Al Golden came with his binder.
Rod Carey needs only Cliff Notes to prep for his first year as Temple’s head football coach.
Not since Bernard Pierce
left a year early has a
Temple coaching staff had
such a pressing need at
tailback. They need to find
an elite talent who scares
defenses and, in Wright,
they have that
Back in the day before Google, Cliff Notes was a small reference guide you used to use only as a last resort when you forgot to read Leo Tolstoy’s War and Peace between junior and senior years of high school. (We’re speaking hypothetically here if Mr. Lefty Ervin, my World Cultures teacher, is reading this.)
Golden had to build a program from the ground up and was well-positioned to do it.
There was one chapter in that binder Golden could not possibly write until maybe now and that was learning to be a head coach on the fly.
Carey has that part down. He’s not as likely to make first-time mistakes as Golden, Steve Addazio, Matt Rhule and Geoff Collins were and did, costing the Owls some crucial wins. Golden had a lot of good stuff in that large black binder, including a full list of extensive East Coast High school recruiting contacts and a sound philosophy of targeting high school captains on successful teams. It worked to stock Temple with three No. 1 MAC recruiting classes that were the basis for consecutive nine and eight-win seasons.
Carey doesn’t have to do any of that heavy book lifting, just pick up a Cliff Notes.
All he needs to do now is get to know Temple, its fans and, most importantly, its players. The essence of great coaching is to put the talent you have and not the talent you want to best use.
To me, that’s the beauty of keeping holdovers like Ed Foley and Adam DiMichele. They, probably more than anyone else, should be able to advise Carey that the Owls are seven-deep at the wide receiver position and can afford to move Isaiah Wright to the tailback spot that Ryquell Armstead filled so well over the last three years. Not since Bernard Pierce left a year early has a Temple coaching staff had such a pressing need at tailback. They need to find an elite talent who scares defenses and, in Wright, they have that. Addazio replaced Pierce with, ironically enough, Boston College transfer Montel Harris. Carey has an Acre of Diamond in his own backyard in Wright.
Other than that, Carey needs to use the time after the Cherry and White game to press the flesh in the Temple Towers lot and get out and meet the long-time fans and ex-players who form the core of the Temple fan base. He’s got to make the rounds after the football part is over and introduce himself to the Bruce Arians’ players’ group, led by Sheldon Morris and Joe Greenwood, then make a stop and talk to the Wayne Hardin group, led by Steve Conjar. In between, he’s got to show the younger fans, the Owlbulance group, that he welcomes them as well.
Collins was an engaging enough guy but thought Temple football began and ended with Al Golden and that was a major flaw. Rhule and Golden understood there was a rich and successful Temple football history long before 2005 and tapped into that for the benefit of the program.
Somehow, if Collins had come with a manual on Temple like Golden did with his binder, he would have been more successful and connected better with the Temple family. Carey has that chance and doesn’t even have to read War and Peace to be fully briefed.
Saturday: This Year’s Lab Experiment