BC-Temple: So many story lines, so little time

Saturday’s big question will be if Kraft’s feet can actually leave the ground on a BC touchdown

If you are walking around Lot K tomorrow, like I will be, you can be excused about having the feeling of de ja vu.

Shooting the breeze with Pat Kraft about football?

Check.

Walking around the Lot and seeing the affable family and friends of Khris Banks and Isaiah Graham-Mobley?

Check.

Shaking hands before the game with Boomer (Aaron Boumerhi)?

Check.

Been there, done that.

The last time many thousands of Temple fans saw the team this was the collective look after a 55-13 loss to an ACC team. Maybe these Owls can produce a smile around 3:15 p.m. Saturday.

Except for them being the good guys, they are now the bad guys.

How did the world ever turn upside down?

Welcome to college football, 2021.

In a perfect world, the good guys would stay the good guys and the bad guys would stay the bad ones.

Whatever you feel about Kraft, the current AD at Boston College and the former one at Temple, I don’t remember a single athletic director not named Gavin White who you could walk up to and get an HONEST opinion about the game of football from.

This exchange between me and Pat in Lot K circa Geoff Collins and Dave Patenaude comes to mind:

Me: “Pat, you’re going to have to talk to Geoff about Patenaude. I have no idea what he’s doing.”

Pat: “Mike, you and me both. He’s got me scratching my head every week.”

Most athletic directors would shrug their shoulders and say that’s the head coaches bailiwick.

This guy was an honest, good, man. He still is.

For the first time in two years, this beautiful tradition returns tomorrow.

When Kraft hired Manny Diaz to replace Collins at Temple, I screamed bloody murder in this space. I wrote then that Diaz, who was the son of the ex-Mayor of Miami, would be gone as soon as Mark Richt left.

I thought it would be a year or so.

Little did I know it would be 18 days.

Kraft never held it against me. He respected my opinion.

Now seeing what Diaz has done with Miami talent, I know Temple has dodged a huge bullet.

When he hired Rod Carey, I wrote that I thought Buffalo’s Lance Leipold or Eastern Michigan’s Chris Creighton might have been a better choice but, if Rod beats Boston College on Saturday (and I pray he will), Kraft might ironically be responsible for an embarrassing BC loss. I was for Leipold and Creighton because they did more with less than Carey did but Carey beating’s BC’s butt will prove my sorry ass wrong.

And, ironically, Pat Kraft right.

Geez, I hope so.

Hope doesn’t get me the AAC title or even a bowl game so I think BC will win this one and the 16-point spread sounds about right. The last time we saw Carey coach against an ACC team turned into a 55-13 loss and a lot of Temple fans walking out of the stadium disgusted.

The caveat there is we saw some life with the Owls last week.

The Owls showed a pulse and a lot of Temple TUFF in a 45-24 win over Akron. They got a good pass rush from their Power 5 transfers and an ESPN highlight reel play from Wake Forest portal guy Manny Walker. Temple needs a big pass rush, solid run stoppage and the kind of turnover-free football from Justin Lynch they got last week. Keep D’Wan Mathis on the bench and have him regain his swag against Wagner next week. That’s my vote. Have Justin play four games and save his redshirt unless he Wally Pipps Mathis in a big win over BC.

Put it this way: Temple had five turnovers in a 61-14 Week One loss and zero turnovers in a 45-24 win a week ago.

Football ain’t rocket science. It never was. Protect the football, rush the bad guys’ quarterback, win the damn game.

Whatever happens, it will be good to see Temple fans cheering the Owls and singing “T for Temple U” after every touchdown again. Temple drew 69,176 fans for its 2015 home opener, 35,004 fans or its 2016 opener and 35,117 for its 2017 home opener. It won two of those three games and attendance for the rest of the season suffered because of its shocking home opening loss to Army in 2016 and soared after wins the other two opening games. Win this one and the fans will keep coming back.

For once, it would be nice if the good guys would show the bad guys they made the wrong choice.

Picks this week: TULANE plus 14.5 at Ole Miss (Tulane gave Oklahoma all it wanted and Okie is better than Ole Miss); WYOMING -6.5 vs. Ball State; NORTHWESTERN -2.5 at Duke; TULSA +27.5 at The Ohio State; PURDUE +7.5 at Notre Dame (Purdue is considerably better than the Toledo and FSU teams ND beat and already has a win over a decent Oregon State squad); MICHIGAN STATE +6.5 at Miami. I think Purdue not only covers but wins the game outright, something on the order of 24-21.

