TU football word of the day: Malaise

The lack of a real celebration here tells a lot..

A pretty intelligent guy who often visits the Edberg Olson Complex and has a finger on the pulse of Temple football used a word that surprised me about the general vibe around the place.

Not last night, not last week, but way back in February.

“I’ve never seen the place so dead,” he said. “There’s a malaise around the program right now with all of the players leaving and a lot of those staying unhappy. Very few of the kids like the guy (Rod Carey). He’s no Matt. He’s not even Geoff (Collins). Practices use to be fun. Hell, lifting in the offseason used to be fun. There’s no fun anymore.”

Merriam-Webster’s definition of the word malaise: “a general feeling of discomfort, illness, or uneasiness whose exact cause is difficult to identify.”

Owls used to have fun in the snow in February.
No fun under Rod Carey.

Uh-oh, I thought.

That’s one of the reasons why I went out on a limb Feb. 11 in this space and predicted a 2-10 season. I was wrong by a game. It’s going to be 3-9.

Football is a game. It should be fun. At Temple, it’s not.

That much became abundantly clear when the Owls got pushed around on Saturday night by a 1-5 USF team that hadn’t won a conference game in two years.

This coaching staff had 15 days to prepare for that 1-5 team and came out with a game plan so puzzling that just about every Temple fan got scabs from scratching their heads. After a cornerback got ran down by a tight end on a muffed field goal, I thought, “no problem. We’re going to put Tavon Ruley in there and he’s going to need no more than one or two plays to get a 7-0 lead.”

No.

The much lighter Edward Saydee was in and stuffed on first and then they held on second down and the Owls threw an interception on the next play.

Nice drive.

The Owls didn’t adjust to a four-man front until the fourth quarter to stop the run and, by that time, it was far too late. The adjustment should have been in the first, not fourth, quarter.

You can tell a lot about a team by its body language.

The Owls seemed listless and there was nobody in the defensive huddle to fire up the troops.

Even when the Owls scored a touchdown, they were lifeless. There was almost no celebration. It was almost like a relief.

Malaise indeed.

I was tempted to go to twitter and constantly hit refresh with search items Sunday like “Rod Carey” and “Temple football” hoping for an announcement of a press conference at Sullivan Hall to fire the head coach. I didn’t bother because I know how Temple leadership makes major decisions.

History shows it’s deliberately and often too late to solve the problem. Just like the school’s football coach, they wait until the fourth quarter to solve a problem that should have been taken care of in the first.

There’s another word for that.

Inertia.

Friday: UCF Preview

Victor Baga: A Life Well-lived

EDITOR’S NOTE: Originally scheduled in this space for today was a discussion of The Supreme Court’s latest decision on intercollegiate athletics. That seems rather meaningless now because Temple lost a truly great fan in former player Victor Baga. I had the honor of talking to Vic at the tailgates maybe 20 times over the last 10 years but felt this was a perfect opportunity to get a take on him by former teammate Dave “Fizzy” Weinraub. It follows in this space.

Fizzy on the beach

By Dave “Fizzy” Weinraub

Sophomore Vic Baga arrived on the Temple football team my senior year and immediately began contributing on defense. We had a pretty close-knit group of seniors and some juniors, and Vic wasn’t my friend yet.

After I began teaching and coaching, I lost track of Vic and his activities for many years. Then, about forty years later, some of the guys got together at the original Nick’s Roast Beef after a Temple game, and Vic was there. We renewed acquaintance, but Vic still wasn’t my friend yet.

We then saw each other more frequently at different alumni functions and impromptu gatherings But it wasn’t until Vic’ss long-time girlfriend Leslie passed, did we begin to get close. Then, a teammate invited some of us down to Senile (Sea Isle) City for the weekend, and that’s where I got a chance to spend some time with Vic. After that, we would speak on the phone mostly every week, and Vic would keep me up-to-date on the happenings and health of our teammates. Our conversations were far-reaching, about personalities, politics, and sports.

