Taver, We Hardly Knew Ye ….


The Aramark indoor football field is twice as big as the old Student Pavilion and the ceiling is high enough for kicking practice.

Notes, quotes and anecdotes from about as interesting an offseason week for Temple football as we’ve seen in some time ….

Doing his best post-Pro Bowl Nick Foles’ impersonation, Taver Johnson walked sideways across the stage at the Aramark Center exactly a week ago and said this:

“How y’all doin’?”


When a Temple Hall of Famer calls, Geoff Collins should have at least listened

Little did those of us in attendance know, at least at that time, that Johnson might as well kept walking and gone right out the side door for good because that’s where he was headed in a real sense. By then, it had to be obvious to head coach Geoff Collins that Johnson was leaving and Collins probably said, “hey, I need you through signing night.”

Going from defensive coordinator at Temple to a defensive backs’ coach at Ohio State is mostly seen as at least a lateral move, certainly not a step up in the coaching fraternity but if it floats Johnson’s boat, go for it. Heck, Taver had the same job at Purdue before being enticed to leave there for the DC job at Temple one year ago.

Temple was ranked No. 56 in total yardage defense and No. 58 in scoring defense a year ago and that screams two words to me: Mediocre and Replaceable. Giving up 28 (really, 21) points to UConn and 13 points to a Villanova team that Rhode Island … Rhode Island … held to six is not a ringing endorsement of last year’s defense.

With the dissolution of the Bruce Arians’ staff in Arizona, there are a number of “overqualified” guys with Temple connections who Hall of Famer Paul Palmer told me were definitely interested in the job: Former FCS Defensive Coordinator of the Year Nick Rapone and Kansas City Chiefs’ Hall of Famer Kevin Ross.

If one or both are hired, they immediately become the two best defensive coaches on the staff. Both guys are Temple (and Tempe) TUFF, love Temple, and would be a positive influence on the kids and their fellow staffers and the fans. This is about the biggest no-brainer in Temple history. Neither would leave Temple for lesser positions, even at Alabama. Of course, Temple being Temple it hired another less-qualified guy from the one of the same two directional Alabama schools Bobby Wallace last coached, West Alabama. It would have nice for Collins to look around and grab a guy or two from the pre-Al Golden Era at Temple. Sometimes, you think he believes Temple did not have football before 2005. This was one of those times.

“Mr. Mike”

Now that Nick Sharga has left, we all have to find our next favorite player on the Temple team.

(Hell, I’m not the only fan who had No. 4 No. 1.)

Mine has been Isaiah Wright since the end of our season.


Like the guy said on the TV broadcast at the Army game, “Isaiah Wright is a touchdown waiting to happen.”

As I sat down next to long-time buddy and Temple linebacking great Steve Conjar, a guy across the table noticed me and said, “Mr. Mike!”

That guy was Isaiah Wright and it was the first time I had the pleasure of meeting him in person. He extended his right hand.

“I’m Isaiah Wright.”

“Isaiah Wright, my favorite Temple player. No joke.”

Then Isaiah introduced me to the guy sitting on his right, Linwood Crump (Junior), and I told the defensive back that he was going to be a starter but to not take anything for granted.

He said he would not.

Both can call me Mr. Mike any day of the week and, just maybe, they will give him No. 4 before the start of the season. Whatever number they give him, I just hope they don’t make him disappear like they did with Nick Sharga.

Aramark Center

Moody Nolan is listed as the architect for the new football stadium.


He also did the job at the new Temple football indoor facility called the Aramark Center (the football team shares this spectacular indoor arena with locker rooms and training facilities with the rest of the students). This is a much-larger version of the old Student Pavilion, large enough to get some punting and field goal work in—something that could not be done at what Collins affectingly called the “Mayhem Mansion.”

That said, it takes up such a large portion of the 15th and Montgomery area that it would now be pretty hard to see how a 35,000-seat stadium could fit in a North-South configuration. It would have to be East-West and cross and close 15th Street permanently with the Student Pavilion and tennis courts knocked down. Had the Pavilion been knocked down and replaced by what is now Aramark first, there would have been no need to close down 15th Street.

Now it is really hard to conceive of a stadium fitting into the old Geasey Field square footage alone but that could be the least of Moody Nolan’s problems.