9/21 update: Tulane let me down, but Wyoming easily covered, Northwestern lost, Tulsa covered, Purdue lost and Michigan State not only covered but won outright. So so far for the season 7-4-1 against the spread.

9/17 Update: Last week, predicted Pitt by five (it won by 7), Purdue 51-0 (it won 49-0), NIU by 4 (it lost by seven, a push) Nebraska by four (it won by 25), App. State by 3 (it lost by two) and BYU by one (it both won and covered).

Season to date: 4-2 straight up, 4-1-1 ATS

Sunday: Game Analysis

Monday: The Temple Curse

Now comes the hard part

Plenty of people who make millions on college football had Temple pegged for two wins before the first projection of the college football season in May.

Somewhere, a few months later, that was adjusted to 2.5 due to a lot of Temple money coming into the betting parlors.

Still, the thought was this:

Temple would beat both Akron and Wagner and the .5 covered the books in the event of a win over, say, USF.

With Temple’s 45-24 win over Akron yesterday, the conventional thinking is “now comes the hard part.”

Maybe.

But, really, how hard?

Gasparilla Bowl defensive MVP William Kwenkeu (35) had two sacks in the win over FIU in 2017. His game against Akron yesterday might have been just as impressive.

Boston College had a similar win over UMass, which Vegas generally considers is a team not even as good as Akron.

If the Owls can beat Boston College on Saturday, the entire vibe changes inside the $17 million dollar Edberg-Olson Complex.

Maybe the vibe has already changed.

Consider this: Justin Lynch is the FIRST quarterback we’ve found in the entire history of Temple football (playing the sport since 1884) who WON a game as a true freshman starting his first game. (Hell, for MOST of those years, true freshmen were ineligible to even play but what Lynch did was impressive nonetheless.)

He was much more than a game manager. A lot of pretty good “veteran” quarterbacks (Lee Saltz for one) never had a day this good: 19 for 23, 245 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions.

If the Akron game becomes a confidence-builder and a building block for Lynch, he becomes a much more relaxed quarterback against Boston College and that can only bode well for the Owls’ chances in their home opener.

Another positive sign is that the team’s stars on both sides of the ball took over when they needed to on Saturday. Down, 14-0, Randle Jones took a jet sweep to the house. Two years ago, Carey called Jones a “flat-out stud” but he really wasn’t able to show it except on the opening play of the SMU game last year. Jones has been hampered by injuries.

Now healthy, Jones is a difference-maker.

So is William Kwenkeu on the other side of the ball.

Only the die-hard Owl fans know that William was the “defensive MVP’ in the Owls 28-3 win over FIU in the Gasparilla Bowl way back in 2017 and he’s still here four years later.

Thank God.

Not all Owl fans stuck around for the thrilling conclusion.

His scoop and score was the other key play in the game.

With the announcers talking about Temple in a “malaise” those two plays took Temple right out of it and back into a Temple TUFF mode.

Does it last?

A win on Saturday will be hard, but nothing worth achieving ever is easy.

Maybe the home crowd makes a difference. If so, a lot of Temple football haters can rip up their betting slips.

Monday: Not Like That

Pat Kraft Post-Mortem: Amiable

patkraft

Back in the day while working in the sports department of the Doylestown Intelligencer,  a column accompanied forecasting the weekend’s high school football games and an adjective attached to my name piqued my curiosity.

Lou Sessinger, then a wordsmith for the op-ed page  whose turn it was that week to write the column, turned this phrase when coming to talking about me in the piece: “the amiable Mike Gibson picks CB West to beat North Penn, CB East to beat Souderton and Quakertown to upset Upper Merion.”

Penn State v Temple

Pat Kraft (with tie) on the way down from setting the athletic director vertical leap record at Temple in a 27-10 win over Penn State.

Hmm. Not used to people writing nice things about me in print, I was fascinated by the adjective.

The only thing I knew about amiable was that it meant something good so I scrambled for my pocket Merriam-Webster dictionary.

“Friendly, sociable, and congenial.

I thought about the word last week when Pat Kraft left Temple for Boston College. He was competent enough for most but, for me, his legacy will be how amiable he was.

Was he the best athletic director ever at Temple?

photo

From a football standpoint, and that’s what we care about here, I would think you have to rate Bill Bradshaw and Ernie Casale above him. Bradshaw hired both Al Golden and Matt Rhule (and, to be fair, Steve Addazio) and signed contracts with Power 5 schools like Penn State and Notre Dame that were beneficial to Temple. Unlike Kraft, Bradshaw eschewed a formula that included multiple FCS opponents for a more Power 5 lean.

