Winning Is the Only Thing


TU played like walk-ons, Duke like scholarship players

In a far-off, long-ago era of football, Vince Lombardi probably had the best quote in the history of the sport:

“Winning isn’t everything. It’s the only thing.”

The great ex-Green Bay Packers’ head coach, if he were still alive, probably would have repeated his second most famous quote during Temple’s meltdown in a 56-27 loss to Duke yesterday:

“What the hell is going on out there?”


Good words, Vince, that perfectly described an Independence Bowl where the wheels came off for a 3.5-point favorite.

The quotes are reminders to me of a conversation the other day I had with an otherwise sane and rational Temple fan on my decision not to attend this bowl.

“C’mon, down, Mike,” he said, “bowls are about the pageantry and the band, not really about the game itself.”

“Huh? If I’m going down, I’m going down to win. I don’t give a whit (minus the W) about the pageantry. The only reason I go down is to see Temple win and there’s too much uncertainty and I would be way too pissed off if I spent that much money to see a loss.”

All that said, the night before the game I wrote this nugget:

“If Temple controls the clock behind Ryquell Armstead and Russo is effective in the short passing game, (Duke quarterback) Jones won’t be able to do too much damage.”

To me, there was no doubt Armstead would play. He was quoted as saying on Dec. 17 that he was excited to play “one last time with my brothers” and participated in every practice, several of them full contact. He was listed as “probable.” What did he do in the minutes before the game, trip over the Elvis Pressley statue? This news completely came out of the blue.


Both cornerback Rock Ya-Sin and Armstead did not play and interim head coach Ed Foley said those were for “medical reasons.” Photos, though, of the two showed them smiling (not grimacing) before the game, so who the hell knows? All I know is that Armstead was a warrior who wanted to come back into the ECU game (and did) despite a sprained ankle and he looked a helluva lot better walking around the sidelines yesterday than he did that day in October.

Jones, the Duke quarterback who is a far better prospect than Armstead or Ya-Sin, did play “one last game” with his brothers and that set the tone for the entire day.

Do I think Temple would have benefited from having Armstead in there to run the ball with a 27-14 lead in the second quarter? Hell yes. Do I think he would have scored the six touchdowns that he did against Houston? Hell no, but three would have done the job and 30 carries would have kept the ball away from Jones for 30 plays. Play-action would have aided quarterback Anthony Russo if he had Armstead to put the ball in the belly of and pull it out.

Do I think Ya-Sin would have batted down a couple of those Jones’ touchdown passes?

Hell yes.

Football is a team game and the next man should step up but Temple had no “next man” nearly as capable as those two. Maybe part of their decision had to do with coaches coming and going at Temple, but it still sucks.  Ed Foley is now 0-2. He talks a good game but I’d rather see actions than words. I always have.

This is what bowl season at Temple has come to, though. Maybe forever. Maybe just for the foreseeable future:  Decide to go down to see the band, go to pre-game events and walk around a small town in the middle of nowheresville but don’t be upset if Temple losses the game.

No thanks.

I feel most sorry for all of those Temple fans who paid their hard-earned money thinking they would see the full Temple team for one more time.

Winning isn’t everything. It’s the only thing. My good Temple friend can go down for the pageantry and the sightseeing next year, but it will be a hard pass for me unless it’s an NY6 game and everyone from Temple from the head coach to the waterboy is 100 percent committed to winning.

Sunday: Fizzy on The Green Flu

Wednesday: Some New Year’s Resolutions for Manny Diaz

Friday: Infante Impact

Sunday: Comparing First Years

Tuesday: (1/9): Pressing Needs

Thursday (1/11): Impact of Bowl Loss on Future


30 thoughts on “Winning Is the Only Thing

  1. Watching Matt Rhule running a power run game that TU should have run. To add to the misery, had to watch Miami’s D lay a big egg. How much worse could they have lost if DIaz had left? LOL. Suddenly what seemed like a great start to the Diaz era doesn’t look half as promising.

    • Terrific kick-out block by the fullback on Baylor’s first touchdown, a 10-yard run. Reminded me of Sharga leading the way for Armstead. These bleep-hole fans who say Temple shouldn’t use a fullback because “no one else does” should be taking notes. The best head coach in the NFL uses a fullback and I’m sure Tom Brady likes that extra layer of protection. An embarrassing loss for Temple to a team that lost to Wake Forest, 59-7, in its last game. I counted 11 drops of perfectly thrown Russo balls and poor tackling that rivaled anything I saw in the UCF or Houston games, which were clinics in poor tackling. Kudos to Delvon Randall for playing and saying “I don’t think Ryquell would leave us out to dry like that.” Notice the use of the word “think” because he’s not sure. Like I wrote, who the hell knows?

      • as to your Diaz Era point, would feel a helluva lot more confident if we got a proven winning FBS head coach like the Buffalo guy or the Troy guy but I wish Manny Diaz the best and I hope to hell he’s better than Collins, which, admittedly, is not a high bar.

