Fizzy: Groundhog Day

Editor’s Note: Fizzy wrote this BEFORE the press conference but we did not see this until a day before. His points are still well-taken here. 

                                            By Dave (Fizzy) Weinraub

 

Once more, the alarm clock sounded at 6AM, and the Temple athletic director groggily got to his feet.  Stumbling to the mirror and looking at himself, he groaned.  Not again, he thought. For the fourth time in recent years, another school stole our head football coach.  Not only that, but he took the first plane to Georgia Tech and won’t even stay to coach our bowl game. The athletic director shook his head as his thoughts continued to flow.  And we have no head coach to meet our recruits, so who knows how many we’ll lose? 

The above scenario is quite familiar to Temple football fans, as well as those from many other universities across the country.  Run by the big “Power Five” schools, the impotent NCAA does absolutely nothing to preclude student football players of less wealthy schools from getting the shaft.  After a letter of complaint I sent years ago, the executive director of the NCAA responded by basically saying it was illegal to restrain someone from working wherever they wanted.

As General McAuliffe said in the Battle of the Bulge in WW II… “Nuts!”

For example, my oldest son works for a large corporation and I asked him if he was looking around.  He said, sure, but I can’t go to the companies most likely to hire me because I signed a “non-compete letter.”  When I questioned its legality, he said his company sued a person who left for a new job and won.  Perhaps Temple should have its new coach sign a non-compete agreement and see what happens at the next Groundhog Day.

There are other remedies.  In the NFL, coaches can’t leave unless they receive a promotion. Head coach to head coach in the Football Bowl Championship Division is not a promotion.  Head coaches would have to fulfill their contracts… imagine that.  At least, the NCAA could also punish the hiring school by saying if you steal a coach under contract you lose the opportunity to go bowling games or win the championship of your conference.  Without question, coaches should have to stay until the end of the season.

Turning this around, maybe Temple is losing a business opportunity.  They could go in the head football coach training business (Ph.D. in Football) and earn a substantial fee.

Tomorrow: Press Conference Reaction

Monday: Where Did We Hear This Before?

 

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How Manny Diaz Could Win The Press Conference

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Temple fans are looking for Manny Diaz to win the press conference

Believe it or not, there is some news about Temple’s hiring of Manny Diaz that is not all that discouraging:

He can win the press conference.

Kickoff is 3 p.m. today at the Liacouras Center.

It could dribble out of bounds, it could go through the goal posts. It could even be fumbled by the bad guys or taken back for a touchdown by the good guys.

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“Mark, I’m headed up I95 but I’ll be back to replace you in a year.”

Full disclosure: I am not in favor of this hire. If you came to me and asked me who the ABSOLUTE WORST choice that Temple athletic director Pat Kraft could make I would not have been able to give you Diaz’s name because I never heard of the guy.  I could have given you a pre-outline of a worst-possible choice: 1) a coordinator from a P5 school; 2) a coordinator who has never been a head coach before; 3) a coordinator who has to learn how to be a head coach (probably for another school) on Temple’s dime and Temple’s time; 4) A guy who has never been to Philadelphia before and knows nothing about the city; 5) A guy who knows very little about Temple’s personnel; 6) A guy whose dad was a Mayor of another large city and probably longs to return to that city.

Manny Diaz fits all of those disqualifications.

Still, there is a press conference.

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49er and former Owl Julian Taylor echo the feelings of a lot of former and current players about this hire.

If the right questions are asked (doubtful since they weren’t last time) and the right answers are given (also ditto), the Manster might change my mind.

Here is a primer for the new coach:

Shawn Pastor, OwlsDaily: Manny, both Steve Addazio and Geoff Collins left these kids after two years. Can you promise to them and the Temple fans right now you won’t do the same?

Diaz: Shawn, nice to meet you. I’ve been following the Temple coaching changes from afar and I’m really sick about it. I can tell you right now that I have a five-year contract and I will not even entertain any offers from anyone until the conclusion of the contract. That is my solemn vow to you and these kids. My word is my bond and when I sign a contract I consider that a promise not only to my employer but my God.

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John DiCarlo, Owlscoop.com: Manny, you’ve seen the Money Downs and heard Geoff Collins call his defense the dark side defense. What do you think of that kind of swag and nicknames?

Diaz: Not a fan, John. This defense is too good a defense to give up 45 points to Boston College, 52 to UCF and 49 to Houston and earn any nicknames. We’re going to play a sound base defense and go for shutouts. I did notice that the last time you had consecutive shutouts was in the 2016 season. That’s one of my goals: back-to-back shutouts. Until that happens, I’m not giving out any nicknames.

Marc Narducci, Philadelphia Inquirer: Manny, what do you think of quarterback Anthony Russo?

