At Least Temple football has a leader

Have to agree with this guy: Navy has the nicest fans of any team Temple has ever played.

Amazing to me how much has changed in seven short years at Temple University.

Seven years ago, Temple was coming off an American Conference Championship in football on ABC-TV at noon on a Saturday, a total dominating 34-10 win over the No. 22-ranked team in the nation, Navy. That means a major network that has reach in every single county in America had the Temple game on during a time when people are accustomed to watching college football.

From a cheering and fan standpoint, the game in Annapolis seemed like a home one for Temple as the 10,000 Owl fans in attendance made significantly more noise than the Brigade of Midshipmen in Annapolis.

The late great John Chaney chimes in on moving the Temple campus to Ambler

Back home crime was an annoyance, not a crisis, but that was no different than the previous 50 or so years in North Philadelphia. On the day of the game, the several hundred fans, including me, loading up for the buses at 5 a.m. in front of the Liacouras Center had no fear of being shot or robbed.

A stadium on campus was very much in play.

Things could not have been much better for Temple students, grads or Joe Philadelphia fans.

Now it’s hit rock bottom.

Now, there’s is real crime, the football team has come off consecutive 3-9 seasons and the flagship basketball program has hired an unproven assistant coach.

Temple, the sixth-largest educator of professionals in the entire nation, is a large-enough school to deserve its own stadium on its own campus but even that is a pipe dream for now.

Maybe hiring a former Mayor like Ed Rendell (who has significant health issues) or (more realistically) Michael Nutter as a future President could facilitate such a dream but that remains to be seen. Temple needs a leader who can politically navigate the corrupt City of Philadelphia minefield but does the university even have the will to make a quick hire?

Doubt it.

There is a “committee” of leadership and no real leader at the helm. It will be that way for awhile.

Yet Temple football has a good leader, Stan Drayton, one week away from Cherry and White Day.

Despite that 3-9 season, Drayton has shown most Owl fans–including this one–that he is the guy who will lead Temple football back to the Promised Land.

The fact that the President who hired him, Dr. Jason Wingard, is no longer here should have no impact on the Owls’ success. For the record, I think Wingard got a raw deal. In the 1970s, when crime was nowhere near as bad on campus as it is now, Temple had 150 full-time police officers. Most of the time, under Wingard, they had 60. During his last week of President, they had 90. Nowhere near enough time to give Wingard a chance. Hell, they gave Aaron McKie four years to go 52-56. They could have given Wingard at least that much time.

Whose fault was that?

A brilliant idea of Pete Liacouras here.

The same BOT that fired him.

Water under the bridge now.

Business goes ahead as usual and the business of Temple football is winning.

Drayton’s got this. He doesn’t need a President to tell him how to win.

Still, got to wonder what would have happened if the Owls followed the advice of their most high-profile, President, Peter J. Liacouras, who threatened to move the entire campus to Ambler if the City of Philadelphia didn’t relent and allow the Owls to build what is now the arena that carries his name. Even John Chaney, a lifelong North Philadelphian, supported the move out of the city.

Like the story says, Temple owns 184 acres in Ambler and that’s more than enough room for 30,000 students. Hell, the current main campus only is 74 acres. Plenty of room to make Ambler the focus and to show North Philly what 13th to 15th Street, Susquehanna to Master, would look like without Temple.

Temple would have built the E-O in Ambler, not North Philadelphia, and maybe a stadium would have been more possible there than here.

We will never know but I sure would have loved to try.

Now all we can do is win and hope the “select group of leaders” secure the campus and pick someone who wants to take Temple just a little back in time.

Say, seven years.

Monday: Cherry and White Week


Not what we’re waiting for, but a home run hire nonetheless

Tyree Foreman talks to current CBS radio host Zach Gelb.

Right about now, most Temple sports fans are holding their breaths waiting for a home run head basketball coaching hire from relatively new athletic director Arthur Johnson.

A big name like Dawn Staley, Rodney Terry (if he falls through the cracks at Texas) or John Beilein probably clears that fence and gets everyone standing at the Howard Gittis Room press conference in a couple of days.

