At Temple, the grass is always greener inside the fence

For Boston Red Sox fans, the Cloud that hovers over them is the Curse of the Bambino.

For Temple football players who have left via the portal, it’s the Curse of Temple.

There are a few high-profile examples. Leaving Temple has not turned out well for any high-profile player. Take the case of Jadan Blue for instance.

Blue left Temple despite needing only four receptions to tie all-time leading receiver Ventell Bryant (173). At Temple, he held the single-season (95) receiving record.

At Virginia Tech, Blue could only get 10 receptions for the entire season. That’s three fewer receptions than he got in a 2020 game at Memphis. Bad move.

Somebody needs to tell

ABC they forgot a team

Sometimes staying home is the right thing to do.

At Temple, it’s almost always the right thing to do.

All over college football players are entering the portal with the notion the grass is greener on the other side of the fence. It seldom is because there are way more players than the scholarships available and you are leaving a guaranteed scholarship at your place with no guarantee of getting one elsewhere.

Plus, there is The Temple Curse.

The Temple curse isn’t as deep as the Bambino, but it’s just as evident. Boston’s baseball team hasn’t been to the World Series in consecutive years since 1915-16, winning both times (including beating the Phillies once). Babe Ruth, in the early stages of his career as MLB’s first great power hitter, won 41 games as a pitcher for those two clubs.

After that, he was traded to the Yankees and the Boston team fell into oblivion for most of the last century.

While that curse has mostly affected Boston fans, this one has affected mostly Temple players who have left.

“You all stay in this thing, man.”

Quincy Roche was the AAC Defensive Player of the Year and was projected by NFL experts as a fourth-round pick if he left Temple for the NFL after his junior season. Instead, he wanted to raise his profile at Miami and it backfired as he finished 2020 as a backup for Manny Diaz and was drafted in the sixth round which cost him some money. In fact, the best move for Roche might have been to remain at Temple, repeat as league MVP, and then move up a tick or two in the draft. Leaving Temple hurt Roche, not helped him.

Quarterback Anthony Russo was virtually assured of setting all of the all-time passing marks at Temple had he remained for his senior season but left for Michigan State instead. The best he could do was ride the pine behind Payton Thorne and entered only one game for an extended period all season, against Youngstown State.

There were extenuating circumstances for the above guys and they could not be blamed for leaving because they hated Rod Carey.

However, the portal was meant for backups, not starters, and starters who have left Temple never had the production elsewhere they did while wearing Cherry and White.

There is no Carey to hate now and plenty of evidence that the grass is not greener on the other side of the Edberg-Olson fence.

Friday (12/9): Algorithms and Priorities

Monday: (12/12): Targets

Friday (12/16): Next man up?


So far, only the shouting is over


That saying “it’s all over but the shouting” takes on a new meaning this fall.

Football might not be over, but the shouting could be.

Yesterday, the office of Gov. Tom Wolf said many college and professional teams have submitted plans to ask for a waiver to allow fans to attend.

Got to think that Temple, Pitt, and Penn State (along with the Eagles and Steelers) were among those teams.


Before social distancing …

Right now, I think there will be a season but it could be anything from “made for TV only” to a fan limit that would ensure social distancing.

Anecdotally, I’ve been going to supermarkets and other places enforcing social distancing and wearing masks. If it can work since March for those places, similar protocols should be able to enforce at Temple games.


Not so much. I guess it could work if they could figure out a way to limit the attendance to 20K, but I don’t know how they can do it without disaffecting a lot of loyal season ticket-holders.

Now back to the shouting part.

It’s going to be hard to cheer for the Owls through those darn masks so improvising and adjusting could be the order of the day. Disposable gloves and pounding on the seats could provide some sort of home-field advantage.

Looks like the opener at Miami won’t get played because those cheaters (stealing Manny Diaz and Quincy Roche, for starters) have been hit hard by back luck (see above video). Don’t wish that on them, but was never keen on the Owls having to face Roche again and really disappointed that he chose to play for a 2020 opponent of the Owls so I will shed no tear if that game is canceled.

I will if the other games are canceled, particularly if protocols that satisfy the science can be followed.

If you can go to a store wearing a mask, gloves and stand on those markers six feet apart, there should be a way to do the same for 20K fans in a 70K stadium.

I have my doubts but college football and pro football are buying time to figure this thing out. Even if it’s just on TV, I will take it. If that means the shouting is over, too, that’s a price we will have to pay for a season.

Monday: A Revamped AAC Schedule


2020: A hard year to be a college football fan


Barbara Walters used to say: “This is 2020.”

