Rod Carey Hire: More Steak Than Sizzle

niu

Rod Carey celebrates the 2018 MAC title win over Buffalo one month ago.

One of my tailgate friends, a former Temple lineman named Ray “Big Cat” Haynes, had this selfie reaction shaking his head after watching his beloved Owls lose to Villanova a few months ago:

“What did I just see?”

Followed quickly by another selfie with this remark:

“I’ve seen the sizzle. I want the steak.”

done

Sizzle was all the accompanying window dressing Haynes saw during the game–like Money Down signs–steak was a win over a crosstown foe Temple needed so desperately to have that afternoon. The Owls were embarrassingly outcoached by Villanova and not a single Temple fan was happy that night.

With Temple hiring Rod Carey, the Owls get steak after a couple years of sizzle. He wasn’t my first choice (Chris Creighton of Eastern Michigan) or my second (Lance Leipold of Buffalo) but he definitely is a less-risky pick than any Power 5 coordinator out there. Even the guy who might have finished second, former Maryland head coach Matt Canada, got killed by Geoff Collins and Temple and that would have been a harder sell than Leipold, who actually did beat Collins and Temple.

happily

There were a lot of balls in the air that made this a difficult hire for Dr. Pat Kraft, the Temple AD. The disastrous hire of Manny Diaz left Kraft with three contracts to honor, then interim head coach Ed Foley, current interim HC Fran Brown and one of LB coach Gabe Infante. It might have been he could only get his fellow Indiana alumnus, Carey, to bail him out and agree to take those three onto the staff. We may never know but we do know those spots are guaranteed.

niuchamp

Hmm. Carey does something the great Geoff Collins was unable to, beat Buffalo

What we do know is the Owls are getting a ready-made FBS winning head coach for the first time since hiring Wayne Hardin in 1970 and that worked out pretty well (80-50-2). We also know that Temple is now Indiana East with 2000 grad Kraft and HC Carey (Class of 2003). Temple Chief Financial Officer Kevin Clark also served at Indiana in the same office of former Temple President Neal Theobald, who was CFO in Bloomington before taking the job as President of Temple University.

Carey is the most successful, in terms of winning percentage, head coach to be hired by Temple since the legendary Pop Warner in 1933. Temple followed the same formula by hiring Wayne Hardin in 1970 but abandoned it until now.

pophead

Temple’s best two football eras came by hiring guys who were successful head coaches at other big-time programs, as witnessed by the BOT’s putting their money where their mouths were here to hire Pop Warner.

College football is a little different now than it was then, and Hardin’s Navy record (38-22-2) was more impressive than Rod Carey’s 52-30 mark because it came against a higher level of competition. Hardin won a major bowl game and had Navy ranked as high as No. 2 once. That’s like present-day Temple hiring a current Power 5 coach who had his team ranked No. 2. Even though the Owls got a $6.5 million buyout windfall recently, the landscape of college football is not going to allow for a school like Temple to hire a Nick Saban or a Dabo Sweeney.

Temple now has the money to do what Power 5 schools almost exclusively do, though, hire successful FBS head coaches.

It says a lot about how far the Owls have come in that they are able to get an accomplished head coach rather than roll the dice on another unproven assistant. Mostly, they’ve been lucky enough to keep their heads above water since following the Al Golden model in 2005.

redacted

Golden did a superb job reviving the patient with CPR and left after nine- and eight-win seasons. The university then handed over the reins to Florida OC Steve Addazio, who used the Golden talent to go 9-4 with a bowl win. Temple dodged a bullet, though, when Boston College took Daz off Temple’s hands after a 4-7 season.

Then came Matt Rhule and a two-win learning curve season (with arguably six-win talent) and sizzle-more-than-steak Geoff Collins (15-10 a lot of learning curve losses and a subpar mostly FCS-level staff).

Now comes the steak of Carey and a more FBS-level staff. Only time will tell if it’s well-done but at least the chef has cooked something that tasted pretty good before.

Monday: The Presser

Wednesday: What Foley and Brown Should Be Telling Carey

Friday:  Coordinators and First-Year Losses

Monday (1/21): 5 Things We Won’t Miss About Mayhem

Wednesday (1/23): The No. 1 Recruiting Priority

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

 

The Cleanup Begins

Pat O’Connor (left) to Pat Kraft on Monday morning

My only living relative who cares so little about football she watched Star Trek reruns during the last Super Bowl,  listened to my Manny Diaz U-Turn story and said:

“What a fine mess that guy who hired him got Temple into. …”

neal

“That pretty much sums it up,” I said. “It’s a nuclear-type cleanup now.”