Most people, though, expect a flair to right field in the form of an unknown assistant coach. There aren’t many triples, doubles, or even hard-hit singles out there for Johnson to choose from. A bloop “Texas Leaguer” beyond the reach of a retreating infielder might be one of Terry’s assistant coaches and that’s what I’m expecting right now.

That would elicit a mild golf clap at the Howard Gittis room introduction and not the standing ovation everyone wants to see.

When the name is announced expect a “Who?” and not a “Wow!”

Across campus, Stan Drayton put his head down, dug those cleats into the dirt and laid into a fastball for a home run hire.

We’re not talking about his new defensive coordinator Everett Withers, who hemorrhaged points everywhere he was head of the defense.

We’re talking about new running backs coach Tyree Foreman.

Why is that hiring so important?

Bernard Piece thrived under Foreman.

Simply because the Owls performed woefully in the running game area last year. They were last of 131 teams in run-game efficiency.

That they have a new coach indicates they will go nowhere but up.

Foreman’s history shows way up.

If that name sounds familiar, it should. Foreman previously coached at Temple from 2007-2014 (longer than any head coach of the Owls in that same time frame).

Foreman comes off four seasons at Towson.

Before Towson, Foreman spent two years at Tennessee Tech, working with the running backs and the tight ends. He was the offensive coordinator and associate head coach in 2017 and was acting head coach at the end of the year. 

More important was what Foreman did in this same job.

In his first time at Temple, he coached many high-profile running backs from 2007-14 and guided the special teams’ units from 2013-14.

After scoring 7 touchdowns and gaining 351 yards, Temple running back Montel Harris tells Army captain Nate Coombs that it wasn’t him, it was Tyree Foreman’s coaching.

Kenny Harper and Jahad Thomas were his most recent good running backs here and those special teams were pretty good, too, finishing the season ranked No. 7 in ST efficiency. Under Foreman, who Owls were No. 1 in the nation in blocked punts, first in opponents (poor) punting, seventh in blocked kicks and 16th in return yards–all areas where the Owls have been poor under Rod Carey and, frankly, Drayton.

Before that, the running backs under him were even better.

Foreman was also the RB coach when Montel Harris went off against Army (351 yards and seven touchdowns, both Temple single-game records). To be fair, Harris was that good when he got here and was named the ACC (not AAC) Preseason Player of the Year before deciding to transfer to Temple.

Guess who coached Bernard Pierce and The Bug (Matty Brown)?


We’re not saying that he’s going to turn Edward Saydee or true freshman Kyle Williams into The Franchise or The Bug but they’ve got a much better chance with him than they did with the last guy.

If Temple goes from last in run-game efficiency to even a mediocre run game, the Owls will be twice as good as last year. That’s the minimum expectation under a guy with this pedigree. I expect the Owls to move from last to at least an upper-tier running game and put some serious crooked numbers on the board with a passing game led by E.J. Warner.

That’s not a single, double or triple.

That’s a home run for the organization thanks to a healthy swing from Drayton.

Friday: Hindsight is 20/20

Too close for comfort: Shooting at the E-O

My dad used to tell me to get home by midnight.

“Nothing good happens at 2 a.m., son,” he said.

If there’s ever a truism of life, that’s been it.

Temple beat Penn State at 6:30 p.m. on 9/5/15.

That was good.

Temple won the AAC championship at No. 22-ranked Navy the next year at 3:14 p.m.

Arguably better.

Good things and great pub for the university at normal hours of the day.

Temple football never did anything good at 2 a.m. Nor should it.

Arguably (again), the worst thing that happened to Temple football occurred not at 2 but at 3 a.m. last weekend.

The Owls who work and practice across the street at the Edberg-Olson Complex did not do a thing wrong but what happened at the “Hookah Lounge” (maybe the worst name ever) did not help the cause.

Did not help to recruit, did not help the image of the university, and did not help anything.

Something bad is happening at my beloved Temple University and, while I hate writing about it, the subject cannot be ignored.

When I went to Temple, I clocked out of what is now the Howard Gittis Student Center (rebuild to a two-story building after I left) at 4 a.m. a lot of mornings because I was one of the main students responsible for putting out a print edition of The Temple News. I would walk to my car–usually parked around 13th and Norris–and I never felt safer in my life. Hard to believe, Harry, that 30,000 students, visiting alumni, teachers, and employees could pick up a hard copy of The Temple News on the street five days a week.

