Fall football is the main course, complete with the mashed potatoes, meat and all the sides like tailgating Temple fans have come to know and love.
Spring football is an acquired taste, more like an appetizer than a full meal.
Fans starving for football love both and, for Temple fans, the menu changes starting this morning when the Owls begin a month of drills at the $17 million Edberg Olson Football Complex.
People ask me why I occasionally throw in the price tag of something that started as a significant $7 million investment in 2003 and included a $10 million add-on in 2011.
That kind of investment shows the commitment from the top on down at Temple to a winning football program from the Board of Trustees. There are not many current AAC practice facilities better than Temple’s if you include the indoor one at 15th and Montgomery. Add a $200 million commitment to building a football stadium on campus the Temple brass appears all-in on football.
What has happened since the neighbors pushed back three years ago today in a March meeting that was more madness than the NCAA tournament was troubling but the fact that the face of Temple leadership now more reflects the face of the community is a sign that those at the top understand the goals remain unchanged.
Now the football part.
Temple needs to win this year.
You and I and everyone who follows the program know that.
The $17 million (err, $217 million) question is whether the old guy has set things so far back that the new guy can’t make an impact his first year.
That won’t be answered in the next month, but some clues should give an insight into the future.
To me, the biggest key to winning in football is protecting your quarterback and putting the other guy’s quarterback on his ass and Temple did a piss-poor job in both areas last year and, if there is a No. 1 goal of this coaching staff in the next four weeks, it is fixing both.
To me, “simulated pressures” won’t get the second task done but D.J. Eliot deserves a chance to show that philosophy leads to real pressures.
Offensively, the Owls have some talent on the line and should be better able to protect the quarterback if they establish a running game first. Darvon Hubbard and Iverson Clement following an experienced line gives them the chance to do that. Under the last guy, the scheme to run the football behind guys who didn’t have the speed to break a long run was a failed philosophy.
New philosophies will be in place starting today. If there is a real Cherry and White game on April 9 with hitting and long runs, that will be a good sign that Temple TUFF is back.
Light a candle and pray those changes will be obvious once we see a real Cherry and White game for the first time since 2018.
Monday: 5 Newcomers to Watch