Diaz was the Chernobyl of college football coaching hires.  If my relative thinks it’s a mess, I’m pretty sure Temple Board Chairman Pat O’Connor and President Dick Englert and a lot of the other trustees think it’s a mess, too.

That’s not to mention our players and fans. In addition, anybody who recruits against Temple now has fruit so low-hanging to pick from it has fallen on the ground.

Now the cleanup begins.

You are going to see a lot of Pat Kraft defenders on the internet who say: “He could not have seen this coming” and “he can’t be blamed for this” but if I saw it coming the guy who gets paid the big bucks to do the hiring should have, too. This is what we wrote in a caption the day after Diaz was hired:

disclosure

This was written 20 days ago

The point is that this hire was Temple’s way of telling Miami “we’re going to train your next coach and, don’t worry, he will make all of the mistakes on our watch at our expense and, by the time we hand him off give him to you, he’ll be a polished guy.”


Diaz was the Chernobyl
of college football
coaching hires

Everything about this guy, from an entire career in warm-weather climates to the fact that his dad was the freaking Mayor of Miami screamed he was going back to Miami. One year, two years, seventeen days, what’s the difference? That should have all been factored into the Temple hire. If Temple is going to get a rental, get a ready-made one–a guy who can give this current very talented team a path to next year’s AAC title.

This is no time for a trainee.

payraise

This is the answer Geoff Collins gave in his Temple presser two years ago when asked if he was here to stay: “Every kid in there is going to know that I’m going to love them and there’s too much to do now in every moment to think about anything than what happens in the current moment.”

This is the answer Diaz gave at his presser: “All you can do is give them everything you have at the moment. You’ve got to work to improve every day, then go on to the next one.”

Anything sound familiar in those two comments?

Nothing about staying at Temple and building a winning legacy.  Those days might be over, but to achieve a championship now, the days of training rentals for other programs should be over. They should have been over three weeks ago.

Temple should go out and get a polished head coach who can give these fantastic returning players a championship in 2019. There’s a guy named Brown who can do it and it’s not Fran. It’s Neal. All he has done for Troy is do something Temple has never done–win 10 games three-straight years and beaten teams like LSU and Nebraska. Troy is paying him 1/3d of what Temple could and he would be worth every penny.

A 2019 AAC championship and an NY6 bowl would clean up a pretty big mess.

Thursday: Fizzy’s Corner

Saturday: The Slower Pace

 

Comical If Not So Sad

leipold

Lance Leipold is probably the best available head coach out there, but does Kraft know that?

Mulligans are usually associated with the game of golf, but Temple athletic director  Pat Kraft now has a chance to have that kind of do-over in football coaching searches.

He missed this most recent two-foot putt by a mile but this is a chance to correct his mistake.

worstthing

This is what we wrote 20 days ago and Kraft did exactly the worst thing–bring in another team’s coordinator.

The $6.5 million question now is whether he admits his hiring model was a flawed one or does he take this as an opportunity to create a new model?

Manny Diaz lasted all of 17 days as Temple football’s head coach and, frankly, I’m glad he’s gone. He was never a fit for Temple. The guy never coached North of Jacksonville, had no recruiting ties to the area and probably doesn’t even own an overcoat. Temple was going to train him to be Mark Richt’s successor for one year and he would move on to his “dream” job, Miami. He would make all the mistakes first-year head coaches make–all the ones that Matt Rhule made in a 2-10 season and Collins did in a 7-6 one–and the Temple fans and players would be the ones paying for it.

interstate

A busy day ahead for the Interstate sign company

Now Kraft will have to juggle several balls in the air with the $6.5 million buyout money ($2.5 million for Geoff Collins and $4 million for Diaz) and hope he can catch them all:

    • No more carpetbaggers. Kraft, in his message to the players last night, finally used the word “stability.”  That word has never appeared in his vocabulary before and it is a concession to the fact that this revolving door is getting comical if it wasn’t so sad. Is there someone out there who has not lost to Duke and Wake Forest by a combined score of 101-53 who feels that TEMPLE is his dream job? Surely that man exists.
    • Keep contractual obligations. Another ball that is difficult to catch. Temple has the names of Fran Brown and Gabe Infante (and probably Ed Foley) signed on the dotted line and the university has a moral duty to keep them onboard and find a next guy who can work with both. Moral duty may mean nothing to Diaz, but it should mean something to Temple.
    • Forget coordinators.  Both Foley, who lost to Wake and Duke by the above-mentioned 101-53, and Fran Brown are good men who may consider Temple their “dream job” but neither has won a single game as an FBS head coach and probably are not ready for prime time. Nonetheless, we don’t want to learn the hard way.

