Game Week: Most Exciting Season Yet


The guy who is the new head coach at Temple has this fascinating way of answering questions he does not want to answer.

Geoff Collins just shakes his head.

Up and down for yes.

Side to side for no.

Smiling all the while, but not a single word uttered.

Watching Collins do this the last three or four times sold me. Simply not because of that knee-jerk reflex, but because of a thousand other idiosyncrasies he has shown since being hired as Matt Rhule’s replacement. Answering questions is just one endearing quality. More so, to me at least,  he could cite to me chapter and verse every important play a current Temple player made on film in every game he ever played. For someone who felt that Rhule never looked at tape either of his players or opponents, that was a very good sign. If this guy pays that much attention in the film room to what his current players have done, this is likely  a guy who will study opponents’ film and attack their weaknesses. I was never sure Rhule did that, at least enough on a consistent basis for my taste. To Rhule, it was enough to focus on “the process” and “controlling what we can do.”

That’s nice, but college football is a big war game and encircling your enemy and exploiting his weaknesses is at least as big a part of it.

Collins, from what I’ve seen, seems to understand that’s a part of the process, too.

Judging from the focused practices, this is a guy who won’t stand for the Owls having 120 yards in penalties at Notre Dame, like Rhule brushed off after last year’s Penn State fiasco.

This is Pat Kraft’s “Home Run”
hire and, if that lands in the
upper deck like a Rhys Hoskins’
one, we will have a repeat
championship team
at 10th and Diamond

This guy has the “it” factor that even Al Golden and Matt Rhule did not have. This is Pat Kraft’s “Home Run” hire and, if that lands in the upper deck like a Rhys Hoskins’ one, we will have a repeat championship team at 10th and Diamond.

He’s genuine, not a bull-shitter who will tell Temple fans he wants to be here 1,000 years like the message the last guy perpetuated. He just avoids that question and that’s fine. As John Chaney once said, don’t tell me you’ll love me forever if you won’t.

This guy, Collins, has the kind of charisma those two did not with the attention to detail Golden had.

Golden was the meticulously organized guy, building a binder of how to construct a program based on his years of being an assistant at Penn State, Boston College and Virginia. Rhule observed Golden and tried to follow the same blueprint. Collins believes in those concepts, but thinks just outside the box enough to be able to implement new and improved ideas.

That’s the primary reason why I am more enthusiastic about this season than I have been for any one since the late, great Wayne Hardin was head coach.

Here’s the nut graph: This Temple team can win anything from 6-12 games and that’s why I’m fascinated more by going into this season than any other in the last decade or so. Last year was the so-called “step back” year and we debunked that theory the first week before the season because we felt the guys returning were more than capable of getting the Owls the league championship.

It turned out they were.

I’m not calling for a league championship here, or even a win over Notre Dame—I think the Owls fall just short of both goals—but don’t sell this guy Collins short.

He could very well prove me wrong and I think he might. This is one time I very much want to be wrong and one guy who is capable of debunking my theories. I will be hanging on his every word of this incredibly fascinating season.

Or every nod of the head.

Wednesday: Enemy Territory

Friday: Game Preview





15 thoughts on “Game Week: Most Exciting Season Yet

  1. I agree, it appears Collins has the right attitude, organizational skills and certainly the best experience of his predecessors coming in as a new HC, but what happens with the coaching during the game is the biggest question. Hopefully it will be in line with his other attributes. We’ll soon see. Go Owls.
    There’s a chance I will be at the Nova game – still trying to decide whether to make the trip. Maybe we can meet up.

  2. Looks like Russo is out of QB rotation for now. Very surprised that he failed to impress Collins and staff because of his pedigree and high school stats. My fear is that Russo will be buried so far down on depth chart that he gets disgusted and demoralized, leading to his transfer to another program where he will likely star. (Is it possible that Collins, a defensive specialist, is not a good judge of QB talent?) See:

    • All four quarterbacks are “above the line” and Collins said all four could play at Notre Dame. After nine months, this is not a good sign.

      • Let us all hope he is not expecting to need four QBs and that he does not.

      • I really feel Frank Nutile is going to start and 2 others will be placed for a play or two and will be benched if they cannot finish their pre-programmed drive.

      • I really feel there is only 1 QB that has “Steve Joachim” talent and potential, Anthony Russo. He was recruited by Rhule to be a starter based on pedigree and H.S. stats. Have no idea why he hasn’t impressed Collins or coaching staff. Perhaps like many star QBs, he hasn’t been a great practice player or maybe Collins, being a defensive specialist, is not the best evaluator of QBs ?
        Like Mike, I don’t think it is a good sign at all that a starting QB has not been named going into N.D. Going a step further, I’d like to know why Collins apparently isn’t enamored with a high profile, talented recruit like Russo?

      • Folks and Derrek Thomas are hurt/out?

        ND will put 8 in the box and dare Temple to beat them w/the pass….,

      • both are “above the line” today.
        (Collins said it was his bad to leave them out. I hope this kind of attention to detail doesn’t carry over into the game plan.)

  3. I’m thinking CC has successfully kept everyone thinking opposite of what he’ll end up doing and it will be Russo. Just seems to make sense that the best WR group in years should have the best passing arm playing.

  4. I dont know why everybody wants it to be Russo so badly. Yes, he is a great kid who had a great HS career. But I dont care what he did in HS. Maybe he hasnt picked up the new offense wwell enough yet. His redshirt year means nothing because he has only had sveral months to learn the new offense. We all got spoiled with PJ, but they had nobody better. How many Redshirt Freshmen start at QB for a D-1 football program? Start the kid who moves the offense the best.

    • I agree with a small caveat. I hope all get a chance to play in a real game. The thing that holds back quarterback development, not just at Temple, but at every school, is none of these quarterbacks go live and get hit for seven months. Put them under fire and one will separate himself. An old editor of mine who was a great gunner on a Huey Helicopter in ‘Nam said he had two captains. One was first in his class at West Point and was a terrible leader on the battlefield; the other was an ROTC guy who the his platoon would follow him into hell. He said you never know how one reacts until under fire. Having that Orange Jersey on is not under fire.

  5. I hope Green Day plays “Know Your Enemy” loudly Thursday night. I pray the quatroback strategy works out. I nuch prefer “Time Of Your Life” rather than ” Wake Me Up When September Ends.”

  6. The game is going to depend if Temple’s O-line can help establish the run game early. If they can’t , then ND will be pass rushing all afternoon.. It will be interesting to see if the Temple Tough Defense will be able to stop ND’s up tempo offense.

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