The reaction: Admiration but not respect (yet)

 Regarding visual artistry, no one quite matches Temple University’s official team photographer, Zamani Feelings. The guy shoots from different angles and gets shots no one else does that are pretty breathtaking.

Telling a story, though, the champion is a fan in the stands and former Temple player Mike Edwards.

When the entire fan base was wondering if junior running back Bernard “The Franchise” Pierce would be coming back for his senior season (which would have been in 2012), a shot Edwards took captured the moment and removed all doubt.

The pre-game discussion about Pierce in the tailgates was split. Half of the guys thought had he come back for his senior year at Temple he would earn first-round money the next season. The other half said Pierce needed the third-round money now. Nobody thought he’d be higher than a third-round pick if he left after his junior year so we were looking at keys to his intentions and we got it later that day.

Pierce went over to then-head coach Steve Addazio and hugged him as if to say his Temple home career was over. Daz wasn’t happy and went out and convinced ACC Preseason Player of the Year Montel Harris to transfer to Temple in an attempt to replace the production of an NFL third-round choice.

Harris was the last Temple player to do what Edward Saydee did in a 54-28 win over USF: Gain almost a quarter of a mile on the ground. In 2012 at Army, Harris went for a school-record 351 yards and seven touchdowns in a 63-32 win.

Saydee didn’t reach that number, but getting 265 and three touchdowns was pretty darn good. On Saturday, Edwards captured the pretty neat photo at the top of this post.

So many stories in that one photo. 1) Saydee leaving both teams in the dust; 2) Adonicas Sanders way in the back with his finger in the air; 3) Isaac Moore celebrating a job well done with a block; 4) Stan Drayton reliving his All-American running back past by running for the touchdown, too; 5) A vertically challenged person holding what looks like a medical bag on the sideline (presumably oxygen for Saydee); 6) the smiles of the Temple players on the sideline.

That pretty much seems up the Temple reaction in one snapshot. As Henrik Ibsen first said, a picture is worth a thousand words.

The outside reaction, though, was somewhat less impressive. One UCF fan offered his congratulations and said he “admired” the Owls because they tried hard in a 70-13 loss.

Vegas, though, has not shown respect just yet.

If you thought the win over USF might bring down the point spread for Saturday’s game at Houston to low double digits (which I did before I checked), you’d be mistaken. Houston opened as a 20-point favorite despite having a defense that gave up 77 points on the same day Temple dropped a 54-burger on USF.

The message was loud and clear. The nation does not respect Temple quite yet and the Owls are going to have to go out and get it.

Just like Daz got Montel Harris.

Friday: Houston Preview


Throwback Thursday: Fighting Fire With Fire

Things We Have That Army Doesn’t: Swag, Juice, Money Down, #The Standard; … Things Army Has That We Don’t: Five Wins


If the Owls follow the 2012 blueprint of run-heavy on Saturday, they could be doing this post-game at West Point.

Very few civilians living in California today would say this, but the professional firefighters know the best way to fight fire is with fire.

It’s called a backfire and has often stopped wildfires faster than gobs of water have.

Temple fans know all about the backfire Steve Addazio set to stop Army’s wildfire triple option in 2012.

Montel Harris, Nate Combs

My all-time favorite Temple post-game photo, then Army captain (now Ft. Hood Texas Major) Nate Combs congratulating Montel Harris for his 351-yard, seven-touchdown, game.

His name was Montel Harris.

Harris at the time was splitting duties with Matty Brown but when the Bug (of Bernie and the Bug fame) went down with an injury after scoring a pair of first-quarter rushing touchdowns, Harris had to carry the load and what a load he carried.

When it was all over, Harris set a Temple single-game record with 351 rushing yards and scored seven—that’s right, seven—touchdowns.

Quarterback Clinton “Juice” Granger was largely a game manager that afternoon in West Point, throwing only five passes in a 63-32 win over Army.

The pass-happy coaches
at Temple now might do
well learning from that
experience as they have
two really good tailbacks
(three, if you count
Isaiah Wright and they
apparently are not aware
of the fact that Wright
was a good tailback
for Matt Rhule)

The pass-happy coaches at Temple now might do well learning from that experience as they have two really good tailbacks (three, if you count Isaiah Wright and they apparently are not aware of the fact that Wright was a good tailback for Matt Rhule) and probably the best blocking fullback in Temple history, Nick Sharga.

Last week, in a 28-27 win over Eastern Michigan, Army rushed for 417 yards as a team and held the ball for over 37 minutes despite not completing a single pass. They threw as many passes last week as the Owls did in that 63-32 win. Five.

If the Owls repeat history, throw only five passes, and gain 417 yards on the ground, you’ve got to like their chances again on Saturday. Hell, a now fully healthy Ryquell Armstead even might be able to run for 351 but, if Hood, Armstead and Wright combine for 417, that will probably be more than enough. Run the ball, eat the clock, throw the rare pass to keep them off balance and the Owls might just do what Army did a week ago in controlling 37 of the game’s 60 minutes. That would keep the triple option off the field for at least that much time. That’s fighting fire with fire.

They might even go the full Monty (Harris?) and fight fire with fire by starting another game manager quarterback who goes by the nickname of Juice and run those tailbacks behind Nick Sharga left, right and up the middle all day. At least that’s the type of game plan devised by some remnants of a national championship coaching staff at Florida coming off a bowl win in their first season at Temple. In 2011, that staff took a team with less talent than this team has now and won nine games.

With this staff, though, don’t hold your breath.

Saturday: Stacking The Box.