The Fun Starts When The Winning Begins

practice

There used to be an old Beach Boys’ song about a Thunderbird and one of the lines was:

“She had fun, fun, fun until her Daddy took the T-Bird Away.”

We don’t think that’s on Jeremiah Atoki’s play list today at Temple football practice, but it sums up a lot of what has been going on with Temple football the last two years and something we had not seen for the prior 100 or so years:

  • No depth charts
  • Plenty of swag
  • Endless search for Mayhem
  • Only scholarship D.J. in college football
  • Position flexibility

A lot those topics are all about injecting fun into college football for the other 104 scholarship athletes on the roster. If you do those things and lose, it’s called shtick.  If you do those things and win championships, it’s called innovation.

As a cub reporter for the Temple News, I had a sit down with then Temple football coach Wayne Hardin in his cramped McGonigle Hall office and asked him what was the most “fun” thing about being Temple football coach.

celebration
Winning at UConn on a last-second FG: Doesn’t get much more fun than this celebration

I’ll never forget his answer.

“To me, the only thing that’s fun is winning,” he said.

On his last day as a head coach, he mentioned to me he was quitting at the end of a mediocre 1982 season. Standing in a small room after the last game, I asked why.

“Mediocrity is not my cup of tea,” he said.

That was at what I thought was a pretty young and vital age of 55.


To me, a 7-6 record
is the very definition
of mediocre, bowl win
notwithstanding. Temple
is going to have to do
better this year for it
to be a successful season.
To me, Temple TUFF is
back-to-back 10-win seasons,
not finishing around the
middle of a 126-team FBS pack

Nobody won more and lost less as a Temple football coach, so I consider Hardin, not Geoff Collins, the expert here. I wish coach was alive today so I could ask him about the bullet points above, but he’s not and I don’t think he would look too kindly on the changes.

It wouldn’t have as much to do with being an old foogie as it would be a difference of philosophy on how to get to the end result.

To me, a 7-6 record is the very definition of mediocre, bowl win notwithstanding. Temple is going to have to do better this year for it to be a successful season. To me, Temple TUFF is back-to-back 10-win seasons, not finishing around the middle of a 126-team FBS pack.

Position flexibility is a great thing if you have a pass rusher like Romond Deloatch who also plays wide receiver. I did not see any of the pass-rushing attributes in Keith Kirkwood that I saw in Deloatch, so taking reps from Deloatch on the other side of the ball for the minimum snaps he gave the team as a DE last year was, in my mind, counterproductive.

Now we have the team’s best linebacker, Shaun Bradley, taking reps at a position where the Owls are deep—running back—and you have to question the process.

The Owls did not use Nick Sharga as a fullback last year nearly as much as they did in that championship season two years ago and, in retrospect, they probably should have used him at a position of need, linebacker, if the offensive staff felt he wasn’t going to get reps. Sharga was an impact player on defense at Army, and a forgotten man the rest of the season.

Whatever Collins decides to do is OK with me, as long as the bottom line is achieved—a championship.

If it doesn’t happen this season, his daddy (Pat Kraft) should take the T-Bird away and replace it with a whip. As coach Hardin says, the only fun in football is winning and that should be the eternal measuring stick.

Until proven otherwise, anything else is shtick.

Sunday: Done Deal Part II

Tuesday: The Rest of The Story

Thursday: New Uniforms?

Saturday: Spring Phenoms

20 thoughts on “The Fun Starts When The Winning Begins

  1. Collins is trying to make as much of a flash in the pan as he can before he exits stage left to a low-rung P5 team.

  2. ALSO….
    This sway thing is cool. And even though none of us really care for the design. I like seeing more pictures…

    • To me, the key thing here is the google photos of the current neighborhood the way it looks now compared to what those same intersections look with the project completed. Can’t tell me any objective person would prefer the squalor that exists now against the upgrades shown.

    • Need to develop a puppet show with Elmo and Big Bird that the locals can understand.

      • Yeah, they appeared to try to dumb down the sway thing but I think they overestimated the intelligence of a community that thinks Temple can just give them the money that they raised for the specific purpose of a stadium. A puppet show might do it.

  3. Very pessimistic about the future of Temple athletics. Peter Liacorous must be rolling over in his grave at the timidity of the administration.

  4. As a Sixers fan , I say ” Trust The Process !”

    All kidding aside, the bottom line is winning the games you’re expected to win ( i.e. UCONN) .

    Having the right players on the field , to battle it out and stay in the game for the full 60 minutes. No quitting until the clock winds down to 0 and Temple gets the win.

    Focus on winning first, because it’s no fun losing.

    On a side note, anyone hear anything about Ryquell Armstead in Spring practice ? Does he look like he will return to form like the 2016 season ?

  5. Just heard that TU and Dunphy will part ways after next season and that McKie is going to be the next coach. Should be announced this weekend according to my source.

    • Confirmed on the 2:15 p.m. KYW radio sports report. Lede story. Expect all the announcers to say during every Temple game next year what a great coach Fran Dunphy was for the Owls. I hope Aaron McKie is the next JC but he doesn’t seem like the kind of Type A personality JC was and guys like Obi and Rose needed and need. Seems more laid back, ala Dunphy.

      • TU again takes the easy way out. Why is Mckie being hired without one second of head coaching experience? Don’t care about his resume and ties to the university. Doesn’t the program need some shaking up? Another boneheaded move by the administration. Doesn’t Rick Pitino deserve a look? Yes, I know he’s had some controversy but he wins like Bobby Petrino. College sports are a business and nice guys finish last. Pitino would immediately be an upgrade. One more thing, Next year the team will be coached by a lame duck and will not make the tourney for the fifth year in the last sixth. What a joke especially because the team has never had the facilities it has now. TU doing less with more

  6. Trying to please both the fire Fran crowd and a national media that would kill them for firing him

  7. oh boy…, hear we go again…, i’m amazed/dismayed at myself. after all these years same soup boiled over has caught me by surprise

  8. FB: It’s hard to tell what Collins will come up with this season. I’m willing to give him some leeway to see what happens. But if another sqeak-thru to a 7 win season comes out of it (or worse) the TU higher ups better sit on him. And he needs to sit on Patenaude for sure (since he won’t fire him).

    BB: Well, I guess McKie has been the next in line right along. I thought they’d include him in a list of possible replacements, but not just hand it to him. Thanks John for saying what I’ve been saying for a long time – McKie has NO HCing experience. I like his TU pedigree, but as usual at Temple, we’ll have to wait and see what transpires with him as a HC question mark. Thing is, he’s been a main assistant for a few years and yet the players haven’t been very motivated, shoot lousy often, are slow to the ball, have virtually no inside game, etc., so what does that imply?

    At least the women lacrosse players are very good in the classroom!

  9. Owls hired John Chaney because he was a successful head coach. The Owls continue to hire assistants at their peril and as I’ve said before D-1 is not where a coach should learn on the job. This seems so rushed and the only thing I can think for the speed with which this transpired was that Dunphy threatened to stay to the end of his contract unless McKie was hired. The whole program needs an overhaul and by keeping McKie it is unlikely that that will occur.

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