A Temple favorite for Eagles’ DC

Now that the Philadelphia Eagles have hired an offensive coordinator, the second-biggest hire of this offseason could occur this week.

If they are smart, a Temple Owl could fill the position.

Sean Desai, who spent five years coaching at Temple, is rumored to be one of the top five candidates for the job.

Currently at Seattle, Desai coached at Temple under current Notre Dame defensive coordinator Al Golden and was the Temple special teams’ coach before the legendary Ed Foley took over the same position.

Desai would be a good fit and not just because he’s an Owl.

He is a disciple of Vic Fangio, who probably would have gotten the job had he not accepted the same position with the Miami Dolphins recently. Fangio is generally considered the best defensive mind in the NFL and Desai would bring all of those principles to the Eagles with the added benefit of youth.

Sean Desai did a good job with the Bears and with the Eagles talent on defense he probably would be an upgrade over Jonathan Gannon.

Desai was back at Temple less than a year ago, serving at the Commencement Speaker for the College of Education and Human Development in May.

Not only was he a coach at Temple, but he served as an adjunct professor in the College of Education in 2009 and 2010, teaching a master’s and doctoral program in education administration.

In the NFL, he has plenty of experience as a DC having served as the Chicago Bears’ DC in 2021. With the Seahawks this past season, he was “associate head coach for defense” under Pete Carroll.

Desai earned his doctorate in educational administration, with an emphasis in higher education in the College of Education and Human Development in May 2008. He served as an adjunct professor in the College of Education in 2009 and 2010, teaching in the master’s and doctoral programs in education administration.

While Desai never got a chance to coach current Eagles’ defenders Shaun Bradley and Haason Reddick, he has connections with those who recruited both and probably knows both well.

At Temple, Desai was the special teams’ coach in 2008 when the Owls averaged 26.6 points per return (tying for second in the nation) and had two kickoff returns for touchdowns.

The Owls haven’t had a kickoff return for a touchdown since Desai left.

With the current putrid state of the Eagles’ special teams, having Desai close by can only help Nick Siranni.

Let’s hope he comes to the same conclusion.

Friday: Some Great Storylines in the Temple schedule

Monday: Pre-camp Game by Game Analysis

Friday (March 3): How the Temple offense compares with a champion


An Ad for Temple Football Money Can’t Buy

A nice nugget of information for Fox TV to mention is that Reddick wore No. 7 with both hometown teams.

Today’s Jeopardy Question: What is $7 million?

For Temple, the answer is “How much does Temple get annually from the American Conference?”

It also pertains to the Owls and this Sunday’s Super Bowl game because that’s what it costs to purchase a 30-second spot during the Eagles-Chiefs game.

Kurt Warner mentioned Reddick was from Temple several times on the Westwood One broadcast. Now it’s time for the Fox TV guys to do the same.

The bad news is Temple doesn’t have $7 million to purchase such an ad. The good news is that it may not have to lay out the cash.

Every time Haason Reddick’s name gets mentioned (and is associated with Temple), it’s an ad for Temple football that money can’t buy. That could be worth $7 million, maybe more, depending on how many times the school gets mentioned.

The broadcast team is Kevin Burkhardt and Greg Olsen and they swung and missed during the NFC championship game. Oh, they mentioned Reddick’s name plenty of times–he was the single most influential player in the game–but they never once mentioned he played his college football in the same town on the same home field wearing the same number.

That’s an unforgivable sin.

How cool would it have been for Olsen or Burkhardt to say, “On the same field Reddick played his college football for the Temple Owls, he is wrecking any chances for the 49ers to win the NFC title on this field.”

Pretty damn cool.

Every kid who plays football in the nation will be watching the game. Temple getting mentioned several times or even once plants the thought of good football in the heads of high school players and coaches everywhere.

Maybe Burkhardt and Olsen didn’t know Reddick played for Temple football then but we’re sure as heck going to let them know he played for Temple now.

At this broadcasting level, there is a research team responsible for feeding the color and the play-by-play guy factoids that might be of interest to the fans watching or listening. Certainly, Reddick’s hometown connections–and those of both Temple and Eagles’ teammate Shaun Bradley–were worthy of mentioning but slipped through the cracks.

