Happy Holidays to the Addazio Family

Steve Addazio’s first Temple recruit, RB Cedric “The Entertainer” Walker.

Dear Steve,
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.

Happy Holidays,
Mike Gibson
Temple Football Forever


7 thoughts on “Happy Holidays to the Addazio Family

  1. By the way, what's the status of Brandon Smith, the linebacker and Michigan tranfer from Jersey. Isn't he eligble this year? He's a former 4 star recruit.

  2. Al made a remark during his weekly Tuesday presser early in the season that "we have decided to mutually part ways."If Smith is still in school, I assume he can always try to patch things up with Daz.

  3. Mike,I always enjoy reading your blog. I wish more people had your passion for Temple Football. Keep up the good work. BTW, when you reference your days working at the Daily Intelligencer, it really takes me back. I grew up in Warrington and went to Central Bucks West (Class of '83). Many of the old CB West players that you mention went to school with either me or one of my brothers or sisters. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. Go Owls! – Phil Haeckler (WCOwl on Owlscoop)

  4. Thanks, PhilOne of those ex-players was a wingback named Michael Smerconish.He's now about as famous as you can get in the talk radio business at the level right below Limbaugh/Hannity/Coombs.Sat with Walter Smerconish for many a West game, he the clock operator, me the reporter, and he was very proud of Michael who had very little talent but a lot of want to …I always thought Mike Pettine Sr. would have been a great coach for Temple football and he laughed when I mentioned that to him about 30 years ago."I think Gerry Faust ruined it for all of us high school coaches," Mike said.Pettine Sr. and Wayne Hardin were the two greatest head coaches I've ever known and there really is no close second.

  5. With regard to Brandon Smith. If he leaves Rich Rodriguez and then Al Golden, it sounds like he's done with football. It's ashame. By the way, Adrian Robinson's brother, Averee Robsinson, is a going to be a high school senior and is a heckuva DT prospect.

  6. I tailgate with Adrian Robinson, Sr. What a great, great guy and his son made a terrific decision to stay for his senior season because MDO and Golden had him playing out of position for three years. I always said Temple should play him as a blitzing linebacker, not as a DE, and if Daz and new defensive coordinator (hopefully Nick Rapone) get a hold of AR, they will see the same thing.

  7. I have much respect for your opinion. But if Temple continues to play a 4-3 defense, I think AR should stay where he is. He has the classic tweener body that would make him a 3-4 linebacker candidate. But as a 4-3linebacker, the main job is to be a tackling machine and be able to run sideline to lineline. AR'sstrength is that he can get to the QB, as witnessed by his 13 sacks in his sophomore season. So being an edge rusher on the d-line or being an outside rush linebacker in the 3-4 alignment would probably be the best fit for his talents. If he gets drafted by a team like the Chargers or the Ravens, I could see him being moved to rush linebacker. But in a 4-3 defense, AR is probably best suited on the D-line edge.

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