Rod Carey Hire: More Steak Than Sizzle

niu

Rod Carey celebrates the 2018 MAC title win over Buffalo one month ago.

One of my tailgate friends, a former Temple lineman named Ray “Big Cat” Haynes, had this selfie reaction shaking his head after watching his beloved Owls lose to Villanova a few months ago:

“What did I just see?”

Followed quickly by another selfie with this remark:

“I’ve seen the sizzle. I want the steak.”

done

Sizzle was all the accompanying window dressing Haynes saw during the game–like Money Down signs–steak was a win over a crosstown foe Temple needed so desperately to have that afternoon. The Owls were embarrassingly outcoached by Villanova and not a single Temple fan was happy that night.

With Temple hiring Rod Carey, the Owls get steak after a couple years of sizzle. He wasn’t my first choice (Chris Creighton of Eastern Michigan) or my second (Lance Leipold of Buffalo) but he definitely is a less-risky pick than any Power 5 coordinator out there. Even the guy who might have finished second, former Maryland head coach Matt Canada, got killed by Geoff Collins and Temple and that would have been a harder sell than Leipold, who actually did beat Collins and Temple.

happily

There were a lot of balls in the air that made this a difficult hire for Dr. Pat Kraft, the Temple AD. The disastrous hire of Manny Diaz left Kraft with three contracts to honor, then interim head coach Ed Foley, current interim HC Fran Brown and one of LB coach Gabe Infante. It might have been he could only get his fellow Indiana alumnus, Carey, to bail him out and agree to take those three onto the staff. We may never know but we do know those spots are guaranteed.

niuchamp

Hmm. Carey does something the great Geoff Collins was unable to, beat Buffalo

What we do know is the Owls are getting a ready-made FBS winning head coach for the first time since hiring Wayne Hardin in 1970 and that worked out pretty well (80-50-2). We also know that Temple is now Indiana East with 2000 grad Kraft and HC Carey (Class of 2003). Temple Chief Financial Officer Kevin Clark also served at Indiana in the same office of former Temple President Neal Theobald, who was CFO in Bloomington before taking the job as President of Temple University.

Carey is the most successful, in terms of winning percentage, head coach to be hired by Temple since the legendary Pop Warner in 1933. Temple followed the same formula by hiring Wayne Hardin in 1970 but abandoned it until now.

pophead

Temple’s best two football eras came by hiring guys who were successful head coaches at other big-time programs, as witnessed by the BOT’s putting their money where their mouths were here to hire Pop Warner.

College football is a little different now than it was then, and Hardin’s Navy record (38-22-2) was more impressive than Rod Carey’s 52-30 mark because it came against a higher level of competition. Hardin won a major bowl game and had Navy ranked as high as No. 2 once. That’s like present-day Temple hiring a current Power 5 coach who had his team ranked No. 2. Even though the Owls got a $6.5 million buyout windfall recently, the landscape of college football is not going to allow for a school like Temple to hire a Nick Saban or a Dabo Sweeney.

Temple now has the money to do what Power 5 schools almost exclusively do, though, hire successful FBS head coaches.

It says a lot about how far the Owls have come in that they are able to get an accomplished head coach rather than roll the dice on another unproven assistant. Mostly, they’ve been lucky enough to keep their heads above water since following the Al Golden model in 2005.

redacted

Golden did a superb job reviving the patient with CPR and left after nine- and eight-win seasons. The university then handed over the reins to Florida OC Steve Addazio, who used the Golden talent to go 9-4 with a bowl win. Temple dodged a bullet, though, when Boston College took Daz off Temple’s hands after a 4-7 season.

Then came Matt Rhule and a two-win learning curve season (with arguably six-win talent) and sizzle-more-than-steak Geoff Collins (15-10 a lot of learning curve losses and a subpar mostly FCS-level staff).

Now comes the steak of Carey and a more FBS-level staff. Only time will tell if it’s well-done but at least the chef has cooked something that tasted pretty good before.

Monday: The Presser

Wednesday: What Foley and Brown Should Be Telling Carey

Friday:  Coordinators and First-Year Losses

Monday (1/21): 5 Things We Won’t Miss About Mayhem

Wednesday (1/23): The No. 1 Recruiting Priority

Could 2019 Be The One?

leipold

Could this actually be THE one?

The first season since Wayne Hardin was on campus that Temple actually won every game it was favored to be in plus a couple it was not?


