All The Comforts Of Home


These areas were packed with Temple fans versus USF and some of them never visited their seats.

If every Temple fan did his or her part and converted one or two non-Temple fans to the Temple game experience, I firmly believe crowds would significantly increase—at least over the short term.

So, whenever I can, I do my part.

I won a pair of Temple tickets on a radio show (thanks, Zach Gelb) early this year to the 97-degree game (Stony Brook) and mentioned that to my weekly tennis group and asked if anyone wanted to go. I immediately got a pair of hands raised and a couple of new Temple football fans, if not forever, then certainly the rest of the year. Those two guys had such a good time have paid their way to two home games since. They have not made the tailgate portion of the game experience yet, but getting them into the stadium was the important thing.


Former Brown captain Kyle Rettig led the Let’s Go Temple cheers on Friday night.

This past week, I convinced one more to take my regular ticket in Section 121 because I wanted to sample the Club Level experience for the first time since Bernard Pierce was carted off the field against Army and that was a long time ago. Then, I was sitting in the stands trying futilely to ignite a couple of “Let’s Go Temple” cheers while my fellow Owl partisans mostly sat on their hands. At the time, I decided it was time to go back to Section 121 where at least half of the fans were heavy into the cheering culture.

I did not return until Friday night against USF.

With a Club Ticket in my hand on Friday, another friend gave me a “field pass” so I spent the first half down on the field (actually, the front row of the end zone) sitting next to former Brown University football player Kyle Rettig. Kyle is the 26-year-old son of a former great Temple tight end, Joe Rettig, and he and I led the group of Temple students behind us in a few “Let’s Go Temple” chants. Even though Kyle currently lives in Clearwater and did not graduate from Temple, he is more of a Temple fan than a USF fan and it was good to see he put family before Geography.

By the half, it was time to use my Club Level seats.

That was another eye-opening experience, completely different from my last Club Level experience.

Now I know where most of the fans are in the “announced” crowds exceeding 25K, a part of the crowd that journalists do not see when they claim Temple is “inflating” attendance figures.

There were seemingly thousands (maybe high hundreds, but a lot) of fans who did nothing but sit on comfortable padded couches and chairs and tables in the Club Level watching the game on perhaps the biggest (and best) screen HDTV screens I ever saw. (We commoners below only get to watch on small screen plasma TVs and have to stand in the lower concourse to do it.) I turned around and there was my (at least Facebook) friend and former Temple great Joe Greenwood sitting all by himself on one table. Probably no one there other than me remembered how good a safety Joe Greenwood was for Bruce Arians.

Hell, who wants to go into the stands when you can see the game this well with that much detail?

“Joe, I didn’t think you’d be here with the hoi polloi,” I said. “I’m usually in the stands.”

He laughed.

Three USF fans behind me were sitting at another table and went nuts when Marlon Mack scored his touchdown to make it 37-30. I made sure to turn around to them after the Owls picked off a pass on the next series.

“That’s Temple TUFF,” I told them.

They did not laugh.

The Temple game experience at the new Temple Stadium will be totally different than the one fans will experience at Lincoln Financial. I guess if you can funnel those thousands of fans used to years of comfort on Club Level concourses back into the seats and cheering with the non-hoi polloi, it would be a good thing.

Or maybe you lose those high-rollers entirely to the comfort of their homes and own big-screen HDTVs if you build a no-frills $126 million stadium. It’s a hard question with no easy answers.

Friday: Tuberville’s Last Stand

Fizz Checks In With His USF Thoughts

  The following are the thoughts of former Temple player Dave “Fizzy” Weinraub ....   





By Dave (Fizzy) Weinraub

Temple vs. South Florida


Wow!  The offense seemed to have a much more “open” feeling than before.  Phillip had more confidence, as did the receivers.  I attribute this to the Central Florida, last thirty-second miracle, “The Crescendo in Orlando.”

