We’ve come a long way, baby

Temple athletic director Bill Bradshaw hugs Steve Addazio for doing something Al Golden could not do: Beat Maryland.

COLLEGE PARK, Md. _ A very wise person once said that for a good perspective, just open your eyes and take a look at what is happening around you.

All TU fans are
going in Heaven
right now

A few years ago, I wrote this story that appeared in The Philadelphia Daily News about all Temple football fans going to Heaven. Heck, I don’t know what Heaven is like but if it’s anything like Byrd Stadium was today, it must be a pretty good place.

I thought a lot about that today while watching my friend, Matt Cohen, take a shot of the scoreboard in the closing seconds of Temple’s 38-7 win at Maryland’s beautiful Byrd Stadium.
I remember when Matt, his brother, I and a handful of other Temple die-hards sat in Veterans Stadium and then Lincoln Financial Field watching some God-awful Temple teams, including Bobby Wallace squads of 0-11 and 1-11.
I remember many of those same faces tailgating in the rain before the final game of that 0-11 season, a 41-14 loss to the Fake Miami (that’s Ohio).
“You watch,” I told the handful of people left in the empty parking lot. “One day there will be a guy who leads us out of this mess.”
I saw many of those same faces in Section B at Byrd Stadium today.
They believed.

Statement by Steve Addazio:
“What you’re asking me is where is our football team at? I’ll tell you where we’re at right now. I’m really proud of this right now. I’m proud of the city we play in. We play in one of the greatest sports cities there is in America. We play in one of the best venues in the Linc in the country. We play a non-conference schedule – Maryland, Penn State, Notre Dame coming to town. We do that right now.

“We had 57,000 fans for our game against Penn State, over 40,000 Temple fans, last week and 12,000 Temple students. Two weeks before, against a I-AA opponent Villanova, we had over 30,000 fans to their 2,000 – 8,500 Temple students – and the atmosphere at Lincoln Financial was electric.

“Temple, now, guys and gals, has got 12,000 students going to 15,000. Everybody talks about back days, I don’t know why. Back days it was a commuter school. We have a $10 million football facility going on at our place and we’re a proud academic institution, one of the higher ranked ones in the country. If you’re asking me where’s our program, we’re doing it right now. We have attendance. Our TV numbers were higher than they were in Big Ten.

“I’m not a guy that’s much for B.S. I’m a guy based on facts and what is. What is is we’re a hard-playing team, we took a BCS win today. We went nose-to-nose with a BCS team last week. We have a great home-field crowd right now and Philadelphia has passion for college football like it never has before and we’re in the fourth-largest media market in the country, so what that means is not my concern.”

It was not a baseless belief.
“It happened before,” I said back then, telling them there was once a savior named Wayne Hardin. “It can happen again.”
That new savior was Al Golden.
His good looks, dogged personality and impeccable organizational skills led Temple out of these hedgerows. He was able to charm moms into sending their talented sons to play at Temple.
Now Steve Addazio and his SEC staff is leading a General Patton-like charge to bigger and better things.

 Golden wasn’t perfect.
He was a micromanger who did not trust his coordinators to formulate a winning game plan because his coordinators were, quite frankly, buddies from his college days.
Addazio hired two of the best coordinators out there, Chuck Heater for the defense and Scot Loeffler for the offense, and is letting those guys do their job.
That’s the way a good CEO runs any organization. Hire the best possible people for upper-level management positions and let them do their jobs.

Chuck Heater was defensive coordinator at 12-0 Utah. His work as defensive coordinator at Florida was so impressive that, last year, no less an authority than Urban Meyer said: “I call Chuck Heater Mother Theresa because he’s worked wonders with our defense.”

Scot Loeffler was quarterback coach at Michigan when Tom Brady was there and quarterback coach of Tim Tebow at Florida.
Both those guys know their stuff.
It has shown so far.

Photo by Matt Cohen

Heater plays an attacking-style defense, believing, as I always have, the best pass defense is putting a quarterback on his backside. Maryland’s talented quarterback, Danny O’Brien, did not have room to breathe, let alone look for receivers.

Loeffler establishes the run behind one of the great running backs in college football and plays off his skills by keeping the defense honest with play-action waggle passes to an All-MAC first-team tight end and an occasional shot down the field, again off play-action.
This is a team that will not be outcoached.
The results, then, should not be surprising.