  2. Sure hope that Narducci tweet you posted is true, Patenaude, along with Thacker can’t leave this program fast enough for me. As for the Diaz era, it is going to be interesting to see the remaining staff he brings on board

  3. I agree 100% Mike. To me the only thing that matters come bowl season is beating a P5 team. We whine every year about not getting enough shots at P5 teams, but when we do, (Duke, Wake Forest, UCLA, all TOTALLY beatable teams) we come out and play like crap. I feared this would be the result when Foley was named the interim coach. This was a total repeat of the Military Bowl disaster. I’d love to know what the win percentage is for teams with interim head coaches in bowl games, but it’s got to be horrendous. It seems like I rarely see a team with an interim coach win a bowl game.

    I’d also love to know who is giving kids like Ya-Sin and Armstead advice. To me, Ya-Sin improves his draft stock greatly if he intercepts Jones twice in this game. Same for Armstead, if he goes out and runs for 200+ and 3 td’s, he makes a case to be drafted. To be honest, I don’t think Armstead is even going to get drafted, he’ll just be a priority undrafted free agent signing like a Corey Clement or Josh Adams. These are both single-digit guys. Is sitting out a bowl game when you are completely healthy Temple Tuff? Michael Dogbe and Delvon Randall didn’t have any problem suiting up with their teammates one last time, and I’d wager that their NFL prospects are as good as Armstead’s. It’s pretty embarrassing that our pro HOPEFULS sit while Duke’s QB (almost a lock to be a top 10 pick), goes out and not only plays, but comes back into the game after suffering a tweaked knee early on. Maybe we should send him an honorary Temple single digit jersey, he looked like one of the only guys on the field today that deserved to wear it.

    I think if players sit out bowl games when completely healthy, their scholarship should be revoked. You are given a scholarship to play football for the university, that’s the deal. If you are healthy and choose not to, that’s fine, the tuition bill is in the mail. Your first few NFL checks should cover it.

    On a positive note: Good riddance Patenfraud!!!!!

  4. Official report is Ya-Sin was suffering from a sinus infection and held out upon physician recommendations. Nothing on Armstead, who must have read criticism on Twitter and posted a nasty statement inviting complaints to his account but quickly deleted his comment. Randall played on a tweaked ankle and won Defensive MVP for his performance, despite team giving up 56 points. Both Thacker and Patenaude are rumored to be gone; I hope this is true. Last but not least the uniform combo was garbage. Temple should never wear those gray pajama tops and black helmets ever again. I don’t really like the black pants, either, but could tolerate them with a cherry and white combo top. Temple is one of only two colleges to have the distinctive CHERRY & WHITE as official school colors. Football team needs to represent tradition and school with those colors always predominant.

  5. I wonder who puts together the “ensembles” each week? I don’t know where/how/why “black” fits in the Cherry & White equation. Gun metal gray either.

    Only was able to watch the first half thus far. D-line was impressive to that point with LB’s closing fast to blow up many rushes, but that played into Duke’s hands by forcing them to throw. (I know I have a horror show to watch this evening)

    Apparently Cutcliffe was able to direct halftime adjustments and Foley and staff could not counter. Agree that if Ya-Sin had been in there, a different game would have evolved. Shame the young man was ill and had to watch. I’m sure NFL people were on hand with his name on their list.

    As for coaching staff changes, note how Charlie Strong has cleaned house in Tampa? Could his AD have paid him a visit with strong recommendations?

  6. Embarrassing. Reminded me of the bad old days. Remimded me also of how they can look good and then go south for no apparent reason. The absence of those key players certainly hurt but Duke has talent and pulled it all together for this game. But a blowout loss is not what I was expecting, not at all. Well, here comes our next wave folks. Keep your fingers crossed.

  7. How was it possible for a complete and total breakdown in 2nd half ?
    Actually hard to fathom.
    We could not score we could not defend.
    National Shame game almost.
    At least TV crew could crow about Dukes’ QB and lay off comments about TU.
    Tuff ? I think not..

  8. A couple of semi random thoughts hee, and have to be upfront with the fact that I was in the car most of yesterday afternoon so i only listened on the radio, rather than actually watch the game.

    1) there seemed to be plenty of support in the media and Temple community, even on this blog, for giving the reins to Foley full-time. Now I do realize that yesterday MIGHT NOT have been a fair representation of what he could do, but come on! Does anyone really think he can run the show? My gut tells me this is exactly what you’d get from him.

    2) I don’t think there’s much need for speculation about Armstead and Ya-Sin. If they were really unable to play due to injury, we’d know about it. Both made personal decisions to abandon their team for what they perceived as their own benefit.

    3) I’m not sure which player I’m actualky more disappointed in. Ya-Sin will obviously be drafted somewhere along the way. But a good Bowl game showing may have made an impression upon a team, possibly moving him up from Day 3 to Day 2? Additionally, Temple gave him an opportunity to showcase his talents on a different level, wouldn’t you think he’d owe the program this game??

    I doubt that Armstead gets drafted at all. One might think it’s an endictment of his character to quit on his teammates like this.

    4) with the last 2 points, one has to wonder who would be advising these 2 guys? Do agents talk to them about draft strategy? Is that contact legal?