One of the great things about our conversations wereVic thought most of my jokes were funny. You have to love a guy for that. When we got into our 80s, we naturally spent increasing amounts of time discussing our health and the health of our teammates and their wives. I knew Vic had breathing problems and was in and out of the VA, seeing doctors and getting tested. But we last talked on the Sunday before he passed, and Vic gave me no indication anything serious going on. But on Saturday I went to his funeral Mass. He went into the hospital on Friday and left us on June 18. It turns out he knew he had a severe problem but didn’t tell anyone.

Vic Baga was a warm and caring guy who loved his family, friends, and his dog. Before he moved from South Jersey, We’d often talk when he and his dog were on the beach, and he allowed his buddy to roam free.

All of us will dearly miss him.

Friday: Play to Play

Monday: Temple measurables

Philly Sports talk radio and Temple

Dan Klecko’s name was never mentioned on Philly sports talk radio until he joined the Eagles.

Right now the talk of 100.9, the Tide in Tuscaloosa is about Alabama in the NCAA basketball tournament and Nick Saban’s spring football practice.

The E3 Tornado that skipped through town Wednesday is barely mentioned.

Meanwhile, about 1,000 miles Northeast, in Philadelphia, the dominant talk on the two major sports airwaves for the past 24 hours has been a press conference in Indianapolis that did not even allow questions from the Philly sports media.

Different strokes for different folks.

The only published photo on the internet of Dan Klecko and his father, Joe, taken on Temple’s senior day.

Tuscaloosa sports talk is no different than Manhattan (err, Kansas) sports talk or State College (Pa.) sports talk.

Hell, Pittsburgh talks more about the Pitt Panthers than Philadelphia does the Temple Owls.

You can bet sports talk radio in Miami has mentioned hiring Temple football coaches more than Philadelphia sports talk radio has in the last three years.

Needless to say, talk about the upcoming Temple football spring practice in now less than two weeks is non-existent.

Has been for my entire lifetime that pre-dates the existence of sports talk in this town.

Doesn’t mean I haven’t done my part to change things. When the Big East Player of the Year was getting ready to be drafted, I called WIP and asked Glen Macnow what he thought of Dan Klecko’s draft chances.

“I’m not talking about Temple football,” Macnow said.

Click.

He hung up on me.

I didn’t even get the chance to tell Macnow I wasn’t asking about Temple football I was asking about the draft chances of a player of the year in what was then essentially a Power 5 conference.

He never gave me a chance to state my case.

Ironically, that player was drafted and became a three-time Super Bowl winner–three more times than even his more famous Temple father, Joe, who used to tailgate with us for much of Dan’s four years at Temple.

“Now, Joe, just because Dan graduates that doesn’t mean you won’t tailgate with us again, right?” I said to Joe on Dan’s Senior day.

“No, Mike, I will definitely be here next year for one or two games,” Joe told me.

We have not seen Joe since. I don’t blame him. We do not see 99.9 percent of the great Temple parents we tailgated with after the kid graduated. (Major exceptions of the top of my head are Chris Coyer, Mr. Seifert and Mr. Matakevich … huge props to them.)

Back to the irony of my call being about Danny.

More ironically, the would-be subject of the call became a sports talk host himself at the same station.

Different strokes for different folks, sure, but more like what goes around comes around.

Now we end up talking about a guy who no longer is here who doesn’t want to hear questions from here.

That’s the spell pro sports has on this town and it’s going to take a very strong warlock to break it.

Monday: 5 Questions Philly Sports talkers would ask Rod Carey

Friday: Trolling Temple

Waiting: The hardest part

Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers said it best.

The waiting is indeed the hardest part.

No season has been more anticipated in Temple football history than the 2020 season that will hopefully begin in a couple of weeks.

Saturday’s TV schedule

That’s not because of championship aspirations or unbeaten seasons but simply because everybody else is playing while Temple waits. UCF and Cincy look like tougher outs this season than last but there’s no reason to believe that Temple can’t go 6-2 this regular season and maybe (gasp) even win a bowl game.

At 0-7, Rod Carey is due. Or maybe you are what your record says you are.

I’m still hopeful for unbeaten seasons but I always feel that way before pretty much every year this last decade and it never happens.