It is time for Temple to finally bring in an established head coach and not another coordinator to have to learn on the job, someone who will bring some stability to the program and has loyalty to Temple.

stability

Al Golden said on national TV Temple TUFF is spelled T-U-F-F (and it is)

 

That would probably rule out a terrific head coach like FIU’s Butch Davis, who will probably spend his entire year here looking out the window. Buffalo’s Lance Leipold parlayed a 108-6 record at Wisconsin-Whitewater and six national championships (real ones, not fake ones like they have in FBS) into a 10-4 record with the Bulls and is ridiculously underpaid at $325K. Can he be talked into keeping Foley, Brown and Infante, guys who he never met? Waving a couple of million at a guy like that can be convincing. Nothing would scare the shit out of Geoff Collins more than facing the guy who kicked his ass last September at Lincoln Financial Field this September at LFF. He’s a perfect geographical fit for Temple in that Buffalo is a major Northeastern city like Philadelphia. He probably owns several overcoats.

disclosure

… and this is what we wrote 18 days ago

Al Golden is a guy who knows Temple and loves Temple and HAS PROVEN HE CAN WIN AS A HEAD COACH AT TEMPLE and would get along with Foley, Brown, and Infante and deserves a hard pursuit by Kraft. He gave Temple five terrific years, is still young and probably knows more than anyone else that the grass is not greener on the other side of the 10th and Diamond fence.

Todd Bowles would be a good co-defensive coordinator for Fran Brown to learn from but I’m told his lack of a Temple (or any other) college degree ruled him out of the coaching search in 2010.

The worst thing, though, would be for Kraft to go back and churn the coordinator pile of guys like Mike Elko and Don Brown and come up with a guy whose dream job is elsewhere.

Other people’s dreams are Temple’s nightmares.

New Year’s Day: The Cleanup Begins

Friday: The Pace

Moving parts and the Temple football coaching search

patkraft

The worst thing Pat Kraft could do for Temple is to bring in another team’s coordinator

More than any other recent hire, Temple athletic director Pat Kraft has a lot of moving parts to deal with in his search for a Temple football coach.

At times this week, he’s got to feel like one of those contestants in that Lincoln Financial Field shell game–find the Owl under the football helmet as the helmets jump all over the place.

statement

The most important sentence is underlined

The moving parts existing now were not necessarily there the last time.

This team coming back is POTENTIALLY a great team, losing 19 seniors but only a handful of those seniors played key roles and, the ones who did, have backups that can easily replace them. (Just one example is losing receivers like Ventell Byrant and Brodrick Yancy but having upside guys like Branden Mack and Sean Ryan coming back.)

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

Nothing will continue this train moving forward than two things: 1) a guy who has been a head coach before and doesn’t have to learn to be a head coach on the job or 2) a guy who is familiar with the talent at hand and how to use it.

Is there a guy out there who possesses BOTH important qualities?


The time for bringing
in a coordinator who
has to learn how to
be another team’s
head coach on Temple’s
dime at the expense
of the Temple kids
should be over

Winning now should be the most important thing and, Kraft has to be thinking if he hires the Texas A&M coordinator, the Alabama coordinator or the Miami coordinator winning now becomes more difficult. At least that’s what I hope he is thinking.

So, the moving part, in that case, is that you don’t want to hire a guy who is new to the team and takes a year to figure out the relative merits of both the personnel and the ideal offensive and defensive schemes that fit, you risk taking a team with 10-12-win potential down to a six-win (or worse) season.

Basically, that’s what happened in Geoff Collins’ first year. His learning curve was too steep and Temple gave up a free year so a coach could learn both on our dime and our time how to be Georgia Tech’s head coach. The bottom line is Temple got one good year out of a two-year, $4 million investment.