The running game worked beyond expectations.  The passing game did very well, and if three receivers hadn’t lost their footing coming out their cuts, it would have fared even better.  Even the “wildcat” was successful.  There was a better balance between the pass and run, and even some first down play-action throws.  It was a great win, a significant win, and it changed the whole outlook for the remainder of the season because we should be favored in all four of the upcoming games. So what’s to worry about?

Well, my main concern is this.  The game plan versus South Florida worked well, so there was basically no need to seriously adjust anything in the second half.  The running game was keeping their explosive offense on the sidelines, and we were scoring.  In the back of my mind though, I remember the week before at Central Florida. Then, the game plan didn’t work and we weren’t scoring, but we were stubbornly operating a very conservative offense until that last thirty-second miracle.  Game plans don’t always work.  I hope the coaching staff stays flexible enough to change direction when they have to.  Be aggressive and take chances.  When you play not to lose, you usually do.

My next concern is more of a wish.  I don’t understand why we never run a true bootleg. There are times in every game, especially in short-yardage situations, where Phillip could get a hot dog on his way to the end-zone.  But to do this, you have to first hand-off to a running back who’s set left, and runs right, or the opposite.  That sets up the true naked bootleg.  Yo coach… please?     


Basically, the defense did a nice job against a dynamic South Florida offense.  However, what I don’t understand is why, after our run defense forced a number of third and longs, we went to a three man rush? Thanks to our outstanding defensive ends, we got still got pressure and sacks.  And even with eight guys playing the pass, South Florida still converted on a number of occasions.  I have to conclude that if you give any good quarterback time, sooner or later they’ll find an open man.  Let’s rush four or even five in those situations, and keep the pressure on.  You know what the prevent does.

The Venue:

I love the LINC.  There’s terrific access from all points of the compass.  There’s ample parking, and minimum traffic congestion, even when the stadium’s filled with a big-time opponent.  Inside is first class and provides us with a truly major college feel as attendance slowly builds.  There is no way a smaller stadium on campus works as well for all concerned, and provides all of the above advantages.  “Build it and they won’t come.”  

Tomorrow: The Fan Experience

Focus And Finish

Nobody tosses the throwback to the tight end better than P.J. Walker.

For anyone who has ever played the frustrating game of golf, the 2016 football season at Temple  comes down to this:

Completely butchering the first hole, acing the second and getting a penalty for an incorrect scorecard on the third and, after that, the balls have been hit pretty much long and straight.

After botching the Army game plan and getting more penalty yards in a single game than most Temple fans remember, the Owls have been very good and have set themselves up for a nice finish if they can do no less in next four weeks than they have the last two.

Right now, the Owls’ season can be summed up as four one-foot putts. For the everyday hacker, the one-foot putt is a little different with nothing but a beer on the line than a one-foot putt in a tournament with $250,000 riding on it.

In other words, it’s 90 percent mental.

There’s a lot riding on these last four and the Owls’ short game is going to have to be on point, but if they approach the final four weeks the way they did the last two, they should be able to get the job done.

There are a lot of things I do not understand, but this concept of a “letdown” in college football certainly is at the top of the head-scratcher list. I know it exists, otherwise you cannot adequately explain the Army opener or even SMU’s win over Houston on Saturday night, but it should not exist in the game of college football. You work your butt off 353 days of the year to show your skills for 12 days or nights, there is no excuse for a letdown. Major league baseball players, with 162 regular-season games, have excuses. So do NBA and NHL players.

College football players, no. For this Temple football team, in the next four games, as much rides on the line as the UCF and the USF games did. If the Owls can visualize the finish line, they should be also be able to treat every play between now and then as if it is their last.

There is still a viable path for Temple to host the AAC title game and that’s what winning the final four games could mean. Plenty of work to do, but the hardest work is behind them and now most of it involves their mental approach.

Focus and finish should be their motto.

Tomorrow: Fizz Checks In With His USF Thoughts

Wednesday: The Fan Experience

Greatness Straight Ahead


Well, all that talk about a 6-6 season for Temple lasted, oh, about two weeks.