Diaz: Definitely an NFL talent. I watched the film and could not believe they had him running a read-option offense. He’s a Pro Set quarterback. Even Stevie Wonder can see that. Let me ask you a question, Marc: Would Belichick have Tom Brady run a read-option? I told coach Patenaude this morning to pack his bags and take that sorry-ass offense with him to Atlanta. Any other questions?

Don Hunt, Philadelphia Tribune: Manny, what about keeping Ed Foley and Chris Wisenhan? Foley had the best special teams in the country and Chris had the best offensive line in the AAC.

Diaz: Don, I’m looking for a special teams’ coach and an OL coach. I’d be crazy not to keep those two guys. They are not only staying, but I talked to QB coach Adam DiMichele and asked him to stay as well.

Pat Kraft: Manny, I think you’ve won the press conference. Please get to work keeping our commits and getting a few of the U’s to come North to Miami. Gentlemen, in the words of the great General MacArthur, these proceedings are closed.

Friday: Fizzy Checks In About the Overall TU situation

Saturday: Reaction to The Press Conference

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Moving parts and the Temple football coaching search

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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.

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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.)

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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

Fizzy’s Corner: Why Not Bruce Arians?

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Bruce rode his players hard and 30 years later they still love him for it and he loves them and TU

Editor’s Note: North Carolina recently hired former coach Mack Brown to take it to the next level. Dave “Fizzy” Weinraub, a former Temple player, suggests that Temple do the same with its former coach, Bruce Arians, a younger, more vital, version of Brown and certainly someone who still has a lot of love for Temple as proven by the above photo. Arians has promised to be at next year’s Cherry and White game. Why not as a head coach? Who better to develop Anthony Russo than the original quarterback whisperer?

By Dave “Fizzy” Weinraub

Okay gang, let’s review. Used to be we held on to coaches for five years, but now its dwindled down to two.

Evaluating Collins

Good: Esprit de Corp with the players which helped recover from two disastrous losses at the start of the season – Recruiting seemed to be a plus – Defense continually got better

Bad: Patenaude’s “Broad Street Offense” – Poor recognition of who the QB should be (got it right on the third try, though) – Refused to acknowledge mistakes, including letting Armstead play injured

Overall Grade: 80 – 82 (B-) – Basically, he learned to be a head coach on our time. For more on this subject please go to @fizzwein on Twitter. An infamous Inquirer sports writer suggested I do this. You have the chance to be my first follower.

Where Do We Go From Here?

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Well, Jensen had an interesting take in the Inky today and mentioned Francis Brown, our former defensive backs coach with Rhule, and who’s down at Baylor with him now. His main measurable strength is recruiting and has not been a coordinator. He’s from Camden. I think it’s a real stretch to jump to head coach.

Jensen also says he’d be happy with our Assistant Head Coach Foley. That’s hard to argue. Ed Foley is a great guy and seems to be a solid administrator. As Jensen mentions, if he’d bring in outstanding coordinators it might be the perfect fit. But how do we get truly outstanding coordinators at our pay level?

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There’s no easy answer here but one thing’s for sure, we have to avoid taking the safe route just because we’re tired of always looking for a new coach. I’ll bet Pat Kraft already has about fifty applications on his computer, and I’m sure he’s been quietly been exploring for some time. Anyway, I’d like a coach who adapts his schemes to the ability of his players and not the other way around. Perhaps then, we’d have the Ridge Avenue Offense. (For you who don’t know the city, Ridge Avenue makes lots of twists and turns, and even reverses itself on occasion.)

I’d like to suggest my perfect coach, who just happens to be available. We know him well, and his name is Bruce Arians. I know he said he’d only coach the Cleveland Browns, but that was before Collins left. He was with us at last spring’s football alumni day, and marveled at all our new facilities; the facilities we never provided him when he was the coach. Further, I don’t care if he has a comfortable gig on TV, as all of us who coached know, it can’t replace being with your guys on the field. Pat, please check in with Arians. It only costs a dime.

Tuesday: Moving Parts And The Search

Friday: That Puff of Smoke

 

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:

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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

 

Geoff Collins: The Elephant In The Room

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From the time Geoff Collins walked past the line of cheerleaders leading him to his introductory press conference at the Liacouras Center, I had one overriding thought.

He’s gone.

Talking about Collins leaving has always been the Elephant in the Temple football room.

No, maybe not the next day or week or year, but this is not the kind of guy who is going to stop and make Temple a home for the long-term.

None of them are.

The days of Wayne Hardin staying for 13 years and building Temple into a respectable program are gone forever.

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Now Collins’ name is being floated around for his “dream” job (Georgia Tech) and he’s as mum about it as he is about Temple injuries. The thing to remember about Collins is that he is, as the old Ricky Nelson song says, a “Traveling Man.” Look at his stops: Georgia Tech, Alabama, FIU, UCF, Mississippi State, Florida, Temple.

He does not stay in one place long enough to buy green bananas at the Pub Linx, Winn Dixie or Ac-a-me.