Nobody knows if Lance
Leipold will be in it,
but he’s got to have a
better handle on the
Owls than any other
outside candidate since
he studied enough film
on the 2018 version
to beat them

A lot will depend on which candidate wins the interview room for the Owls’ head coaching position in the next couple of days. Nobody knows if Lance Leipold will be in it, but he’s got to have a better handle on the Owls than any other outside candidate since he studied enough film on the 2018 version to beat them.

Leipold might have also watched the bowl game. He probably did.

From what I hear, he probably won’t be in the interview room in the next few days. From what I know, he definitely should. There is still time to get the right guy and not settle for second best.

If the Owls do, this year’s team has a chance of lifting the AAC title trophy. They will have to win every game they are favored to win and reach up and get a game or two they are not to accomplish that task.

One way to do it is to bring in a binder, like Al Golden did to Bill Bradshaw’s office in 2005, on how to build a program. What was in the binder made so much sense that Bradshaw wrote on a yellow legal pad:

“This is our guy.”

Now the binder isn’t how to build the program but how to add a wing onto it.

patkraft

“This is our guy”

The last guy who had this kind of chance to win a championship in his first year was Steve Addazio and, when you really think about it, it’s hard to fathom how the 2011 Owls did not win a league title. Addazio never figured out until too late–the game against Ohio–that Chris Coyer was the best quarterback on his roster. Had Coyer played from the jump, instead of Chester Stewart and Mike Gerardi, the Owls likely would have beaten Penn State (a game they lost, 14-10), Bowling Green and Ohio, won the league title and played another Big 10 team in the bowl game. (Coyer, in relief of Stewart, did all he could to beat Ohio with a superb three-quarter performance but Stewart left the Owls in a hole.)
surprise

And, of course, we would have never had to endure the unendurable Year Two of the Addazio regime because someone would have plucked Daz away before the bowl game and Chuck Heater, not Ed Foley, would have been the bowl coach.

Instead, Coyer became the first Owl quarterback to win a bowl game in over 30 years.

Now the next coach has a chance to wow the interview room like Golden did.

The guy who does might say something like this:

“Geez, I saw youse guys (Philly accent) against Duke and I really liked that kickoff returner you had. He needs to get the ball more than five times a game so I would move him to tailback because it was obvious youse guys missed Rock (use the nickname) Armstead. He can be the best breakaway back in the league next year. I’d put that No. 5 (Shaun Bradley) in at fullback and have Wright follow him through the hole 20 times a game because youse have plenty of good linebackers. I don’t know who your offensive coordinator was last year because Russo is no more a RPO quarterback than Tom Brady is. Why your OC would risk getting him killed last year made no sense to me. Make the most of that NFL arm going play-action pro set and hitting those two guys, No. 88 and No. 10.”

“What about defense and special teams?”

“I’m going to hand that over to the best special teams’ coach in the country, Ed Foley, and make Fran Brown the single (not co) coordinator in defense. No Mayhem. Just no scoring. We’re going to try to break the Temple record for most shutouts in a season.”

“Thanks for coming, Lance,” AD Pat Kraft tells the committee.

Candidate walks out of the room and Kraft holds up a yellow legal pad with four words underlined:

“THIS IS OUR GUY!

Tomorrow: Bullbleep Meter and The Temple Job

Friday: Smoking Out The Winner

 

TU Search: Good choices and Bad

orlando

Rather have Todd Bowles or Tony Orlando than Todd Orlando

A full day before Manny Diaz was brought to a city he had never been to and probably had no interest even visiting, we wrote this in the comment section of this blog:

sickfeeling

… and so has Temple

And, of course,  Temple athletic director Dr. Pat Kraft made that official a little over 24 hours later when the first news leaked out that the Owls had hired the Miami defensive coordinator.

It was a disaster for all the reasons outlined in the illustrated paragraph. Not quite the disaster it would have been if Diaz stayed and coached a year with the Owls, but a disaster nonetheless.

This week’s sick feeling revolves around Texas defensive coordinator Todd Orlando. Maybe Pepto Bismol will help. The divining rod seems to be pointing in that direction, though. Kraft likes shiny coordinators from P5 teams.

Like Diaz, he would be the WORST POSSIBLE selection simply because of the number of returning starters the Owls have–the most they’ve had on both offense and defense since the 2016 championship season–and the learning curve on “how to be a head coach” every newbie to the job has.

