Mulligans and Aliens


Temple should have capitalized on having this to recruit a decent class this season.

A friend who is an amateur astronomer posted a photo of some far-off galaxy on Facebook and apologized for the quality of the photo due to atmospheric conditions.

A Virginia Tech model,
where you make a bowl
every year and reach
up and win a title
here and there, should
be a realistic
expectation for Temple
at the G5 level

My response was that someone from that galaxy probably posted a photo of the Milky Way with the same apology on, say, Cleon Facebook.

In other words, we’re not alone.

It’s a lesson Temple football fans would be wise to understand today, a couple of weeks after Signing Day. The prevalent feeling on the major Owl message board (Shawn Pastor’s OwlsDaily) is that we’re giving new head coach Geoff Collins a Mulligan on this class, but the next class better be good.

The lesson should have been don’t look back because the other beings in this football universe might be gaining on you.

That’s where the other guy comes in because new coach Charlie Strong did not need a Mulligan to haul in a significantly better class for USF and former Temple head coaches Al Golden, Steve Addazio and Matt Rhule did not need a Mulligan in their first transition classes. Despite working about a month, the classes that Golden, Addazio and Rhule brought in their first time were ranked significantly higher than Collins’ first class.

In between preparing for a medical procedure I should have done 10 years ago but had been putting off, I found a little bit of time to look at those classes.

The Charlie Strong class was easy to find. The other classes were much harder to quantify against this one. (You really only know four years from now but you can compare them against how they were ranked at the time.)  According to, Strong’s USF transition class this season was ranked No. 95th with seven three stars. In roughly the same time frame to recruit, Collins had Temple was 127th with only three three-stars. In the same conference, both teams with a new head coach, a significant gap in results.

Strong did not have a championship trophy to carry around on a helicopter, either. It’s fair to compare the two classes. Because we have evidence to work with given roughly the same circumstances, Collins should have done better. You can talk all you want about how it is the “Temple Way” to recruit two stars and coach them up to four stars but if you get three stars, your mathematical chances of coaching them up to four- and five-stars improve. Temple should be OK next year, but the impact of this class won’t be felt until three or four years down the road and that is how a foundation is laid for sustainable success, not just one “up” season followed by a “down” season. At Temple, the goal should not be “up and down” seasons like so many other schools seem to have. A Virginia Tech model, where you make a bowl every year and reach up and win a title here and there, should be a realistic expectation for Temple at the G5 level.

An AAC trophy should have meant a better haul than the 2017 class Collins was able to bring to 10th and Diamond and long-term is where the impact will be felt. Without helicopters or AAC trophies, Temple coaches have done better with roughly a month to recruit.



While it might have been tough to expect Collins to do a whole lot with this class, the evidence is there in black and white that he should have done better. In college football, getting to the top is tough but staying there is tougher so capitalizing on a championship season when you can with recruiting should have been prioritized.

There are a lot of football teams in this universe and, if you slip up one year, they could be passing you in two or three. There are no Mulligans when you are not alone.

Saturday: Fun With Graphics


18 thoughts on “Mulligans and Aliens

  1. We’re still recruiting Trey Klock, and another ’17 WR/ SS from Central HS just committed.

    – I think we’re also still looking for a few JUCOs as well.

    It’s interesting to note how many offers recently went out to highly-recruited ’18 prospects. Collins’ strategy so far appears to be diverging from that of Rhule, but only if we can get any of those players to commit.

  2. Mike, is there any more insight as to WHY this recruiting class was a mulligan? Completely agree on the impact being felt years from now, and if nothing else on this blog I’ve commented for years on the need to be consistent year over year (no steps back). Building a strong, sustainable program takes time and getting the vast majority of the calls correct.

    Just figured we would have had better recruits coming off of two monstrous seasons and a championship from arguably the best G5 conference. If that doesn’t help sell the program I’m not sure what will.

    • A couple of reasons. 1) Matt Rhule stopped recruiting when it became apparent to him that the team was headed to the championship game (late Nov.) and his options would be open; 2) Collins did not have the same binder on how to run a program Golden wrote and he was operating as a HC from the seat of his pants and spent far too much time on assistants to the neglect of the recruiting priority. What’s that old saying? Make hay while the sun shines? With a shiny trophy to carry around, the light should have blinded recruits. The day Collins was signed my hope was that he would be like the other ex-Temple coaches, able to keep the recruits already in the fold and reaching out to flip a couple of P5s. That never happened. He seemed more focused on quick fixes (Jones, Klock) and not as interested in guys who could help 3-4 years down the road.

