That old saying a “hungry dog hunts best” certainly could apply to new head Temple football coach Stan Drayton.
The outsiders, objective people supposedly in the know about college football, rated the Temple coaching hire pretty low on the totem pole and maybe Drayton will use that disrespect and work that much harder to prove the doubters wrong.
What he needs now is players and this is the week to get them.
Heaven knows the Owls need some dogs, the fighting kind and not the laying down kind.
The national sports website Yardbarkers rated the Temple hiring 25th between Sonny Cumbie (Louisiana Tech) and Jon Sumrall (Troy).
Maybe Drayton is hungry enough to prove the doubters wrong. Or guys like Cumbie and Sumrall will prove to be hungrier.
Whatever, the way college football works these days, we could know as soon as December because the transfer portal has proven to turn some mediocre teams to winning ones in a year. For instance, Western Kentucky recruited a portal quarterback out of Houston Baptist, Bailey Zappe, and his 61 touchdown passes helped turn the Hilltoppers from 5-7 to 8-5 in a few months.
Can Temple go from 3-9 to 8-5?
Probably not, but certainly a bowl is within reach in an era where there are more good players in the portal than available scholarships across the 130 FBS programs. It’s a buyer’s market, not a seller’s, and the teams that shop best off the field produce best on it. Recently, defensive back George Reid left the Owls and declared for the portal. Nice player, but there are upgrades all over the place out there and one of Drayton’s jobs is to find one for Reid, and another for record-breaking wide receiver Jadan Blue, two of the few who left.
Already, Drayton got a South Carolina cornerback to commit and a Florida linebacker visited this weekend and Kurt Warner’s son, Elijah, “fell in love with the place” (Temple) and committed. While Warner is only 5-foot-11, the more important numbers associated with him are 26 (touchdowns) and eight (interceptions). That’s a more than acceptable ratio when you consider the Owls’ starting quarterback, Dwan Mathis, had 20 touchdown passes to 11 interceptions in his last full high school year. G5 football proved much tougher as Mathis had only nine touchdown passes against six interceptions and that was nowhere near good enough for either Dwan or Temple.
In fact, only two other recent Temple recruits had more touchdown passes as a high school senior than Warner did and those were Anthony Russo (Archbishop Wood, 2015) and Adam DiMichele (Sto-Rox, 2004), both with 35 each. Even the great P.J. Walker (Elizabeth, N.J) had only 24 touchdown passes his senior year. If Warner produces at Temple like Russo, Walker and DiMichele did, I will sign for that now. It’s not the only metric but consider this: Vaughn Charlton (Avon Grove) and Chester Stewart (DeMatha) had nine and 17 touchdown passes, respectively, their senior years and they were at Temple what their record said they were in high school.
Subpar would be a kind word.
Still, it’s hard to figure that Warner, right now, is anything more than a replacement for Justin Lynch, who transferred to Northern Illinois. Maybe a couple of more years down the road he can be a starter at Temple.
One immediate starter probably will be at running back, where the Owls upgraded their room with the addition of Texas A&M portal transfer Darvon Hubbard.
Definitely fits the profile of a fighting dog, not a passive one.
The Owls need a few more who fit the description. By Wednesday, we will know how hungry Drayton turned out to be.
Friday: Reaction to Signing Season