One of the more exciting days every year for me is also one of the more conflicting ones.
There’s seldom a day I’ve walked away from a good three-hour visit to the campus I know and love in April without a good feeling about my Temple football Owls.
The last three years were the exception.
Three years ago, I walked away shaking my head in disgust as the coach who shall remain nameless showed a crowd of about 5,000 people at Broad and Master what it looks like for a running back or a punt returner to be hit by a foam rubber pad.
Really, Rod? (Whoops, I meant nameless.)
Covid caused me to miss the last two years–not because I came down with it (I did not)–but because out of an abundance of caution, there was no real public Cherry and White game. (I did take a train past practice on what would have been last year’s Cherry and White game but that doesn’t count.)
There will be one this year and it will be glorious.
How do I know?
Because judging from new head coach Stan Drayton’s numerous public statements, he “gets it.” Having a real football game with real hitting, field goals, kickoffs and punt and kickoff returns is important to Temple fans because it was really all they have known prior to the disaster visited upon Philadelphia by a group of carpetbaggers from Illinois.
Maybe even a real final score.
Whatever happens, one group of “good guys” will beat another group of good guys.
If there are plenty of touchdown passes and long runs, we will exit worrying about the defense. If it’s a scoreless tie, we will spend many sleepless nights between now and Duke worrying about the offense.
The most important thing, though, will be the return of real football here for the first time in a long while.
In this space on the day before the April, 2015 Cherry and White game our headline was simply this: “Cherry and White this year is all about beating Penn State.”
Those Owls got that job done, both on that Saturday in April and another one in September. This year, it’s all about beating Duke and, whatever the final score Saturday, seeing Temple TUFF return again after a four-year hiatus will make that a viable possibility.
Monday: Cherry and White Recap