About the time Russell Conwell founded Temple University, he was the best-known lecturer in the United States, playing to sellout crowds who wanted to hear his story of the man who traveled the world in search of riches only to find “Acres of Diamonds” in his own backyard.
The formula in the last decade has worked particularly well for Temple football, as the Owls have mined their own backyard and found a few diamonds that helped elevate their program to a national profile.
No one knows if Russell’s theory works in the opposite direction, but there appears to be a “Conwell Curse” on the few players who have left these acres searching for not diamonds but gold. Once you’ve solved the Conwell puzzle and found your diamonds right in your backyard, it’s bad Karma to stray.
There is not much data to work with on what happened to players who left Temple for so-called greener pastures but there is enough evidence to suggest it won’t necessarily end well for the two most recent departures.
Consider this: Temple had two linemen drafted in the NFL first-round in the last decade: One was Mo Wilkerson and the other was Haason Reddick. Staying at Temple did not hurt those last two so Quincy Roche leaving for ostensibly a high-end Power 5 school is a real head-scratcher.
Maybe he will be drafted in the first round next year, maybe not, but in our preview of the North Carolina game we wrote that “Quincy Roche and company getting to Sam Howell early and often is the only way that Temple has a chance to win this game.” Quincy did not get to Howell early and often. He didn’t get to him at all. Not only that, his key offside on a blocked field goal for a touchdown cost the Owls a possible 17-14 deficit at halftime instead of a 17-6 one. If the way a 6-6 Power 5 team blocked him was any indication of how 9-3, 10-2, 11-1 or even 12-0 Power 5 teams will block him, he will not be a No. 1 NFL draft pick. That’s not sour grapes. That’s a simple fact.
If, on the other hand, Roche followed up his AAC Defensive Player of the Year with another great year at Temple, he would have had the same chance Wilkerson and Reddick had to be drafted No. 1 by an NFL team. Also, Roche had a breakout year not under Geoff Collins but under the tutelage of line coach Walter Stewart. Had he stayed for another year under Stewart, there is no reason to believe that he wouldn’t have continued along the same trend line.
Somehow, I don’t think Roche reasoned the above logic into his transfer decision or somebody is giving him very bad advice.
The same goes for tight end Kenny Yeboah. At Temple in 2019, Yeboah–a Parkland High graduate whose family made the easy trip down to see him play every home game–caught 19 passes for 248 yards and five touchdowns.
The total number of passes caught by tight ends at Baylor in 2019: Five. That’s right. Five passes caught by all of the tight ends in the Baylor program. Does anyone really believe that Matt Rhule, if he even remains at Baylor, is going to drastically change a system that worked for him in Waco to accommodate the needs and wants of a transfer from Temple? I don’t. My money is on Yeboah catching fewer than 19 passes, getting fewer than 248 yards and five touchdowns at Baylor next season. For his sake, I hope they change the offense but Rhule would kick himself if he changed something that gave him an 11-2 regular season for any level of uncertainty. What happens is Rhule leaves for the NFL? That leaves Yeboah a thousand miles away from home without the support system of coaches and teammates who know and love him, not to mention family and friends who won’t be able to travel to his home games.
When it comes to leaving Temple, look at kicker Austin Jones. Before Jones was cheap-shotted on a kickoff at Memphis, he made 17-straight field goals at Temple over a two-year period that began in 2015 when he was 44 for 45 in extra points and 23 for 28 in field goals. Before the cheap shot that robbed him of finishing a championship season, Jones was 10 for 12 in field goals (he missed two in the Memphis game after getting 17 straight). Then he grad transferred to Alabama, where he really only saw the field as a cheerleader on the sideline. His stats at Bama: 1 for 2 in field goals and 1-3 in extra points. The two missed extra points soured Nick Saban on Jones and he was relegated to the bench for the rest of the season.
Another tight end, Kip Patton, downgraded from Temple to Tennessee Tech and got in trouble with the law. At Temple, the only trouble Patton caused was to opponents and his best season was in 2015, catching 12 passes for 168 yards. If he had stayed at Temple, things might have turned out differently.
Marshall Ellick, a wide receiver, transferred from Temple to Stony Brook for the 2018 season. At Temple, he caught 22 passes for 234 yards. At Stony Brook, he caught 22 passes for 311 yards. Hardly worth packing the stuff and moving to New York.
Maybe things will turn out great for Yeboah and Roche, two men who found their Acres of Diamonds right here and got greedy for more. Maybe they should have asked Jones, Patton, and Ellick first. Better yet, maybe they should have read the founder’s book.