Finding a guy who has been a head coach before and who at least as a rudimentary concept of the current Temple talent probably is the best way to go. Buffalo’s Lance Leipold, who studied Owl film the week before he was able to devise a way to beat them, seems to have all of the moving parts. You can’t go wrong hiring a guy like that.

Failing that, Ed Foley–who was a head coach before (albeit a losing one) and understands the Temple talent and how to use it–probably would be a safe choice. Fran Brown would be less safe, but more welcome in the clubhouse than some big-time team’s coordinator.  The time for bringing in a coordinator who has to learn how to be another team’s head coach on Temple’s dime at the expense of the Temple kids should be over.

This time, finding the guy who maximizes the talent currently on the team should be the way to go.

Otherwise, Temple football will be someone else’s Guinea pig and finding a pig under the helmet instead of an Owl won’t get you that Jumbotron Prize pack.

Thursday: How Manny Diaz Wins The Press Conference

Friday: Fizzy’s Thoughts on Temple’s Overall Situation

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.

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

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

 

Can Temple Screw This Up?

manziel

John DeFilippo’s  major claim to fame is making Johnny Manziel the man he is today.

Plunking down $2 for my Sunday paper, I fully expected to read an update on the Temple football coaching search only to see a Flyers’ story, an Eagles’ story and a James Franklin story on the sports cover.

No problem. Surely, there must be a big splash on the upcoming Temple football hiring on the inside.

The second page had a full page on skating—yes, skating—while the third page was all Villanova basketball. The fourth page was all Phillies, the fifth page another full page on Penn State football, the sixth page Army-Navy and the seventh page Sixers.

Three more Eagles’ pages followed, plus another Flyers’ page before the sports section closed out with high school coverage. I could have used one less Penn State football page and maybe one less Flyers’ page in order to squeeze some Temple football news in, but hey, they don’t want my business.

Talk about a wasted $2.


… we should all know by Alumni Tent
time at the bowl game who the next
Temple head coach will be. It should
be a big enough name who is able to
sell 2017 season tickets, not a guy
who should be working at the
Will Call window.

To get my Temple coaching fix, I had to go online and the first thing that greeted me was this headline: “Temple Has Contacted Eagles’ QB Coach About Head-Coaching Job.”

Surely, this had to be from The Onion. It could not have been real but, upon opening the link, it came from Philly.com and the quarterbacks’ coach is John DeFilippo. Temple AD Pat Kraft is a busy man these days and he certainly does not have time to be contacting Eagles’ QB coaches about what should be the top job in the AAC. Before being the Eagles’ QB coach, DeFilippo was the QB coach with the Cleveland Browns when Johnny Manziel was there. Other stories online talk about Houston hiring Major Applewhite and South Florida hiring Charlie Strong.

The last four Temple coaches were all hired between Dec. 6-23, which means we should all know by Alumni Tent time at the bowl game who the next Temple head coach will be. It should be a big enough name who is able to sell 2017 season tickets, not a guy who should be working at the Will Call window.

That got me thinking: Could Temple screw this up?

It certainly can. Not on purpose, but if it Kraft wastes valuable time on things like this it is certainly not a good sign. Temple should be contacting the Detroit Lions’ tight ends’ coach, not the Eagles’ QB coach. Temple should be zeroing in on guys with a long track record of winning as a head coach on the college level, not a guy who has had 10 jobs in 11 years. Let’s hope it’s a case of DeFilippo contacting Temple and Temple saying, “Don’t call us; we’ll call you.”

If it isn’t, we’re all in trouble.

Wednesday: Learning From History

Quintessential Acres of Diamonds’ Story

russell

When Dr. Pat Kraft approaches the podium to introduce the next Temple University football coach in a week or two, he could have a terrific Russell Conwell-type story to tell.

Conwell, the founder of Temple University, wrote the book “Acres of Diamonds” about a man who searched the world for riches only to find them in his own backyard. It has become the backbone of the Temple mission with the moral of the story being that education is the key to finding your own personal wealth.

Kraft already has a list and he is checking it twice and only one man checks all the boxes and his return to Temple would be the quintessential Acres of Diamonds story. Like any good shopping list, it is always helpful to know what you are looking for and not wander around the store aimlessly and, to that end, Kraft has already noted some boxes he wants to check off. In that presser, Kraft said the next Temple coach will have to in no particular order, understand Temple’s mission; value academics; be the right fit, be a great person and be able to win here.