Casale hired one of the best head coaches in the country, Wayne Hardin, to bring the Owls from essentially an FCS status to national prominence. He was such a mover and shaker that he formed what was then the East Coast Conference (which the press dubbed the ECC or Ernie Casale Conference).

Both of those guys were amiable enough but Kraft took amiability to another level. He sought out fans, gave his opinion, listened to theirs, and was friendly to everyone.

“Friendly, sociable, and congenial.

That was Pat Kraft at Temple and I’m sure it will be Pat Kraft at Boston College.

I would talk to Pat a few times every year and would come away more impressed each time about his knowledge of football and commitment to excellence. We disagreed on the schedule, but it was a friendly disagreement.

What we did agree on was a commitment to excellence. One football Saturday morning I congratulated him on firing a men’s soccer coach who hovered for a decade around .500.

“That’s mediocre,” Pat said. “I’m never going to accept mediocrity at Temple.”

If he brings that level of acceptance to BC along with his natural amiability, that school should be in good shape.

Saturday: Some Early Stat Predictions

 

BC-TU Preview: 5 Truths About The Game

dogsofwar

The old saying is that respect is earned, not given, and there is no better opportunity for the Temple football Owls to earn it by winning in Boston (technically, Chestnut Hill) Massachusetts in a high noon Saturday showdown.

Win, and the Owls finish the Power 5 part of their schedule a 2-0 record against pretty good teams. Lose, and the national commentators will point to the Maryland win as a fluke. Win, and the Owls are largely forgiven nationally (if not locally) for that brutal opening-game loss.

funfact

 

Addazio Effect Doesn’t Exist

Much will be made about the “Steve Addazio Effect” in this one but, in truth (there’s that word again), it does not exist. The single oldest player on this Temple squad, Frankie “Juice” Nutile, was recruited by Matt Rhule during his first year. “I really liked the pro-set offense that coach Rhule runs,” Nutile said on the day he was recruited. “I’m not going to lie, I’m not a read-option guy. I really like the direction coach Rhule has the program in and I think we’re going to be really good.” I’m sure the current players have heard of Daz, but none of them have a beef with him.  If this game occurred the year after Daz left for Boston College, you would have been able to see the fire come out of the Temple players’ helmets. These guys do not know Daz. That said, the 1,000 or so Temple fans who make the trip will be ecstatic to beat a guy who they were excited to see leave. There was much consternation at 10th and Diamond when Al Golden and Matt Rhule left. There was not a single Temple fan who was unhappy to see Addazio leave. If Geoff Collins beats him, he will be a hero in Philadelphia for a long, long time.

alumnistadium

The Temple fan section is O (for Owls) tomorrow

BC does not respect Temple

At least 99.9 percent of the fans don’t. Many of the comments on the main BC message board site about the game go something like this:

lock

Now that doesn’t mean the TEAM disrespects the Owls, but if that much of the fanbase does, it must filter down into the psyche of the team. A lot of the people are pointing to Villanova and Buffalo losses as a counter to the Owls beating Maryland, but none are factoring into the equation that a new quarterback starter probably had a lot to do with the positive results of the last two games.

quarterbackroom

 

 

QB Dilemma: The Easiest Decision in the History of Sports

Probably a non-issue–or what should be a non-issue–is the fact that, according to head coach Geoff Collins, “Frankie Nutile is getting close to 100 percent.” Err, why the rush? The easiest decision in the history of sports is to start a guy who is 2-0 with wins over Maryland and Tulsa over a guy who is 0-2 with losses to a MAC team and Villanova.

No-brainer means if you start anyone other than Anthony Russo you have no brains. If the Owls start Frankie Juice, they might win but they open themselves up to all kinds of unnecessary criticism if they don’t.

