Not what we’re waiting for, but a home run hire nonetheless

Tyree Foreman talks to current CBS radio host Zach Gelb.

Right about now, most Temple sports fans are holding their breaths waiting for a home run head basketball coaching hire from relatively new athletic director Arthur Johnson.

A big name like Dawn Staley, Rodney Terry (if he falls through the cracks at Texas) or John Beilein probably clears that fence and gets everyone standing at the Howard Gittis Room press conference in a couple of days.

Most people, though, expect a flair to right field in the form of an unknown assistant coach. There aren’t many triples, doubles, or even hard-hit singles out there for Johnson to choose from. A bloop “Texas Leaguer” beyond the reach of a retreating infielder might be one of Terry’s assistant coaches and that’s what I’m expecting right now.

That would elicit a mild golf clap at the Howard Gittis room introduction and not the standing ovation everyone wants to see.

When the name is announced expect a “Who?” and not a “Wow!”

Across campus, Stan Drayton put his head down, dug those cleats into the dirt and laid into a fastball for a home run hire.

We’re not talking about his new defensive coordinator Everett Withers, who hemorrhaged points everywhere he was head of the defense.

We’re talking about new running backs coach Tyree Foreman.

Why is that hiring so important?

Bernard Piece thrived under Foreman.

Simply because the Owls performed woefully in the running game area last year. They were last of 131 teams in run-game efficiency.

That they have a new coach indicates they will go nowhere but up.

Foreman’s history shows way up.

If that name sounds familiar, it should. Foreman previously coached at Temple from 2007-2014 (longer than any head coach of the Owls in that same time frame).

Foreman comes off four seasons at Towson.

Before Towson, Foreman spent two years at Tennessee Tech, working with the running backs and the tight ends. He was the offensive coordinator and associate head coach in 2017 and was acting head coach at the end of the year. 

More important was what Foreman did in this same job.

In his first time at Temple, he coached many high-profile running backs from 2007-14 and guided the special teams’ units from 2013-14.

After scoring 7 touchdowns and gaining 351 yards, Temple running back Montel Harris tells Army captain Nate Coombs that it wasn’t him, it was Tyree Foreman’s coaching.

Kenny Harper and Jahad Thomas were his most recent good running backs here and those special teams were pretty good, too, finishing the season ranked No. 7 in ST efficiency. Under Foreman, who Owls were No. 1 in the nation in blocked punts, first in opponents (poor) punting, seventh in blocked kicks and 16th in return yards–all areas where the Owls have been poor under Rod Carey and, frankly, Drayton.

Before that, the running backs under him were even better.

Foreman was also the RB coach when Montel Harris went off against Army (351 yards and seven touchdowns, both Temple single-game records). To be fair, Harris was that good when he got here and was named the ACC (not AAC) Preseason Player of the Year before deciding to transfer to Temple.

Guess who coached Bernard Pierce and The Bug (Matty Brown)?


We’re not saying that he’s going to turn Edward Saydee or true freshman Kyle Williams into The Franchise or The Bug but they’ve got a much better chance with him than they did with the last guy.

If Temple goes from last in run-game efficiency to even a mediocre run game, the Owls will be twice as good as last year. That’s the minimum expectation under a guy with this pedigree. I expect the Owls to move from last to at least an upper-tier running game and put some serious crooked numbers on the board with a passing game led by E.J. Warner.

That’s not a single, double or triple.

That’s a home run for the organization thanks to a healthy swing from Drayton.

Friday: Hindsight is 20/20