TU-Duke: An unmitigated disaster

You needed to look no further than down the dial to see the current state of two Group of Five programs on Friday night.

On one ESPN channel at halftime, G5 Old Dominion was taking care of business at ACC power Virginia Tech with a 10-7 lead.

On another ESPN channel at the same time, G5 Temple was floundering like the fish out of water Rod Carey was here in a 24-0 deficit against ACC cellar-dweller Duke.

The Owls lost that game, 30-0, but many of the same problems that existed in a 3-9 season a year ago for this once-proud Temple program surprisingly resurfaced in the first half.

We thought it would be different but it wasn’t and that’s the saddest takeaway from Friday night. Surprisingly, because we were told by the players and the coaching staff that the whole vibe has changed but on the most important day, game night, it was a rerun of a year ago. Lackluster with no energy.

D’Wan Mathis demonstrated–pretty much like he did in a 3-9 season a year ago–that he was not particularly bothered by multiple three-and-outs. That kind of laisse fair attitude spread like a pandemic to the rest of the team–special teams, defense, and offense.

You are only as good as your leaders are and that includes both the quarterback and the head coach.

To me, the first mistake of the Stan Drayton Era was sticking with Mathis after a scoreless first quarter.

I mean, why do you bring in another four-star quarterback like Quincy Patterson to compete with Mathis and settle for multiple three-and-outs in a real game?

You don’t.

If the competition is open in practice, you should be able to lose the job in a game if you don’t turn the scoreboard into an adding machine.

At the end of one quarter and multiple three-and-outs, you bring in Patterson. Send the message both to Mathis and the rest of the squad that failure in any aspect of the game is unacceptable by this new staff.

Maybe he rallies the team around him. Maybe he doesn’t.

But you don’t sit there and get your ass beat because your starter can’t make plays to keep drives alive.

After five-straight three-and-outs near the end of the first half, Drayton went over to Mathis and patted him on the back. I wouldn’t have done that. I wouldn’t have hit him in the head but I would have told him to take a seat and let Quincy see what he could do. (Nick Saban would have hit him in the head.)

The point is that if you give Mathis five three-and-outs, to be fair, you have to give Patterson the same kind of rope. Mathis cannot be the starter forever if he keeps putting up zeros on the board.

You light a fire under him and you light a fire under the rest of the team.

On the other side of the ball, you don’t let the bad guys’ quarterback sit back and pick you apart with a base defense. If you can’t get to him with four, you bring five. If you can’t get to him with five, you bring six. If you can’t get to him with six, you bring seven. Bring the entire team on passing situations. At some point, you have to make him eat dirt and like the taste.

That’s Temple football.

At least it has been in the past.

Maybe it can be in the future but, judging from Drayton’s disappointing debut, that future is a lot farther off than we previously thought.

Sunday: The Compelling Case for Quincy Patterson

Temple at Duke: Confident, not cocky

Don’t bet your house, but taking Temple might get you another farm if you have a spare farm.

Given the dwindling number of Temple fans still living who spent a significant amount of time around the two most successful Owl major sports coaches in history (raising my hand here as one), it’s pretty apparent the general approach both would take tonight.

Defend and attack the known. Don’t worry about the unknown.

Wayne Hardin and John Chaney took that approach and, if Stan Drayton does tonight (ACC Network, 7:30 p.m.), I fully expect Temple to be a winner.

Don’t see Temple scoring 38 but certainly think the Owls outscore Duke by double digits.

Confident, not cocky. In other words, don’t bet the house but if you have a farm to spare, it’s worth the investment.

That’s because we don’t know a lot but we do know a couple of important things:

One, the Duke quarterback starter, Riley Leonard, has started exactly one FBS game in his career and is a three-star recruit.

Two, both Temple quarterbacks, starter D’Wan Mathis and backup Quincy Patterson, were four-star recruits. Between the two, those players have 17 college football starts, 10 at the FBS level. Patterson is 9-1 in all of his starts at the two levels.

