Steve Addazio’s first Temple recruit, RB Cedric “The Entertainer” Walker.
Happy Holidays to you and your family and welcome to the Temple Football Family on behalf of Temple Football Forever.
I started this blog when I looked around the parking lot in the rain and saw five people, myself included, tailgating before a 2005 loss to Miami of Ohio.
I knew then we only had one place to go and that was up.
I had a dream that we would hire a coach who would take us out of the darkness into the sunshine and we did make that hire.
Now, looking around, there are thousands of people tailgating before every Temple game. Not enough, mind you, but thousands and it’s slowly growing.
Over the years, this blog has gotten favorable reviews first on Deadspin.com and in the New York Times (whose college football editor is a Temple grad).
In 2006, it won the Bloggers’ choice award as Best New College Football Blog.
The next year, it won for Best Non-BCS blog.
|Temple’s tailgates regularly draw in the thousands now.|
Both awards were voted on by a panel guys who run the biggest and most traffic-driven of the big-time sports blogs, like Deadspin, Black Shoe Diaries and the excellent EverydayshouldbeSaturday (yes, it was one word back then).
While it was nice to be recognized, I didn’t get into this for the awards.
I got into it because I had a passion for writing and for Temple football.
You sold me as the next Temple coach on Thursday because I sense you have the same passion for coaching and, now at least, for Temple football.
I liked that very much.
So you had me at wow, not hello (and no I don’t go that way).
I wanted to write about the thing I loved the most so this, for the most part, has been a fun venture.
I hope the years ahead are even more fun for you.
Do Temple fans a favor and keep reminding them that you are here for the long haul and if your name comes up in speculation for other jobs in a year or two, please remove it from consideration immediately. The last guy enjoyed reading his name associated for every job a little too much for my taste.
Full disclosure, though, I wasn’t for your hiring at first.
You can read my reasons in the posts below.
That’s not important now.
What is important is that you hit the ground running and I know you will.
You are inheriting a team that needs no overhaul, just tweaking.
You have a running back with Heisman Trophy talent in Bernard Pierce. Getting him and keeping him healthy should be a top priority in the off-season. Recruiting a stud backup of Pierce-level talent should be another priority.
With Pierce, the Owls were able to beat UConn by two touchdowns in 2010 and a good 2009 Navy team.
Without him, they struggled to put three points on the board at Miami (Ohio).
Offensively, this is a team that should establish the run and throw off play-action effectively and I think you will do that. If you hire a smart offensive coordinator, like current Miami Dolphins’ tight ends’ coach George DeLeone, I know he will come to the same conclusion, too. DeLeone knows Temple and can help show you the ropes here, since he’s a former colleague of yours and was Al Golden’s first and best offensive coordinator. Plus, he’s highly thought of here. I think he can be had for OC money and job security with the Dolphins can’t be too good these days anyway.
You have a quarterback who I think will remind you (at least a little) of Tim Tebow in Chris Coyer and another quarterback, Mike Gerardi, who was co-first-team all-state in New Jersey with a guy named Simms.
Defensively, your first priority is to lock up 6-5, 305 tackle Muhammad “Big Mo” Wilkinson for his senior season. Tell him there’s going to be an NFL lockout (there is, by the way). Tell him that no NFL draft projection has him higher than the third round (and none do). Tell him with one good year he will move up into guaranteed money and a No. 1 pick (which he will).
Get a good, attacking defensive coordinator in here who loves to blitz and put the quarterback on his backside because there are a lot of slow, white quarterbacks in the MAC. There are a lot of turnovers to be eaten by the defense as a result. I don’t know who you have in mind, but I recommend former Temple DC Nick Rapone, who still lives in the area and was named FCS coordinator of the year at Delaware this season. His daughter currently is a student at Temple.
Rapone loves to bring pressure to make quarterbacks uncomfortable and Philadelphia loves a blitzing team.
Sell those recruits, just like you sold Miami’s Cedric Walker today (congratulations, by the way).
Wrap your arms so hard around Philadelphia media and Temple alumni that their ribs break.
Sell them on Temple football like you sold Bill Bradshaw on yourself.
Understand that a lot of us will approach you skeptically until about 10 p.m. on September 3.
That’s when Temple will be finished playing hated rival Villanova.
Temple returns 14 starters from an 8-4 FBS team. Villanova returns five from a six-loss FCS team.
A beatdown is mandatory. In fact, it should be on page two of the job description.
I’d say a 35-14 minimum, although I’d like a 55-3 number.
See what you can do for me.
If we can get that kind of margin, we’re off and running to a special 2011 both in terms of team and fan momentum.
Meanwhile, good luck and, most of all, have fun.
Temple Football Forever