Sunday’s game represents a chance for a needed do-over. The more people tweet this information to @kevinburkhardt or @gregolsen88 the better that broadcast will be.

Not only for those two guys but for Temple University and Philadelphia as a whole.

Friday: Other Temple Super Bowl Connections

Portal: Someone’s Getting Bad Advice

About the time Russell Conwell founded Temple University, he was the best-known lecturer in the United States, playing to sellout crowds who wanted to hear his story of the man who traveled the world in search of riches only to find “Acres of Diamonds” in his own backyard.


The formula in the last decade has worked particularly well for Temple football, as the Owls have mined their own backyard and found a few diamonds that helped elevate their program to a national profile.

No one knows if Russell’s theory works in the opposite direction, but there appears to be a “Conwell Curse” on the few players who have left these acres searching for not diamonds but gold. Once you’ve solved the Conwell puzzle and found your diamonds right in your backyard, it’s bad Karma to stray.


There is not much data to work with on what happened to players who left Temple for so-called greener pastures but there is enough evidence to suggest it won’t necessarily end well for the two most recent departures.

Consider this: Temple had two linemen drafted in the NFL first-round in the last decade: One was Mo Wilkerson and the other was Haason Reddick. Staying at Temple did not hurt those last two so Quincy Roche leaving for ostensibly a high-end Power 5 school is a real head-scratcher.

Maybe he will be drafted in the first round next year, maybe not, but in our preview of the North Carolina game we wrote that “Quincy Roche and company getting to Sam Howell early and often is the only way that Temple has a chance to win this game.” Quincy did not get to Howell early and often. He didn’t get to him at all. Not only that, his key offside on a blocked field goal for a touchdown cost the Owls a possible 17-14 deficit at halftime instead of a 17-6 one.  If the way a 6-6 Power 5 team blocked him was any indication of how 9-3, 10-2, 11-1 or even 12-0 Power 5 teams will block him, he will not be a No. 1 NFL draft pick. That’s not sour grapes. That’s a simple fact.

If, on the other hand, Roche followed up his AAC Defensive Player of the Year with another great year at Temple, he would have had the same chance Wilkerson and Reddick had to be drafted No. 1 by an NFL team. Also, Roche had a breakout year not under Geoff Collins but under the tutelage of line coach Walter Stewart. Had he stayed for another year under Stewart, there is no reason to believe that he wouldn’t have continued along the same trend line.


Somehow, I don’t think Roche reasoned the above logic into his transfer decision or somebody is giving him very bad advice.

The same goes for tight end Kenny Yeboah. At Temple in 2019, Yeboah–a Parkland High graduate whose family made the easy trip down to see him play every home game–caught 19 passes for 248 yards and five touchdowns.

The total number of passes caught by tight ends at Baylor in 2019: Five. That’s right. Five passes caught by all of the tight ends in the Baylor program. Does anyone really believe that Matt Rhule, if he even remains at Baylor, is going to drastically change a system that worked for him in Waco to accommodate the needs and wants of a transfer from Temple? I don’t. My money is on Yeboah catching fewer than 19 passes, getting fewer than 248 yards and five touchdowns at Baylor next season. For his sake, I hope they change the offense but Rhule would kick himself if he changed something that gave him an 11-2 regular season for any level of uncertainty.  What happens is Rhule leaves for the NFL? That leaves Yeboah a thousand miles away from home without the support system of coaches and teammates who know and love him, not to mention family and friends who won’t be able to travel to his home games.

When it comes to leaving Temple, look at kicker Austin Jones. Before Jones was cheap-shotted on a kickoff at Memphis, he made 17-straight field goals at Temple over a two-year period that began in 2015 when he was 44 for 45 in extra points and 23 for 28 in field goals. Before the cheap shot that robbed him of finishing a championship season, Jones was 10 for 12 in field goals (he missed two in the Memphis game after getting 17 straight). Then he grad transferred to Alabama, where he really only saw the field as a cheerleader on the sideline. His stats at Bama: 1 for 2 in field goals and 1-3 in extra points. The two missed extra points soured Nick Saban on Jones and he was relegated to the bench for the rest of the season.