For the past six months, we’ve been writing that this team was better than last year’s team and there was a lot of pushback that we were expecting too much.

Now, after a 46-30 win over a South Florida team that was the consensus favorite to win the AAC East title, all of the goals we had outlined for this team since the Cherry and White game are not only in sight but likely.

This was the step forward year, next year was the step back year. (When we say step back, we mean double digit wins to eight, not double digit wins to six.)

All the Owls have to do to step forward is to win the remaining four games on the schedule that are far inferior to South Florida. Do that, and the Owls take a nine-win season into the title game and that title game could be in Philadelphia, not Houston. Philadelphia as the title site makes 10 wins possible, and a bowl win makes 11 wins possible.

Anytime you go from 10 wins to 11 wins the program is going forward.

There is work to be done, but the heavy lifting was completed last night when fullback Nick Sharga showed why we were pleading for a fullback for the first two years of the fullback-less Matt Rhule regime. Now the fullback should be a staple of Temple football going forward. Just look at these blocks from Sharga.



After the game, Ryquell Armstead, the chief beneficiary of those blocks, said he saw USF defenders step away from the contact when they saw Sharga come after them in the second half. They wanted no parts of Sharga. It sure looked like that on the TV replay. With a torn ACL that prevents him from playing defense, Sharga is finding people to block.

Temple football is good defense, establishing the run, control the clock and a lot of that is based on the play of the fullback and Sharga was the Unsung  Hero on Friday night. Combined with the “sung” heroes, who were too many to mention, this season is coming together just at the right time.

How far the Owls take this is really up to them and no one else and, if they don’t quit, greatness is well within reach.

Let’s Get Rowdy

Matt Rhule hints at changing up the defense for dual-threat QBs

Sometime into the debacle against Army, I urged my fellow Temple fans to stand up on a critical third-down stop the Owls needed to make.

Much to my chagrin, only about half of the fans in Section 121 and fewer in others bothered to stand and make the necessary noise needed to maybe, just maybe, be at a high-enough decibel level so one of the 11 Cadets might not hear the cadence. Needless to say, the Cadets got the first down they needed.


                                                                            Sunday’s Inky cover has a regular-season hockey game on the cover and an out-of-town baseball game, but the Owls’ historic comeback is inside.


“Sit down,” the guy in front of me said, “it’s a long season, dude.”

Well, a long season has now turned into a short one and the Owls are going to need every single fan to stand up and make some noise—at the very minimum on every third down South Florida has on Friday night. Win, and the Owls own all of the tiebreakers for the AAC East title against, quite frankly, the only other team that can win the title. Win, and the Owls will be favored in every regular-season game the rest of the way. Win, and the Owls COULD host an AAC championship game in December. Even against Notre Dame and Penn State, the stakes were not this high. The kids have never needed their fans more than they need them now.

In other words, let’s get rowdy.

I do not have too many pet peeves—sports bars that do not turn up the sound, Philadelphia newspapers that cover a college football team 250 miles away better than the one less than one mile up the road and, right at the top, Temple fans who treat a home game like a concert at the Kimmel Center.

The Temple players no doubt need to play well, but the kids really do hear and feed off the crowd and that can have a cumulative effect.  Certainly, the home crowd at the Penn State game a year ago was a big part of the win and the crowd did more than its part to beat Notre Dame a year ago. The only thing stopping the Owls from going 8-0 with a win over the No. 6 team in the country was a safety who was in position and did not reach up to deflect a pass.

Win or lose, the kids playing for Temple on Friday will leave everything on the field. It might be nice if the fans gave that same sort of effort and carried them across the finish line.

Saturday: Game Analysis

Guest Post By Fizzy


The following are Fizzy’s comments on the UCF comeback …the opinions are all Fizzy’s.. thanks, Fizzy:

                                                                    By Dave (Fizzy) Weinraub

Watching Temple coaches call the offense, is like going to the dentist for a root-canal.  You know it’s going to hurt, and it does.

