Sometimes you have to look back to look forward.
Today is one of those times.
Geoff Collins is now Georgia Tech’s problem.
In my mind, at least, he earned no higher than a “C” grade in his two years at Temple. The Mayhem promised really never materialized and his defensive reputation never transferred with him to Temple, where the Owls were torched for 52, 45 and 49 points in three important games, only one of which was a win. He had 10-win talent in his first season and won seven and probably an even better team in his second and won eight. A good grade (B) would have resulted in more wins than that. A great grade would have been beating the teams he should have beaten and won a game or two against teams he was not favored to beat.
To me, the essential questions after the Collins’ departure is, “Do you believe Collins was JUST a good coach for Temple and do you believe there are better coaches than Collins for Temple?”
The answer to both questions is yes and I believe Rod Carey is part of an unidentified number of available head coaches who would be BETTER for Temple than Collins was. (I also believe guys like Chris Creighton and Lance Leipold would have been better, but we will never know.) What we do know is that a staff at James Madison University, led by current ECU head coach Mike Houston, was able to beat Villanova with JMU talent 37-0 only a couple of weeks after Collins’ staff lost to the same team, 19-17, with Temple talent.
Whether Carey is better will be determined in December, not before. These are five things that we will not miss about Collins:
Above The Line
For a number of great reasons, the tradition of the Temple depth chart will return and not something vague as the “above the line” concept of Collins. I have not talked to a single ex-Temple player who ever thought getting rid of a depth chart was a good idea. Mike Curcio, a great Temple linebacker who later played with the Philadelphia Eagles, told me nothing motivated him to become a starter than seeing his name as No. 3 on the TU linebacker depth chart. Above the line served no useful purpose. Now the players know where they stand and what they have to do to move up the depth chart and that’s a good thing.
Nothing made more a mockery of the money down thing than for Temple to be rated No. 129 in third-down conversions halfway through the season than to see “money down” signs on third down. While the Owls improved after that, they were in debt most of the season.
An Offensive Abomination
Nick Sharga’s lead blocking as a fullback for tailbacks Jahad Thomas and Ryquell Armstead was as big a reason as any for the 2016 Owls winning the AAC title. The two combined for nearly 2,000 yards of rushing and Armstead scored 14 touchdowns, 13 of them behind devastating Sharga blocks. Before the 2017 season, Collins promised that “we are going to use (Sharga) even more than they did last year” and that “I’m his fullback coach; he’s the best fullback in the country.” Yet Collins stood idly by and did nothing as his OC, Dave Patenaude, eliminated the fullback position at Temple. Patenaude was probably the most ill-suited coach for Temple, head or assistant, since Jerry Berndt. His passing on first-and-goal after Isaiah Wright was tripped up at the 1 cost the Owls a win at Army in 2017. His passing on first-and-goal at the Navy 7 with 1:28 left and the Middies with no timeouts left resulted in an interception and a near-loss. His game-calling against Villanova directly resulted in one loss and nearly another. Only 45 offensive touchdowns on a 2018 team that included Anthony Russo, Ventell Byrant, Armstead, Wright, Branden Mack and Rob Ritrovato was malfeasance of the highest order. Atlanta is going to love this guy.
WWE Superstars at Practice
Collins had WWE Super Star Titus O’Neil visit practice in the week before the 2017 Villanova game. I can’t imagine how that helped the Owls avoid three-straight offsides penalties that the defense incurred in that game.
Less Talk, More Action
At Rod Carey’s first press conference, he said that good football teams don’t talk about being tough they just are. Collins talked a lot about juice. The hope here is that the juice will be seen and not heard.
Friday: Comparing First Seasons
I am looking forward to some original content in the various weekly press conferences and media interactions. We got the same phrases every week from Collins. “The kids played hard, they played tuff, they played physical and they competed…blah blah blah.” Then throw in some defensive football terminology to show how “smart” he was. Glad the used car salesman with a marketing degree and gimmicks is gone. I liked that Carey threw some digs at Collins saying we’re not gonna talk about it, we’ll be about it. Hopefully this is the start of something great and a much needed change in approach and philosophy. I’m a CB West grad and can only hope he’s got some of the Pettine attitude in him.