Mathis rose to the occasion when Drayton brought in Patterson to compete with him in summer camp and is playing the best football of his career according to insiders who have watched every August practice. Put it this way, highly paid coaching staffs at Iowa State, Michigan State, Ohio State and Georgia evaluated Mathis and put their salaries on the line by offering scholarships to him. Mathis at one point accepted offers from all schools before bouncing around and ending up at Temple.

He can make plays with his arm and his feet. Big-time players make big-time plays and Mathis has that quality. Leonard, on the other hand, is a pro-style quarterback who might be a more stationary target for pass rushers than either Mathis or Patterson. Might? More like is.

Patterson, in one of his three FBS starts for Virginia Tech, put up 47 points in a wire-to-wire spectacular performance against a North Carolina team that held an eight-win Temple team to just 13 points.

On the flip side, Drayton has said the strength of the Temple team so far is a defensive line led by a very good coach in Antoine Smith. Last year, Smith’s Colorado State defensive line finished in the top 10 in sacks and Smith says this Temple line is more talented.

If this version of the “Wild Boyz” can get after Leonard, put him on the ground, separate him from the football and cause a couple of picks, I cannot envision a scenario where Temple loses this game.

When Temple won at Vanderbilt, 37-7, to open the 2014 season, relentless pressure by a defensive line led by Averee Robinson caused the Vandy quarterback to hear footsteps the entire game.

That Temple team was coming off a two-win season. This one is coming off a three-win season but is invigorated by the new coaching staff. This 2022 Duke game has a 2014 kind of Vandy vibe. This game could be a 24-21 type deal but I think the defensive pressure the Owls put on Leonard enables them to win the game rather comfortably.

That takes care of the defensive piece.

Offensively, you’ve got to like the two players Temple has holding the reins better.

In horse racing, if two horses have relatively the same odds, the play is to go for the one with the better jockey. It doesn’t work all the time but it’s a safer play.

Temple has two better jockeys than the one Duke has and that’s a significant known.

We don’t know a lot about this game but we know enough. We’re guessing Drayton does, too.

Temple 27, Duke 17.

Confident, not cocky.

You read it here first.

Tomorrow: Game Analysis

Duke: All’s Quiet on the Southern Front

Huge track around Duke’s Wallace Wade Stadium means the fans there probably won’t be a huge factor Friday night.

Anyone who saw the 2011 science-fiction film “Another Earth” saw for maybe the first time what a parallel world might look like.

In that film, scientists on this planet find out there’s an Earth-like planet orbiting our sun.

That got us to thinking about Friday’s opener at Duke. In a parallel football world, is there a “Duke Football Forever?”

No, but google “Duke Football Blog” and one shows up. It’s called Bull City Coordinators and, judging from the paucity of posts, there doesn’t seem to be a parallel level of enthusiasm for the opening of the Duke season as there is about the Temple one.

The last post on it was dated Aug. 8. The one before that on July 4. There is no mention of Temple.

Anywhere.

Message board-wise, there is a little more interest but not as much on the two major Temple sites. On the Duke rivals’ site, in this entire month, Temple is mentioned just four times. One, talking about the 1988 basketball win over Temple (Aug. 2), another (last Wednesday) saying, “In 1961, Bill Cosby played fullback for Temple.”

Only two talked about the game.

“As of today, Duke is an eight-point favorite,” a poster named “hart2chesson” said. “But Temple is in our boat. New coach! New attitude!”

Duke doesn’t draw well. Despite playing another team from the same state, Charlotte, in last year’s home opener, the Blue Devils drew only 14,125 fans for that 31-28 loss. They drew fewer fans (12,323) two weeks later for another home game against Northwestern.

So even if only 500 or so Temple fans attend (geez, we hope a lot more), you are likely to hear a “Let’s Go Temple!” cheer or two come through your TV screen Friday night. Maybe even an acapella version of “T for Temple U” after touchdowns.

On the Duke scout board, there is only one post on the Temple game and it is by a Temple fan. Other threads are about 88-year-old former Duke (and Eagles’) quarterback Sonny Jurgensen and one about the quarterback battle for this season.

Not much discussion about Temple.

