Stan Drayton’s first-year grade: A solid B

From this seat, it was never a case of love at first sight with Stan Drayton.

There were too many red flags associated with so many past negative Temple major sports hirings.

When a new AD comes in and conducts a so-called “national search” and picks his old buddy, it seldom works out.

Bill Bradshaw proved that when the former LaSalle shortstop flipped the ball to his college teammate second baseman, Fran Dunphy, to succeed the legendary John Chaney. In baseball terms, that was an E6.

Pat Kraft got burned so bad by Manny Diaz that his Neosporin ointment was a fellow offensive lineman at Indiana University named Rod Carey. That was comfort food after a bad breakup and hiring Carey was Kraft’s way of eating a bucket of ice cream at midnight while lamenting the girl who left him for the better-looking guy.

One hiring was bad. The next was a disaster.

So your first hope was that new AD Arthur Johnson would conduct a national search and his socks would be so blown off by a candidate he never knew let alone worked with.

When former Texas Football Director of operations Johnson hired a Texas football running backs coach he worked closely with at his prior job, the cringe factor was off the charts.

Particularly given past Temple hiring history.

While I disagreed with that hiring, my hopes were that it would work out just like my hopes were with Dunphy and Carey.

In those cases, hope didn’t get me sustained success in March Madness or multiple bowl games.

From a Temple football perspective, I knew at the end of the first year it would not work out with Carey and we wrote as much in this space after the 55-13 loss to North Carolina in the Miltary Bowl. No winning Temple football team I ever knew had losses as embarrassing as Carey’s, and that was a huge red flag. He got a D in his first year.

Drayton, though, has grown on me and has earned a solid B.

Yes, he had a head-scratching 70-13 loss to UCF but his team was way more competitive in most games than Carey’s team was in his first year. He gets As for improving the culture, stopping the transfer portal bleeding, recruiting, and overall CEO leadership.

What would have made the overall grade an A?

The D in game management dropped the overall grade to a B and that’s from a generous marker.

Drayton doesn’t deserve blame for the Navy loss. Everett Withers does. To me, it’s a no-brainer when you get a first-and-goal at the Navy 5 in the last minute of regulation, the logical play call is to fake a run, roll E.J. Warner right away from the pressure and, have him toss the throwback pass to tight end David Martin-Robinson who probably would have been wide open for six and the win. First-and-goal at the 5 the “illogical” play is a handoff to Edward Saydee who is just not a good goal-line back. You can’t settle for a field goal there.

Drayton doesn’t deserve blame for a freak-tipped ball interception that resulted in a loss to Rutgers. Just a great play by the RU guy.

What he does deserve blame for are questionable in-game decisions at Houston and against East Carolina. Better clock management on Temple’s penultimate drive at Houston would have resulted in a Zae Baines’ touchdown catch not with 1:22 left but with 25 or fewer seconds left and a signature Temple win. Milk that clock and make Dana Holgorsen use not one but two timeouts.

Bringing in Quincy Patterson, a 6-4, 252-pound backup quarterback for a sneak, would have “likely” secured the first down on a third-and-1 play at midfield against East Carolina and a win. A third-and-one pass is never a good idea unless you decide to go for it on fourth-and-one.

The kids were responsible for just one of the above four mistakes. The adults in the room were responsible for the other three.

Add it all up and it’s the difference between 3-9 and 7-5. That would have made the grade an A+. Hell, just three of the four would have pushed it up to an A.

Chalk it up to a rookie head coach making rookie mistakes. He seems to me like a guy who can learn from his mistakes and get the Owls where they need to go.

Winning AAC championships.

There are exceptions to every rule and if Drayton brings home another trophy to the E-O to sit alongside the Matt Rhule one, this hire will be the first win for the buddy system in Temple history.

Friday: A New Beginning

Monday: Greener Grass and Blue Players

Friday (12/9): Priorities

Monday: (12/12): Targets

30 thoughts on “Stan Drayton’s first-year grade: A solid B

  1. Mike, you are a generous grader. I posted a C+ on the 247Sports/AAC/Temple site. My understanding of HC Drayton is his leadership style is CEO/Manager, not a football Command leader like HC Rhule. He had enough Command to present to players the needed culture change back to Temple TUFF. Mortal combat drills are the only part which did not return. However, he has not yet commanded his OC and DC to make certain game day adjustments when game day opponent plans fail to work.

    QB Warner was the shining star in a season mostly lost by Coaches. He salvaged some hope for next season. I am not sure OC Langsdorf is capable to use him effectively in a more balanced Offense. Temple is NOT an Air Raid scheme program and is pretty weak on the Pistol Spread too. We need a Temple Power Running game.