Temple is two minutes away from being 4-0 with wins over an upper-tier Big 10 team and a solid ACC team. If you don’t think Maryland is solid, the Terrapins beat The Real Miami, 32-24. The Real Miami beat Ohio State, 24-6.
That’s solid.
So is Temple.
The Owls have what I believe is the best running back in the United States in Bernard Pierce. All Bernard did was carry the ball 32 times for 149 yards and a school-record five touchdowns. Bernard leads the nation in touchdowns.
I wrote before the season that 20 touchdowns and 2,000 yards are attainable goals for BP and he has made me look good so far.
Temple did something today it never has before: Both beat Maryland and beat an ACC team.
From the perspective of looking at this team and their fans, it’s just a starting point.

23 thoughts on “We’ve come a long way, baby

  1. I asked Brashaw where our beloved progrsm was heading during the Alumni pre-game tailgate. He said, "have you seen the New York Time Sports page today?"…, we are in the Big East and it will be official within the next several weeks….., this guy Heater is the real deal…., Temple fans today were noticed…, we need to practice our post-game fight song celebration with the team, fans, and band. Wrong time for BP to be doing an interview during our the Temple Fight Song…, very classy act to take a knee,,,

  2. so BB said at the tailgate that "we are in the Big East and it will be official within the next several weeks" … that's straight from the AD's mouth and breaking news on none other than Temple Football Forever.That's, Northern Virginia Owl, for that nugget. Good news indeed.

  3. The Big East? Oh well, I guess I can live with that. Although I think we can do better, or at the very least aspire to. The Big East had better keep its AQ status. Here's one vote for having TCU in the opposite division. I look forward to a TU TCU matchup in the first ever Big East Championship at the Linc on Saturday December 7, 2013.

  4. TU FOOTBALL BABY! TEMPLE TUFF! Is it too much to hope for a bowl game vs penn state?

  5. I think the Big East is a very real possibility, however, they will not maintain their AQ status 4 to 5 years from now. The super conferences are happening and the Big East will be left behind. The Big East will be a blend of the leftovers from the Big East, the Big 12, and some Conference USA members. Having said that, it's certainly not a bad thing to become a member. I love Temple, but they are not quite prepared for Super Conference membership yet. There are still way too many things to catch up on in order to match even the mid-level programs that are eventually going to be a part of a super conference, such as Syracuse in the ACC. Unfortunately, in today's college football, Temple to the Big East doesn't sound too much different than Temple to Conference USA.

  6. I could definitely see an 8-4 PSU team playing am 11-1 Temple team in something like the Beef O'Brady Bowl in St. Pete, Fla. Temple will have to work with the MAC to get out of the MAC bowl tie-ins but I think the MAC would go for it in order to put the MAC in a more "limelight" game. We've got to beat Toledo, though. For all of you who think Toledo is so tough, though, just remember Syracuse needed a late touchdown to beat Rhode Island, 21-14. Yeah, Rhode Island. I rest my case.Hopefully, though, the team will have the same focus on Toledo that they had at Maryland.

  7. as far as Temple to the BE, it's not heaven.We're ready for the ACC. I don't consider the ACC a super conference.I don't think anybody in the ACC is going to beat Maryland 38-7 or worse.Remember, that should have been 45-0 (second-team defense on the MD score and three kneel downs at the MD 1.) Maryland was lucky Daz had mercy on their turtle souls.

  8. to clarify the BE is a WAY, WAY better option for us than the MAC. Win the MAC this year and get the heck out of it once we accept the trophy.

  9. GREAT in for the program yesterday, I watched whistle to whistke and was proud to be a supporter yesterday. BE is cool with me- some higher profile games and still as of now a BCS conf. plus who knows who else they will be adding???? so would this be for every sport cause if so it makes it even better- cause the A-10 is even more drek

  10. "Dear ACC, please accept today's beat down of Maryland as our formal application for entrance into your league!"Any chance that is the letter BB sent to the ACC late Saturday night?We have to get out of the MAC. A 6-6 UTEP team (3-5 in conference)made a bowl game last year. We were shut out at 8-4. C-USA has 6 bowl tie-ins, the MAC has 3. Anywhere is better!

  11. Let's go temple!!! Hopefully this game adds a few seats at the linc. For sats game against toledo I'm hoping to make it there with some buddies what time does everybody start the tailgating…I haven't been to a game since 09 I use to go to 4 or 5 a year but I'm def going to at least 2 this season!!

  12. the die-hards start tailgating 5 hours before kickoff (when the lot opens). Most people like myself get there by three hours before the game. The tailgate crowd now fills Lot K with a sea of Cherry (the color of choice for Temple fans, as opposed to white that a lot of other teams wear). Far cry from 2005 when me, Nick and Sharon, RayOwl, FredAlt, Nittanyowl and firefly Dave were the only ones there in the rain against Miami.