Temple has a great quarterback returning in Anthony Russo and enough depth at wide receiver to switch “touchdown-waiting-to-happen” Isaiah Wright to the tailback position he flirted with during a game or two in the 2016 season. They have TWO potential superstars at wide receiver in Sean Ryan and the pride of Cheltenham High, Branden Mack, and a solid tight end in Kenny Yeboah and return most of the offensive line that dominated Houston for 59 points, 35 against Boston College and 49 against ECU. (When you have two star wide receivers and a run game that came up short in the bowl game, time to move the guy you want with the ball in his hands, Wright, to take care of the run game problem.)

lanceleipold

On defense, they have Zack Mesday and Quincy Roche returning at the ends, Dan Archibong and Karamo Dioubate to anchor the middle and great linebackers in Shaun Bradley and Chappelle Russell. Linwood Crump mans one corner and Benny Walls and Keyvonne Burton have plenty of experience in the secondary.

This is a team built to win now and doesn’t need the additional handicap of someone who has to learn on the job.

Russo is a classic pro set quarterback with an NFL skill set and bringing in someone who forces that square peg into a run/pass option round hole would be counterproductive. Hopefully, all of this is part of the interview process.

You would think.

For a team like this, getting a guy who has been through the wars making the decisions only a head coach can make really is the best way to help them achieve their potential and that potential is lifting the AAC title trophy at Lincoln Financial Field.

A guy like Lance Leipold would be the best-possible guy to help these kids achieve their dreams. He’s already beaten one September foe, Geoff Collins, and his knowledge of Buffalo would be an immeasurable aid in beating another.  Eastern Michigan’s Chris Creighton would also be good and Kraft can’t go wrong by reuniting the long-term staff with their old boss, Al Golden. Michigan DC Don Brown, who has won twice as many games as he has lost as a HC, is also an acceptable option. Another named mentioned on Sunday, Northern Illinois’ Rod Carey, would be nowhere near as attractive as Leipold. Kraft played offensive line at Indiana. Carey played center at the same school. No doubt in my mind they know each other and that might have something to do with it. Geez, wish Pat played with Leipold because Carey is 0-6 in bowl games.

It’s Leipold or Creighton for my taste.

No need for a nightmare like Orlando.

Wednesday: Comparing First Years

TU Coaching Search: Wait and Hurry Up

hurryupandwait

If the prior coaching search at Temple, the one that took place less than a month ago, was all about hurrying up to meet the early December signing period, this one was about waiting.

Then hurrying up.

Since there was only one other high-profile FBS job available, Temple athletic director Dr. Pat Kraft had to wait for what the Power 5 school (West Virginia) did and then move on after that. Kraft didn’t only have egg on his face after the Manny Diaz Fiasco, he had a whole Denny’s Grand Slam Breakfast. No use hiring a guy on Thursday, only to have him move on to West Virginia on Friday.

We are exaggerating for effect. We think. 

fastnarducci

slownarducci

Seven hours between these two tweets

First, the waiting part.

Since West Virginia hired Troy’s Neal Brown–arguably the most accomplished proven FBS head coach out there–yesterday, Temple has a smorgasbord of pretty decent candidates to choose from and about $8.5 million to spend on a head coach  ($6.5 million in buyouts and Geoff Collins‘ regular $2 million salary) to spread over the next five years.

This time none of the candidates have a place to jump to after 17 days. One or two years maybe, but not 17 days.

pophead

Temple’s depression-era offer of $12,500K per year lured Pop Warner away from Stanford. The second splash hire, Wayne Hardin, arguably turned out to be a better one.

The Owls can pay Dana Holgorsen money for a superstar like current Buffalo head coach Lance Leipold or national coach of the year Jeff Monken (Army) or they can dig back deep into the coordinator churn pile for someone like Texas DC Todd Orlando. Leipold is probably out because he has shown no interest in the Temple job (not everyone is), although the concept of hiring a guy who kicked Geoff Collins’ ass with Buffalo talent is more than intriguing. Temple produces NFL players so Monken and his triple-option is probably out and hiring another team’s coordinator after Diaz probably would probably not be received well by the Temple fan base demanding a splash with the newfound money. Eastern Michigan’s Chris Creighton pulled a minor miracle in an impossible place to win this year, but he hasn’t shown he can sustain it like Leipold and Monken.

Now Temple has money for a “splash” hire and one opportunity to spend it.

Really, a solid argument can now be made with Neal Brown gone that Leipold is the only “splash” candidate out there. Seven National championships plus an FBS division championship sets him apart from the rest. The only two times Temple went for a “splash” candidate, Wayne Hardin and Pop Warner, it turned out pretty well.