The most impressive thing to me about UCF’s 49-21 win at Georgia Tech was not the score itself but the fact that so many of those scores were the result of quarterback Dillon Gabriel squeezing the ball into tight windows to make touchdown passes. One of them, where the Georgia Tech defender was draped all over Marlon Williams, seemed to pass through a needle. It reminded me very much of the time Temple’s Will Hayes covered Notre Dame’s William Fuller well but not good enough for the touchdown that gave the Irish a 24-20 win. Those were five-star players making plays against two-star players.

Can Temple beat guys like that? They deserve another shot to avenge a 62-21 loss but 62-21 losses happen for a reason.

Right now, Temple will be the last team in the AAC kicking off. Houston, which has had a couple of games scheduled and postponed/canceled, kicks off two nights earlier than the Owls.

Maybe it’s for the best. Maybe not, but all of these wasted weeks have put the Owls behind the eight ball. If any of their eight regular-season games are postponed, there is little to no wiggle room to reschedule.

Hopefully, the Owls are playing in the championship game but teams in the league who will not could also be playing postponed games on that date.

Right now, the most important game is Navy and it does not engender a whole lot of confidence knowing Rod Carey has never coached against a triple-option team. He was the offensive line coach for Northern Illinois in 2012 when it allowed 40 points to Army. NIU won, but that was against a 2-10 option team.

A few games later, he became head coach in the Orange Bowl when G5 teams do what G5 teams always seem to do–have great seasons and lose their head coaches to P5 teams for the bowl game.

It would be nice if the Owls could get a tune-up for Navy on Oct. 3 against a triple-option team but it doesn’t look like it’s going to happen.

We can only hope that a professional coaching staff knows the way to stop the triple option is to close the A gaps and string the plays from sideline to sideline, allowing the Owls to use their speed to dominate. Tulane allowed the fullback dive and that set everything else up for Navy, including the occasional surprise pass.

Tulane’s Willie Fritz is a professional coach, too, and he didn’t figure it out. Many don’t, including Matt Rhule and Phil Snow in 2016 and they had nine months to prepare for Army. That loss might have cost the Owls a BCS bowl bid.

Maybe the extra couple of months will be helpful for Temple this time. If the Owls spend it dotting the I’s and crossing the T’s of the option, the wait might even be worth it.

Monday: 5 Under-The-Radar Newcomers

Friday (Oct. 2): 5 Things We’d Like to See This Season

Monday (Oct. 5): The Other October

Friday (Oct. 9): Finally, a Game Day

Sunday (Oct. 11): Game Analysis

Best of TFF: Streak No. 3 (74)

For our vacation week, we are running a three-part series on the most-read stories in Temple Football Forever history. Here is one on Bruce Arians’ reaction to the win over Penn State published in 2015, published three days after the 27-10 win that ended a 74-year losing streak to PSU:
bruceandanthony1

When Bruce Arians led the Arizona Cardinals to a late-season upset of the Seattle Seahawks two years ago, it was the final loss of the season for the Seahawks on the way to winning the Super Bowl. The question for Arians then was a natural one as someone in the press room asked him if that was his biggest win as a head coach. Arians paused for a second and said, no, his biggest win as a head coach came at Temple when the Owls broke a 39-year losing streak to Pittsburgh in the 1984 season.

So, of all the congratulatory messages pouring into third-year Temple head coach Matt Rhule after a 27-10 upset of Penn State on Saturday, the one posted by Arians on his twitter page was priceless:

Rhule had one-upped Arians in the sense that he broke a longer streak over another in-state rival in Penn State (after a 74-year drought), so the two men have been in the same shoes at the same place. No one knew more what a win over Penn State could do for the Temple program than Arians, who said the first question asked of him at his first Temple press conference was, “Why does Temple even play football?” Like the presser after the Seattle game two years ago, Arians paused before a thoughtful response: “To beat Penn State.” Arians came close twice, losing to nationally-ranked Nittany Lions’ teams, 23-18, in 1983 and 27-25 to what would become an 11-1 PSU team in 1984, but never quite got over the hump.