    5) the defense needs as much help as any other part of the team

    • so Armstaed and Ya-Sin opted to stay healthy for the Senior Bowl, they should have quit the team as soon as they accepted the invite..,

      that is also poor coaching., the coach should have demanded their commitment to the bowl game immediately after the Senior Bowl invite.., either you play in the bowl game or quit the team

      • Agree. Both Rocks are now saying on social media that their “medical issues” were legit but, if they chose to play a week from now, it would speak louder than words.

      • Foley is a joke for temple football and those two football players should not have traveled with the team they quit on temple football that was a pathetic performance yesterday and thank God the offense Coordinator and defense coordinator are out of here that was not Temple Tough that performance was tempo cream puffs

      • Foley is the personification of the Peter Principle. Great assistant coach, has Temple special teams ranked in the top 10 almost every year, lost on gameday. He has risen to his level of competence. We need a special teams’ coach, and the kids like him, so I would keep him. I think this is what Pat Kraft had in mind with Fran Brown (I think that was more of a PK hire than a MD hire). Fran Brown is the next “interim” head coach. I hope to hell he’s better than Foley as a head coach. I know Gabe Infante is.

      • These comments regarding the Rock’s is why I love this site. I can understand both men making choices that they feel are best for their future, I also feel the opinions expressed here regarding those choices are valid. Especially with regards to Armstead, one of the army of his defenders over on FB, gave a litany of all of his injuries this season, which to Mike’s point don’t seem like they would be miraculously 100% for Senior Bowl practices and the game.

      • I cannot blame a kid for sitting out given the violent nature of the game itself. Look at what happened to the UCF QB. In what looked like a run of the mill play he almost ended up losing his leg. If I had a chance to be drafted and make good bonus money, no way would i play just to satisfy the bowl sponsors. I also don’t think a kid should be kicked off the team for foregoing the bowl game because the kid has already given his all when it matters. A bowl game is a glorified exhibition game that counts mostly for bragging rights. What I do have a problem with is not being up front about it. These guys surely knew well prior to the game that they weren’t playing and should own up to it. Their advisors aren’t doing them any favors.

      • Belli – if a Bowl game is a “glorified exhibition game” (which it is) — wouldn’t the Rocks playing in the Senior Bowl be even more of a slap in the face to their Team? Helping their team to a victory in the Bowl game they all fought to get to together clearly outranks a Senior Bowl in importance!

        If it’s a case of not wanting to risk injury for the sake of a possible NFL career, then we better not see the two of them dressed next month.

        Shame on them if they do.

    • 7-15 at Fordham was a huge red flag for Foley. When I saw they were looking at another coordinator instead of an established head coach, I thought Foley might have been a better choice for stabilizing purposes. Now that cat is out of the bag because nobody (players included) believes in stabilizing anymore. Still think ECU made the best hire of the offseason. Temple, in my mind, would have if Leipold had been brought onboard. I KNOW that guy can head coach. I can’t say the same for Diaz, who has never done it at the FBS level or even the FCS level. I can only light candles and pray he can. Don’t like praying and hoping when knowing was an option.

      • Hopefully Diaz’s choices to fill out his staff will give indication of how things will played with his tenure at Temple. One of the things that was really disappointed in with Collins, was given his previous coaching stops the level of coordinators he brought on board. Was Paganos the only member of his staff that he brought on who had FBS experience?

    • This site keeps it real. Written by a true Temple fan who comments both on flaws and the successes of the program. Can’t sugarcoat how bad yesterday was for Temple football. I saw a lot of sugarcoating on the fanboy facebook page and the official Temple mouthpiece site. This was sour, not sweet, and Mike’s article pretty much nailed it as he usually does.

  9. God bless the players and coaches who tried their best. Delvon Randall is a stud. Collins, Ya-sin, and Armstead earned bad karma. ACL’s and bus driving jobs are in their future.

  10. Now official , Temple Football is having a closeout sale on ass’t coaches.
    The shelves are now bare, what does Manny Diaz do now ?

    I doubt if he is well connected or has the pull to bring known proven coaching talent with him for most slots. He knows the guys in P5 and why would they come down a notch to NotP5, The Other 5.

    That said we will see.,

  11. Owlfan in an age when coaches care only about themselves and leave their teams in a moment’s notice a kid has every right to sit out a meaningless bowl game to avoid injury. There was nothing either kid could have done in that bowl to improve his draft stock. The Senior Bowl and other games like it are equivalent to first interviews and participation in them are required for kids like Armstead and Ya-Sin. I do not like what’s happening but can fully understand it. Players, like coaches, have every right to do what they think is best for their careers.

  12. A little bit off topic but I saw a post on SBnation with a rumor that Applewhite may be getting fired at Houston. If true, interesting that a 15-10 record over 2 season gets you fire at Houston (same thing happened with Tony Levine there) but the same record over a 2 year span at Temple gets you a big payday at a P5 school.Kind of illustrates that Temple football is about as high a level conference wise as it is going to get for the foreseeable future.

  13. OK, now is the time to take it to the next level.., bring back Todd Bowles as the Associate Head Coach and DC.

  14. Manny D is going back to the U… Go get Todd Bowles, Kraft!

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