The only two times
Temple went for a
“splash” candidate,
Wayne Hardin and
Pop Warner, it turned
out pretty well

Popular hirings among a certain segment of Temple fans would be Al Golden and Todd Bowles. Golden gave Temple five great years–a lot longer than 17 days–and still has a tremendous relationship with many long-time Temple fans. He probably saved the program and turned a 0-11 season before he got here into a nine- and an eight-win season before he left. He still has terrific recruiting contacts up and the East Coast and good relationships with Ed Foley and Adam DiMichele. He probably has the competitive instincts to prove was better for Temple than Rhule or Collins. Kraft could not go wrong in bringing him back but we don’t know if he’s even interested. Bowles would be popular with players of the Bruce Arians’ Era but he would be a much harder sell in that he hasn’t really won anywhere.

donbrown

Don Brown in an interview with the Detroit Free Press. Note the words “not on anybody else’s terms.” Kraft could be demanding Brown keep Fran Brown, Ed Foley, Gabe Infante and Adam DiMichele, none of whom Brown knows. This problem would be solved by hiring another guy working in Michigan, Al Golden.

Now the hurrying up part.

When Diaz left, Kraft issued a statement that emphasized two words: Excellence and stability.

Fran Brown, the current interim coach, represents “stability” and is well-liked by the players. Still, since he was seen not as a guy who could take over the Temple head coaching job 23 days ago, it’s hard to sell excellence and Fran Brown. Mike Elko, Don Brown and Manny Diaz were by reports the final three in the first search. Elko pulled out of the first search and used it as leverage to sign a new deal at Texas A&M.

That leads us to Don Brown. Of those mentioned so far, he brings both stability and excellence. He has all the big-time coordinator experience (BC, UConn, Maryland, Michigan) of the other coordinator churn pile guys but a 95-45 record as a head coach at three schools. That’s excellence. At 63, Temple would be his last rodeo and he can say with a straight face at the press conference that he’s not going anywhere. Another plus is that this will enable Fran Brown to learn how to be DC (not co-DC) under Don Brown’s watch and make him a more attractive candidate for the Temple job when Don decides to retire.

The narrow criteria of “excellence” and “stability” could make this hurry up phase of the second search go pretty fast and that’s what one Brown can do for Kraft that the other one cannot.

Monday: The special circumstance now

Fizzy’s Corner: Follow-Up and Search

 

By Dave “Fizzy” Weinraub

After I sent out my piece, “The Green Flu,” I was contacted by someone very close to the situation at Temple.  He informed me that one of the two Temple players I mentioned as “quitters,” was indeed ill.  So to that player, I offer my sincere apology. As far as the other player who took himself out of the game, I guess it’s your point of view.   You know that my view is you play every game you can with your brothers. Every football player knows there’s a chance of injury whenever you step on the field, but you probably put it out of your mind way back in ninth grade. There were some senior players who had been selected to play in further bowl games didn’t play, and some who did.  Trace McSorley played last night until his leg almost fell off. (Of course, when I finished at Temple, the only organization interested in drafting me was the U.S. Army.)

patenaude

There are two other factors.  The first is the way the situation was handled. No one knew anything until game time.  (At least that’s when I found out the guys weren’t playing.)  If someone was taking himself out of the game, it should have been announced, not camouflaged.   The second factor is that if coaches quit, then players should start looking out for themselves. I have no problem with that. Just tell us.

Selection Committee

Our selection committee has a difficult task.  After five defections, do they go for the best coach they can find, or hire someone who hasn’t yet proven himself but might stay longer?  Just as you never know what high school player is going to succeed in college, you don’t know what assistant is going to make the grade as a head coach.  Of course, even if you select the guy who hasn’t proven himself yet, who says he’s going to stay if he is successful?  How about a pro coach who has already done it all?  It’s a conundrum if there ever was one.

Another way to handle the situation is, at the hiring meeting, have Guido sit in the corner with his hands folded.  (You all know Guido, he’s from South Philly. He looks like Michael Corleone’s guy who dressed in black and went after Hyman Roth.)

patenaudebox

Praise The Lord Department

It has now been confirmed that Dave Patenaude is the offensive coordinator at Georgia Tech.  Therefore, the Broad Street Offense is no more.  It’s now the Peachtree Street Offense. The Georgia Tech fans have been waiting for a new offense, just wait till they get a load of this.  The under/over on reverses for the 2019 season is “2.”  For bootlegs, at the goal line it’s “1.”

