Bullbleep Meter and The Temple Job

typical

Typical crowd at an Eastern Michigan game, Rynearson Stadium. For Chris Creighton to win there, he must be the best head coach since Vince Lombardi

One of the things that makes me proudest to have my Temple B.A is that you also get an honorary degree in B.S on graduation day.

There’s nothing like going to college and living in the heart of a hard-scrabble (emphasis on scrabble) city to sharpen your bullshit meter.

bestnon

Just about everybody I know who has a Temple degree is able to separate the bullbleep from the regular bleep. For instance, the Bruce Arians’ guys who tailgated on the first Cherry and White Day of the Steve Addazio Era told me that Daz was a phony they could spot a mile away and compared him to Jerry Berndt. They loved Arians. They hated Berndt.

The Steve Conjar tailgate group never warmed up to Geoff Collins for some very good reasons. Collins thought Temple football did not exist prior to Al Golden. Upon being introduced to Paul Palmer, the Minister of Mayhem said this:

“Hey, coach, nice to meet you. What high school do you coach for?”

He had no idea he was talking to arguably the greatest player in Temple football history.

Ugh.

Can’t imagine Nick Saban having the same conversation with Joe Namath.

Have you seen the promised Mayhem yet?

I didn’t think so.

All I got was a lousy cotton T-Shirt that I paid $33 for and a “darkside defense” that allowed far too many points this season. Collins was a big fat blip on the bullbleep radar that should have been shot down by the committee two years ago.

Everybody has that kind of radar except the Temple Football Search Committee, if there is indeed one.

They didn’t spot Steve Addazio.

They didn’t spot Geoff Collins.

They didn’t spot Manny Diaz.

creighton

Chris Creighton is for real

As good a regular artist as Norman Rockwell was, that’s how good a bullbleep artist those three are.

So why was I not surprised that the name “Joe Rudolph” came up on Tuesday and “he was impressive” in the interview?

My first reaction was “are they going to let another assistant coach bullshit his way into the Temple job?”

Geez, I hope not.

The criteria this time should simply be this: Deeds over words.

It’s that simple. Temple is looking for a head coach, not an assistant coach, and this time the university has the big bucks to pay an accomplished guy for the job and not roll the dice on another assistant.

Rudolph, to me, is not an exciting name because no one knows what his responsibilities are/were at Wisconsin. We hear that head coach Paul Chryst called all the plays and he probably did.

If Rudolph shined in an interview process, it was probably because he said what the committee wanted to hear.


One exciting name emerged
yesterday and it wasn’t
Rudolph. It was Eastern
Michigan coach Chris Creighton …
He would fit right in here
and maybe take Temple TUFF
up a notch. He’s that good.

“Will you keep Fran Brown?”

“Yeah, I love the guy.”

“How about Ed Foley?”

“Yeah, me and Ed would work well. Love that speech that went viral.”

“How about Gabe Infante?”

“Who? Yeah, him, too.”

“What about the other assistants?”

“I know some of the best people. Great minds. All FBS coordinators. I’m going to bring those guys in here. No FCS guys like Collins.”

wolverine

“You’re doing great, Joe. What about commitment to Temple? Will you be outta here in two or three years.”

“Nope. If I sign a five-year contract, I’m staying the full five years. When I played with the Eagles, I’d go up and down Broad Street and see those Temple flags and think to myself, ‘I’d love to coach there one day. That’s my dream school.’ ”

The lesson of Daz, Diaz and Collins to take away is to avoid the silver-tongue devil promising the world and gravitate to the better angels who have a track record. This time, Temple should look at what the guy has done not what he tells the school he will do.

One exciting name emerged yesterday and it wasn’t Rudolph.

It was Eastern Michigan coach Chris Creighton. There is no more impossible place to win than EMU. If you have been there, and I have, you know there are literally no more than 1,000 or 2,000 people at any home game. I’ve watched that team and it plays with a toughness level very similar to Temple. He would fit right in here and maybe take Temple TUFF up a notch. He’s that good.

For him to have taken that team to Purdue and win and to two bowl games in three years is more impressive than anything Addazio and Collins did at Temple.

If you are going to make a splash, go get that guy or Lance Leipold. Guys who have done pretty impressive things in the very job Temple is looking to fill. Don’t let another bulls hitter talk his way into a job that should be earned.

