How We Went From AAC Champs To AAC Chumps In 2 Years …


OC Dave Patenaude ditching the “Temple TUFF” offense of full-time fullback (and, more importantly, Geoff Collins’ role in enabling that blunder) is the No. 1 reason why Temple went from consecutive 10-win seasons to a likely 10-loss season.

On the morning Geoff Collins was hired, while finally finding my keys, stashing my wallet away and picking up the cell phone, I looked down and it was ringing.

“Mike, what do you think?” a friend of mine said.

“Think about what?”

“Temple finally announced The Guy.”



SB Nation’s current (unfortunately correct) assessment of the Temple football program

“Geoff Collins.”

“The guy from Florida?”

“Yeah, isn’t that exciting? I think it’s a great hire.”

“I guess,” I said. “From some of the guys on the list, he’s probably the best one.”

These are guys who
not only do not
understand Temple
TUFF but include an
incredibly arrogant
offensive coordinator
who intentionally sabotaged
the very fullback-oriented
offense that gave Temple
20 wins in two seasons.
That was an offense and
a toughness Temple fans
came to know and love

The list included guys like K.C. Keeler, Danny Rocco, Neil Brown and Matt Canada. Keeler was a failed head coach at nearby Delaware and resurrected his career at Sam Houston State. The other guys were FCS head coaches or FBS coordinators.

Not the kind of list Dr. Pat Kraft should have doodled for an Owl program that had long stretches in the top 25 in consecutive regular seasons.

Underwhelming at best, disappointing at worst.

Given that backdrop, my “I guess” response was appropriate. If Collins had brought with him a national championship Florida coordinator and a Florida quarterback coach—like Steve Addazio did with DC Chuck Heater and QB coach Scot Loeffler—that’s one thing. It’s quite another when your top assistants are from Coastal Carolina and Kennesaw State.

By comparison, Collins has surrounded himself with incompetence and, because of it, has placed a once-great program in jeopardy of a historic free fall. Here’s the empirical evidence:


These are guys who not only do not understand Temple TUFF but include an incredibly arrogant offensive coordinator who intentionally sabotaged the very fullback-oriented offense that gave Temple 20 wins in two seasons. That was an offense and a toughness Temple fans came to know and love.  It was an offense that perfectly epitomized the toughness of the school, its students, the alumni, the city, the neighborhood, even the corner of the practice facility.  It was an offense that had a purpose, with the run setting up a play-action fake and every play seemingly setting up an explosive play in the passing game.  Run the ball successfully with an elite tailback behind an extra offensive lineman (fullback Rob Ritrovato) to bring the linebackers and safeties up to the line of scrimmage. At that point, the defense is susceptible to a deft ball fake that freezes the linebackers and safeties in their tracks and allows the quarterback to find open receivers everywhere. Now, nothing sets up anything else except a five-yard loss on a handoff. This scatterbrained offensive scheme, pardon my language, is complete bullshit that every single one of the 20,000 or so current remaining Temple fans rejects without question.

My feeling was then and still is now that Temple as a program after consecutive 10-win seasons and two appearances in the league championship game reached a point where it could and should have hired an accomplished head coach and did not need to roll the dice on another coordinator again.


Make no mistake, hiring a coordinator as a head coach is a crapshoot. Coordinator and head coach are two different jobs. Just because you are good at one does not translate being good at another.

The checker at your local grocery store might be the greatest bagger in the history of supermarkets but that doesn’t mean he would make a good store manager.

You could end up with a guy like Al Golden or Matt Rhule or a guy like UConn’s Bob Diaco.

All three had impeccable credentials as a coordinator—Diaco was FBS coordinator of the year as DC at Notre Dame—but there’s plenty of evidence where great coordinators fail as head coaches.

So here we are, not long removed from being a Top 25 (albeit regular season) staple to one coming off a loss to the local FCS program and a team from a lower conference (Buffalo) that the Owls beat 113-13 in their last three meetings with them.

How did we get here?

By rolling the dice on another coordinator when Temple football got to the point where it could attract an accomplished head coach. Owls rolled a seven and 11 on the last two coordinators. It was only a matter of time until their luck ran out.

That appears to be the case now.

If Collins can prove to be Temple TUFF enough to upgrade his coordinators, he has some hope for resuscitating both his career and this precious program, whatever he values the most.

If not, none of us have any hope for anything.

Friday: Fizzy Offers Some Constructive Advice (6 a.m. publishing time)

Saturday: Maryland Preview

Sunday: Game Analysis


22 thoughts on “How We Went From AAC Champs To AAC Chumps In 2 Years …

  1. L’shana Tovah to all my friends if the Jewish Faith

  2. Very nervous for this weekend and getting exposed 3 weeks in a row. The coaches seem to believe that just stepping out on the field is enough. I do think the disastrous start is a combo of lousy coaching (unwilling to change/adapt) and awful line play on both sides of the ball. I’d get skittish as a QB knowing the line is a turnstile. And then our DL is not getting any pressure whatsoever. Why are we playing kids at DE that arent ready or are walk ons? Why is our RB rushing the passer? Freddie Booth Lloyd should play every down at DT. Rotate archibong, dogbe and diaboute at DE. Just seems like we have kids juggling 3 positions so no wonder no one is doing 1 job well. Just win!

  3. When Maryland beats a U of Texas , then Temple will get beat up bad.
    I predict possible slaughter by the The Terps over TU.
    I watched that score of MD vs UT at the Linc while TU looked weak and sad vs Nova.
    And then on TUFB and twitter THEY will continue to hi-lite Temple in the NFL to distract from the reality of now, I hate that cheap trick they pull..

