Fool us once, shame on you.
Fool us twice, shame on me.
Fool us three times, and we never get fooled again.
That’s where the relationship now stands between many (not all) Temple fans and new head coach Geoff Collins and very little of it is the poor guy’s fault. In fact, it might be the way the fan base accepts the revolving aspect of every subsequent coach who walks through the Edberg-Olson door.
In various ways, Al Golden, Steve Addazio and Matt Rhule pledged fidelity to the Cherry and White only to exit stage left at the very first opportunity to jump to a Power 5 program. The last coach said it would take a perfect job for him to leave Temple and he left for a job that is far from perfect. Golden left for a school, Miami, that he knew was about to be hit with sanctions. Addazio left for a Boston College team that went winless in the two major sports (football and men’s basketball) in the ACC last year. That’s pretty hard to do.
Meanwhile, Temple wasn’t a bad job in comparison. The Owls won a pair of AAC East title and an overall title under Rhule, and beat a Big 10 school, an ACC school and a SEC school in prior five years.
|What Coach Collins Really Said ….||Translations|
|“It’s been a busy month-and-a-half since I last saw you guys.”||“Between press conferences, my ex-buddy Matt Rhule stole two of my recruits.”|
|“It doesn’t matter what the outside people say about the number of stars we have. We play. We’re tough. We’re going to work. I think that’s a pretty special edge to have.”||“I’m going to have to do what Matt did. Coach the two stars up to four stars. It’ll be a little different from Florida, where I could coach a four-star up to a five-star so we’ll see what happens.”|
|“We went into Florida, we went into Georgia and in the future, those are going to be targets for us but in this day and age, especially in the culture that’s in Philadelphia, we make sure we surround this area and supplement people from Florida and Georgia and other places.”||“Matt got Harrison Hand and Rob Saulin to decommit from Temple to go to Baylor and I tried to get a couple of the kids I was recruiting for the Gators to do the same, but it didn’t work out.”|
|“The way the recruiting weekends have been set up, the staff has done an amazing job … they dove in and whatever needed to be done, they did it.”||“I wish the basketball team would have had a packed house for one of those weekends so we had a little more juice in the building.”|
|“It’s nice to walk around this great town and get noticed. To get noticed in Philadelphia, it’s mind-blowing.”||“I like South Philly macaroni.”|
So excuse some Temple fans for looking for clues about how the new guy will handle the Elephant in the Room. There have been two tests of Collins so far and he has not passed them. In the press conference, he stumbled over a question from Zach Gelb about promising current recruits he would be here when they graduate by saying he tells them only to be concerned about the present.
Keeping all of the Rhule recruits and bringing in a good core group of three-star recruits who would be key contributors three years down the line would have been another sign that Collins was planning to stay for a while, but this class screams short-term solutions and not long-term ones. Plugging immediate holes, like cornerback, but not addressing long-term needs for accomplished linemen on both sides of the ball could be interpreted as the moves of a guy who plans to be here one or two years at most and bolt like Usain.
This is a dangerous development for at least a couple of reasons. One, at least Rhule followed the “Golden Rule” of Al that he was here to build a “foundation of brick, not of straw.” Even though we all knew Golden was looking to get out, he didn’t cut corners. He built the program by recruiting what he called a “full team” every year, 25 guys (11 offense, 11 defense, a couple of specialists) and then redshirting the guys who needed the year in the weight room. Addazio departed from that plan by burning redshirts and also recruiting for immediate needs (i.e, Montel Harris to replace Bernard Pierce).
The second, and probably more important, residue of this is that this forces Temple to keep hiring new head coaches every couple of years. If Collins is the “home run” Rhule says he is, the next guy after him might not be. No one can expect Pat Kraft to make a great hire every time. Charlie Theokas hired Jerry Berndt and Ron Dickerson and Dave O’Brien hired Bobby Wallace. The recent run of Golden-Daz-Rhule has been decent, but the percentages don’t look good if you look at the big picture.
Even Babe Ruth didn’t hit home runs every time he came to the plate. The next guy is just as likely to pop out as he is to slam one over the fence. One day Temple is going to have to find a way to remove that revolving door from the E-0 and make it a vault.
Or at least one of the good ones is going to decide his Acres of Diamonds is right here.
Friday: The Schedule
While I don’t think Collins is “the one”, I do think it would be hysterical if we see Rhule coaching back at Temple in the next decade or two.