The $6.5 Million Windfall

Last, I think Temple should take the $6.5 M, split it up and give it to all us Temple football alums with bad knees, bad backs and concussions.

Saturday: The Slower Pace

 

The Cleanup Begins

Pat O’Connor (left) to Pat Kraft on Monday morning

My only living relative who cares so little about football she watched Star Trek reruns during the last Super Bowl,  listened to my Manny Diaz U-Turn story and said:

“What a fine mess that guy who hired him got Temple into. …”

neal

“That pretty much sums it up,” I said. “It’s a nuclear-type cleanup now.”

Diaz was the Chernobyl of college football coaching hires.  If my relative thinks it’s a mess, I’m pretty sure Temple Board Chairman Pat O’Connor and President Dick Englert and a lot of the other trustees think it’s a mess, too.

That’s not to mention our players and fans. In addition, anybody who recruits against Temple now has fruit so low-hanging to pick from it has fallen on the ground.

Now the cleanup begins.

You are going to see a lot of Pat Kraft defenders on the internet who say: “He could not have seen this coming” and “he can’t be blamed for this” but if I saw it coming the guy who gets paid the big bucks to do the hiring should have, too. This is what we wrote in a caption the day after Diaz was hired:

disclosure

This was written 20 days ago

The point is that this hire was Temple’s way of telling Miami “we’re going to train your next coach and, don’t worry, he will make all of the mistakes on our watch at our expense and, by the time we hand him off give him to you, he’ll be a polished guy.”


Diaz was the Chernobyl
of college football
coaching hires

Everything about this guy, from an entire career in warm-weather climates to the fact that his dad was the freaking Mayor of Miami screamed he was going back to Miami. One year, two years, seventeen days, what’s the difference? That should have all been factored into the Temple hire. If Temple is going to get a rental, get a ready-made one–a guy who can give this current very talented team a path to next year’s AAC title.

This is no time for a trainee.

payraise

This is the answer Geoff Collins gave in his Temple presser two years ago when asked if he was here to stay: “Every kid in there is going to know that I’m going to love them and there’s too much to do now in every moment to think about anything than what happens in the current moment.”

This is the answer Diaz gave at his presser: “All you can do is give them everything you have at the moment. You’ve got to work to improve every day, then go on to the next one.”

Anything sound familiar in those two comments?

Nothing about staying at Temple and building a winning legacy.  Those days might be over, but to achieve a championship now, the days of training rentals for other programs should be over. They should have been over three weeks ago.

Temple should go out and get a polished head coach who can give these fantastic returning players a championship in 2019. There’s a guy named Brown who can do it and it’s not Fran. It’s Neal. All he has done for Troy is do something Temple has never done–win 10 games three-straight years and beaten teams like LSU and Nebraska. Troy is paying him 1/3d of what Temple could and he would be worth every penny.

A 2019 AAC championship and an NY6 bowl would clean up a pretty big mess.

Thursday: Fizzy’s Corner

Saturday: The Slower Pace

 

Moving parts and the Temple football coaching search

patkraft

The worst thing Pat Kraft could do for Temple is to bring in another team’s coordinator

More than any other recent hire, Temple athletic director Pat Kraft has a lot of moving parts to deal with in his search for a Temple football coach.

At times this week, he’s got to feel like one of those contestants in that Lincoln Financial Field shell game–find the Owl under the football helmet as the helmets jump all over the place.

statement

The most important sentence is underlined

The moving parts existing now were not necessarily there the last time.

This team coming back is POTENTIALLY a great team, losing 19 seniors but only a handful of those seniors played key roles and, the ones who did, have backups that can easily replace them. (Just one example is losing receivers like Ventell Byrant and Brodrick Yancy but having upside guys like Branden Mack and Sean Ryan coming back.)

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

Nothing will continue this train moving forward than two things: 1) a guy who has been a head coach before and doesn’t have to learn to be a head coach on the job or 2) a guy who is familiar with the talent at hand and how to use it.

Is there a guy out there who possesses BOTH important qualities?


The time for bringing
in a coordinator who
has to learn how to
be another team’s
head coach on Temple’s
dime at the expense
of the Temple kids
should be over

Winning now should be the most important thing and, Kraft has to be thinking if he hires the Texas A&M coordinator, the Alabama coordinator or the Miami coordinator winning now becomes more difficult. At least that’s what I hope he is thinking.