Now that Rhule did, Arians used both twitter and the phone to express his satisfaction with the result. Rhule took the call and said, “Yes sir, thank you sir.” to a guy who was a young coach at Temple once, too. Rhule said he did not know what else to say to the NFL coach of the year. Then Rhule went out to the parking lot at Lincoln Financial Field and presented the game ball to another former Temple coach, College Football Hall of Fame member Wayne Hardin, who came close a few times against Penn State but, like Arians, could not get over the hump.

In the fraternity of college coaches, and the circle of life, all three coaches will now share a pretty neat memory forever because only those three fully understand the magnitude of the moment.

Best of TFF: Streak No. 1 (20)

Screenshot 2020-07-23 at 2.14.52 PM

I sat it the upper deck to watch this one with Doogie Hoops, Sal The Owl, Doc and a few others. The 20-game losing streak was over.

EDITOR’S NOTE: We take only one week vacation the entire year from this blog and it starts today so we will be running at least three Best Ofs. This year, the theme will be streaks, mostly bad, and ending them with something good. Deadspin.com featured this post way back in October of 2006 and it got over 1,000,000 page views. The streak was a 20-game losing streak that ended something bad and began something good. The story is so old that the links don’t work, but the memories are still good.

Watching Travis Shelton show his backside to the entire Bowling Green kickoff team, I thought about a lot of people.
Most of all, I thought about Karl Smith.
And all of the other small-minded narrow-thinkers like him.
Smith is the executive editor of PhillyBurbs.com.
You need only read a few excerpts from this piece of crap he wrote about Bowling Green putting up 70 on the Owls.
Things have changed a little since then, Karl.

…”how nice to have an extended scrimmage every year …against an overmatched opponent that actually counts in the standings,” Smith wrote …

A brief synopsis is in order. He went on to thank Temple for this and thank Temple for that and then concluded by thanking Temple for accepting an invitation to the MAC so that the Owls can be Bowling Green’s whipping boy for the next few years.
“… how nice to have an extended scrimmage against an overmatched opponent every year that actually counts in the standings,” Smith wrote.
Hmmm.

Screenshot 2020-07-23 at 2.07.36 PM

This mention in Deadspin put TFF on the map with a 1 million page view day.

I guess he doesn’t know collegefootballnews.com named the Owls 2006 freshman recruiting class at the top incoming class among MAC schools, current or future.
I guess he doesn’t care many of those recruits, as many as 18, are seeing significant playing time for the Owls this season or that these same players pushed around Bowling Green’s sophomore- and junior-dominated lineup.
He might not know that the 2007 recruiting class is ranked significantly higher than that one and that it might dwarf any recruiting class of any MAC team in recent memory.
Or maybe he doesn’t care.
And, if he can count, he knows that this same Owls will be around for the next three years. Yes, the same Owls that beat his beloved Bowling Green by two touchdowns yesterday.
We won’t assume that Bowling Green will be Temple’s whipping boy for the next few years, as he assumed the other way.
The evidence is there.
Temple is getting better.
Bowling Green is getting worse.
Get used to watching Shelton’s backside. You’ve got two more years of watching that 4.27-40 speed.
We have six players coming in with that kind of speed and the evidence suggests that Temple could literally leave Bowling Green looking permanently in its rear view mirror.
Al Golden is a young, charismatic, recruiter who kids identify with and will rally behind. He came to Temple with a deserved reputation of being a recruiter without peer and he has only enhanced that reputation so far in his year on the job.
Thank you, Karl Smith.
Thank you very much.

Monday: Streak No. 2  (49)

Wednesday; Streak No. 3 (74)

Friday: Streak No. 4 (30)

Monday, Aug. 3: Regular Programming Resumes

An objection to ticket policy

 

englert

Dick Englert with some season ticket holders

Editor’s Note: In the final days and maybe even hours of Dick Englert’s tenure as interim President at Temple, this is one of the final letters to come across his desk. Since the subject is Temple football in general and season tickets in particular, Dave “Fizzy” Weinraub wanted to share it here. 

fizz

Dear Dr. Englert,

           I want you to imagine you’ve been a season ticket holder for Owls football or basketball for thirty, or forty, or fifty years. Sometimes, it was tough to put that money out, but you wanted to support the program. Buying season tickets was your way of showing that support, even if it meant pinching the penny somewhere else. You took pride in bringing your kids and grand-kids to the games. Some of them even matriculated to Temple.