Maryland is Better than BC

No doubt, Maryland is a SIGNIFICANTLY better team than Boston College. My Vegas guy says if those two teams played tomorrow, the Terrapins would probably be a touchdown favorite.  Sagarin has Maryland ranked ahead of both Oregon and Boston College. That does not mean because Temple beat Maryland that it will beat Boston College but the Owls have no reason (zero) to be intimidated by the Eagles. On a physical level, the Owls pushed Maryland around and dominated. There is no reason to believe they cannot do the same on Saturday–especially if they utilize the same offensive game plan. Thing is, do you trust this staff to do that?

photoshopped

 

It comes down to Dogbe, Archibong and FBL

If the Owls defensive line stuffs Heisman candidate A.J. Dillon, they can dictate the game. Everyone at Temple knows Daz loves to establish the run and make explosive plays in the downfield play-action passing game. Michael Dogbe, Dan Archibong and Freddy Booth-Lloyd are proven run-stoppers and, if they are up to the challenge, Daz passes on third down and opens himself up to the kind of Mayhem that can be caused by edge rushers like Quincy Roche and starting tailback Ryquell Armstead. They have not been great against the run this year, though, but they need to at least be at the level of play they established in five of the last six games a year ago. If they are, third down could result in fumbles and interception opportunities for the Owls.

Sunday: Game Analysis

 

Temple Football Forever Picks This Week

Game Favorite Prediction/Reasoning
Northern Illinois at Eastern Michigan EMU by 3.5 Eastern Michigan won at Purdue and lost in overtime at San Diego State, which might be the best G5 team out there.

Eastern Michigan, 24-10

Virginia at NC State NC State by 7 Virginia beat a pretty good Ohio team badly two weeks ago. NC State is good, but not seven points better.

NC State, 20-17

Texas State at TCU TCU by 11 Texas State lost to Rutgers. TCU, 44-7
Purdue at Nebraska Purdue by 3 Much was made of Purdue’s 0-3 start but all were close games to good teams and the Boilermakers beat BC last week. Nebraska lost at home to Troy.

Purdue, 24-7

Louisiana Tech at North Texas North Texas by 7.5 North Texas went to Arkansas and won, 44-17. This is a legitimate squad.

North Texas, 31-10.

Florida Atlantic at Middle Tennessee FAU by 4 Lane Kiffin is highly motivated to position himself for another P5 head job. He’s got some talent.

FAU, 31-22

Last week: 5-1 overall, 4-2 Against The Spread

Season Record: 8-4

Against The Spread:7-5



2018 P5 Opponents: Maryland and Boston College

tentative

As Central Florida found out this season, nothing makes a statement for a Group of Five program than a win or two over Power 5 teams.

The first statement—a 38-10 win on the road over a Maryland team which beat Texas (which beat USC)—was impressive enough, but beating an Auburn team that beat the both Alabama and Georgia took it to another level.

Not enough to finish in the top four, but a statement on the way to an unbeaten season nonetheless.

Temple, in its own way, has a path to such a statement by wins against the aforementioned Maryland team and Steve Addazio’s Boston College squad.

Hard, but doable.

marylandsked

That’s what sets the 2018 season apart from the 2017.

The Owls play both Maryland and Boston College and, with those wins and a win over a Power 5 team in a bowl game, would restore a brand closer to what Matt Rhule left after a pair of 10-win seasons than the hit that took a slight hit with a 7-6 one in Geoff Collins’ first season.

If the Owls will be, as Collins has said, a “ridiculous” team next year, there is no reason to believe they can’t pull those two wins off. I assume Collins means ridiculously good because he talks the kids’ lingo.  Call me skeptical about the Owls replacing two great wide receivers, two good edge rushers and an 3/4s of a defensive secondary. Losing the “best fullback in the country” probably not will be as devastating as I thought it was going to be four months ago because the Owls’ brain trust did not use him over the last two months.

Maryland made it a lot harder by hiring former Temple defensive coordinator Chuck Heater. Taver Johnson, the Owls’ current coordinator, doesn’t have a resume approaching Heater’s—the last Temple DC to post consecutive shutouts and a guy who Urban Meyer called a “Miracle Worker” leading the defense of his 2010 Florida Gator national championship team.

Boston College, despite a solid season last year, could be a relatively easier nut to crack simply because of the matchups. BC lost to a Syracuse team that lost to Middle Tennessee State, so anything is possible. Any Temple fan will tell you that Addazio’s affinity for the run game borders on obsession and Temple, if anything, should have a good run-stopping defense next  year and be vulnerable to the pass. If Daz follows the pattern he set at Temple—run, run, sack, punt—the Owls should be in good shape. Still, Boston College won five of its last six games to earn a Pinstripe Bowl bid.

So there are signs that this is probably not the Daz we know and hate.

Either way, both Maryland and BC add some spice to a schedule that has been peppered with too many Stony Brooks and Villanovas over the last couple of years.