You are Temple. Act like it. After Diaz, everyone’s bullbleep radar should be on DEFCON 1.

Friday: Smoking Out The Winner

Could 2019 Be The One?

leipold

Could this actually be THE one?

The first season since Wayne Hardin was on campus that Temple actually won every game it was favored to be in plus a couple it was not?


Nobody knows if Lance
Leipold will be in it,
but he’s got to have a
better handle on the
Owls than any other
outside candidate since
he studied enough film
on the 2018 version
to beat them

A lot will depend on which candidate wins the interview room for the Owls’ head coaching position in the next couple of days. Nobody knows if Lance Leipold will be in it, but he’s got to have a better handle on the Owls than any other outside candidate since he studied enough film on the 2018 version to beat them.

Leipold might have also watched the bowl game. He probably did.

From what I hear, he probably won’t be in the interview room in the next few days. From what I know, he definitely should. There is still time to get the right guy and not settle for second best.

If the Owls do, this year’s team has a chance of lifting the AAC title trophy. They will have to win every game they are favored to win and reach up and get a game or two they are not to accomplish that task.

One way to do it is to bring in a binder, like Al Golden did to Bill Bradshaw’s office in 2005, on how to build a program. What was in the binder made so much sense that Bradshaw wrote on a yellow legal pad:

“This is our guy.”

Now the binder isn’t how to build the program but how to add a wing onto it.

patkraft

“This is our guy”

The last guy who had this kind of chance to win a championship in his first year was Steve Addazio and, when you really think about it, it’s hard to fathom how the 2011 Owls did not win a league title. Addazio never figured out until too late–the game against Ohio–that Chris Coyer was the best quarterback on his roster. Had Coyer played from the jump, instead of Chester Stewart and Mike Gerardi, the Owls likely would have beaten Penn State (a game they lost, 14-10), Bowling Green and Ohio, won the league title and played another Big 10 team in the bowl game. (Coyer, in relief of Stewart, did all he could to beat Ohio with a superb three-quarter performance but Stewart left the Owls in a hole.)
surprise

And, of course, we would have never had to endure the unendurable Year Two of the Addazio regime because someone would have plucked Daz away before the bowl game and Chuck Heater, not Ed Foley, would have been the bowl coach.

Instead, Coyer became the first Owl quarterback to win a bowl game in over 30 years.

Now the next coach has a chance to wow the interview room like Golden did.

The guy who does might say something like this:

“Geez, I saw youse guys (Philly accent) against Duke and I really liked that kickoff returner you had. He needs to get the ball more than five times a game so I would move him to tailback because it was obvious youse guys missed Rock (use the nickname) Armstead. He can be the best breakaway back in the league next year. I’d put that No. 5 (Shaun Bradley) in at fullback and have Wright follow him through the hole 20 times a game because youse have plenty of good linebackers. I don’t know who your offensive coordinator was last year because Russo is no more a RPO quarterback than Tom Brady is. Why your OC would risk getting him killed last year made no sense to me. Make the most of that NFL arm going play-action pro set and hitting those two guys, No. 88 and No. 10.”

“What about defense and special teams?”

“I’m going to hand that over to the best special teams’ coach in the country, Ed Foley, and make Fran Brown the single (not co) coordinator in defense. No Mayhem. Just no scoring. We’re going to try to break the Temple record for most shutouts in a season.”

“Thanks for coming, Lance,” AD Pat Kraft tells the committee.

Candidate walks out of the room and Kraft holds up a yellow legal pad with four words underlined:

“THIS IS OUR GUY!

Tomorrow: Bullbleep Meter and The Temple Job

Friday: Smoking Out The Winner

 

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

5 Perfect Fits To Be Next Temple HC (none named Fran Brown)

The Al Golden Coaching Carousel

Well, it’s official.

Geoff Collins is packing his bags this morning and heading out that revolving door which is the coach’s office at the Edberg-Olson Complex.

The ex-Temple head coach turned back-to-back 10-win seasons into a seven- and 8-win season (with 10-win talent all four seasons), so excuse me for hoping that door hits him in the ass and leaves a few bruises.