Conwell is probably looking down and saying I told you so.
Monday: Turning It Around
Should we hire Al Golden?
As a special teams coach (he coached the special teams as well as being a HC his first two years at Temple) and recruiting coordinator would be idea since he knows this area and Carey does not. If you throw in the carrot of being a “coach in waiting” if Carey succeeds and moves on, then it’s a win/win.
The guy that you should hire is Joe Moorhead as offensive coordinator. Great offensive mind, former QB. Did a great job at Fordham and Penn State, had a tough time at Miss State but departed with class. Born in PA, knows the hotbeds where Temple recruits and has Big 10 and SEC experience. Here’s the question, would Carey feel intimidated with Moorhead on the sideline? The guy would be a huge upgrade over Uremovich (he of the NIU fame).
Moorhead will most likely get snapped up by a bigger program for more than Temple will offer, but you might as well put a call into his agent if you are Temple. Doesn’t hurt.
Agree. Carey seems comfortable with these underperforming NIU guys. A team that had jadan blue, Brandon Mack, Ray Davis, yeboah, Russo, Hennessey, picozzi, fair, Klein and Jacobs should not be struggling to score points.
if Moorhead came here, Russo might not even start. Moorhead is a dual QB guy through and through. He knows how to run and coach it though as evidenced by what he did with McSorley at PSU and the QB he had at Fordham. Don’t understand the firing because he had a winning record and beat Mississippi except that it could be a cultural thing. Maybe the northern guy just didn’t fit in at MSU? I would hire him especially because he still will be receiving his MSU salary minus his TU salary so TU would not have to pay him what he’s worth.
Moorhead and Fordam beat MR and Temple at the Linc!
Hire Moorhead as the OC and make him the HC after Carey in a year or two.
Dr. Kraft, now is the time to do something Phd worthy.
Took FCS talent and beat a Matt rhule team. Impressive.
That was Rhule’s first year and it was obvious. He had four Hail Mary passes completed against him and had yet to realize that TU Tuff football was the way to go. If Carey is serious about keeping the current offense, Moorhead would be a great replacement for Brown. Also, the urban setting of TU wouldn’t bother him given that he coached at Fordham, which is entirely gated and located in a neighborhood a little worse than TU’s is.
Amazing how far Rhule has come. From 2-10 at Temple (with 6-6 talent) to 1-11 at Baylor (probably with better talent than that, although I don’t follow the Baylor roster as close as Temple’s). He not only took FBS talent and lost to Fordham but took P5 talent and lost to (then) FCS Liberty, which has since upgraded to FBS.
Watching Tulane now. Most impressive thing about this game is the crowd. Plenty of empty seats in the other bowls but one side opposite the cameras is completely full.
I like the idea of Joe Moorhead.
I’ll throw another name in the ring – Chuck Heater – although it may be too late . . .
The Temple offense does not have the personnel to run the spread as envisioned by the current OC. Bigger question is why deviate from the Temple Tuff identity?
IMHO Temple will enjoy limited success as a spread team until it recruits a pro prospect dual threat QB and quicker guys on the OL.
Now, it can done. PJ Walker was a true spread guy who Glen Thomas molded into a pro set QB. Can the current OC mold Russo into an effective dual threat QB? Don’t bet on it.
So where does this leave the offense next year? Absent a change in philosophy, OC, and or QB expect more of the same. Middle of the pack to below average.
Why is this important? Temple did not win one game this past year when trailing at the half. Every now and then you must be able to put the ball in your QB’s hand to win the game.
GREAT points on kids transferring out. Seems like bad advice indeed especially with the success Reddick, Wilkerson and even lower draft picks like Jacob Martin etc. are having coming out of Temple. What’s better…being a stud in the AAC or a dime a dozen at a P5? Best of luck to them but almost better if their risk doesnt work out to put doubt in others minds for the future. Sounds petty but, if they want to make personal business decisions like this, why cant the fans? If you’re good, you’ll get discovered anywhere. Just ask Carson Wentz.
Centeio and Bonner-Steward are both dual threat QB’s. Trad Beatty is pro-style. TU needs a mobile QB as demonstrated by the past two bowl games.
Unless Cary finds some bigger offensive linemonds in the off season, I’m not sure they’ll successfully run a pro-style offense next year.
This is essentially the same offensive line that pushed Houston around enough to enable Ryquell Armstead to score 7 touchdowns and score 59 points. No problem with the offensive line. Major problem with the offensive thinking.