    OC Langsdorf should try for a 65% passing and 35% running attack. He has to do this with a QB Warner unsuited for even 5 yard runs. This almost mandates using a RB + (TE + FB/HB). I would have QB Patterson become HB Patterson and be in every play. He could block for the RB and QB Warner, or take a handoff or pitch himself for plays. It would confuse opponents unless OC Langsdorf play calling was too predictable.

    Finally, DC Elliott almost made me a believer Temple D was back. He had contain inside, until changing even during the UCF game. Unfortunately, he never went back. If failed to spy opponents with mobile QBs. He also failed to bring CBs to cover the line even on 3RD Down and short. These are not as bad as the scheme errors of OC Langsdorf, but need to be fixed in training camps prior to next season.

    PS: Love your site for years!

    • Thanks, Steve. Looking at the landscape, the only true “first-year” guys who deserve an A are Sumrall at Troy (just an amazing job to go 10 wins after three-straight losing seasons) and Elko at Duke. Both those guys proved changing losing cultures PLUS making good gameday decisions on the fly can turn losing situations into winning ones right away. You can’t tell me that Troy had more talent than Temple going into this season yet Sumrall coached them up. Duke probably did but it had the benefit of P5 recruiting (on the other hand it was playing P5 talent). The offensive calls at Navy were baffling and caused Temple to lose as were the ones against ECU at midfield with three minutes left. Just not necessary for the kids to lose both of those games due to the adults.

    • I agree Stephen. If they had won 1 or 2 of those close games it’d be B+. But under the circumstances (and as Mike says, close doesn’t count, only winning) I’ll wait till next year and see what happens before giving out a really good grade. We should do better anyway because of the teams replacing the top 3 in the AAC. But with Temple anything can happen based on past history, but a bowl would be nice. Now-a-days if you don’t go bowling it means you suck, frankly speaking.

  2. I really like Barbon – he’s tough, makes some great catches and almost always picks up extra yardage after the catch. Don’t we need help on the O-line?

  3. I really like Barbon – he’s reliable, tough as nails, makes some great catches and picks up extra yardage after his catches most of the time.

  4. everybody is #1 before the first signings, they still list Cincy but have omitted Houston and UCF.., look for them to add the new teams from C-USA soon

    • The top half of the conference will be pretty decent regardless of the 3 that are leaving – and maybe 1 or2 of the new comers will be tough also. We can’t take anything for granted tho. Hoping for a bowl season next year.

    • O-line: Looks like over 90% 3-stars on up going to P5 schools; only 4 5-star kids; further down the list the lighter they get; at least we got one 3-star so far. Our blocking was better at the end of the season.

      • Temple offered a kid from Rhode Island. One of the best FCS linemen in the country. They have to mine that FCS load. Hopefully Drayton can sell Temple’s vision to guys like that.

  5. Temple Football team was good with effort for most of the games. The outcome was often bad but the effort was good. SO then I agree coach Drayton did a good job and earns that B grade. Even the final game was a winner in terms of effort.

    • I thought you were out? 🙂 I bet they drag you back in next year.

      • Mike, one never knows. WE may not re-do season Tixx but sure will attend a few games. I have simmered down after the final game realizing they did great, just not enough luck, but effort was fine. My wife and I enjoy TU football, win or loose. Maybe I’m just a cyclical whiner ? Besides, now being retired we may want to travel a bit, during Football season and that is a bummer, you know ?

      • Traveling in the summer is best. Unless you live in Florida.

  6. MR philosophy at Nebraska………, summer camps

    “Studying this job, the in-state talent I’m excited about. Then you draw that 500-mile radius… I want to have the best summer camps. I want to have 2,000-3,000 kids coming to our camps a year, not just prospect camps… That’s how you find players that go off to FCS schools and you see them in the draft. I don’t need celebrity coaches that are going to go to one school a day. I need coaches that are going to go and do it the old-school way. We’re going to have a hard-working staff.”

    Nebraska offered the kid from Rhode Island

    • Sometimes corn fields are not what urban kids want. Hopefully, this kid lik51 es being closer to home in Philadelphia. Also the Monmouth punter (48.1 ypp) entered the portal. The Monmouth qb (51 tds, 17 ints) also in the portal. Monmouth is not that far away. We don’t need a QB put we need a punter since our 25-year-old guy used up his one year of eligibility.

  7. Matt Rhule is now HC at Nebraska – taking that Rhode Island lineman we offered, oh well.

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