So, the moving part, in that case, is that you don’t want to hire a guy who is new to the team and takes a year to figure out the relative merits of both the personnel and the ideal offensive and defensive schemes that fit, you risk taking a team with 10-12-win potential down to a six-win (or worse) season.

Basically, that’s what happened in Geoff Collins’ first year. His learning curve was too steep and Temple gave up a free year so a coach could learn both on our dime and our time how to be Georgia Tech’s head coach. The bottom line is Temple got one good year out of a two-year, $4 million investment.

Finding a guy who has been a head coach before and who at least as a rudimentary concept of the current Temple talent probably is the best way to go. Buffalo’s Lance Leipold, who studied Owl film the week before he was able to devise a way to beat them, seems to have all of the moving parts. You can’t go wrong hiring a guy like that.

Failing that, Ed Foley–who was a head coach before (albeit a losing one) and understands the Temple talent and how to use it–probably would be a safe choice. Fran Brown would be less safe, but more welcome in the clubhouse than some big-time team’s coordinator.  The time for bringing in a coordinator who has to learn how to be another team’s head coach on Temple’s dime at the expense of the Temple kids should be over.

This time, finding the guy who maximizes the talent currently on the team should be the way to go.

Otherwise, Temple football will be someone else’s Guinea pig and finding a pig under the helmet instead of an Owl won’t get you that Jumbotron Prize pack.

Thursday: How Manny Diaz Wins The Press Conference

Friday: Fizzy’s Thoughts on Temple’s Overall Situation

Fizzy’s Corner: Why Not Bruce Arians?

baandpaul

Bruce rode his players hard and 30 years later they still love him for it and he loves them and TU

Editor’s Note: North Carolina recently hired former coach Mack Brown to take it to the next level. Dave “Fizzy” Weinraub, a former Temple player, suggests that Temple do the same with its former coach, Bruce Arians, a younger, more vital, version of Brown and certainly someone who still has a lot of love for Temple as proven by the above photo. Arians has promised to be at next year’s Cherry and White game. Why not as a head coach? Who better to develop Anthony Russo than the original quarterback whisperer?

By Dave “Fizzy” Weinraub

Okay gang, let’s review. Used to be we held on to coaches for five years, but now its dwindled down to two.

Evaluating Collins

Good: Esprit de Corp with the players which helped recover from two disastrous losses at the start of the season – Recruiting seemed to be a plus – Defense continually got better

Bad: Patenaude’s “Broad Street Offense” – Poor recognition of who the QB should be (got it right on the third try, though) – Refused to acknowledge mistakes, including letting Armstead play injured

Overall Grade: 80 – 82 (B-) – Basically, he learned to be a head coach on our time. For more on this subject please go to @fizzwein on Twitter. An infamous Inquirer sports writer suggested I do this. You have the chance to be my first follower.

Where Do We Go From Here?

tapes

Well, Jensen had an interesting take in the Inky today and mentioned Francis Brown, our former defensive backs coach with Rhule, and who’s down at Baylor with him now. His main measurable strength is recruiting and has not been a coordinator. He’s from Camden. I think it’s a real stretch to jump to head coach.

Jensen also says he’d be happy with our Assistant Head Coach Foley. That’s hard to argue. Ed Foley is a great guy and seems to be a solid administrator. As Jensen mentions, if he’d bring in outstanding coordinators it might be the perfect fit. But how do we get truly outstanding coordinators at our pay level?

whisperer

There’s no easy answer here but one thing’s for sure, we have to avoid taking the safe route just because we’re tired of always looking for a new coach. I’ll bet Pat Kraft already has about fifty applications on his computer, and I’m sure he’s been quietly been exploring for some time. Anyway, I’d like a coach who adapts his schemes to the ability of his players and not the other way around. Perhaps then, we’d have the Ridge Avenue Offense. (For you who don’t know the city, Ridge Avenue makes lots of twists and turns, and even reverses itself on occasion.)

I’d like to suggest my perfect coach, who just happens to be available. We know him well, and his name is Bruce Arians. I know he said he’d only coach the Cleveland Browns, but that was before Collins left. He was with us at last spring’s football alumni day, and marveled at all our new facilities; the facilities we never provided him when he was the coach. Further, I don’t care if he has a comfortable gig on TV, as all of us who coached know, it can’t replace being with your guys on the field. Pat, please check in with Arians. It only costs a dime.

Tuesday: Moving Parts And The Search

Friday: That Puff of Smoke

 

Can Temple Screw This Up?

manziel

John DeFilippo’s  major claim to fame is making Johnny Manziel the man he is today.