The bottom line is that Temple
has been playing a game of
Russian Roulette by hiring
assistant coaches over the
past decade or so. Four clicks
so far and the program is still
alive. It only takes one bullet
to kill the program. …
Time to put the gun down
and hire a proven head coach

All it takes now is for one bad hire to blow this whole thing up and, to me, the only bad hire would be hiring another assistant coach who we have to find out can’t coach his way out of a paper bag once he gets here.

Just because you are a good-to-great assistant coach doesn’t mean that will make you a good-to-great head coach. The world is strewn with bad examples of that. Can you say Ron Dickerson? While the defensive assistant at Penn State, Dickerson was named the top assistant coach in the country before taking the Temple job. He almost ran the program into the ground. Can you say Bob Diaco? Diaco won the award for FBS coordinator of the year at Notre Dame and did run UConn into the ground.

I like Fran Brown, the Baylor assistant head coach. I’d like him to prove he could be a head coach first before we can offer him the Temple job. Otherwise, he’s Ron Dickerson and Bob Diaco to me.

Temple needs to hire a proven head coach now to take this talent to the next level. Fortunately, there are five fits that check those boxes:

9f98a-goldenhope

Al Golden–Checks all of the boxes. Proven winner? Yes. Good CEO? None better. Contacts with FBS experience? You bet. Knows the recruiting footprint? Yes. Moms like him? Yes. High school coaches in Pennsylvania and South Jersey welcome him with open arms? Absolutely. More importantly, can he win “at Temple.” He’s the only guy on this list who has proven that. Golden applied for and finished second in the Maryland job to Mike Locksley. He’s looking. Temple should approach him first. His last words when leaving his office at Temple (got this from someone who was there at the time): “God, I love this place.” He was 100 percent sincere. He can bring back Fran Brown to be the recruiting coordinator. Temple probably doesn’t want Mark D’Onofrio back so Al would have to find a new DC. Chuck Heater is available. Al, who first hired Ed Foley and Adam DiMichele, also is the best guy to provide much-needed continuity. Temple should court him like Prince Harry courted the Duchess of Sussex.

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Lance Leipold–Checks most of the boxes. Who better to kick Geoff Collins’ ass next September than a guy already has proven to kick Collins’ ass with lesser talent. Leipold was 109-6 (yes, that’s not a typo) at Wisconsin-Whitewater. I thought that was a rafting school. Anthony Russo would thrive under the same pro set offense that Leipold had Tyree Jackson run. He’s 10-2 at Buffalo this season, soon to be 11-2. If I were Collins coaching against this guy next Sept. 28, I’d worry. Leipold’s current salary: $325,000-a-year. Collins was making $2 million per at Temple. This guy would jump in a heartbeat.

leipold

Greg Schiano–Checks some of the boxes. Knows the area, is a good recruiter and, like Golden, a “decent enough” head coach on game day who won’t knock your socks off but can win. Schiano proved he could win at a place that might be harder to win than Temple: Rutgers. Deserves a close look.

Turner Gill–Checks most of the boxes. The one-time MAC coach of the year at Buffalo (he beat Temple on an infamous Hail Mary in 2008) just “retired” at Liberty after getting that team bowl eligible this season. Ruined Matt Rhule’s debut at Waco with a win. His wife has a heart condition and probably a move to a great medical hub like Philadelphia would help her recover. Liberty is a hard sell. Temple is not. A tremendous head coach who is only 57. Probably could convince him to unretire.

Mike MacIntyre–The former Temple assistant coach had San Jose State in the top 25 and was 10-2 before taking the Colorado job. McIntryre is probably a better fit in the G5 than he is in the P5 and is a helluva game day coach. Would work wonders with Temple talent. Understands Temple and winning. Could do a helluva lot worse than him (Fran Brown for instance).

The bottom line is that Temple has been playing a game of Russian Roulette by hiring assistant coaches over the past decade or so. Four clicks so far and the program is still alive. This six-shooter has only two chambers left and it only takes one bullet to kill the program.

Time to put the gun down and hire a proven head coach.

Monday: Fizzy Checks In On Coaching Search

Wednesday: 5 Questions Pat Kraft Should Be Asking

Friday: 5 Popular Guys, 5 Red Flags

Monday (12/17): Pros and Cons of The Collins’ Era