As sports editor of The Temple News for my senior year (joining legends who held the same job before me like Craig Evans, Joe Juliano, Mike Ferretti, Phil Jasner, Dick Weiss and Ray Didinger), that made me very proud.

For 12 or so months, it also made me a big man on campus.

“Hi, Mike!!” one of the Temple police officers would say at 13th and Montgomery.

I would reach the library a few more steps and two more cops would say, “Mike, how’s it going?”

“Great, Joe, Bob, Pete (or whomever),” I would say.

I gave each one of those officers a complimentary copy of the paper fresh off the press and they were the first people on campus to read it.

I knew the officers by name and they knew me.

Something has happened at Temple since then and it’s not good.

When I went to Temple, there were 150 full-time, well-armed, well-trained police officers. You couldn’t go the length of a football field without seeing two or three. Behind Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, Temple had the third-largest police force in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

When I told my two uncles–Jimmy Myers and Jack Mulligan, Philadelphia PD detectives–those 4 a.m. stories they told me that was good policing. Protect your area with overwhelming force as a deterrent. Temple putting a hundred police on the street in the middle of the night to protect its assets deterred any thought of criminal activity.

Now there are only 60. Shocked when I heard that number a couple of weeks ago.

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That’s way too large an area for only 60 to cover and you only hear about them coming on the scene after a shooting has happened, not being there to prevent it from happening. Police shouldn’t be a reaction force. They should be a deterrent force.

Temple’s current leadership fails to understand Policing 101.

In recent years, I noticed the feeling of being safe on campus completely evaporated. I went to a couple of pre-game basketball events at Pub Webb. That was always outside the green zone and I never saw a strong police presence west of 16th Street so I stopped going there.

On Cherry and White Day the walk to the Temple train station the last few years was pretty much on my own. There was no real police presence for the students or alumni at the station. You felt like nobody cared about your safety and you were probably right. I saw a couple of police officers on their bikes at 11th and Berks but nobody followed me or the two or three others to the station a block away. That block was East of the Green Zone and dangerously close to the Badlands, probably one of the worst neighborhoods in the United States. Hell, Baghdad outside of its Green Zone was probably safer.

The thought occurred to me that if I had been shot and killed right there on the platform, those guys on the bikes would have been the first there to do compressions and apply a tourniquet. Gee, thanks, but it would have been nice to see you guys on the platform before I was shot. Famous last words before they put the white sheet over me. Gallows humor but that’s what you think of on the platform before the doors of the Fox Chase Train open to save your life.

Temple needs to address this situation not for the future of football on campus but for the future of the students. Hell, for the future of the entire university and, as Yogi Berra might say, it’s getting late early.

My dad was right that nothing good ever happens at 2 a.m. but that’s where the university needs to guarantee its students, football players or not, that they will remain safe, and at least the university is vigilant at that time.

One hundred and fifty police officers on the street at all times might not do it but it certainly won’t hurt.

Shutting down something named Hookah across from the E-O should have happened yesterday. It can happen today and the university should put its foot down.

Beyond that, put a police presence surrounding the campus that benefits the current students as it did those who went there in the 1970s.

The kids today deserve to feel as safe as those same kids felt back then. That they don’t is not only criminal but heartbreaking.

Monday: A Home Run Hire

A long strange trip it was

Hooter is one of the few Owls to get better looking with age.

Sitting at my desk at the Doylestown Intelligencer three days before this game at BYU in 1986, the phone rings and I get a call from the great Al Shrier: “Mike, we have a seat on the team plane. We’d love you to join us.”

I walk into Editor-in-Chief Jim McFadden’s office and ask if I can go, he said, “Only if you tell Al the paper will reimburse all expenses.” Both Al and Jim kept their word.

Great game and I was reminded of this when Joe Tolstoy finally posted a film of the game last week. I haven’t seen this film in 37 years.

Current Owls working on future memories at 10th and Diamond.

Two things I remember about this trip. Meeting the great Neil Diamond on the street in Provo and not being able to drink a brewski due to the draconian local laws. Diamond couldn’t have been more gracious and down to earth meeting this stranger from Philadelphia by pure chance. He and I talked about Philadelphia, the Spectrum and our other musical tastes.