The signature line to the ABC news show could be used halfway through the new decade today with one caveat: “This is 2020. The end of college football as we know it.”

The second sentence is important today specifically to Temple football fans because of the happenings of the last month or so and how it impacts the year ahead. Not only did Temple football fans get kicked in the stomach by a 55-13 loss to North Carolina (a game that they were only a 6-point underdog), they then got punched in the head a few days later when AAC Defensive Player of the Year Quincy Roche announced he was leaving not for the NFL but for another school. Hard to believe Harry (Donahue) that Roche figured he’d have a better chance to be drafted higher if he went to another school after Temple had two recent defensive linemen (Mo Wilkerson and Haason Reddick) drafted in the first round.

Then, just a few days ago, capable backup quarterback Toddy “Touchdown” Centeio also announced that he was also going to another school. First-string quarterback Anthony Russo has referred to Centeio as his “broski” but maybe Centeio’s departure will force head coach Rod Carey to abandon this ill-fitting read-option offense for one more suited to Russo’s talents. I doubt it. Losing Centeio was not a plus.

Kicked in the stomach, punched in the face and then kneed to the groin is pretty much how it feels.

The worst was Roche, a Temple alumnus. Can’t imagine him showing up at the tailgates in a few years here. Maybe he will show up at those of the next team. It’s kind of a wash considering I thought he’d go to the NFL, but this is a worst-case scenario I could not even imagine on the day when the Owls played UNC.


This is pretty much how college football has changed in the last decade. Before 2010, a Temple fan could pretty much pick their favorite players (actually mine were all 85 guys suiting up on game days) and follow them through four years at Temple. Senior Day was always a sad occasion but it was offset by the fact that a new group was coming in every year.

Now we’re not even sure of a decent Senior Day anymore. Roche never had his year, nor did center Matt Hennessy. Centeio invested so much in the program he deserved one as well. A lot of it is understandable. Many of these kids had to go through three coaching staffs and their thought process has to be if it is a business for the coaches, it can be a business for the players.

Still, as fans, it’s really not fair and that doesn’t apply to just Temple. Almost all of the other “Group of Five” schools are adversely affected by the transfer portal and it doesn’t figure to get any better any time soon. Group of Five schools that recruited and developed players now face the prospect of developing them for Power Five schools. If Quincy Roche and Todd Centeio can leave Temple for other schools, will, say, Kenny Gainwell leave Memphis for LSU or some similar school?

Doesn’t seem to be fair to the fans, who either can’t or have no desire to cheer for anyone else. It would be a good story for 20/20.

Or 60 Minutes.

Monday: Red Flags

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


For Temple, All-American Game Week


All you need to know about the football game Temple University will be participating in on Friday is that there is the potential for at least three first-team All-Americans to take the field one last time this season.

And that’s just for Temple.

Screenshot 2019-12-22 at 9.15.50 PM

Annapolis weather is 55 with sun and clouds on Friday

Sam Howell, the current North Carolina quarterback, probably has a pretty good chance in the next year or two as well as do two of their linebackers.

There’s no doubt in my mind that if both defensive end Quincy Roche and center Matt Hennessy stay at the university for one more year, they will both move up from second-team All-Americans (USA Today’s Pro Football Focus team) to a more consensus first-team next season. That is a decision that’s up to them but a career is all about memories and legacy and Temple having two first-team All-Americans would be something extra special for each of those guys to carry through for their lifetimes.

Either way, they are both first-team All-Americans in my mind and Friday represents at least one more chance for this Temple fan to see them play.


To me, it would make sense for both to stay and not just because I’m a Temple fan. Neither player is projected above the third round and the real money and job security comes with being either a first- or second-round pick. No doubt in my mind a first-team All-American is a first- or second-round pick.

There is a huge risk involved in leaving early, as Buffalo quarterback Tyree Jackson found out last year. He was an undrafted free agent, cut and his football career is over. Jackson was the MAC offensive player of the year while leading Buffalo to a 10-4 season after he threw for 3,131 yards with 28 touchdowns and 12 interceptions while completing 55 percent of his passes. Jackson also ran for 161 yards and seven touchdowns. Had he stayed at Buffalo, he would have been able to refine his game and move up on the NFL draft charts and had a much better chance to stick.