Another tight end, Kip Patton, downgraded from Temple to Tennessee Tech and got in trouble with the law. At Temple, the only trouble Patton caused was to opponents and his best season was in 2015, catching 12 passes for 168 yards. If he had stayed at Temple, things might have turned out differently.

Marshall Ellick, a wide receiver, transferred from Temple to Stony Brook for the 2018 season. At Temple, he caught 22 passes for 234 yards. At Stony Brook, he caught 22 passes for 311 yards. Hardly worth packing the stuff and moving to New York.

Maybe things will turn out great for Yeboah and Roche, two men who found their Acres of Diamonds right here and got greedy for more. Maybe they should have asked Jones, Patton, and Ellick first. Better yet, maybe they should have read the founder’s book.

Conwell is probably looking down and saying I told you so.

Monday: Turning It Around


The Temple NFL Draft


About the only person who was not booed at the NFL Draft on Thursday night was from Temple University. The hometown Eagles’ pick was met with mixed boos and cheers, which was surprising. Picks of the New York Giants, Washington Redskins and Dallas Cowboys were booed, as was the Commissioner, which was not.

Only Temple football was cheered, loudly and proudly.

In a city where Temple football has always been second fiddle to the pro team in town, that’s a tremendous moment.

Maybe the best.

“Temple TUFF is the
most elite, toughest,
hardest-working, people
on the planet.”
_ Haason Reddick

Haason Reddick, who was drafted No. 13 overall by the Arizona Cardinals, walked down the steps of the Art Museum to a crescendo of loud cheers and not a single boo.

Derek Barnett, the Tennessee defensive end who went next to the hometown team, was met with a scattering of boos and cheers. There were a lot of Eagles’ fans dressed in green exiting after that pick with thumbs down signs.

We’ll see what happens over the next few years but a writer could not have picked a better scenario for Reddick or a better place for him to flourish. Former Temple head coach Bruce Arians is in charge there and a couple of great former Temple assistants (Nick Rapone and Amos Jones) are among the numerous Owl connections out there.

There will be a lot of Temple stories, old and new, for Reddick to hear from and swap with the old heads.

Arians will take care of Reddick in a way that Doug Pederson could not have so, from the standpoint of a perfect fit, Reddick to Arizona is probably better than any other pick in the draft—even Myles Garrett to Cleveland at No. 1.

If Temple North is the New York Jets, then certainly Temple South is the Arizona Cardinals.

Temple Central will remain embedded in Reddick’s heart and he said it best when interviewed by Upper Dublin High School grad Suzie Kobler on ESPN when she asked him what Temple TUFF was all about. Kobler knows all about Temple having grown up across the street from Temple’s Ambler Campus.

“Temple TUFF is the most elite, toughest, hardest-working, people on the planet,” Reddick said.

Now it’s up to Geoff Collins to turn that quote and that moment into mining a 2017 recruiting class worthy of those words.

Reddick gave him a good head start with the unprecedented love.

Monday: The Other Guys

Reddick Taking It To Another Level

Coach Collins is using Reddick as an example for the rest of the squad.

To put into perspective what Haason Reddick did over the weekend, all you have to do is look what running back Bernard Pierce did in the same environment.

Reddick’s most impressive combine number was a 4.52 40-yard dash.

Coming out of the 2011 football season a year early, Pierce went into the combine and posted a 4.55 40-yard dash. This was considered good for a running back.


This was the same Bernard Pierce who was the PIAA state indoor champion in the 100-meter dash (10.8) while a senior at Glen Mills and was Pennsylvania’s version of Usain Bolt as a high school senior. Except that Bolt didn’t have Pierce’s moves in the open field.

Reddick took the combine to another level.