  13. I was traveling in NC and caught the whole game at a sports bar (Beef O'Bradys'!) in Hendersonville. Got them to dial it up on one of their big high def screens. Big ACC country and there was shock and disbelief all around during the beat-down. Many comments about Paul Pierce and the defense. I remember watching the Temple-Clemson game in 2006 in NC during Al Golden's first year (I think). It was a 63-9 loss. Good grief, what a different story on Saturday.I've been following Temple since my days growing up in Philadelphia and especially since my younger brother spent a grad assistant year with Ron Dickerson (my brothers' verdict – great guy, unprepared to be a head coach) and it's fantastic to see how far the program has come…and others taking notice.

  14. From Rivals.com What we learned in Week 4:"Temple could win the Big East. A week after almost topping Penn State (14-10 loss), the Owls proved their merit in a dominating 38-7 rout at Maryland. Last week, West Virginia barely held off the Terps; Temple's victory never was in doubt. It was Temple's first victory over an ACC team and its first road triumph over a foe from a major conference since a 20-17 victory at Rutgers in 2002. The Owls can thank junior RB Bernard Pierce, who established a school single-game mark with five rushing touchdowns while running 32 times for 149 yards. West Virginia, Pittsburgh, USF, Cincinnati, Louisville, Rutgers, Connecticut, Syracuse … none are better than the Owls. Maybe the Big East should re-invite Temple, which was booted by the league after the 2004 season."

  15. From Rick Pitino, Louisville basketball coach today:"Admit Temple immediately. They have a highly competitive football program with outstanding basketball tradition. They are a past BIG EAST member and an excellent school academically. And as all my friends say in Philadelphia, they are located in BIG EAST territory."http://www.rickpitino.com/rpitino/articledetail.aspx?ArticleId=2526&Id=47

  16. Mike — Re-reading your article that "Temple football fans go to heaven" brought back memories from when you originally wrote it. We were in a real death spiral at that time('95&'96), and I frankly wasn't sure we could ever recover from that.I do however remember well, the pre & post tailgates with you just a handful of other diehard fans. The beer was cold and whatever optimism we had was guarded — but deep down we all believed that something good was going to happen eventually. I was just hoping I lived long enough.I could not make the trip to MD., but did catch most of the game which was televised down here in No. Fla on the ACC network on a local Fox affiliate. Before I arrived home to watch, I kept checking the score on my blacberry and could not believe we were scoring another TD every few minutes! I managed to put a serious dent in my beer stock at home watching the 2nd half though.Can't make the Toledo game but will catch the last 4 home games.Go OWLS!!!!

  17. glad we have been playing enough to be considered for the big east but not sure i'm happy with it…not spiteful as much as suspect for what the future is in that league. regardless it's all for nought if we don't run the table or at least come close to doing it from here on out. also, NEED MORE FANS IN THE SEATS!!! 20k is nice…Student body is 30k plus and the alumni is huge…time for fans to step up!!!

  18. Daz correctly said we had 40K of the 57k in the stands for Penn State. Thanks to our great student body we will keep that momentum going. It's the alumns that need to step it up and I think the win over Maryland made some more believers among that group. We need approaching 30K for the remaining MAC games and over 30K for Army. Tough, but doable.

  19. admittedly we had quite an awful lot to cheer about but our fans and prep band made noise and were louder than Maryland. we had three sections of loud fans last Saturday!

  20. I haven't seen the game yet. I just returned today from Hong Kong and will watch it after this post. But I just realized this win reminds me of the time when John Chaney's Temple basketball team went to a brand new Dean Dome for an unusual nationally televised non-conference game and beat the snot out of a highly ranked and touted Tar Heel basketball team by playing a near perfect ballgame. Let's hope the rest of the country now discovers something that we saw at the first game of the season: This crew can coach.

  21. Even when the score was 0-0 and I (I think it was me) started a LET'S GO TEM-PLE cheer (I think it was me because I was the only one cheering LET'S GO TEM-PLE and then the five guys around me joined in and then the five students in front of us joined in and then 500 people in Section 2 joined in), I used my peripheral vision to see that Maryland fans were looking over to us and you oculd sense they were thinking: "Wow. Organized cheering at a football game. What a novel idea?"I really believe the kids on the field heard the Let's Go Temple and responded with some big-time plays after that.

  22. yeah i heard the Let's go Temple chant on tv during the second half. it was impressive.

  23. Anyone have an idea on what the ratings are looking like this past weekend?

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