The number one takeaway from Wednesday around the world will be that Temple signed about a dozen fewer football players than anyone else in the American Athletic Conference, most of them with fewer stars than the top dozen or so signees from the other teams.
That’s important but no less important is the vibe very successful ex-Owls who have been to the Edberg Olson facility since Stan Drayton took over have experienced.
Almost to a man everyone else has said: “It just feels different.”
Different, meaning good.
Personality matters and the Owls went from a dead fish personality (Rod Carey) to a dynamo (Stan Drayton).
Many of us (raising my hand here) believe both Al Golden and Fran Brown (Temple guys) would have the same dynamic personality of (Texas guy) Stan Drayton but, now, with the decision already made, I will take my dynamos wherever I can get them. More and more, Drayton is becoming a Temple guy and that’s not an easy thing to do.
If you really believe only one person can return Temple to the kind of glory it had only in 2018 and 2019, then you are a special kind of naive. It wasn’t that long ago and there’s nowhere near the work now that needs to be done that, say, Golden did in 2005.
I’ve always felt that there are dozens of guys who could perform CPR on Temple now and my fellow ex-Owls who have visited the E-O have given Drayton their stamp of approval.
Since I haven’t been in the building (but most likely will on Cherry and White Day), I have to take their word for it.
Now the bigger question becomes does signing a dozen or so supbar (compared to the rest of the league) players put Temple in a position to win immediately?
That answer appears to be no.
In the AAC, the Jimmies and Joes will always beat the X’s and O’s.
There are two starters in this class, one I can identify (running back Darvon Hubbard) and that will come out of nowhere, maybe in the linebacker group. After 1-6 and 3-9, that’s not enough but it’s a starting point.
Drayton gets major points in my mind for acknowledging the need to sign a “scholarship quarterback” sometime after spring if “no one here has demonstrated the ability to handle the job.”
My advice is meaningless but I think Drayton should not wait until spring. Incumbent Dwan Mathis hasn’t proven to be good enough and newcomer Elijah Warner probably is a year away. Mathis needs competition at least as good and probably better if the Owls want to double their 2021 win total and that should be the minimum goal. Waiting until after spring means one of those three guys will already have committed elsewhere. Temple can’t afford to gamble.
If the Owls want more adversity, they should probably settle with Mathis and Warner leading the quarterback room.
Drayton said he wants adversity but if adversity means 3-9 again, that’s probably the kind of adversity he doesn’t want nor the kind of adversity fans are expecting.
There are at least three quarterbacks right now still in the portal who are better than anyone Temple has now and Drayton should probably pull the trigger before one of them gets away. Waiting until spring is definitely not needed if Drayton has, as he noted, watched the film. Stan, please rewind to the 3d and 17 play in the Cincy game and watch was Mathis did. After seeing that, please tell me he doesn’t need competition.
No matter how different things feel now, another 3-9 would be the kind of flashback no Temple fan or coach ever wants to experience again and raise questions about the future that would counter any current optimism.
Monday: American Underdog