Let’s hope the time comes where we won’t need to have a Randy Edsall-esque reunion, but until we get into a P5, this is our fate.
Rhule had the Temple thing figured out, then he messed it up by going elsewhere. I think he will find out what worked at Temple is not necessarily transferable and that’s an honest assessment and not sour grapes. I think the Rhule ceiling was about seven wins with this 2017 team and I also think Collins will surpass it by a game or two.
Written before schedule came out today, 8-9 wins is asking a lot
Mike, wringing our hands over the “revolving door” HC situation at Temple is pointless and, frankly, a waste of time. The situation is what it is and presently, there’s nothing that can change that. Temple is a midlin’ situation so let’s just deal with what we have right now.
For Collins to move on in just a couple years he will have to have a couple very good seasons immediately. But next year may be a dip and require another rebuilding for a couple years – although hopefully not nearly as bad as with Rhule’s first 2 years. But if he can keep the ball rolling and go bowling next year and build from that he’ll be here at least 3-4 seasons before being lured away. And as some other commenters have stated, I can live with a continuation of decent to very nice seasons even if getting a new coach comes sooner than later. I kind of doubt we’ll see another Bobby Wallace situation with Collins at worst and instead some more 7-10 win seasons coming up.
It will take some luck to get a guy who succeeds and wants to stay here, ala Litwack, Chaney, Skip Wilson, Nikki Frank, and, yes, Dunphy, and the successful recent coaches at Penn and Nova who were long-timers. it will take luck and a special person for that to happen. Let’s just go with the flow and enjoy it while it’s good and hope it doesn’t go bad. Go Owls.
You offer a valid point here John. We are a revolving door but only when the team is successful. That is hopefully good motivation for us to avoid a repeat of the first two MR years.
To me, the “revolving door” is the biggest threat to the long-term viability of Temple football and therefore the biggest issue to someone like me who wants to see long-term sustained success, which is something we never really had post-Hardin. Up until Al Golden, you never had coaches wanting to leave Temple for other places. Bruce Arians turned down the Virginia Tech job to stay at Temple. Hardin turned down the Dallas Cowboys’ OC job to stay at Temple. Then we had a succession of guys who weren’t offered anything because they did a bad job at Temple. I was a little surprised when Golden looked at the UCLA job after his second season. Rhule was hired to stop the bleeding and because he was a “loyalist” who wanted to sign a 15-year contract. I thought he would stay. Now I don’t think anyone will stay (other than Ed Foley and we saw the crappy job he did in the Military Bowl). Best-case scenario is to hire a guy with Ed Foley’s loyalty and Wayne Hardin’s brains. Find me one of those guys. Damn close to impossible.
Well put, Mike. As much as I write on here about the revolving door I do agree having a more permanent fixture (that wins) is the best win-win we can hope for. I’ve never viewed the issue as the team, the program, or the location. It’s the BOT. Until they truly, fully commit it’s going to be hard to find a coach that will do the same.
I think we need to wait and see with COllins, since he has been successful as a coordinator as Rhule, who will be at the Chapel praying everyday that he should have stay. Collins will recruit the players that want to play at Temple. Forget about the Stars, he will coach up the talent like he did at Florida.
Collins didn’t have to coach anyone up at Florida. He just had to make sure that they played to their abilities. Don’t know if he can coach anyone up. Not much coaching up needed when recruits are 4 and 5 stars. I still say Rhule looked at next year’s schedule and blinked. He did not want to risk being down graded as a coach by a 6-6 or 7-5 schedule even though given the schedule and the loss of key players those records will be pretty good under the circumstances.
Let’s face it, the biggest thing with Rhule leaving was the money. Because of sanctions he’ll have an good excuse for losing and therefore will be tolerated for a few seasons at the least and make his millions. End of story. But he’s gone and we’re on to the next guy. You’re right Mike, getting someone good AND loyal is damn near impossible and as you also implied, having to find a new one every few years is a threat to success continuity, but hopefully keeping success going can happen. Another thing withe Temple’s position in the football world is that there in a good enough conference and play a good schedule that when they win the coach is seen as successful by P5 conference schools. Temple’s done pretty good for over 10 years now, albeit with some down seasons but overall pretty good. If schools like Bowling Green can do it maybe Temple can too. Maybe they’ll find a guy like what’s his face at OhioU – older, successful from a big program who screws up and then is glad to stay and finish his career at a smaller program. Maybe a little sarcasm there but “you never know.”