In order to improve Temple football, Geoff Collins will be talking about three things and they won’t be the Temperors (who we readily admit are people, not things).
When Collins recovers from both a well-deserved birthday and New Year’s Eve celebration (both on the same day), he will get to work on his next project as head coach of Temple University’s football team. That is, to sit down with each of the 105 scholarship players in the program and ask them what the three things they most like about the program and the three things that can most be improved.
As a service to any players who feel potentially stumped by this exercise, we offer a Cliff Notes’ cheat sheet.
The 3 Most Likeable Things
1) Emphasis On Defense
Very much like Navy with the triple option, Temple has carved out a unique identity as a program. The Owls win by playing great defense, an emphasis on special teams and running the football. Defense does indeed win championships and Temple really is the only team that played defense in the AAC on a consistent basis. The Owls have finished in the top 10 in defenses four of the last six years and, in a league that has high-scoring teams but few that play defense, that identity sets them apart from the rest. That’s an identity that should be embraced with newfound Mayhem.
2) Offense Plays Off Run
Helping out the defense was an emphasis on the running game, which controlled the clock and kept the defense fresh. Off the running game, the Owls were able to make explosive plays in the passing game by faking the ball into the belly of one their two 918-yard rushers (Ryquell Armstead, Jahad Thomas), bringing the linebackers and safeties up to the line of scrimmage and tossing the ball over the outstretched arms of those same defenders. It is a winning formula. The Owls should keep it.
3) Use Of The Fullback
Temple is one of the very few teams in the country that utilizes the fullback in the running game. While Nick Sharga is here, the Owls should use him leading the tailback on toss sweeps behind their best lineman to suppress the will of the opposition. In a 46-30 win over USF, Sharga led the way for Armstead to gain 200 yards and his blocking was so fierce he had the USF defensive backs running away from him to avoid contact in the second half. Reward him with a carry or two or three a game. He can knock over defenders just as well with the ball in his hands as without.
1) Coaching Stability
This has to be the first thing on the minds of the kids, the bleeding of coaches out the door of the E-O what seems every couple of years now. While actions are more important than words, words are important now. Instead of saying things like “I love South Philly macaroni” or “I would sign a 15-year contract here if Bill would let me” try to be the one coach who sets himself apart from the rest. One way to do it is to say something like “I believe in the sanctity of contracts and I will be here for as long as my contract says” or to tell recruits “I will definitely be here when you graduate.” Then make those words your bond. Certainly beats saying “I deal in the here and now.”
2) Cherry and White Game
For years, the Cherry and White game has been played in the cramped confines of the practice facility. Now that the brand new soccer complex is available four blocks away, it should be moved there. The place seats significantly more people than the Edberg Olson complex and people will not have to be straining for a view of the game. USF plays spring football games at its soccer facility and Temple should do the same.
3) Don’t Tempt Karma
There should be a uniform code on uniforms because that’s what the word means. Not the ones the Owls wear most of the time (Cherry helmets with the ‘][‘ with white or cherry tops), but the ones that bring nothing but bad luck. The Owls won seven-straight games wearing the distinctive Cherry helmets with the White ‘][‘ but then, for some reason, decided to wear white helmets in a 34-26 loss to Wake Forest. They wore black helmets in their previous loss, at Memphis. Whatever is done with the uniforms, ditch the White and Black helmets and go Cherry. We are the Cherry and White, not the White and Cherry or the Black and Cherry. The school is blessed with the best dominant color in all of sports. Let’s accentuate it and keep the helmet brand the same or at least keep the color of the helmets the same and spell out TEMPLE on the side.
Tuesday: The Staff