The game itself? Still convinced to this day Temple stopped BYU at the goal on a 4th and 1. Mike Palys (the only player with a Penn State offer who turned down the Nittany Lions for Temple) with two great punt returns. Palys picked Temple because Paterno would not allow him to play baseball at PSU. He was an All-American baseball player at Temple. (Ironically, Al didn’t make the trip because he hated flying.)

That wasn’t the only strange thing about the trip.

While in Philadelphia, we waited on the tarmac for the plane sweating in 86-degree weather for a couple of hours to board.

Landing in Utah, we waited for our luggage outside in 32-degree weather.

Not surprisingly, a week or so later I ended up in the hospital with a bad case of pneumonia and the virus that accompanied it attacked my heart. I had to have heart surgery to remove the pericardium.

The first call I received in the hospital was from Shrier, followed closely by other calls from Wayne Hardin and Bruce Arians wishing me luck. (No doubt the first guy had plenty to do with the next two guys placing the calls.)

It worked.

I was in my early 30s at the time so everything else since then has been a bonus.

Even the down times because they led to better ones.

After 19 straight losing seasons, I got to see Temple return to a bowl for the first time in 30 years and finally beat Penn State.

With the advent of the NLI and the transfer portal, you’ve got to wonder if the future is going to get better than the recent past. I have my doubts but I also have my hopes.

Whatever happens, seeing it unfold in the flesh sure beats the alternative.

Friday: Too Close for Comfort

Withers: The New Normal in College Football

Along with the NLI and the transfer portal, college football has another new normal.

Coaches sign for jobs at one school, turning around a couple of months later and signing at another.

It’s called “The Manny Diaz Syndrome.”

Before Diaz signed to be the head coach for 18 days at Temple and left for the same job at Miami it was unheard of for a coach to sign a contract at one school, break that contract, and seemingly minutes later leave for the same job at another school.

“I never wanted to be THAT guy,” Diaz said when he signed at Miami and profusely thanked Temple.

Well, Manny, you were that guy and now plenty of guys followed your lead.

Even Steve Addazio had more ethics than that. Ten days after getting the Temple job, he was offered the job at the biggest school in his home state, UCONN, and said thanks but no thanks I gave my word to Temple and will keep it.

Now everyone breaks their word, both players and coaches.

Not many at the head coaching level, but plenty at the assistant level and–according to football scoop–Everett Withers, 59, is the latest big-time assistant to do that and revert to Temple.

The last time we saw Withers leading Temple was when Stan Drayton got sick and missed a game. Whether it was his fault or offensive coordinator Danny Langsdorf’s fault, the Owls had a horrific call on first-and-goal at the Navy 5, and that led to an overtime defeat in a game they should have won. First-and-goal at the 5 and the Owls hand off on dive that had not worked for the previous 59 minutes of the game.

They got what they deserved, a game-tying field goal and not a game-winning touchdown.

Have Edward Saydee fake that dive, complete with the leap ahead, to freeze the defense and roll E.J. Warner right (away from the pressure), and have him throwback to the tight end for six and that’s a completely indefensible play. Temple wins, the kids sing “T for Temple U” or “Dancing on My Own” all the way home on the bus ride.

Drayton gets out of bed like Lazarus and is immediately feeling better.

Langsdorf should have known that.

So should have the CEO in that game.

Withers was the CEO that day while Drayton watched at home on TV.

Water under the bridge.

The new normal also includes a head coach grabbing for his binky–the comfort zone–rather than going outside the box to get the best person for the job.

Withers left Temple (where he was Chief of Staff) to become “assistant head coach and passing game coordinator” at FAU.

Now he’s back at Temple as DC.

Do I believe Withers is the best person to be the Temple DC?

Hell no.

This is a guy whose last DC job was at FIU in 2021.

What did they do then?

Allow 54 points to Texas Tech, 58 to FAU, 45 to Charlotte, 47 to Old Dominion 50 to MTSU, and 49 to North Texas.

Yeah, that’s just the kind of DC I want at Temple.

If I was doing the hiring, I’d jump out of the group of guys I’ve known and worked with and hire someone who was a DC who shut out an offense somewhere–anywhere–before.