Some candidates have emerged in the media, while others have been mentioned to have sent out feelers behind the scenes. Of those two groups, only one—former Temple head coach Al Golden—checks off all of those boxes. Golden searched the world for riches after Temple, and just might find his Acres of Diamonds were in his old backyard all along.

Unless God called Nick Saban and told him to take a $5 million pay cut to take the Temple challenge, these are the top candidates:


When it comes to the most important
criteria “being able to win at
Temple” every other coach is a
crapshoot. Golden has proven
he can win at Temple

AL GOLDEN (A+, exemplarily)–Golden is really the only guy who fits all of Kraft’s stated criteria. He took Temple out of NCAA academic sanctions caused by Bobby Wallace and had the football team among the nation’s leaders in APR. He also checks off some important boxes Kraft did not mention, like keeping the continuity of the program. Temple plays with a certain Temple TUFFness and that was a style Golden, not Matt Rhule, implemented. The Temple team fans see under Golden will be much like the one they see now, with a heavy emphasis on defense, running the football, and play-action passing. Plus, he knows the landscape and will be able to keep coaches he brought here, like George DeLeone, Adam DiMichele and Ed Foley, among others. When it comes to the most important criteria “being able to win at Temple” every other coach is a crapshoot. Golden has proven he can win at Temple. He also went 32-25 under brutal sanctions at Miami, sanctions that do not exist at Temple. We hear he is interested and could get out of his contract as TE coach with the Detroit Lions to take the job right away. He is an extremely competitive guy, eager to prove that he can do better with Temple talent than Matt Rhule did. He, above all other candidates, realizes that the grass is not always greener on the other side of the 10th and Diamond fence. He would have to assure Temple fans on the day he is hired that he is here to stay this time. If he’s willing to make that commitment, hire him.

boxes

The Rest, ranked A (excellent), B (good), C (average), D (unsatisfactory) and F (don’t even think about it):

JOE MOORHEAD, P.J. FLECK  and BOBBY WILDER (A, excellent).– If you ignore Kraft’s other criteria and cut to the chase on these three, they fit the mold of being proven winners. Kraft can sell Moorhead to Temple fans as someone who was able to beat Matt Rhule with FCS talent. Wilder is 66-30 as a head coach at Old Dominion, a truly remarkable record in that ODU is a start-up FBS program. ODU has also offered some of the Owls’ current recruits and Wilder has won several recruiting battles with Rhule already.  Fleck, the Western Michigan coach, is headed to bigger and better things, but P5 openings are running out and he could be attracted to Temple. If the Owls can grab him for a year or two, he will fit Kraft’s “best coach available” checkmark. Despite being in negotiations with WMU on an extension, he certainly deserves a phone call.

TODD BOWLES (B, good)—This only works if the New York Jets fire Bowles in the next week or so and that is doubtful. Bowles is really the only “Temple guy” with winning head coaching experience—he was 10-6 with the Jets last year with a journeyman quarterback–but will be able to pack his staff with extremely qualified Temple guys who understand the Owls’ mission, including Nick Rapone (defensive coordinator), Todd McNair (offensive coordinator), Keith Armstrong (special teams) and Kevin Ross (defensive backs). He would be a solid choice if things break right. McNair and Rapone are already proven recruiters. I understand Temple fans wanting Temple coaches like WMU assistant Kirk Ciarrocca to come to the Owls, but Temple should by now have reached a point where it does not have to hire a MAC assistant coach to be its head coach. If Temple is going to hire a MAC coach, it better be a MAC head coach. Really, of all the coaches with Temple connections, only Bowles has shown he is qualified to be a head coach. Aside to Temple fans thinking a “Temple guy” is more likely to stay. Willie Taggart is a Western Kentucky grad and he quit there to go to USF and now Oregon.

PHIL SNOW (C, satisfactory)—If Kraft has to listen to the players, he could do worse than Snow as a placeholder until the next proven head coaching winner comes along. Snow could stop the bleeding of staff members to Waco, Texas, a God-forsaken place we cannot imagine a whole lot of Temple coaches want to put down roots. He would at least keep the defense in good shape. He, for instance, will know Jacob Martin and Sharif Finch are next year’s starting DEs with Karamo Dioubate, Greg Webb and Freddy Booth-Lloyd holding down the middle. He might even make Nick Sharga’s next year’s Bednarik winner as college football’s next 60-minute man (starting fullback, starting linebacker). At first, I hated the idea. Now, if he keeps Foley from being the face of Temple football, that might not be a bad thing. Snow is great with the media, but I would only go with Snow if the A and B candidates fell through.