He might get the Georgia job, he might not. (Chargers’ offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt is rumored to be the leading candidate.) There will be other “dream jobs” for Collins down the line.

Unfortunately, one of them won’t be Temple, which has always been a place holder.

To me, Georgia Tech would be better off hiring Whisenhunt or Army head coach Jeff Monken than it would be Collins, but that’s just me. Whisenhunt is a GT grad and Monken runs the very same triple-option offense most of the GT players have been recruited to run.

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Collins at Florida International

Still, it should not come as a surprise to hear on the radio next week that Collins has accepted the head coaching job at Georgia Tech because he’s got the gift of gab and that sometimes carries the day in coaching interviews.

Steve Addazio had that and that’s why he became the late Lew Katz’s favorite for the Temple job over then-athletic director’s Bill Bradshaw’s heavy Matt Rhule lean. With a BOT member and big donor like Katz behind him, Rhule never stood a chance.

He stayed one year to be Daz’s recruiting coordinator and then was off to apprentice under the great Tom Coughlin and a New York Giants’ team that has never really recovered after him.

Rhule came back a more polished coach and he probably was the most respected one among the players on the Golden and Daz staffs.

Rhule, like Al Golden before him, was the perfect fit for Temple so hearing him leave on the radio after leading the Owls to the AAC championship really was a shock. Rhule followed Golden’s binder to perfection–recruit a complete team (11 offensive players, 11 defensive ones, 3 specialists) every year, build an offense around running the ball and controlling the clock and dominate on defense. Put together an assistant coaching staff and guys deep in FBS experience, establish relationships with Pennsylvania and New Jersey high school coaches, pluck an occasional kid away from Florida, and away we go.

Collins has been and will continue to be an “imperfect” fit for Temple. Many of his key assistants are FCS level and below and that inexperience hurt the Owls on the field early this season. Several from the south (two from Georgia). He recruits largely in the south and has virtually no relationship with Southeastern and South Jersey high school coaches. His offensive coordinator is probably the worst fit for Temple in the history of assistant coaches. Playing a tight game against Villanova one year and losing to them the next is a Cardinal sin that should never be forgiven by any Temple fan, administrator or student. That loss rests right at the feet of his OC.

Temple football survived the loss of Golden and Rhule, who are better fitted for 10th and Diamond than Daz and Collins were and are. We all know Golden can win here, probably knows that quarterback Anthony Russo is better-suited to operate out of a pro set than a read-option, is a sure thing and probably available. Golden has great relationships with Ed Foley and Adam DiMichele, who should be holdovers. Whatever, the next Temple head coach should be a proven head guy with a ready-made staff and not an assistant coach who has to learn on the job.

Should Collins exit stage left this week or next, this year or next, Pat Kraft’s charge will be to find one of those better fits and a guy who has learned the hard way that the grass is not always greener beyond the 10th and Diamond fence.

Monday: Reshuffling The Bowls

Palmer’s Induction Special Night for Temple

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Bruce Arians, Paul Palmer, and the guys were “tight as a fist” last night.

The guys who played with Paul Palmer have tailgated near the entrance to Lot K every home Saturday for too many years to count.

You can tell them apart from the rest of us by the familiar cherry “Tight As A Fist” T-Shirts they wear.

The slogan represents what they have been as people since they first met either on recruiting trips or checking in at Peabody Hall.

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On Monday, as many as could fit into a car traveled to New York’s Hilton Hotel for the National College Football Foundation Hall of Fame festivities that were broadcast live last night (ESPN3).

Many more watched from home.

As a young reporter in my late 20s, I covered all of Paul Palmer’s games for the Calkins Newspaper group. In those days, newspaper budgets were large enough they send you on trips with the team on the team charter and then reimburse the school.

I flew on the team charter to Provo, Utah with Paul and his teammates and head coach Bruce Arians in 1986. When we left Philly, the air conditioning on the plane wasn’t working on a hot day and we sweated it out waiting an hour in a holding pattern before takeoff. When we landed in Provo, we had to wait outside for just as long wearing nothing more than blazers in 31-degree weather.

Temple lost the game, 17-10.

I interviewed all of them as a youngster but never got to really KNOW them until the last decade or so.

They turned out to be better men than players and they were terrific players.

In two of Palmer’s years, the Owls played the 10th-toughest schedule in the country and finished with winning seasons. With paltry facilities, they beat teams like Peach Bowl-bound Virginia Tech (29-13) and California-bowl bound Toledo (35-6).

The Owls have not played anywhere near the kind of brutal schedule since and, despite that backdrop, Palmer is still the school’s all-time leading rusher.

Palmer’s induction last night represents closure of sorts for the Temple program because he becomes the first Owl player to make it, hopefully of many. The Owls have a pair of coaches (Pop Warner and Wayne Hardin) in the Hall of Fame.

Now they have a player who without a doubt is their greatest ever. Long after we are all gone, because he is there, Temple will be, too.

Friday: Elephant In The Room