On the other hand, there is plenty of discussion about Duke on the two Temple boards.

Presumably, Duke’s players are thinking about Temple but there is not a single story quoting a Duke player talking about Temple anywhere. Plenty of Temple players have been quoted that all they’ve watched is game film not only of Duke but of the Memphis offense and the Rutgers’ defense since Aug. 18. That’s because the Duke OC was the Memphis OC the last three years (including two losses to Temple) and the Duke DC was on the RU defensive staff a year ago. Gotta wonder what film Duke players are looking at now, if any.

Texas running back films?

Kinda doubt it.

If that’s an indication of what’s to come on Friday night and Temple is more locked in than Duke, the Blue Devils could be in for a surprise.

Friday: Temple-Duke Preview

Saturday: Game Analysis

What Mathis being named starter means …

About this time five months ago, new Temple head coach Stan Drayton gave tepid praise to incumbent quarterback starter D’Wan Mathis, saying this:

“We’re going to bring in some guys to compete with him.”

If Mathis can become a fan favorite in Georgia, he can do that in Philadelphia too.

That was after the Cherry and White game. Nice game for Mathis, but nothing special.

True to his word, Drayton brought in those guys–Elijah Warner and former Virginia Tech starter Quincy Patterson–and, after a healthy competition, Mathis retained his job.

At least for the Duke opener.

Thursday, Mathis was named the starter for the Duke game one week from tonight and that can only mean one thing.

Former Michigan State, Ohio State, and Georgia commit D’Wan Mathis is shown here starting the 2020 opener for Georgia.

Mathis, a former Elite 11 four-star quarterback, rose to the occasion to beat out Patterson, a former Elite 11 four-star quarterback.

We’ve checked the game notes of the other 10 AAC teams and none of them have an Elite 11 quarterback.

Temple now has two.

Duke has none and that’s one reason why you’ve got to like Temple’s chances a week from now (7:30 p.m., ACC Network).

It’s not even fair to say Mathis showed flashes of his Elite 11 quality in the 2021 season.

He showed flash as in one, the Memphis game. If Mathis showed flashes, maybe the Owls steal a win or two in the other AAC games. It was a damn good flash (35-for-49, three touchdowns) but it was a one-and-done nonetheless.

We needed to see more and it’s an even better sign that Drayton needed to see more.

Now he has.

Maybe he’s a guy who needs a fire lit under him and, in Patterson, that’s a lot of lighter fluid.

Patterson went 7-0 as a North Dakota State starter last year and, except for Cincinnati, you can make a strong argument that North Dakota State would have beaten every other AAC team, including Houston and UCF.

He’s a nice insurance policy to have should Mathis falter.

So far, Mathis has shown no signs of faltering and that’s a good thing. This is the third-straight year that Mathis has won a starting job. He started for Georgia in the 2020 home opener and Temple in the 2021 opener at Rutgers, beating out another Elite 11 quarterback (Re’al Mitchell) for the honor.

Memphis was objectively a better team than Duke last year so is 35-for-49 and three touchdowns out of the question next week?

Certainly not and, if Mathis puts up those numbers again, the Owls are guaranteed to have a nice flight home.

Monday: All’s Quiet on The Southern Front

Friday: Temple-Duke Preview

Saturday: Duke Game Analysis

What Klecko’s induction does for Temple

Too often, the ignorant is the norm when the subject is Temple football.

Even though the Owls pretty much have had the most Group of Five players in the NFL for the last decade, occasionally you come across a comment like this yesterday on Twitter:

Very funny.

Not.

Most “regular” Joe Blow NFL fans don’t follow things like what G5 team has the most NFL players and assume that the higher-profile G5 schools dominate.

Assuming sometimes means “making an ass out of you and me” but, in this guy’s case, it was him making an ass out of himself.

Unfortunately, that’s more than the norm than the exception. At least for the general comments I see on social media.

That’s why the almost certain lock nomination of Joe Klecko into the Pro Football Hall of Fame could do more to change that than anything. Being named one of the three finalists for the Hall of Fame, that’s a Hall of a Deal for Temple and Klecko. (Joe is a virtual lock as every group of three finalist has been rubberstamped into the Hall by the Veterans committee every year since 2009.)