    • Don’t forget to add “new” threads about the mythical Temple OCS that appeared on TUFB the past couple of days. It’s like watching the Helmet Shuffle on the video boards during the game.

      • JD, that’s what I’ve been hearing about this since 2012 … rumors and innuendos … nothing has happened. Show me the first shovel in the ground and then I will believe it.

  4. Maybe it is time to cut the financial losses and just drop football. I have been following Temple football since they televised their night games from Temple Stadium. It will break my heart but at some point the financial consequences of all the past bad decisions leave little alternative.

  5. Fast Phil: I agree that dropping the program should be on the agenda. However, it should not be killed because of failure on the field. Rhule and Golden showed that it can win. Nevertheless, unless there is a clear path to both an invite to a P-5 conference and a guaranteed place to play and that doesn’t occur within the next three years, it’s time to end the program. As far as the failures on the filed go, the AD bears much of the blame. Kraft like Bradshaw confused enthusiasm with ability. They also overlooked the fact that neither man had been a head coach before and wrongly assumed that it didn’t matter even though both Addazzio and Rhule showed that it did. They also apparently did not ask Collins what offenses and defenses he would run and if he intended to run what was working or completely upend the successful schemes his predecessor ran. If the question was asked and Collins said he was going to change the O and D I would not have hired him. TU football is currently at a cross-roads. If the team only wins 2 games, it might be a hole that swallows the future of the program.

    • John, a lot of good point there. I believe that the guaranteed place to play and getting the coaching situation (both football and basketball) to a point where Temple is at least consistently in the top quarter of the conference will help move in the direction of a P-5 invite, if that is more than a pipe dream. Right now, I don’t think Collins is the answer for football and not sure about McKie in b-ball. As for a place to play, I’m ok with either an OCS or staying at the Linc but if it is going to be an OCS would sure like to see a little “oficial” movement in that direction rather than FB postings saying the “a source I know who knows the BOT is targeting 2022 for a stadium”

      • TUFB “an enigma wrapped in a riddle”…,

        the saddest disappointment is the attitude of the HC, he is a always the good cop, everybody gets a trophy kind of guy who is getting cut up to death during the Saturday afternoon street fights..,

        the HC must be larger, the kind of guy who accepts the fact that not everyone will agree with his decisions or like everything he has to say…,

        more importantly, if you dare to bring that persona in the ocean of sharks you MUST surround yourself with a staff who is your exact opposite.Collins has doubled down on stupidity.

        I’ve stated this many times., Taggart did not enjoy success until he fired both his coordinators at USF

        we will remain stuck on stupid until Collins leaves or does the same

    • John you explained the situation much better than I did. I agree completely with you.

      • That’s the nuclear option. John and Fast Phil bring up a great point that SHOULD be discussed. Dropping football, to me (the creator of a website in 2005 called Temple Football Forever) actually WOULD be on the table if post-Bobby Wallace we found that no one could do it at Temple. In point of fact, what we DID find was that not 1, not 2, but 3 coaches proved you can do it at Temple. Collins hasn’t proved diddly squat but that should not disabuse the powers-that-be that winning football can still be done at Temple. If none of those three coaches happened, I would more than willing to go to the nuclear option and drop football. (I’m sure Al Shrier probably has the launch codes in that infamous briefcase.) Not ready for that yet.

  6. As a season ticket holder for several I’ve gone from the excitement of the win over Penn State in 2015 to losses to Villanova and Buffalo. This team has no offense and a defense that forgot how to blitz or play man to man when necessary. Collins needs to adjust or leave.

  7. BC is going to slaughter the Owls. They play O and D like TU should be. Strong running game with smart use of play action.

    • At what all the coaches there if you look at the offense of coordinator the defense of coordinator check it out they go way back this This head coach has his fingerprints all over this team they should all be handcuffed and sent the F out of here to Mexico

    • I’d never thought I’d miss Daz until tonight. The great thing about Daz is that Loeffler was the one guy who could talk him out of his craziness. Ryan Day (now HC at Ohio State) wiped his ass. Daz wanted to run out the clock in the first half of the New Mexico Bowl with a 14-6 lead but it was Loeffler who talked him out of it and said he saw a mismatch in the Wyoming secondary against Rod Streeter. Daz said, OK, go for it and Chris Coyer Jr. hit RS with a perfect pass for 6 to give the Owls a 21-6 advantage at the half.

      • Yes I Mike I thought I’d never say this about BC they run the football run the football suck the defense and then they throw it temple players do not seem like they’re tuned into this coaching staff

      • I wanted to ask you Mike what you thought of those uniforms on Saturday the gray uniforms I thought they looked pretty bad I didn’t like the look I don’t like the look in his temple team I don’t like the coaches seems like everything is going wrong

      • 19-7 wearing all cherry tops and helmets in the last 26 games of that combination (mostly white pants, but cherry pants in the Cincy win in 2015); LOSING records wearing ANY OTHER COMBINATION. Obviously, with the “we’re still a great team” remarks after 0-2 these idiots care about everything but the most important thing: WINNING THE GAME. … Win … The … Game. They care about uniforms, swag, money downs. I’m a Lombardi guy. Winning isn’t everything. It’s the only thing.

      • also on Daz: As stubborn as he was at Temple when Ryan Day (current Ohio State head coach), that’s how flexible he was at Temple with Loeffler as his OC and we saw that last night. Establish the run and throw off it. Loeffler’s offense is the very exact one Temple should be running. Patenaude is too arrogant and stubborn to admit it (also too incompetent)

  8. The sky is not falling. It’s a hard rain, but we’ve tuffed it out before.

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