Plunking down $2 for my Sunday paper, I fully expected to read an update on the Temple football coaching search only to see a Flyers’ story, an Eagles’ story and a James Franklin story on the sports cover.

No problem. Surely, there must be a big splash on the upcoming Temple football hiring on the inside.

The second page had a full page on skating—yes, skating—while the third page was all Villanova basketball. The fourth page was all Phillies, the fifth page another full page on Penn State football, the sixth page Army-Navy and the seventh page Sixers.

Three more Eagles’ pages followed, plus another Flyers’ page before the sports section closed out with high school coverage. I could have used one less Penn State football page and maybe one less Flyers’ page in order to squeeze some Temple football news in, but hey, they don’t want my business.

Talk about a wasted $2.


… we should all know by Alumni Tent
time at the bowl game who the next
Temple head coach will be. It should
be a big enough name who is able to
sell 2017 season tickets, not a guy
who should be working at the
Will Call window.

To get my Temple coaching fix, I had to go online and the first thing that greeted me was this headline: “Temple Has Contacted Eagles’ QB Coach About Head-Coaching Job.”

Surely, this had to be from The Onion. It could not have been real but, upon opening the link, it came from Philly.com and the quarterbacks’ coach is John DeFilippo. Temple AD Pat Kraft is a busy man these days and he certainly does not have time to be contacting Eagles’ QB coaches about what should be the top job in the AAC. Before being the Eagles’ QB coach, DeFilippo was the QB coach with the Cleveland Browns when Johnny Manziel was there. Other stories online talk about Houston hiring Major Applewhite and South Florida hiring Charlie Strong.

The last four Temple coaches were all hired between Dec. 6-23, which means we should all know by Alumni Tent time at the bowl game who the next Temple head coach will be. It should be a big enough name who is able to sell 2017 season tickets, not a guy who should be working at the Will Call window.

That got me thinking: Could Temple screw this up?

It certainly can. Not on purpose, but if it Kraft wastes valuable time on things like this it is certainly not a good sign. Temple should be contacting the Detroit Lions’ tight ends’ coach, not the Eagles’ QB coach. Temple should be zeroing in on guys with a long track record of winning as a head coach on the college level, not a guy who has had 10 jobs in 11 years. Let’s hope it’s a case of DeFilippo contacting Temple and Temple saying, “Don’t call us; we’ll call you.”

If it isn’t, we’re all in trouble.

Wednesday: Learning From History

Quintessential Acres of Diamonds’ Story

russell

When Dr. Pat Kraft approaches the podium to introduce the next Temple University football coach in a week or two, he could have a terrific Russell Conwell-type story to tell.

Conwell, the founder of Temple University, wrote the book “Acres of Diamonds” about a man who searched the world for riches only to find them in his own backyard. It has become the backbone of the Temple mission with the moral of the story being that education is the key to finding your own personal wealth.

Kraft already has a list and he is checking it twice and only one man checks all the boxes and his return to Temple would be the quintessential Acres of Diamonds story. Like any good shopping list, it is always helpful to know what you are looking for and not wander around the store aimlessly and, to that end, Kraft has already noted some boxes he wants to check off. In that presser, Kraft said the next Temple coach will have to in no particular order, understand Temple’s mission; value academics; be the right fit, be a great person and be able to win here.

Some candidates have emerged in the media, while others have been mentioned to have sent out feelers behind the scenes. Of those two groups, only one—former Temple head coach Al Golden—checks off all of those boxes. Golden searched the world for riches after Temple, and just might find his Acres of Diamonds were in his old backyard all along.

Unless God called Nick Saban and told him to take a $5 million pay cut to take the Temple challenge, these are the top candidates:


When it comes to the most important
criteria “being able to win at
Temple” every other coach is a
crapshoot. Golden has proven
he can win at Temple

AL GOLDEN (A+, exemplarily)–Golden is really the only guy who fits all of Kraft’s stated criteria. He took Temple out of NCAA academic sanctions caused by Bobby Wallace and had the football team among the nation’s leaders in APR. He also checks off some important boxes Kraft did not mention, like keeping the continuity of the program. Temple plays with a certain Temple TUFFness and that was a style Golden, not Matt Rhule, implemented. The Temple team fans see under Golden will be much like the one they see now, with a heavy emphasis on defense, running the football, and play-action passing. Plus, he knows the landscape and will be able to keep coaches he brought here, like George DeLeone, Adam DiMichele and Ed Foley, among others. When it comes to the most important criteria “being able to win at Temple” every other coach is a crapshoot. Golden has proven he can win at Temple. He also went 32-25 under brutal sanctions at Miami, sanctions that do not exist at Temple. We hear he is interested and could get out of his contract as TE coach with the Detroit Lions to take the job right away. He is an extremely competitive guy, eager to prove that he can do better with Temple talent than Matt Rhule did. He, above all other candidates, realizes that the grass is not always greener on the other side of the 10th and Diamond fence. He would have to assure Temple fans on the day he is hired that he is here to stay this time. If he’s willing to make that commitment, hire him.