Klecko will almost certainly get up there and talk about the New York Jets but also expect the father who sent a son to Temple and played for the Owls to spend a significant portion of his induction speech on Temple and Wayne Hardin.

Just the other day New England Patriots’ head coach Bill Belichick mentioned Temple. Belichick, unlike the Joe Blow fan, knows his stuff.

“I have some connections to Temple and, of course, Baylor, they have players,” Belichick said on Thursday in this article.

Belichick mentioned his following Temple through knowing two Owl head coaches, Hardin and Matt Rhule.

Bill and Ernie Adams, both New York Giants’ assistant coaches at the time, watched Hardin take apart Cal in the Garden State Bowl.

“Ernie and I were sitting up there watching the game, and on the first series of plays, one guard pulled deep, the other guard pulled short,” Belichick said. “And they just folded around to get the linebacker, but they pulled. And the two inside linebackers ran into each other. I looked at Ernie, and he looked at me . . .”

Did Temple just screw that up, they wondered?

“Four or five plays later, the same thing. The two linebackers,” Belichick clapped his hands together loudly, imitating the collision, “because they’re standing right next to each other. They went right into each other. [Temple ran] straight down to the safety for, like, 20 yards. They must’ve run that play six or seven times and it was 20 yards every time . . . At the time, I’d never seen that before. That was Hardin. That was his coaching genius.”

All of this should have changed the perception of Temple football nationwide but, sadly, it has not for the most part. Beating Penn State and playing Notre Dame to a nail-biter on national TV should have helped but it’s a constant battle for respect when you are Temple.

The fast track to changing perceptions is in the hands of the guys working out at the Edberg-Olson Complex.

Beat Duke in less than two weeks and everyone in America will know Temple has a football team and a pretty good one.

Friday: One Week Until Duke

Drayton offers some clues behind the digits

If these pictures say more than 1,000 words, just a few of them will be that this is a team that will play with passion and one Temple fans can be excited about.

Napolean Bonaparte was first credited with the phrase “a picture is worth a thousand words” but Temple football’s modern-day Napolean, the similar-sized Stan Drayton, might have illustrated it best with a memorable Monday night at the Edberg-Olson practice complex.

That’s where Temple’s first-year head coach didn’t need more than an hour or so to drop a couple of clues that might indicate what’s to come for the program.

No truth to the rumor that Fizzy played in this game.

Drayton departed from the Rod Carey Regime on many occasions this calendar year but none more than Monday night when he honored just six players with the coveted Temple football “Temple TUFF” single digits.

One, unlike Carey, Drayton took the decision away from the players and put it in the hands of the coaches.

Two, Drayton didn’t willy-nilly give the honor away but instead limited it to the six toughest guys.

What does that say?

First, the inmates are not running the asylum anymore. If you go 1-6 and 3-9 you forfeit any ability to name the other tough guys. That’s a good thing. Win, and get that privilege back.

Second, everyone gets a new start to impress a new coaching staff and the six players have earned it.

Third, it kind of indicates a surprise starter in cornerback Jalen McMurray and that means this coaching staff has an open mind.

Plus, McMurray has shown an uncanny ability to break on the ball for the last two years and that’s something that is more talent than taught.

The other five have been warriors who are established figures.

One, outside the program, Adonicas Sanders, who started 14 games for a Power 5 team before coming to Temple and has been a hero in at least a couple of them. He will wear Jadan Blue’s No. 5 and probably turn out to be an upgrade over Temple’s single-season leading receiver who set that mark in the 2019 season when the Owls finished 8-5.

The others are offensive linemen Adam Klein (a starter since he came here five years ago from Episcopal Academy) and Isaac Moore. In a 56-27 loss to Duke in the Independence Bowl, the blocking of those two were the highlights of that game for Temple fans. With their OL coach from that game returning, Chris Wiesehan, expect them to take that game to an even higher level this season.