But there’s good news.  We finally won a woulda, coulda, shoulda.  We won it, however, despite the game plan.  The players won it themselves because the shackles were finally off.  They had to throw the ball as there were only thirty seconds left.  Phillip got in rhythm and the guys all caught the ball.  It was truly amazing, and the best Temple comeback, probably, of all time.  

[It’s just a shame that former Temple standout football players, Dick Gable and Joe Morelli, left the stadium before the last drive.]


Before the game our coaches said we had to run the ball to keep the opposition off the field.  So we did, over and over and over.  Even in the next-to-last last possession trailing by five points.     

Usually, the offense goes like this… They line up over the ball, and wait for the play from the sidelines.  On many occasions, the call is slow to get in and last Saturday night, there were many times we got the play off just before the clock ran out. Once, they had to call an unnecessary time-out to get the next play.  Guess what?  It was the proverbial run up the middle.

Let me point out how this handicaps the team, and how it did last Saturday night.  There were a number of third and short, and fourth and short situations.  When you’re down to last few seconds, there’s no time for the quarterback to audible.  On all those plays, Central Florida had eight men up in the box.  When Phillip came up over the ball, even if he was allowed, there was no time to change the play.  So no imagination, up-the-middle they went.  Stufferroonni!

I have to admit I’m a liar.  I told some ex-teammates I wouldn’t write again.  I would just go to the game, see the old (I do mean old) guys, and tell stories.  It just hurt so much after the root-canal…

Tomorrow: Game Preview

The Path Forward

Thanks to Paul Palmer for the audio file and Ricky Swalm for the YouTube work.

For someone who never used a drug harder than an occasional Coors Light and never understood the power of drugs or addiction, I’ve been overdosing on a couple of things over the last 48 hours.

Strawberry (I call them Cherry) Twizzlers and the 32-second drive.

I can’t get enough, eating the Twizzlers and snorting the video below. There are a couple of things worth noting in the video, the smarts and sheer courage of Ventell Bryant in both getting out of bounds and getting up and staggering to the line of scrimmage before the final play and the presence of mind of his teammates to get him lined up. If Bryant stays down, a 10-second runoff happens and the Owls lose. Also, P.J. Walker made four great throws and the last one under a significant amount of duress and, of course, the Keith Kirkwood great catch. Also, Anthony Russo’s participation in the celebration is noteworthy. One whiff of any of those things creates a significant high combined with the munchie Twizzlers.

My addiction, though, is harmless. If the team and the coaches have not moved on from Saturday night’s high, going to rehab will be a necessary trip on the way to a six-win season. What the victory on Saturday purchased in currency was very valuable, their own destiny, with regard to an American Athletic Conference championship and a possible double-digit-win season. They need not rely on anyone else but themselves to win the title. If they had lost, they would have needed help.

That cannot be understated because of what is ahead of them in the very next game.

South Florida will come into Lincoln Financial Field on Friday not only as the preseason favorite to take the AAC East title, but as six-point favorites over the Owls. If the Owls can somehow make one more play than USF, like they did against UCF on Saturday night, the path to an AAC title opens as wide as a six-lane highway in rural Montana. USF is the toughest game left and the teams after USF, like Cincinnati and UConn, have serious flaws than USF doesn’t have. If the Owls can somehow win out—and there are only five games left—they will LIKELY host the AAC title game in Philadelphia. (West contenders Houston, Navy and Memphis could not each other out of hosting the game.)

Houston, which was ceded the title by most a few weeks ago, does not seem so unbeatable anymore. Navy beat the Cougars two weeks ago and Tulsa—a team that struggled against SMU—probably should have beaten them on Saturday night.

The Owls’ defense appears to be coming around, shutting out a UCF offense over the last two quarters (19-0) that scored 47 on ECU.

Anything is possible if the Owls focus on Friday and stay away from the munchies and that anything might be a championship.

Thursday: Game Preview

Saturday: Game Analysis