I did find a shutout in Withers’ past and it came all the way back in 1995 when his Louisville defense shut out Maryland, 31-0.

By comparison, 16 years later, Chuck Heater, now 70, shut out Buffalo and Ball State in consecutive games for Temple.

Since then, though, modern offenses have seemed to pass Withers by even though Heater has caught up to them in every job he had.

Yet Drayton likes the guy and he’s going to be Temple’s DC. I love Drayton the man but I hate this decision. Go out and hire the best guy not a guy you like and are comfortable working with.

That didn’t happen and we have to hope Temple doesn’t pay the price. Hope doesn’t get me to a bowl game, though.

Monday: Almost Dying for Temple football

Sean Desai: From Temple to NFL coaching star?

Instead of conducting a coaching search the traditional way, Temple’s recent most important football hires were done without a national search.

There were some good, and some bad.

Stan Drayton’s birthday was yesterday and so far it looks like his best days are ahead of him.

By best days, we mean a lot of wins and at least one championship.

There were only two Temple coaches who mentioned championships either before or right after they were hired.

One was Matt Rhule.

The other was Drayton.

Everybody else, including Steve Addazio and Al Golden, spoke in more vague terms.

Daz said he wanted to win “great bowl games” and Golden said he wanted to “build a house of brick, not straw.”

Rhule set his goal in stone, telling a basketball crowd at halftime a few days after he was hired that “we will win championships here.”

Drayton told the team at the end of last year “you will be champions.”

Rhule delivered in the singular, not plural sense. If Drayton does the same, Temple fans will take that.

When Temple hired Drayton, Sean Desai was named by The Temple News as one of the top four candidates.

Still, after hearing people gush about Sean Desai–who was up for the job before Drayton got it–you have to wonder where Temple would be if they hired him.

Former Miami Hurricane and Tampa Bay Buc Dan Sileo called the Philadelphia Eagles hiring Desai a “home run” and said that Desai “will be a superstar head coach in the NFL.”

Former Temple Owl and Carolina Panther Colin Thompson echoed that sentiment.

In a way, both Daz and Golden delivered on their promises if you consider the New Mexico Bowl a “great bowl game.” Golden turned a 20-year loser into back-to-back eight- and nine-win seasons and his brick house was a solid enough foundation for Rhule’s success.

Championships, though, are where Temple coaches should set the bar and Rhule and Drayton were the only coaches who grabbed at it.

Rhule delivered. If Drayton does the same, nobody will ever wonder what Desai would have done if he was hired instead.

Even if he becomes the next Bill Belichick or Vince Lombardi.

Temple Football: A rare chance to get better now

Temple under Chuck Heater.

In perhaps the strangest Temple football spring schedule yet, the Owls practiced for a couple of days and then have a long break before they get together next week.

In between, there is some scheduled downtime.

Logically, there’s no chance for the Owls to get better in the next few days because everything is on pause.

In reality, the Owls can get 10,000 percent better.

Hell, Chuck is 70 now and maybe Stan already hired him and set him up in that nice house across the street. We can only hope.

All Stan Drayton needs to do is pick up the phone and call Chuck Heater.

That’s because defensive coordinator D.J. Eliot left to become linebackers coach with the Philadelphia Eagles.

While there is much gnashing of teeth with that departure, the numbers indicate otherwise.

In the one year Eliot was DC with the Temple Owls, they gave up 29.2 points per game.

Is that the work of a great or even good DC to you?

I must be a hard marker because that’s an F to me.

You know who gets an A in the same job at Temple?

Chuck Heater.

Marshall under Chuck Heater

To me, the sign of a great defensive coordinator is shutting out the bad guys.

Heater didn’t do that just once but twice in back-to-back games in the same season.

The last Temple DC to shut out an opponent twice?

Chuck Heater.

Temple did shut out Stony Brook under Phil Snow in 2016 but I will take Heater’s back-to-back shutouts over Buffalo and Ball State over that accomplishment any two days of the week.

Fortunately for Temple, Heater is sitting by his phone and waiting for a call from Stan Drayton.

He worked most recently at Maryland, Marshall and Colorado State but due to coaching changes at those places is out of a job.

The culprits in all of those cases were the head coaches, not the defensive ones.

