When and if Hollywood ever makes the Matt Rhule Story, another Matt (Damon) might be playing the title role and whatever happens on Monday, December 17, will be somewhere in the middle of the motion picture.
That’s because, at Temple University, the first couple chapters of the script have already been written. Young, dynamic, assistant coach helps friend lift a football program off the scrap heap of Division I football and into respectability. Then he’s passed over as head coach only to replace the guy who was picked instead of him.
Instead of sulking about being passed over the first time, he stays to keep a recruiting class together and helps the new coach win the school’s first bowl in 30 years.
After that achievement, he goes off to the big city and the bright lights of the NFL, only to be beckoned home by a crisis.
He becomes the school’s third coach in five years and restores the shaken players’ faith in humanity. Not quite Friday Night Lights, but at least Saturday Afternoon Heights.
Good stuff so far.
Whether or not it’s good enough for the silver screen will be determined in how the story develops moving forward.
The next scene is an important one because there will be an Elephant in the Room. The Elephant this time is stability and how long Rhule commits to staying at Temple.
If I were Rhule, I wouldn’t do what the last guy, Steve Addazio, did on the same day, saying he would tell recruits “to make Temple a destination school” and “don’t be passing through.”
|Steve Addazio poses with the greatest helmet in the
history of college football the day he was introduced as coach.
Two months later, he got rid of it.
I would say, “I’m not going to ask the kids to do what I wouldn’t do. I’m staying for the duration. I’m not leaving unless I get kicked out of here and I don’t intend on getting kicked out of here. My solemn vow is that I won’t consider another job while I’m under contract to Temple. The people here have made a commitment to me and I will do the same for them. That’s only fair.”
In a world when money talks and BS walks, that statement alone would make national news. He would be the first coach hired in this day and age of musical chairs to ever say something like that.
|“After all I did to change the helmets to TEMPLE,
Addazio is doing WHAT? That stubborn 3-yards-
in-a-cloud-of-dust rat bastard is going to get fired
and Matt Rhule is going to change the helmets back.”
It would be a powerful scene in the movie, too.
Another nice touch would be changing the Temple helmets back to the popular TEMPLE era version (maybe with the school’s distinctive T on one side as a King Solomon-like Compromise) but that’s not a pressing need for Monday.
Cut to the final scene a few years later where a quarterback named P.J. Walker scrambles around and connects with a receiver named Khalif Herbin on a “Hail Mary” play in the end zone to win a BCS bowl game against Miami (Fla.).
Everybody goes crazy and Rhule, after a midfield handshake with old buddy Al Golden, puts it in perspective.
“It’s just like the Doug Flutie play that beat Miami many years ago,” Rhule said. “Except we’re Boston College this time and our school gets put on the map and Boston College is pretty much in obscurity now, right?”
Fade to black.
Cut and print.
That’s a wrap.
Only in the movies?
Maybe, maybe not.
Tomorrow: Five things Rhule might change right away