boxes

The Rest, ranked A (excellent), B (good), C (average), D (unsatisfactory) and F (don’t even think about it):

JOE MOORHEAD, P.J. FLECK  and BOBBY WILDER (A, excellent).– If you ignore Kraft’s other criteria and cut to the chase on these three, they fit the mold of being proven winners. Kraft can sell Moorhead to Temple fans as someone who was able to beat Matt Rhule with FCS talent. Wilder is 66-30 as a head coach at Old Dominion, a truly remarkable record in that ODU is a start-up FBS program. ODU has also offered some of the Owls’ current recruits and Wilder has won several recruiting battles with Rhule already.  Fleck, the Western Michigan coach, is headed to bigger and better things, but P5 openings are running out and he could be attracted to Temple. If the Owls can grab him for a year or two, he will fit Kraft’s “best coach available” checkmark. Despite being in negotiations with WMU on an extension, he certainly deserves a phone call.

TODD BOWLES (B, good)—This only works if the New York Jets fire Bowles in the next week or so and that is doubtful. Bowles is really the only “Temple guy” with winning head coaching experience—he was 10-6 with the Jets last year with a journeyman quarterback–but will be able to pack his staff with extremely qualified Temple guys who understand the Owls’ mission, including Nick Rapone (defensive coordinator), Todd McNair (offensive coordinator), Keith Armstrong (special teams) and Kevin Ross (defensive backs). He would be a solid choice if things break right. McNair and Rapone are already proven recruiters. I understand Temple fans wanting Temple coaches like WMU assistant Kirk Ciarrocca to come to the Owls, but Temple should by now have reached a point where it does not have to hire a MAC assistant coach to be its head coach. If Temple is going to hire a MAC coach, it better be a MAC head coach. Really, of all the coaches with Temple connections, only Bowles has shown he is qualified to be a head coach. Aside to Temple fans thinking a “Temple guy” is more likely to stay. Willie Taggart is a Western Kentucky grad and he quit there to go to USF and now Oregon.

PHIL SNOW (C, satisfactory)—If Kraft has to listen to the players, he could do worse than Snow as a placeholder until the next proven head coaching winner comes along. Snow could stop the bleeding of staff members to Waco, Texas, a God-forsaken place we cannot imagine a whole lot of Temple coaches want to put down roots. He would at least keep the defense in good shape. He, for instance, will know Jacob Martin and Sharif Finch are next year’s starting DEs with Karamo Dioubate, Greg Webb and Freddy Booth-Lloyd holding down the middle. He might even make Nick Sharga’s next year’s Bednarik winner as college football’s next 60-minute man (starting fullback, starting linebacker). At first, I hated the idea. Now, if he keeps Foley from being the face of Temple football, that might not be a bad thing. Snow is great with the media, but I would only go with Snow if the A and B candidates fell through.

GREG SCHIANO AND CHARLIE STRONG (D, not passing the eye test)—Two guys who got it done elsewhere, but Strong has never recruited this area and Schiano strikes me as a snake oil salesman. Temple people can sniff out those types right away. Strong might be a good fit at Louisville, but it doesn’t mean he’s a good fit at Texas or Temple. Plus, he’s probably headed to USF anyway.

ED FOLEY , JOHN DONOVAN (F, no thanks)—Some guys have muckers and career assistants written on their foreheads and Foley is one of the best of them. He’s a good detail guy who is popular with the players. Can he be the face of the program? Err, no, but we hope he joins the staff of Al Golden, Joe Moorhead, Todd Bowles or Phil Snow to ease the transition and keep singing “High Hopes” after wins. Donovan is the “quality control” coach with the Jacksonville Jaguars. His major claim to fame is being the OC who fell victim to 10 Temple sacks on 9/5/15, a day that will live in Penn State infamy. You’ve got to be kidding me with that name.

Monday: Can Temple Screw This Up?