Reddick’s number was literally off the charts and that’s why he will be drafted anywhere from nine to 30 in the upcoming NFL draft in Philadelphia. His 40 time was one-tenth of a second faster than the Owls’ Nate Hairston, who many considered the fastest Owl last season. (You could probably get an argument from reserve wide receiver Cortrelle Simpson, who will hopefully show some explosiveness this fall when he gets on the field for the first time.)

My guess is that the number Reddick is drafted will be closer to 20 than nine or 30 and that will represent the best Temple has ever had if it happens.

Muhammad Wilkerson was a 30th-round draft pick out of the 2010 college football season and he is now considered one of the top five defensive linemen in all of football.

While offensive lineman Dion Dawkins got rave reviews coming out of the senior bowl and had a very good combine, there is more talk of him going in the second round than the first round now.

However, Mel Kiper still ranks Dawkins as his No. 1 SENIOR defensive tackle, so there’s an outside shot that Dawkins could go in the first round as well.

If that happens in a draft held in Philadelphia, that is a value from the Eagle-and-NFL-centric fourth largest market that would yield dividends down the line in areas like attendance and recruiting.

Friday: The Spring Game

Owl City Walkers


Sometimes the memory can be a funny thing, brain teasers allowing recall in great detail of things that happen 40 years ago, but the same brain failing to tell you why you walked into a room five seconds ago.

It is with that in mind that we caution you to not take this list as the top walk-ons in Temple football history, just the top ones that we can recall at this moment.

Obviously, some are going to slip through the cracks but readers are welcome to include their own memories of Temple walk-ons below.

The subject of walk-ons comes up today simply because yesterday was the walk-on tryout date for Geoff Collins’ first team at Temple.

Here’s my list, with a heavy emphasis on the more recent ones. In a school of 39,000 students—presumably 20,000 young men—maybe at least one will turn out to be as good as these five.


5–Matt Brown

Because of his size (5-5, 155 pounds), no Division I school showed an interest in Brown.  He walked on at Temple, where they tried to play him at a slot receiver, but Al Golden—perhaps intrigued by Brown’s open-field moves in the return game—moved him to tailback and the rest was history. He was the bug part of the “Bernie and the Bug” pair and had to fill as a starter on the numerous occasions where Bernard Pierce was injured.  Brown’s best game was his sophomore year against Army, where he gained 228 yards scored four touchdowns.


4—Aaron Boumerhi

The kicker with the appropriate nickname of “Boom-Boom” walked on at Temple after making only four field goals his senior year at Phillipsburg-Osceola. He perhaps saved the season after starting kicker Austin Jones went down as a result of a cheap shot by a Memphis player on a kickoff.  At the time, Jones had made an NCAA-best 17-straight field goals.  Arguably, Boumerhi was just as good afterward.


3—Will Hayes

Hayes returned a blocked extra point for two the other way and that was the key play in a 25-23 Temple win at Massachusetts.  The 5-9 defensive back drew interest only from Division III schools, but always dreamed of playing Division I. He took the advice of a former Howell (N.J.) teammate and played a year at Milford (N.Y.) Prep to bulk up for a possible chance.  He was a regular starting free safety on a 10-win Temple team.


2—Bruce Francis

Francis joined the program as a true freshman in the fall of 2005 as a walk-on. He later earned a scholarship. Named the recipient of the team’s inaugural Gavin White, Jr., Walk-On Award in the spring of 2006, Francis earned All-MAC honors last fall by Phil Steele Publications after averaging a team-best 73.1 receiving yards per game and finished his senior year with 13 touchdown receptions.  He was the center of one of the most controversial plays in Temple history, with replays clearly showing him catching touchdown pass to beat UConn but the Big East replay official refusing to overturn the call. At the time, Temple was in the MAC and UConn was in the Big East. Francis is the Owls’ career leader in touchdown receptions (23) and tied with Gerald “Sweet Feet” Lucear in touchdown catches for a single season (13).

1—Haason Reddick

All indications point to Reddick being a late first-round NFL draft choice and it is pretty hard for any walk-on in Temple history to top that.  Reddick started as a linebacker in Temple’s 41-21 win at Memphis to close out the 2013 season, but later earned first-team All-AAC honors as a down defensive end.