          Then the Coronavirus hits, and everything goes topsy/turvy.  Under this social distancing circumstance, you’re trying to decide if it makes medical sense to repurchase tickets this year, but you pick up the phone, prepared to do your duty.

           The young lady tells you how they’re going to spread the fans out around the lower level of the stadium.  When you ask about the best seats, she tells you that those folks who have given more money to the Owl Club and the University will get top priority. Therefore, people who sat between the forties for decades and developed friendships at those games now have to sit in or near the end-zone. And, it’s the same deal for basketball.

           Giving priority to more prominent donors has to rank as one of the most stupid decisions the University has ever made. You embarrassed the hell out of fans who’ve purchased tickets and remained loyal for decades. Seating priority should go to those who have purchased season tickets the longest. It seems you’re purposely trying to upset folks with your money-grubbing strategies, and this policy will only result in diminishing the fan base.

            Now let’s assume there’s no virus next year. For football, the intent is to move the Owl fans to the other side of the stadium. Once again, you’ll probably distribute seats on the same short-sighted basis.

           That’s not my only gripe. It seems that hardly a week goes by without a solicitation for contributions by Temple. I get emails from different schools as well as various programs and the general fund. If you’d cut your development staff to the bare bones, save all those salaries, and have only one campaign, Temple would probably come out ahead.

I’m a very upset Owl who won’t be buying tickets.

Dave (Fizzy) Weinraub, Ed.D.

Temple 62/69

Football Letter Winner

Monday: An idea that makes too much sense

Some early stat predictions

russopj

Anthony Russo (circled) needs to improve by only two touchdown passes to break the single-season record held by both Adam DiMichele and P.J. Walker (above).

Weekly phone calls from Temple trying to sell season tickets is one indication that a full season will be announced soon.

How soon?

Your guess is as good as mine.

The school recently announced it will have both online and in-person classes and the second part of that pretty much confirms the requirement for a football season.

So here goes some early (on-the-record) stat predictions based on a full 12-game regular season (not including a potential bowl game):

We’ll repost this after the season to see how right we were but going on record is important.

grayunis

Quarterback

Anthony Russo is poised for an outstanding senior season. Even if he has a merely “good” one, he will break at least a couple of career passing records at Temple.

His sophomore season stats were these:

Fourteen touchdown passes, and the same number of interceptions. He had 2,563 yards in 2018; 2,861 in 2019. The record is 3,295 by P.J. Walker in that championship season (2016).

He improved those numbers by seven and three, both on the good side, in 2019 regular-season stats and, based on that math, we’re going for these predictions for 2020:

Prediction: 28 touchdowns, 8 interceptions and it’s not a reach that he will become the first Temple quarterback ever to have a 3,296-yard season so we will go for that. LSU’s Joe Burrows went from 19 touchdown passes to 60 his senior year, so it’s not out of the question that Anthony throws for 39 and ties the career record (74) of  Walker, but we’re not getting that crazy. We’ll take just the same improvement he made last year for next year.

If P.J. (who started the better part of four years to Russo’s three) still holds the career touchdown record, that’s perfectly understandable. The other two records are within reach, though.

Receivers: (Jadan Blue and Branden Mack):

Blue set single-season records for Temple in both receptions (95) and yards (1,097). That was a terrific improvement from his 2018 season. He did, however, only have four touchdown receptions and those numbers are going to have to improve to get attention of NFL scouts looking for impact-makers. So we’re going to go with fewer receptions (90) and yards (1,007) but we’re going to add five more touchdown receptions:

kwenkeu

William Kwenkeu (35) revives his Gasparilla Bowl MVP performance by leading the Owls in tackles this season.