GREG SCHIANO AND CHARLIE STRONG (D, not passing the eye test)—Two guys who got it done elsewhere, but Strong has never recruited this area and Schiano strikes me as a snake oil salesman. Temple people can sniff out those types right away. Strong might be a good fit at Louisville, but it doesn’t mean he’s a good fit at Texas or Temple. Plus, he’s probably headed to USF anyway.

ED FOLEY , JOHN DONOVAN (F, no thanks)—Some guys have muckers and career assistants written on their foreheads and Foley is one of the best of them. He’s a good detail guy who is popular with the players. Can he be the face of the program? Err, no, but we hope he joins the staff of Al Golden, Joe Moorhead, Todd Bowles or Phil Snow to ease the transition and keep singing “High Hopes” after wins. Donovan is the “quality control” coach with the Jacksonville Jaguars. His major claim to fame is being the OC who fell victim to 10 Temple sacks on 9/5/15, a day that will live in Penn State infamy. You’ve got to be kidding me with that name.

Monday: Can Temple Screw This Up?

Finished Business?

fordhamfoley

Not the best day in Fordham football history.

The only way Temple football makes the sports talk radio rounds is if something negative happens to the program.

When the bus from Annapolis on Saturday night dropped me off at the Liacouras Center, I made my way to the parking garage and turned on the radio eager in anticipation of some Temple love coming on 97.5. Instead, all they talked about was Matt Rhule possibly leaving.

That wasn’t the only time in the span of a couple days that sports talk radio about Temple football caused me to shake my head.

That happened on Monday and a former Boston College quarterback named Glenn Foley called in to assure Owl Nation that not all was lost.

“Nothing bad is going to happen, Owl fans,” Foley said. “The program is still going to continue to win and, if they hire my brother, he will do a great job.”

With all due respect, Glenn, a hire like your brother is EXACTLY what I’m afraid of happening at this point. Some people are career lifetime assistant coaches and some people have head coaching stardom written all over them. Foley is the former and definitely not the latter.


I will say this in all seriousness:
If Temple hires Ed Foley or any other
unproven assistant coach with no
winning head coaching
experience, we’re going to pack
it in for Temple Football Forever
and end the website on the day
of the announcement

The best thing I can say about him is that he is a helluva nice guy and sings a mean version of high hopes.

The fairest thing to say about him is that he is not qualified to be head coach at Temple University.

Let’s open up the record books and examine that head coaching record, which is 7-15 over two years, 2004 and 2005.

Before Foley took the head coaching job, a guy named Dave Clawson went 10-3 and 9-3 in the two years prior. After that, Foley went 5-6 and 2-9. Clawson will coach Wake Forest against Foley in the Military Bowl. Joe Moorhead, who coached Fordham between 2012 and 2015, went 12-2 and 11-3 in his two best years there.

So you have a guy in Foley who couldn’t get it done from a head coaching perspective at Fordham sandwiched between a couple of guys who had enormous success at the same institution.

I understand Glenn is family and he has got to stick up for his brother, but Temple has got to look at the cold, hard facts and say no to a permanent Ed Foley candidacy. Now Ed would be great to join a possible Al Golden staff with George DeLeone and Adam DiMichele, but he is not cut out to be a head coach.

I will say this in all seriousness: If Temple hires Ed Foley or any other unproven assistant coach with no winning head coaching experience, we’re going to pack it in for Temple Football Forever and end the website on the day of the announcement. There will just not be any point in going on and providing a forum to discuss Temple football with that bleak backdrop facing it. This hire is going to have to have some juice and it will have to be a guy with a history of winning seasons for multiple years as a head coach. There are plenty of such candidates out there who want to coach at Temple and will hit the ground running.

One has even proven he could win as a head coach at Temple.

Coaches like Al Golden, current Old Dominion head coach Bobby Wilder, Moorhead and former FIU head coach Mario Cristobal certainly have those qualifications. From what we hear, all of them would love the opportunity. Guys like Ed Foley do not possess the minimum requirement of winning head coaching experience, no matter how much love he gets from his brother on the radio.

Saturday: Rating The Candidates From A to F