Darian Varner, whose motor never stopped in a 3-9 season, is another single digit at DE (No. 9). He will wear the same number New York Giants’ Quincy Roche wore when he was at Temple and expect the same amount of pressure on the QB. It says a lot when a single player never quit in a season when a number of players quit on their head coach and Varner stood out as someone who played with pride.

Temple fans certainly noticed last year. It’s a good sign that Drayton has the same football IQ.

The other telling statement is that Jordan McGee (a linebacker who wears No. 6) will be a guy the Owls will inch to the line of scrimmage in blitzing situations in order to make life miserable for any bad guy’s quarterback. McGee has both the speed and the inherent hatred of quarterbacks to make it happen.

Those are a lot of statements about the immediate future of Temple football but none of those statements say as much as the photo at the top of this page does. These kids love each other, love Temple football, and will play with a passion we haven’t seen here in a while.

That last sentence contained 19 positive words. You can find 981 more by looking closely at the photos at the top of this post. One thousand words indeed.

Monday: A Hall of a Deal

Duke-Temple: A unique storyline

When Pat Kraft went to look for a new head coach after Geoff Collins quit, he reportedly zeroed in on Texas A&M defensive coordinator Mike Elko.

Elko allowed his name to float in the new Temple head coaching conversation and days later accepted a pay raise to remain at Texas A&M.

Some say he used Temple.

Either way, the game on Sept. 2 offers probably the most unique storyline of the opening weekend.

Elko turns down Temple job, gets raise to stay put, and then Kraft turns to the other DC, Manny Diaz, who stuck around for all of 18 days.

That led to a panic hire of fellow Indiana football alum Rod Carey, who was just a bad fit here.

Good storyline but there’s more.

Since Carey took over Temple, the Owls and Duke had one decent year (2019) and two horrible seasons.

Duke and Temple both had three wins a year ago and, arguably, Duke had both a worse loss than anything Temple had (Charlotte) and probably not a win as impressive as the Owls owned (Memphis).

All that under the backdrop of probably the worst locker room atmosphere we’ve seen at Temple since the Bobby Wallace Era. There was an open rebellion of Temple players, leading to many more good ones leaving than could be replaced.

All offseason signs point to problems at Duke that do not exist at Temple. For instance, its starting quarterback transferred down (FIU) and now they have a competition for the top job between primarily a running quarterback and a passing one.

Sound familiar?

That’s the same scenario at Temple with Dwan Mathis and Quincy Patterson. The difference is that both Temple quarterbacks have started and won FBS games and the two at Duke have not.

Duke and Temple both lost their leading receivers (Jake Bobo to UCLA for Duke and Jadan Blue to Virginia Tech for Temple) so that area appears to be in Temple’s favor simply because the Owls were able to entice the guy who caught the game-winning touchdown pass against Duke (Adonicas Sanders) to come to Philadelphia.

On defense, Duke was ranked 130 among all 130 FBS teams last year. The Blue Devils allowed 40 points per game last year (and 518 yards per).

Although Duke is a 7-point favorite now, this is a very winnable game from the Temple perspective.

If the Owls pull it out, the story the next day could be Arthur Johnson’s first choice for Temple head coach was better than Pat Kraft’s first choice to replace Collins.

It would not come as a surprise, let’s put it that way.

Friday: Behind The Digits

Best of TFF: Tortured History

EDITOR’S NOTE: Going to be away from WIFI this weekend, so are republishing a post that has never been republished before in TFF: Our story that appeared on Sept. 5, 2015, the morning of the 27-10 win over Penn State. Except for a paragraph insert that appears at the bottom from an Associated Press story that gave Temple fans credit for the win, everything below appeared prior to the game itself. We get back on the grid Sunday night for our usual Monday post. To read the comments below that original preview story, click here:

One of those shows on the Comedy Channel that serves as filler programming between the few good offerings on that network is something called “Drunk History” and, from watching about a minute of an episode here and there, the gist of the thing is that a perfectly sober narrator tells a story from history acting like a drunk.

No thanks.