Screenshot 2019-12-22 at 12.04.18 PM

That leaves the third Temple first-team All-American: Wide receiver Jadan Blue. There’s every reason to believe that with Anthony Russo here still dropping dimes to him, Blue can break all of the career and single-season Temple receiving records and, with that, become a first-team All-American as well. Blue already has the single-season Temple mark for catches with 80 this season, breaking Zamir Cobb’s mark of 74 set in an otherwise forgettable 2003 season. (For his first two years here, Zamir was known as “Charlie Cobb.”) Blue is within the range of Temple records for all-time yardage, receptions and touchdown catches and should literally grab those three marks next season.

If Hennessy and Roche join him for one more season of fun, the Owls will probably go into the season as the favorite to win the AAC and give Temple a real shot at three first-team All-Americans.

For Temple, it could be the difference between another 8-4 season and a 12-0 one.

Wednesday: Merry Christmas

Thursday: Game Preview

Saturday: Game Analysis


Fizzy Closes the Book on Tulane

Screenshot 2019-11-17 at 1.14.09 PM

This is the Temple coverage page that was supposed to make it into the print editions but did not due to a “production glitz.”

By Dave (Fizzy) Weinraub

[Before we review, be advised that those who get the Inquirer found absolutely no coverage of the game. If you’d like to write a nasty letter, go to My letter is already there.]

Before the season started, I was asked to predict our record for 2019. Looking over a tough schedule coupled with a new coaching staff, I thought 6-6 would be the final result. I’m so pleased to be wrong. We’re now 7-3 with the possibility of more wins.

However, does that mean we should do the mummer’s strut down Broad Street? Not yet!  There’s lots of room for improvement. And as the newspapers usually give an excellent account of what happened and who starred in the game, I like to take an in-depth look at the coaching decisions.

Obviously, our defense was terrific. The “Wild Boys,” as they call themselves, were the main reason we held on to the victory. Lead by Quincy Roche, they terrorized the very talented Tulane QB, who became quite nervous as the game continued. He was not only nervous but also quite agitated at the two or three times Temple should have been called for late hits, after he threw the ball. And that’s my first comment. If those penalties had been called, they might have affected the outcome of the game. Add to those uncalled penalties, were the three after the whistle unsportsmanlike calls for 15 yards apiece. One of our guys even reached over the shoulder of a ref to push his adversary. I don’t have any stats, but I’m sure we are among the most penalized teams in the league. The coaching staff has to find a way to tame the guys. This was the 10th game and the penalties haven’t stopped. Maybe our tough guys need some sensitivity training.

I try to stay away from criticizing the official’s calls, as they usually even out. They did on Saturday, as the referees who didn’t make the roughing the passer calls on Temple, also didn’t call the numerous ‘holding’ infractions by the Tulane offensive line. So there!

Screenshot 2019-11-17 at 6.17.26 PM

I’ve previously been remiss in not mentioning our end-of the-half play calling. Yesterday was at least the second time, and possibly the third, we’ve had the ball in reasonably good field position with over two minutes left on the clock, and a small lead. And what did we do with these opportunities? Well, we basically got really conservative and ran out the clock. Yesterday, Tulane had enough time to get downfield and almost score. What is our offensive coordinator thinking? We had the wind. Throw the ball downfield and put the game away.

Similarly, we did the same chicken-shit play calling in our last possession and it almost led to a possible tying score by Tulane.

Now, back again to the first-and-goal calls. We had to kick three field goals because we couldn’t score. Two times we had first-and-goal. I would like to point out that first down in this situation is the only time you can truly fool the defense. That’s because the following calls are based on what happened on first down. So if you’re going to fool the defense, the first down play is most important. In the past, we’ve always run-up-the gut on one and sometimes two plays. Yesterday, we ran up-the-gut on the first occasion, but not on the second. However, all the passes on both series of downs were direct throws with no play fakes. That’s dumb. I could offer any number of terrific plays that make great use of faking to a running back in that situation, and they should happen on first down.

I still don’t understand why Russo doesn’t run more. He mentioned before the season started that he was thrilled with the offense because there were so many RPO’s attached to the plays. So why doesn’t he keep the ball? There were so many times he could have had considerable yardage.

I can’t stop without a defensive comment. Tulane walked in for a score based on two successive running plays. The first running play had a hole so big Santa Clause could have scored. So what did we do on the next play when they had first and goal? We lined up in the same defense – so they ran the same play and strolled into the end zone. How could we not go into a gap defense on the goal line?

This past week a local sports-writer called me grumpy. Okay, so here’s a story.

I was not paying attention while I was driving, and tapped a guy’s bumper at a red light. When he came out, I was embarrassed because he was a dwarf. When he saw a small dent, he said, “I’m not happy!” To which I replied, “Well which one are you?”

Thursday: Hazard Warning