. Jr. at the other corner and Delvon Randall and playmaker Sean “Champ” Chandler at the safety positions. Ali really is the greatest because he’s literally Temple Made as he was conceived at Temple by two great athletes, his mom on the track team and his dad on the football team at the time.
Here’s The Kickers
Welcome to a place where there is an abundance of riches at the kicking position. Austin Jones, who will be a true junior in 2017, had a nation-best 17 field goals in a row before being taken out on a dirty hit at Memphis. He was replaced by a true freshman, Aaron “Boom Boom” Boumerhi, who had a good-enough half year to be named second-team All-AAC kicker. This is a good problem to have. Suggestion: Since Jones has not had a redshirt year, redshirt him in 2017, then redshirt Boumerhi in 2018 and have these guys hang around an extra year or two to get their Masters’ degrees. Or, better yet, PHDS.
Good Luck and see you at the tent one week from today.
Editor and Publisher
Temple Football Forever
Thursday: Eye on The Prize
Great column Mike. WE will know if this coach meant what he said when he remarked that he uses what he has and is not bound to a “process” if he used a full back as much as Rhule did. Sharga was not fully healthy and he overwhelmed opponents, If he is relegated to the bench, it will not bode well for the Owls.
Looking forward to hearing about your discussions with Coach Collins.
– Hopefully he already has all of his coaching staff ready-to-go and is just waiting on contract logistics… but who am I kidding.
getting ‘your’ staff is usually a 2-3 year process.., timing is critical.., it took MR 3 years to assemble an effective and trusted staff.., good news is Collins appears to be the right fit.., bad news is this is our fourth coach in eight years.., we lost a recruiting class this year and every year coaching change year.., such is life for successful G5 programs