Temple football: New Beginning, Part II

Watching Temple coach Stan Drayton interact with former Owls has been an educational experience and the best lessons have been off the field.

Go to events like Cherry and White Day, some road trips, and season-ticket holder day and it’s evident that Drayton has an appreciation for past Temple players that many of the recent Temple coaches haven’t had.

“I went to a practice and he just came up to me and introduced himself and said how you doing,” said Matt McArdle, a starting safety for the 1978 team. “He asked me who I was. I’m a nobody and he makes you feel like the most important guy there. It really makes you feel good.”

If he makes those players feel good, you can imagine how he interacts with his current players. It seems to be working because Drayton has stopped the transfer portal bleeding. Under the past guy, the portal players leaving were starters. So far, only backups have left under Drayton and we’re crossing our fingers and toes and hoping that pattern continues.

Watch this video. What a terrific job narrated by the one and only John Facenda. Great comments from Arians and former Temple President and Chancellor Pete Liacouras (RIP). Also a good look at the greatest uniforms any college team ever wore.

Drayton has a special connection to the Bruce Arians’ players, who came a little after McArdle. At the Cherry and White tailgate, Drayton took the microphone from disc jockey Kevin Jones (a great offensive tackle for Arians) and said, “We’re going to get this thing back to the way you guys are used to seeing it.”

You could tell Drayton meant it.

Then he gave the mic back to Jones and Drayton watched his wife line-dancing to the tunes and had a big smile.

As one of the three white guys in that spot on that day, I stood back and watched in awe and took in the general positive vibe with my friends from many years.

He made a commitment to them and he intends to keep it. He made a commitment to all of Temple.

If it sounded familiar to those guys–in their 50s now–it should. At one time, a charismatic new Temple coach named Bruce Arians made the same kind of commitment to those guys when they were teens and a lot of folks think that Arians worked miracles here.

Although he had “only” two winning seasons, both were against top-10 schedules and, given that background, an argument can be made that Arians did just as good a job as Wayne Hardin. Neither coach has the facilities Drayton does now. In all fairness, Temple doesn’t have to play that murderous schedule now that it did then. In the last five years, the Temple schedules were ranked 97th, 73d, 86th, 91st and 99th in that order.

With Temple’s recruiting base–46 percent of the nation’s population within a six-hour drive of the stadium–it’s reasonable to set occasional G5 league championships and bowl games every season as a baseline goal.

It’s still a tough job but the expectations aren’t out of whack. Nobody is asking to get Temple back into the Sugar Bowl, which is what Pete Liacouras asked of Arians. Winning the new AAC is a much more reasonable goal to achieve than consistently winning seasons against top-10 schedules.

They always say you show the most improvement every year from Game One to Game Two. That goes for seasons as well. This past season was about changing the culture.

Mission Accomplished.

It’s all about the wins from now on and the number on the left has to be higher than the number on the right.

Monday: Greener and Bluer


13 thoughts on “Temple football: New Beginning, Part II

  1. “…..a much more reasonable goal to achieve than consistently winning seasons against top 10 schedules.” And this is why, given Temple’s history of poor judgement on so many things, indifferent fan base and less than adequate fund raising, that getting into a P5 conference would do nothing to help with winning, and why the AAC is probably the best conference for Temple, until proven otherwise (like UCF, Cincy and Houston have shown).

    • The P5 ship has saild. If the B12 imploded after the championship of 2016, there is no doubt in my mind Temple would have been one of the schools taken. It imploded at the worst possible time, the Rod Carey Error.

  2. Thanks for the great memories!

  3. I’m a fan who goes all the way back to Wayne Hardin, Randy Grossman, and Henry Hynoski. I don’t know if Drayton is the man or not, but I certainly respect what the man has done trying to be inclusive of the school’s history. The paragraph about Temple’s recruiting base should be blown up and framed over everyone’s desk in the athletic department. Go get some talent…and for God’s sake burn the black uniforms while you’re at it.

    • amen to ditching the black uniforms.., players didn’t get a vote on single digits this yr, and they shouldn’t get a vote on black uniforms.

      FAU just hired Tom Herman. I went to that bowl game yrs ago at FAU, TU vs Toledo…, Herman at FAU will be something to watch closely.

      FAU has the commitment but not the means $$$$, TU has the means but not the commitment. Plus FAU has a nice OCS.

      If FAU starts to out-recruit TU, and starts posting better records…, the evidence will be plain as day…,

      Herman out-coached and out-recruited everyone in the AAC (including MR) while at Houston

      • Really like your insights kj. So, hoping that Drayton will do a great job but why didn’t TU go after someone like Herman? Is FAU paying him more than TU is paying their HCs since we have more “means” than FAU? As I said above, TU to often makes questionable decisions.

  4. TU is paying Drayton $2.5M, FAU paid Taggart $1.5M. Suspect Herman is getting slightly more than Taggart, and less than Drayton.

    Herman took himself off the board early after TU fired Carey. Was not comfortable w/Philly and the TU leadership.

    This is what Herman said upon his hire at FAU,

    “There are already great young men on this team, great facilities, a great location, a great recruiting base and great leadership, all of which are important to building a successful program.”

    note the reference to “facilities.., and great leadership”.


  5. I’m looking forward to the 2023 season and Owl football. I watched the UTSA/North Texas Conference USA Championship game on Friday night. They had a nice crowd of 41,000 plus. UTSA is awesome! Don’t know if we will play them in ’23 or not. I think both teams will be nice additions to the American. I really do like Coach Drayton. As you pointed out, he seems to bond easily with current players, former players and fans. Also, as you say, Temple is within a 6 hour drive of 46% of the nation’s population, providing a great recruiting base. This past season had its ups and downs of course. But I see definite improvement in the team. Coach Drayton should real well with recruiting. Go Owls!

  6. kj’s comments sad but true. Off the field considerations on N Broad probably adversely influence more than a few possible candidates. In other words, coaches are hired who will take the job despite all that.

    Herman is a Texan. Find it surprising he left the state, but recruiting Florida is less daunting than on the east coast, and he’s used to a program with facilities closer to what the big programs have.

    I wonder if coaches’ agents bother to call Carey to get his input on the job? Or do they realize he cruised through the seasons here and pocketed the $ and not bother? Same with Collins.

    • Both stole money from Temple. You could spot Collins a mile away. Carey never understood Philadelphia nor wanted to but Drayton coached in Philly at two places (Penn and Nova) before here and knows the landscape. Hopefully, he can navigate it. His people skills are off the charts and a lot closer to Rhule’s than Golden’s.

  7. The C-USA teams coming to the AAC with less means $$$$ and more commitment than TU: FAU, N.Texas, UAB and UTSA

    UAB just hired Trent Dilfer, UTSA has Traylor, and now Herman to FAU. Believe it or not, TUFB is in trouble.

    If TUFB does not go bowling next year it will be at the expense of one of those four teams above.

    TU’s lack of support for TUFB can’t be overstated in the new AAC environment.

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