Cherry and White tradition fading

Had to go downtown for my bi-monthly haircut on Saturday and caught a glimpse of Temple football practice both ways.

The 9:51 a.m. train from Fox Chase to Suburban Station sped by the Edberg-Olson Football Complex a little after 10 with only a couple of soft tosses going on down on Chodoff Field.

On the way back, I caught a longer glimpse because the Fox Chase train had to wait for a Warminster-bound train. From what I could see, there were a lot of guys wearing green jerseys on top of Cherry and White ones and something I have not seen since the Steve Addazio days:

Actual hitting.

The thought occurred to me on any other third Saturday in April I would be down there with a few thousand other Temple fans getting excited for the upcoming season. There would be tailgating before and after and some good-natured arguments about which team or which player was better.

I posted that Saturday would have been Cherry and White on Facebook and former Owl great Joe Greenwood (who I think should be in the school’s Hall of Fame) posted back.

“Yep,” he said. “All the memories are on my facebook memories.”

Memories are all we have now. Temple and the AAC should do something like what the Big 10 and Michigan State is doing tomorrow. The Spartan spring game will be on the Big 10 network (2 p.m.) while Owl fans have really no way to watch what is happending at 10th and Diamond.

That didn’t happen last year because of COVID and it didn’t happen this year pretty much for the same reason.

Two years ago, it happened in a modified version where players essentially ran drills and there was no game or any hitting involved.

Maybe Cherry and White will happen next year, maybe not, but the Cherry and White as we’ve known it (with a real game) probably will never return.

I don’t know if we’ll ever have the same level of fan participation, either.

Several fans mentioned to me in 2019–many of them former players–that, if the Cherry and White game has been reduced to a couple of players hitting a punt returner with a foam rubber object, they would probably opt out.

That’s too bad because I remember the 2017 game where a freshman named Jadan Blue burst onto the scene with a couple of touchdown receptions against some pretty good Owl cornerbacks at the time.

That got the fans excited to see him and other Owls who played well that day.

Now all we have of Cherry and White is the memories and, under this staff at least, it’s going to have to be enough.

The good news is if they win their method will be proven right. If they lose, maybe another guy comes in and revives the tradition.

Monday: Reading The Clues


6 thoughts on “Cherry and White tradition fading

  1. Mike,
    My memory of the Hardin era was intensity. It started in Winter Workouts in McGonigle Hall. I was recruited from the Soccer team, and my first experience was memorable. The running, the agility reps, the gassers. Yes, I had to do them. Coach Vince Hoch “inpsired” me with words that would get him into trouble these days. Ha. Then on the “off” days I ran laps in McGonigle doing the stadium stairs on each side for 45 minutes. I gained 40 pounds and my field goal range went from 50 yards to 65 yards. That added strength helped refine my placekicking tempo and consistancy.

    Our outdoor Spring Practices were intense a well. The coaches primed the entire team at all positions for the “final”, that was Cherry and White Day at Temple Stadium. During these Spring workouts, we ended with 100 yd gassers. But, prior to that, Hardin would have field goals. He rolled 3 balls onto the field, at random location, and that was where the ball was snapped, and I would kick 7 yds back. These kicks were “live”. If I made all three kicks, we walk off, the entire team, no gassers. Surely, that created intensity. Not only for me, but the entire team had a stake in each kick. I missed once. I felt horrible. Hardin did not stop there. My final Cherry and White game, we did not kick field goals. But my last two “extra points” were from 52 yds and 55 yds. I write this because of your comment of Jaden Blue. That spring game, set the stage for many players to “break out” and establish themselves. It did for me. Not only did I grow up physically, but mentally as well. There is a maturing process for all athletes. We constantly must set goals, and work to meet them and surpass them. I would have never thought kicking my first football in August 1973 in three years, that I would kick in the Hula Bowl and Japan Bowl college all star games and be drafted in the 3rd round in Spring 1976.

    Intensity shapes the athlete, his skills, his vision, his character as an athlete. Hard for me to judge today’s game as a 67 year old, but it sure worked then….

  2. Thanks Brian. Mike raises a good point of a “culture” change that seems evident. The culture from the Hardin..Ariens era, restored by Al Golden, and carried through Rhule. We do not get that sense now. Back when Al Golden took the reigns of the program, he communicated with Football alums, and consistently stated that his goal was to restoring discipline and leadership in the players. All players and positions. I don’t mean to carp more than Mike already does, but that included Special Teams. Hardin always game planned for an advantage from Special Teams over our opponents. {that loss of Ed Foley remains irksome to me} Maybe “today’s” athlete has changed. We shall see. Right now, I wish we had Al Golden back…with him {or Rhule}, I feel we would not have experienced the loss of talent to the portal.

  3. It is hard to maintain a positive outlook for Owl football after the disastrous COVID-altered 2019 season. Add key losses to the player transfer portal and one understands why! I would imagine that season ticket renewals are going poorly. There is still much uncertainty concerning the virus with its consistently emerging variants. I keep thinking back to 2015 when we were on top of the college football world with a well-respected program and a bright future. But the program has been around since 1894, so here’s looking forward to our 127th season!

    • Outstanding inside baseball (err, football) stuff from probably the greatest kicker in Owl history from a standpoint of production at Temple. Thanks, Don. Hardin always took the kicking part of the game seriously but I didn’t know to what detail until now.

  4. My hope is that Carey simply gave up on last season and used it for no more than a practice session (if that). Maybe with more seriousness now toward the coming season and with some needed changes we will be competitive. Reading the day-by-day “reports” from spring practices on the Temple site, it seems as if the QBs are at once throwing some good balls but also lots of defended passes too – or does that mean the defense is inconsistent? At any rate, I’m sticking to being open minded until things are actually circling the drain.

    And speaking of the Cherry and White weekend, back in the day it included not only the highlight FB game, but a baseball game, tennis matches, track&field meet with another city school, etc. – all at old Temple stadium.

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