While Eliot was known for “simulated pressures” Heater is known for “real pressures.”

Colorado State under Chuck Heater.

Colorado State, under Heater, led the nation in defensive pressures as recently as the 2020 season. He has also worked with Temple defensive line coach Antoine Smith there and would be a great fit at Temple again.

While here, Heater biked from his Spring Garden home to 10th and Diamond every day and told the interviewer from the Philadelphia Inquirer that he loved both Philadelphia and Temple.

The kids loved him.

You know who else loves him?

Urban Meyer, who was with Heater from the beginning and that loyalty led to Heater being the DC for Meyer’s Florida National championship team.

At Temple, Heater held Maryland to only 7 points–a meaningless fourth-quarter garbage time touchdown–in a 38-7 win.

When Temple beat Wyoming in the New Mexico Bowl, it was the Temple players giving DC Heater the Gator-Aid bath, not Steve Addazio, the head coach.

National champion Florida under Chuck Heater.

As good as that job was, I thought Heater’s best job was the next year at UConn when he led the defense to a 17-14 upset win in overtime against 5 1/2-point favorite UConn.

Waiting for the kids to leave Rentschler Field for the Temple busses, I stood next to Chuck at the busses and told him I thought that was a masterful game plan on defense.

“That wasn’t me, Mike,” Chuck said “That was the boys.”

That’s what Heater called his players: The boys. It was never about him. It was always about them.

He would not need to be shown directions to Temple. Stan Drayton shouldn’t need to call anyone other than Antoine Smith to get Heater’s number. Or Steve Addazio. Or any Temple player who played for Chuck.

For all the hard work Temple does before Cherry and White Day, hiring Heater tomorrow probably makes this team twice as good today than it was yesterday.

Monday: Sean Desai

Friday; That’s a Long Drive

Bonus coverage (no truth to the rumor that is AOD running out into the end zone):

Fortunately, Hooter has gotten better-looking with age.

Spring Ball: Necessary work without tangible results

Somebody told the truth about spring football at Temple this week.

We won’t say the name to protect the innocent but he was wearing what looked like the No. 24 and came up with this gem of a quote:

“It feels fake. It’s not the real season. I’ll see y’all in August.”


And true.

Really, how much will you or me or even Stan Drayton know about the Owls after April 8th (Cherry and White Day)?

Almost nothing.

To me, the three priorities in the offseason were to improve both lines and the running game.

Two out of three ain’t bad but is it good enough?

I don’t feel like the running game has improved but other areas of the team have, like talent on both sides of the line. Expecting running backs who were not able to break a tackle in 2022 to break them in 2023 might be a bridge too far.

That’s Drayton’s problem, though, and I don’t see him solving it unless some disgruntled back slips through someone else’s cracks this spring.

A “Khalif Battle” of football if you will. Someone with a great deal of talent but maybe someone who might upset team chemistry. Not many boy scouts leave spring practice disgruntled.

Back to No. 24’s original point, though.

Spring ball has always been about the good guys practicing against other good guys with the climax being a game between good guys.

It’s necessary work because big-time college football is a 365-day-a-year business and those who don’t do the work fall behind those who do.

The Owls are doing the work now. They should be better than they were in 2022 but, at least right now, not as good as they should be.

Friday: Some high praise for a Temple guy

Other schedule storylines: Why not us?

Not a whole lot of respect for Temple from this Miami fan. He didn’t have much respect for MTSU either

Posted the other day on Facebook this simple thought.

“If Middle Tennessee State can beat them in Coral Gables, Temple can beat them in Philadelphia.”

Obviously, I was referring to MTSU’s demolishing Miami, 44-21, in one of the more shocking college football results of 2022.

Was it really, though?

One of my Facebook friends, who shall remain nameless, immediately tried to temper my thought with this response:

“Yeah, but they are a much different team this year.”

Perhaps the most perfect spiral ever in the history of football was thrown by E.J. Warner here in an otherwise routine practice on March 2, 2023. Zamani Feelings captured this image.

I took the bait and turned it into a 360:

“Absolutely right, Temple is a much better team with E.J. having one year under his belt.”

There is a significant defeatist part of the Temple football fan base that we need to defeat this year along with our opponents.