Some comments to the previous article were made on the lack of coaching experience with WR’s and RB’s. Seems to be a reasonable concern. But I’m always somewhat amazed to see how coaches advance up the ranks to positions that don’t seem to match their playing experience or their previous coaching positions. Coach Rhule, for example, played LB in college but held various coaching positions on both of the ball including ASST OL coach with the NY Giants (and 6 short years later is rumored to be an NFL HC candidate). Anyway, I’m hoping this staff is made up of very good football minds that just can flat-out coach well even at positions they haven’t worked at previously. Certainly better than hiring mediocre to bad coaches with resumes showing experience. But if I had my way, I would have added a former TU player who played in the NFL to impress recruits if such a guy was available.
I love how you bring up the Villanova loss, but not the Maryland win (the same Maryland team that two weeks before beat a Sugar Bowl Champion Texas team).
Villanova loss hurt the program a LOT more than Maryland win helped it. That was a hated rival who was 100 percent responsible for intentionally sabotaging our program
Consider me underwhelmed with the Collins’ Era. 15-10 in two years after Rhule went 20-8 over the same time span. No great loss of talent from the Rhule Era (he left Collins stocked) and a loss to Villanova is a black blemish on the schedule I will never forget. Temple had more fans (32.5K for its opener) than a Big 10 team (Maryland) had for its opener (31K) and could have held onto those fans with a solid thrashing of Nova for the rest of the season. Instead, what did we see? Coaching incompetence on every level in a 19-17 loss and walking out of the stadium I heard thousands of fans say “I’m not coming back, this is a disgrace” and “same old Temple.” Collins never understood how important it was to embarrass that team. Good riddance.
Collins deserved no more than a D. And that’s based on the fact that he got lucky in 2017 against Nova because they fumbled while driving for the winning field goal. Instead of using his team’s size advantage to beat Nova, he decided to outquick them by running plays parallel to the line of scrimmage instead of right at them. I hate to do it but I give Daz credit for recognizing that the way to beat Nova is to beat them up. Couple that with losses to Army, Buffalo, Houston and others, Collins was less than mediocre. Also instead of mayhem we got BM and the money down sign usually meant that the opponent was getting paid with another first down. GT will quickly realize that it made a big mistake hiring him. It’s unfortunate that he has a ready made excuse because he’s switching offenses and has to convert kids recruited to I feel bad for those kids already. Those
I was being probably too kind to Collins. Daz understood that part of every Temple coach’s contract is to pummel the shit out of Villanova. Rhule never had to face Nova and Golden was busy trying to rebuild from the rubble. Collins never got it. Love the Daz line at his first season ticket holder’s party: “I hate Villanova.” Guy was here for 10 minutes and he hated Villanova. Biggest cheer at a season ticket-holder party for any Temple coach.
The fact that NIU fans are happy Carey originally made me real nervous. And maybe it still should, but we a had a winning coach and we were jumping for joy when he left.
15-10 with 20-8 talent
was Collins a tedious jackass or not, especially with that tedious jackass Money Down $$ stupid card trixx.
Other than the Nova Loss, that was the worst thing about him last year. It was an Indicator , a schmitmuss test, the canary in the mine. $$ !!!
It told us how ‘strange’ he was, yes strange ,I think now.
Hope Ga Tech Enjoys his funny money down schtick. They can put it on their old car .
( I like that old car and with coon skin coats )
you guys don’t understand.., ok, Collins wasn’t the greatest and a step down from MR.
Carey is a step down from Collins! This incoming OC is a disaster, and the ENTIRE coaching staff on that side of the ball will make Patenaude look like a genius.
The incoming OL, RB and WR coaches ALL are a step down from last year..,,
carey is a proven winning head coach with a fbs staff. collins hasn’t proven squat with a fcs staff. this argument can go on forever. i will enjoy watching carey prove his detractors wrong.
Looks Like Temple FB may be going back to the MAC, based on coaching hires all from MAC NIU ????
Geeze and I do mean Geeze.
Will we have to pay an exit fee to AAC to leave if it happens ?
I am getting sour now about this.
Obvious new coach has no ‘wing span’ when it comes to the circle of coaches he knows or who will work for him.
Getting sour on this, you know, yup.
I need some one to post positive on this.
Just askin’, Just sayin’ , you know
I will. this staff is 4-2 against the big 10; the last staff was 1-1 against villanova and would have been 0-2.
ok Mike thanks for the words of hope ahead. ,Wwe should try and remember that stat. I had hopes an interesting asst coach would come on with, from a Big School. We know NIU had great teams couple years ago.
last year’s team was probably better than temple. beat the only common opponent the two teams had.