A better program for that Channel would be something called “Tortured History” and they can narrow that down to the last 40 years of the Temple vs. Penn State football series. The word “drunk” would also apply to this one because that’s how the renewal of the series began in 1975 with then Penn State head coach Joe Paterno saying “the guy who scheduled Temple must have been drunk.”

In effect, he was saying his athletic director was a drunk.

By the time the teams actually played the game, though, Temple could have said the same thing about Penn State. The Owls doubled up Penn State in yards from scrimmage, 402-201, and were clearly the better team but lost on two long kick returns, one a punt, one a kickoff.

Before the game, head coach Wayne Hardin and then athletic director Ernie Casale placed 30,000 Cherry and White pom-poms on the Franklin Field bleachers.

“I told Ernie we might lose the game, but we were not going to be out-pom-pomed,” Hardin said. The game’s first play was a simple handoff to a world-class sprinter named Bob Harris. He put his hand on the back of fullback Tom Duff, who pancaked a PSU linebacker and that left a gaping hole. Seventy-six yards later, Temple led, 7-0. Thirty thousand Cherry and White pom-poms were waving proudly and, to this day, that was the loudest I have ever heard a Temple crowd.

Losing that game 26-25 was sheer torture.

The next year, the Owls went for two and the the pass slipped off the receiver’s hands. More torture, a 31-30 loss.

In 1979, the Owls were 10-2 and went up to State College, led, 7-6, at halftime and lost, 22-7. More torture.

When Bruce Arians took the job at Temple, one of the first questions he was asked in his initial press conference was “Why does Temple even play football?” He repeated the question and gave a great off-the-cuff answer that drew loud applause: “To beat Penn State.”

Arians gave the school its first win over Pitt in 39 years and he probably would have added a Penn State scalp had the school not be so quick to fire him. In his first year, with coach Hardin’s players, he lost, 23-18.

Another year under Arians, Paul Palmer rushed for 226 yards, and scored a pair of touchdowns, but the Owls lost, 27-22. More torture.

In 2010, the Nittany Lions could not stop Bernard Pierce who had 115 yards and two touchdowns at halftime and the Owls led, 15-13. A broken ankle stopped Pierce and the Owls lost, 23-15. More torture.

The next year, quarterback Mike Gerardi was managing the game nicely with a 10-7 lead when he was pulled for Chester Stewart, who did nothing. When Gerardi was reinserted, he was either cold or trying to force a play to keep his job. Whatever, he threw an interception that led to a 14-10 loss.

Those were not the only times Penn State teased the Owls before taking victory from the jaws of defeat, but those were the ones I remember most.

Unless, of course, something gloriously different happens today.

Monday: Regular Programming

This from the AP story that night that ran in every newspaper in the country:

The day Temple almost beat a national champion

Imagine, if you will, Georgia coming into Philadelphia this year and Temple almost beating the defending national champion.

Never happen?

Never say never because it almost did.

In fact, it probably should have.

Except for three missed field goals by Jim Cooper Sr. (his son, Jim Cooper Jr. also kicked for Temple years later), the Owls would have most certainly beat the defending national champion BYU Cougars in the third game of the 1985 season. BYU was less than nine months removed of going 13-0, beating Michigan in the Holiday Bowl and finishing at the top of all three national polls (AP, UPI, USA Today).

Hell, had Cooper gone just 2 for 4 in field goals, the Owls probably would have won but it wasn’t all Jim’s fault. The Owls’ star running back, the durable Paul Palmer, missed most of the first half with an ankle injury. Despite sub Todd McNair having a good game, rust led to an early fumble that turned into a BYU touchdown. Cooper’s misses (45, 31, and 30 yards) were not chip shots but certainly makeable. Palmer rubbed some dirt on the ankle, came back, and had a 160-yard game.

Much has been made of the magic Bruce Arians was able to pull out of his hat in his five years at Temple, beating Pitt three of those years and having winning campaigns twice against top 10 schedules.

Playing as an independent with virtually no facilities, Arians overachieved and the 1985 Owls were a good example.

Still, the 1985 Temple Owls deserve a shoutout despite going 4-7.