Prediction: Blue, 90 receptions, 1,007 yards, and nine touchdown receptions.

Mack had seven touchdown catches and is taller (6-5 to 6-1) so we’re going to give him those seven and raise his number of receptions from 44 to 61 and his yards from 667 to 897.

Running backs

Ray Davis had 900 rushing yards in his first season as a freshman.

Prediction: He will raise that to 1,000 yards and 20 touchdowns his second season simply because Rod Carey and staff will realize they have a big-time playmaker on their hands and won’t make the same mistake of game-planning 26 passing plays in the first 34 snaps from scrimmage (see Cincinnati game, 2019).

Defense

Sacks: Interior tackle Ifeanyi Maijeh will lead with 9.

Interceptions: Safety Amir Tyler with 5.

Tackles: Linebacker William Kwenkeu with 88.

Tackles for loss: Linebacker Isaiah Graham-Mobley with 11.

OK, those are guesses. Guys will have to remain healthy and, as always, someone will come from nowhere to surprise everyone. My guess is that a DE named Nickolos  Madourie  (who had 17.5 sacks as a JUCO in a single season) will be just one of those guys and there could be many. Graham-Mobley could lead in overall tackles and Kwenkeu–who had two sacks in a bowl game–could lead in tackles for losses.

That’s part of what makes college football great and that’s why we hope there is a concrete announcement saying we will have it soon. Save this post and clip it and hammer me if I’m wrong in December.

If I’m above 50/50, I will take it. More important is getting to those double-digit wins which will mean the profile of all the above guys will rise considerably more than anything they can put on the stat sheet.

Monday: A Potentially Special Addition

 

Owls poised to build on NFL draft success

 

Probably one of the wisest of many clever things former NFL coaching legend Bill Parcells said was this:

“You are what you’re record says you are.”


The interior push with
Ifeanyi and Dan to sack
opposing quarterbacks this
year could be the best we’ve
seen since Joe Klecko was
playing in the middle
all by himself

When it comes to projecting success at either the NFL level or the college level, clues are almost always left behind.

That’s why I got extremely excited when the Owls brought in Adam DiMichele from his junior college baseball hiatus in 2005. His Sto-Rox high school football record: 35 touchdown passes his senior year and an offer from Penn State. Not excited when one of his successors, Vaughn Charlton, brought with him nine touchdown passes his senior year at Avon Grove and a smattering of MAC offers in addition to his Temple one.

Just as I expected, DiMichele was an outstanding quarterback at Temple and Charlton, to be kind, was mediocre.

 

I remember at the time Charlton apologists were saying those stats were due to Avon Grove playing a “flex-bone” in the now-defunct Southern Chester County League.

Flex-bone, doggy bone, I said. If Charlton is competing in the SCCL and DiMichele in the WPIAL, Charlton would have to have 50 touchdown passes to be even compared to DiMichele.

I was right and so was Parcells. You are what you put on tape and in the stat sheet. There are exceptions but they are so rare they are not worth mentioning.

That’s why the Philadelphia Eagles’ first-round pick of Jalen Reagor was illuminating to Temple’s chances of making a splash in the NFL draft again last year. If Reagor’s “record” is a guide, the Owls could be poised to have their first offensive player chosen in the first round since Paul Palmer in 1987.

Jadan Blue’s 40-yard dash speed is 4.38 while Reagor was clocked at a 4.47. Reagor’s junior year stats vs. Blue’s junior year stats:

Reagor: 13 games, 72 catches, 1,061 yards, 9 touchdowns

Blue: 13 games, 95 catches, 1,067 yards,  4 touchdowns

Since Reagor’s “better” of his two years were his junior one, it’s a fair comparison. The bar is pretty low for Blue now since he had more than 20 catches and six yards than Reagor did and he’s faster and the same size (6-foot-1).

However, if Blue gets nine touchdowns or more and repeats or even gets close to his 2019 Owl stats, you can book it.

He will be a first-round pick.

My guess that there will be a season no later than spring of 2021 (still holding out hope for the fall, though) and my money is on Blue putting up close to those numbers again.