      • Agree on MR not only checking out but also pilfering top recruits on his way to hell. On a side note Matt gets paid handsomely to live and work in a sanctioned cesspool populated with Christian hypocrites, what do the player get…but I digress.

        Collins is fortunate in that he’s got a bunch of quality red shirts joining the active roster. This doesn’t give him a mulligan but does cover up a weak (by headcount) recruiting year. Next year he needs to lead the conference in recruiting with a focus on O-line. He also needs to produce a solid season on the field to ensure all momentum isn’t lost.

  3. Reviewed your chart of recruits for Temple from Golden through Rhule. How many were 3 or 4 star recruits? I don’t think any.

  4. The Thrift Shop Boys. Tyler Matakevich or Hasson Reddick were on no one’s watch list. Temple is where bargain basement buys, walk-ons, and late bloomers turn heads and get drafted.

  5. While I don’t think it fair comparing Collins to Strong (Strong a name known to the kids), it is fair to compare GC’s effort to Daz’s being they came from the same program and situation. Golden was a total unknown making him the champ.

  6. Not saying Collins shouldn’t have done more but Mike when you said Rhule stopped sooner on the Temple recruiting trail says a lot. I mentioned that some time ago, but everyone has been focused only on Collins. Not only did Rhule stop but the star level wasn’t as high as it had been either, plus he took a couple of the best ones with him. One of Collins negatives was concentrating on keeping Rhules recruits who weren’t as good as usual instead of hitting the recruiting trail harder. Also as I’ve mentioned before, maybe he sees something better to coach up in this class than the rest of you see so he wasn’t as concerned to begin with. At Temple, the “coaching up” has been an important factor for the recent success, but it is also true getting a few star level guys sprinkled in was not as good this time. We’ll see – year to year is the Temple way, so let’s give the new coach a chance.

  7. For what it’s worth, the “conventional wisdom” in recruiting is that a championship has the most legs in the year-after class. By the time a championship is won there’s very little movement among existing commitments. With the ’18 class Collins has more opportunity to sell it. I’m also a reluctant to draw an exact comparison to USF with this class. Strong/USF have a geographic advantage that’s hard to overcome.

  8. lets not forget that the classes these coaches brought in were primarily established by the prior coaches. You could argue Collins only failure were the decommits.

  9. Mulligan my eye. The man said he was ready to be a head coach and he miserably failed his first test regardless of how these kids turn out. How is it possible that a team that played for a league championship two years in a row finishes last in the conference in recruiting? How does UConn have a better class with a retread head coach hired well after Collins was for a team that’s horrendous? I’ll tell you how, Our head coach was in over his head and panicked when the bright lights hit him. Don’t know where Tom Bradley is coaching but he should have been Collins’ first call even if it meant naming him assistant head coach. Don’t care about etiquette either. He should have been able to convince at least one Florida recruit to jump ship. Hope that this class is not a sign that he’s not ready to coach and is going to learn on the job just like Rhule,did because Rhule wasted two seasons and left 8 wins on the field while learning on the job.

    • I agree. I am all for giving the guy a chance

    • I agree. I am all for giving the guy a chance but not at expense of withholding fair criticism

      • Mike, your “fair criticism” of Rhule may have forced him to reconsider Sattersfield’s crazy five wide receiver spread offense and feature a fullback. I hope your “fair criticism” of Collins causes him to buckle down and look to continue to add motor to the recruiting foundation Rhule and especially Golden laid. It’s good to not have a guy patting the Temple coach on the back all of the time. Love your blog.

  10. I may add everything Collins has done is to aid his quick exit from Temple. That may be good for him, but it’s sending a terrible message to the Temple fans. Did the administration not vet him properly? I’m for “extreme vetting” when it comes to Temple coaches.

  11. The administration hired a guy with no recruiting ties in this area. You cannot compare this class to Rhule’s first class. Rhule had been recruiting all of those players for years. He only had a 1 year hiatus.

    I cant really compare the USF class either. Charlie Strong was the Head coach at Louisville and Texas, with solid recruiting ties already in florida. I will judge Collins more on next year’s class. That will be the measuring stick for me.

    • Collins was a good hire but I think in retrospect bringing Golden back (like UConn brought back Edsall) might have been a better one. First, Golden would be more apt to stay this time(knowing he was burnt the last). Second, he knows the area and has established recruiting ties here. Third, he would not be looking for quick fixes like JUCOs or grad transfers. I think he would have taken the job. He left on pretty good terms, understands Temple (he brought back the TEMPLE helmet) and being head coach at Temple is a significantly higher-profile job than TE coach with the Lions. Let’s hope I’m wrong and Collins is not here for a year and gets out but everything he’s done from a recruiting perspective demonstrates otherwise.

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