That schedule was ranked No. 7 in the country and the Owls opened with closes losses against three top 20 teams, Penn State, Boston College, and BYU.

The Owls would bounce back to split the remaining eight games but those first three put them in a hole.

Still, a pretty good team and a good game that reflects how much college football has changed in the last 37 years.

Robbie Bosco returned as a national champion quarterback. Had Bosco won his championship in 2022 and not 1984, he probably would have gone to the NFL but his passing led to four touchdowns and more than offset the 257 yards the Owls had on the ground. While the Cougars had Bosco for four quarters, the Owls had Palmer for only three.

Those are the breaks.

BYU knew it was in a game as it had 22 first downs to 21 for Temple.

Now the college football landscape has changed so much that big-time Power 5 teams rarely even visit G5 teams, let alone nearly lose to them.

Temple wasn’t a G5 team but just one that had the respect of the top 10 teams in America on a regular basis.

Maybe the foundation Stan Drayton is laying down now returns the Owls to as he has told the 1985 team, “getting this thing to the way you guys are used to it.”

Never say never.

Friday: Best of TFF

Monday: Best of Camp So Far

First day of practice: Perception vs. Reality

There are usually about five big days surrounding the Temple football season every year.

In no particular order, they are recruiting day, the first day of spring practice, Cherry and White Day, the first day of summer practice, and bowl selection day.

Notice we didn’t mention any actual games because, to me, those are the most important dozen days of the season.

Yet there are opponents on every one of the above days.

Recruiting day?

Pretty much you want to beat your entire league in garnering three- and four stars.

First day of spring practice?

Cobwebs.

Cherry and White Day?

Good guys vs. other good guys.

Bowl selection day?

Warm weather vs. cold weather.

Yesterday, on the first day of summer practice, the two competing opponents were perception vs. reality.

This opponent this particular year, perception, is probably the most hated one of all.

To have to sit and watch videos like the one above is particularly maddening. Just about everyone on the outside is saying Temple sucks.

The above video is typical because both of those guys made assumptions based on a set of “facts” that were largely false.

There were about eight false things those guys on “Winning Cures Everything” said about Temple but we’ll just concentrate on a couple in this space.

One, the roster strength numbers Gary cited here were the ones based on the end of last year, not including any of the Power 5 transfers new head coach Stan Drayton was able to bring in this offseason.

Two, he said Quincy Patterson “didn’t play last year” but, according to ESPN, he started seven games for North Dakota State, threw for 816 years and six touchdowns and, most importantly, was 7-0 at QB in the 2021 season before going down with an injury before the eighth game.

Gary: “He didn’t play last year. I don’t know what that means.”

Yeah, Gary, I’ll tell you what that means (nothing) because he did play last year.

Twenty-twenty-one was last season.

I mean, how do you make a mistake like that, and then we’re supposed to give credence to your assessment of the 2022 record?

Then, at the 2:25 time stamp, he adds: “The wide receiver corps is not great even with several seniors, none of them really played.”

Huh?

One of the wide receivers, Adonicas Sanders, not only played last year but caught the game-winning touchdown at Power 5 Duke.

Another, Jose Barbon, has played a lot not only last year but over the last three years and has been a dependable possession receiver. There’s a transfer in from Michigan State, Ian Stewart, who was not mentioned.

No mentions of significant upgrades at the running back position from portal transfers Jakari Norwood (Illinois) or Darvon Hubbard (Texas A&M).

Just sloppy reporting. Very sloppy.

For giggles, went back and looked at this assessment for the 2021 Owls. In that video, he said Rod Carey was a “great coach.”

Anyone who says Rod Carey was a great coach one year and then follows that up the next saying the Owls will be 2-10 should be taken with a grain of salt.

Make that a boulder of salt.

This is just the type of perception vs. reality battle that started yesterday and will last throughout the season. The most important dozen days of the season start in less than a month and there are a lot of notions out there that need to be disabused.

Judging from a significantly upgraded roster, coaching staff, and a new attitude around here, it won’t take long to do the disabusing.

Monday: The Day Temple Almost Beat a National Champion