Obviously, my friend was referring to Miami being “different” and “better” but why can’t those adjectives refer to Temple as well as Miami?

Why not us?

Why indeed?

The same people who set the bar as low as 6-6 for Temple in 2023 are already counting games like Miami and Rutgers as losses.

That type of thinking has to end now.

MTSU didn’t think going into spring practice a year ago it would lose to Miami because the Hurricanes were “better” or “different” than the 2021 season due to Mario Cristobal replacing Manny Diaz.

Nor should Temple now.

Cristobal was the guy who applied for the Temple job and was considered the leading front-runner until he called then-athletic director Bill Bradshaw from the airport and asked for directions to Temple. Bradshaw then told other Temple people that was the moment he heard Al Shrier’s voice in his head, “Bill, listen to me. Hire Matt Rhule.”

Bradshaw told Cristobal to cross the Platt Bridge, find Broad Street and head north. In those 45 minutes, he decided to do what Shrier told him to do.

Hire Matt Rhule.

It was a key moment for Temple football.

Nobody thought going into the 2014 season (at least among the Temple fan base) that the Owls were going to win at Vanderbilt. Fortunately, Matt Rhule didn’t let those Owls think that way and Temple came away with a 37-7 road win over an SEC team.

Guaranteed Stan Drayton is taking that same kind of mindset into spring practice currently going on at 10th and Diamond.

One game at a time means Akron is the most important game of the season as it should be.

That’s the job of the coaches and players.

Peaking ahead to the other teams left on the schedule is the job of the fans and not a single Temple fan should be thinking there is not a single Temple opponent the Owls can’t beat.

Not true last year, but certainly this one.

Monday: Spring Practice Thoughts

How Temple’s offense looks like the Super Bowl winner

The Kansas City passing offense and Temple’s are so similar it’s uncanny.

Everyone has a blind spot.

For me, it’s the rear-view mirror on the driver’s side. There’s about a four-foot gap where I can’t see anything coming up on the left.

I’ve learned to deal with it by not getting into the left lane on a super highway.

For Stan Drayton and Temple football, though, that blind spot apparently is the running game.

The Owls didn’t put a premium on getting a big-time back in here and it MAY cost them at least one game, maybe more, in 2023.

Everyone remembers the 3d-and-1 call at midfield against ECU, which was a pass.

Obviously, Drayton and company had no confidence in a running back getting the first down and the “tush push” quarterback sneak that the Eagles do so well is not in the Temple playbook.

Had the Owls gotten the first down there late in the fourth quarter, they might not have scored–although after scoring 46 points that’s not a given–but they almost certainly would have been able to run out the clock and win the game.

No worries.

Temple and Kansas City don’t run similar passing games, they pretty much run the exact same offense.

We thought Drayton would go out and get a big-time back in the transfer portal and that just hasn’t happened.

With only one open portal window left (after spring football), it doesn’t look like it’s going to happen. You are not going to get anyone better than Edward Saydee or Joquez Smith at this point. Let’s hope Saydee takes a leap forward. If Owl fans noticed one thing about recent running backs like Bernard Pierce and Jahad Thomas, they never let the first guy tackle them. Hell, that goes all the way back to Paul Palmer and even before him.

Notice how Paul Palmer never lets the first tackler bring him down in this game against Alabama

Too many times, Saydee let the first guy tackle him.

That needs to change this season if the Owls are going to double their win total.

Imagine if the Owls had the quarterback “tush push” in this playbook with someone like 330-pound Freddy Booth-Lloyd pushing E.J. Warner ahead for a yard.

Obviously, Drayton will go into the 2023 season rolling the dice on the same offense that (mostly) worked in the second half of the 2022 season.

That’s great if you want to put up points but not so great if you need to get a yard on 3d and 1.

We’ll see.

What we do know is that the Temple offense we saw in the second half very much resembled from a schematic standpoint the Kansas City Chiefs’ offense that baffled the Eagles so much in the Super Bowl.

Simply, it’s a short passing game that neutralizes the pass rush.

That was enough to win the Super Bowl.

Will it be enough to get a 3d and 1 at midfield next year at ECU? Or at Rutgers in Game Two? Or really any other game?

That’s a question that will probably be the difference between six and eight wins for the Owls this season.

Friday: Other Schedule Storylines