TU Search: Good choices and Bad

orlando

Rather have Todd Bowles or Tony Orlando than Todd Orlando

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

sickfeeling

… and so has Temple

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

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

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

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

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

lanceleipold

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

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

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

You would think.

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

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

It’s Leipold or Creighton for my taste.

No need for a nightmare like Orlando.

Wednesday: Comparing First Years

TU Coaching Search: Wait and Hurry Up

hurryupandwait

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

Then hurrying up.

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

We are exaggerating for effect. We think. 

fastnarducci

slownarducci

Seven hours between these two tweets

First, the waiting part.

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

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

pophead

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

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

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

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


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

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

donbrown

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

Now the hurrying up part.

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

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

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

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

Monday: The special circumstance now