I can see three other possible Owl picks in the 2021 draft, quarterback Anthony Russo and defensive tackles Ifeanyi Maijeh and Dan Archibong.

Compare Russo’s 2019 stats to Green Bay Packers’ first-round pick Jordan Love:

Russo: (6-4, 235 pounds) 21 touchdowns, 12 interceptions, 246 completions in 419 attempts; 

Love (6-4, 225): 20 touchdowns, 17 interceptions, 293 completions in 473 attempts

To put that even in a better perspective, Russo is playing in a far-tougher league. Almost every team in the AAC is tougher than any team in the Mountain West.  You can say all you want about Love’s “footwork” being better than Anthony’s, but the proof is in the stat pudding.

To me, Anthony can go 21-12 again and pick up two more wins and he’s between a 2-4 pick. Winning will cure all that. If he goes 30 and 5 with those wins, he’s a first-round pick. He can make all the throws and his maturity should cut down on his INTs.

Footwork smootwork.

I also think Maijeh’s defensive tackle teammate, Dan Archibong, has an excellent chance of being picked in the first seven rounds. The interior push with Ifeanyi and Dan to sack opposing quarterbacks this year could be the best we’ve seen since Joe Klecko was playing in the middle all by himself.

Beyond that, there will be a surprise. To me, Chapelle Russell was this year’s one. There are plenty of Owls with that same kind of potential. We won’t mention any names because I think it could be as many as a half-dozen. Not all six will rise above UDFAs but those with fire in their bellies and sacks and interceptions will.

Winning games will put those guys on the NFL radar faster than anything else.

Like Bill said, you are what your record is.

Monday (5/4): 5 Best Next-Tier Wins

Friday (5/8): Smoking Out the Winner

Monday (5/11): Virtual Press Conference

Friday (5/15): Recruiting Patterns

Monday (5/18): Suspending Campaigns

 

 

 

TU: One Step back, two steps forward?

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.

Every time Temple changes a head coach, and that’s far too many recently, we argue against a line of thinking in the AD’s office that Temple should take one step back for two steps forward.

That is, hiring a “promising coordinator” from a big-time program and essentially giving up one year so he learns on the job how to be a head coach and gives Temple a good back end of that contract to make up for the learning curve.

When Geoff Collins left, we argued that Temple was past all of that and the Owls could not survive this pattern of one bad year and a couple of good ones. Fortunately, it took Manny Diaz leaving after 18 days for Pat Kraft to adopt that strategy.

It worked in the sense that the Owls went sideways, not backward, in Rod Carey’s first season, unlike what they did in the inaugural seasons of Matt Rhule and Collins. While Collins went 6-6 in his first regular season, it represented a four-loss drop from the previous two with essentially the same talent.

Every new coach since Wayne Hardin left was either a failed head coach at the place before him (Jerry Berndt was 1-11 at Rice before coming to Temple) or a coordinator (Ron Dickerson, Clemson; Al Golden, Virginia; Steve Addazio, Florida; Rhule, Temple via New York Giants and Collins, Florida).

Screenshot 2020-04-19 at 11.46.30 AM

Bob Mizia (left) and Pete Righi with coach Wayne Hardin in 1975

 

Bobby Wallace doesn’t count because he was a Division II head coach and it could be argued jumping two divisions eliminates any game-day coaching advantages he might have had because the CEO aspect of a FBS job is so much different.

 

The only person who had a good first season was Addazio, and his inexperience as a head coach was somewhat ameliorated by his hiring key members of a staff coming off a national championship (Chuck Heater, Florida DC, and Scot Loeffler, Tim Tebow’s QB coach, among several).

Pop Warner had two regular winning seasons his first two years at Temple. So did Hardin. If Carey’s next regular season is a winning one, he will join that elite company.

Friday: Spring Football?

Monday: (4/27): Temple and The NFL Draft

Friday (5/1): 5 Best Next-Tier Wins

Monday (5/4): Suspending Campaigns

Friday (5/8): Virtual Press Conference

Monday (5/11): Recruiting Patterns

Friday (5/15): Smoking Out The Winners