Scheduling P5 teams is one thing but, if you are going to schedule them, you might as well follow Central Florida’s lead and go ahead and beat them.

Wednesday: Commitment Issues

Friday: Housecleaning Questions

Five Bowl Games TU Fans Should Watch

Hooter and Stella will be kicking back on the couch watching these five games and wishing the football Owls get their shot to do the same in a year.

Hooter and Stella will be kicking back on the couch watching these five games and wishing the football Owls get their shot to go to a bowl game in a year.

If there is one thing the bowl season best illustrates, it’s the schism between the haves and the have-nots in college football.

For the second year in a row, fan of the Temple Owls are on the outside of the bowl window with their noses pressed against it longing for the not-so-distant days when they were part of the haves. The program had a nice little run that saw the team bowl eligible for three-straight years, including the first bowl win in over 30 years, but the Owls have missed badly over the last two years. There had been some hope that first-year head coach Matt Rhule would improve the team from a four-win season in 2012 to a six-win season in 2013, but things imploded badly with embarrassing losses to Fordham and Idaho.

There is some good news, though, in that quarterback P.J. Walker was named to the freshman All-American team and that the team returns most of the players who gave AAC champion Central Florida  one of its toughest league tests for the season. In linebacker Tyler Matakevich, the team has a junior-to-be linebacker who led the country in tackles and will no doubt be on the Dick Butkus Award Watch List as the top player at his position next year.

Plus, Rhule is in the final stages of securing what many consider the best recruiting class in school history. Whether the returning players and the recruits put the Owls over the top remains to be seen and so are five bowl games that should hold a particular appeal for their fans. Of course, Steve Addazio turned a 2-10 team into a 7-5 team  and you-know-who turned a 4-7 team into a 2-10 team. For those interested, Daz’s game vs. Arizona is 12:30 p.m. on New Year’s Eve. Does Daz go 2-10 with this Temple team? Hell no. His relentless commitment to the run would have avoiding the uni the embarrassment of Fordham and Idaho.  I still think Rhule is a better long-term option for the program than Daz, particularly if he finds the gonads to fire Phil Snow in the next few weeks. I don’t think he has the gonads, though.

Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

5. Bowling Green vs. Pittsburgh

In the Little Caesar Pizza Bowl in Detroit on Thursday night, these are two old conference rivals of Temple’s and Owl fans can see what the Falcons have done with less talent and better coaching. According to one national recruiting website, Scout.com, Bowling Green’s 2010 recruiting class was ranked No. 85 in the country, while Temple’s was ranked No. 75 in the same year. Also, Temple had the No. 55-ranked recruiting class in 2012, well ahead of BGSU’s No. 82-ranked class the same year. The only year the Falcons out -recruited Temple was 2011, when their class ranked No. 84 to TU’s No. 95. Pitt was an old Big East foe of Temple.

Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

4. Northern Illinois vs. Utah State

In the Poinsettia Bowl in San Diego also on Thursday night, the Owls get to see what another former conference foe has done with “lesser” rated talent as Temple out recruited NIU in two of the three years from 2010 through 2012. The only time a Temple class was rated behind NIU was in 2011, when the Huskies pulled a No. 90 nationally to Temple’s No. 95. The Huskies have a program-changer in Jordan Lynch, while the Owls feel they also have a program-changer in freshman All-American quarterback P.J. Walker.

Brendan Maloney-USA TODAY Sports

Brendan Maloney-USA TODAY Sports

3. Marshall vs. Maryland

In the Military Bowl Friday, Owl fans get to see former defensive coordinator Chuck Heater lead the rejuvenated defense against a Maryland team that was on Temple’s schedule in both 2011 and 2012. Heater had the 2011 Owls ranked No. 3 in the nation in scoring defense and the Owls had consecutive shutouts that season. He now has Marshall ranked No. 33 in the nation in scoring defense. His replacement at Temple, Phil Snow, has the Owls ranked No. 82 in the country in scoring defense. The last time Heater faced a Randy Edsall coached-team on Maryland soil, he held the Terrapins to seven points in a 38-7 win.

John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

2. Louisville vs. Miami (Fla.)

On Saturday in the Russell Athletic Bowl, The Cardinals of the AAC get to go against a couple of familiar faces in Miami head coach Al Golden and defensive coordinator Mark D’Onofrio. Both held the same positions at Temple as recently as 2010. No doubt Owl fans will be rooting for Golden, who brought respect to the Temple program. D’Onofrio was a runner up for the Temple job that went to Rhule a year ago.

Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

1. Vanderbilt vs. Houston

On Jan. 4 in the Compass Bowl, a game holding the most interest for Temple fans is next year’s opening opponent, the Commodores, who will be playing Owl conference foe Houston. Temple dropped a 22-13 game to the Cougars earlier this year and this game will provide a barometer for how far the Owls must improve to compete against an upper-tier SEC team. Vandy head coach James Franklin is from the Philadelphia area, having played quarterback for suburban powerhouse Neshaminy High School in 1989.

The one-year anniversary of Daz quitting

Say what you will about Daz, this ice cold water must have felt nice while listening to the team sing "T for Temple U" in New Mexico.

Say what you will about Daz, this ice cold water must have felt nice while listening to the team sing “T for Temple U” in New Mexico.

When I worked in the sports department of the Doylestown Intelligencer, one of my colleagues, a guy I will call Adam (because that’s his name)  was a New York Mets’ fan.

He called Lenny Dykstra one nickname (Nails), I called him another (The Dude).

Amazing the same guy could be known in two large Eastern cities by two completely different nicknames.

sasnip

Click on the photo for The Philadelphia Metro’s story on Steve Addazio quitting, which appeared in the Dec. 4, 2012, edition.

I thought about that while reading the mostly positive reviews of what Steve Addazio has done at Boston College this season. Up there, he’s known by a nickname no one called him here (The Dazzler) while, down here, he was simply known as Daz. Nobody calls him Daz up there, just The Dazzler.

Today is the one-year anniversary of Steve Addazio quitting from his position as head football coach at Temple University.

I remember exactly where I was when I heard the news, in my car and headed to the gym (Abington LA Fitness, former Temple recruit Brandon Peoples knows it well). I was passing the iconic Rydal Train Station on Susquehanna Avenue when Harry Donahue came on the  KYW air at 5:45  p.m. with “breaking news in the sports world,”  and following that up with the tease, “There has been a coaching change at Temple.”

In between the long pause between that sentence and the next, I thought for once in my life my university had the balls to fire someone because he followed an 8-4 regular season with a 4-7 one.

Instead, I heard this: “Steve Addazio has resigned as the head football coach to take the same job at Boston College.”

The Rydal Train Station.

The Rydal Train Station.

That was mildly amusing because I never heard of a school hiring a guy coming off a 4-7 season. (Unfortunately, I DID hear of a uni hiring a guy coming off an 0-11 season and it was MY university and that turned out to be an unmitigated disaster circa 1989.)

Whatever the reason, I pounded the steering wheel and started cheering out loud because I knew  Temple would go nowhere with this stubborn man in charge. I thought now the university could hire someone with a winning head-coaching FBS pedigree after years of rolling the dice with unproven assistant coaches. I attended the final press conference a week earlier at Temple where Addazio uttered the famous line “the season starts Monday and it won’t be a box of chocolates for those guys” at Edberg-Olson Hall. “We have to run the football for 200 yards a game, that’s something we have to do,” Daz said.

I left that press conference thinking Daz doesn’t get it and probably never will.

Monday came and Daz went, becoming  The Dazzler, and the rest was history.

Say what you will about Daz, he probably would have beaten Fordham and Idaho by pretty substantial scores because his philosophy of running the ball on first and second downs almost to the point of exclusivity would have probably netted him first downs against those two horrible run defenses before even getting to a third down. He would have saved the uni from the embarrassment of two of five worst losses in its  history. Still, that philosophy doesn’t lend itself to multiple winning seasons in a major conference so it is overall good that he is gone.

I got to know Daz a little bit and I liked him a lot as someone to shoot the breeze with. I was in New York City for the June 12th gathering of Temple alumni and Daz in 2012 and talked with Daz. He was brutally candid. He was talking about that he “had it up to here” with a Temple player (a favorite of mine) and that he was “this close” to kicking him off the team. When the two guys I was with reminded him I write the TFF blog, Daz said, “Mike, please don’t print this.” I didn’t. I still won’t print the name (those kind of settings should be off-the-record anyway), but the guy was never kicked off the team and had a great senior year, something that pleased both me and Daz.

Got to give him credit for turning a 2-10 team into a 7-5 one, while his successor turned a 4-7 team into a 2-10 one.

Whether or not that’s an omen of things to come won’t be known until this day a year from now.

Meanwhile, Daz’s big advertising campaign up there this year is “Be a Dude.” Sounds better than “Be a Nails” but not as good as “Temple TUFF.”