Friday: Thoughts on The AAC Schedule


13 thoughts on “Taver, We Hardly Knew Ye ….

  1. Gee, Collins is such an exaggerator: “Mayhem Mansion”, next years “Ridiculous” team, etc. I wonder if the players fall for all that stuff. He should be that “out there” when it comes to considering assistant coaches, huh? Why does he go for guys from all these directional, small programs?

  2. If you want to see a real killer attitude on defense, seek and destroy type of stuff, then give Mr. Ross a call. He wasnt about slogans, words or hashtags….he was about doing! With bad intentions and a toughness unequaled…thats what he’ll get out of his players. So will Nick Rapone….would love to play for both of them. Get Temple Tuff again!

  3. Exactly Brian. Instead of mayhem last year we got bm. (bowel movement for those unaware). I’m getting the feeling that we’re going to get more bm this season.

  4. we are delusional….., reality will hit Temple like a ton of bricks in 2018.., why? talent and depth.., TUFB recruiting rankings since 2014

    ’14 – 69th (scout/247sports); 59th (rivals)
    ’15 – 80th (scout/247); 72nd (rivals)
    ’16 – 59th (both scout and rivals)
    ’17 – 119th (scout/247); 100+ (rivals)
    ’18 – 80th (scout/247); 76th (rivals)

    Maryland, BC, Cincy, UCF, and USF have all out-recruited Temple since 2014. Collins proved last year he has the potential to be a good HC.., he also proved that he is not a miracle worker, nor an offensive or defensive genius…,

    Cincy, UCF, Houston, USF, and UConn will be just plain hard games in succession…,

    • I think we will be very lucky to float around the same 7-win range we had last season due to losing half of the key contributors from the AAC title team. (The other half we lost with P.J.’s class.) I would argue our juniors of the championship year were just as responsible for the hardware as our seniors that year and they were frightfully underused by the new staff or would have led the way to 9 wins this past season. Maybe Collins will prove me and K.J. wrong with his “unbeaten season” and “ridiculous team” predictions. I certainly hope so. I looked at this without my Cherry and White glasses on and do not see it.

      • I cannot get past the fact that he used Sharga as a guitar playing prop in a puff piece for TV and that’s about it. Have questions been asked about the Sharga playing time? How could he keep him off the field and think of himself as a good decision maker? Am I missing something?

    • When MR was here none of us would worry (truly worry) about the recruiting rankings because we knew Rhule got the kids he needed to put into his tough, no BS system. Now with the hashtag this and mayhem that, I don’t think we have a shot. Maybe I’ll eat my socks but I don’t think this guy fits into what Temple is, now or ever.

  5. Let’s hope not. Looking at the retweet on the this page of the PennLive/Dave Jones piece, don’t want to give the students a reason not to attend by having an uncompetitive team.

  6. Still don’t understand how all those 3 stars only add up to a #80 recruiting class. But whatever. Agree, with all those really good players gone the last 2 years, there needs to be a lot of stepping up to have a decent season. But who knows?

    • It can because the rankings go out to four decimal places so one could be a low ranked 3 star or a high ranked 3 star. When averaged out, although all recruits are 3 star, the average may well be lower than another school that also had all 3 star recruits. I think the rankings are misleading for this reason and too subjective. It appears that rankings rise and fall based on which schools are recruiting a kid and which school ultimately signs him.

      • That’s why the coaching is so important….there have been plenty of teams with tons of talent but can’t seem to live up to the hype and conversely….the underdogs that can just play ball when it’s nut cutting time….get Temple Tuff again!

      • Look at Temple with Hardin. He coached talent up. Bruce did for two of his five years. Al did for a while and Matt did his last two years. I would argue (convincingly, except to the Pravda apologists) that Geoff Collins did not his first season nor did Rhule for that matter. Surprisingly, even at 1-11, Golden outcoached his first-year talent.

  7. Before 2017, when was the last time TUFB red-shirted an entire class? never?

    where is the seed corn? what would you rather have, a Top 30/40/50 recruiting class, or a Top 80/90/100 recruiting class?

    there are only very few teams who can get by without top talent, i.e., Army, Navy, and Boise St

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