No defense for hiring Snow


When I watch Phil Snow coach defense for the Temple Owls, I am reminded of the quote of  J. Robert Oppenheimer, one of the two fathers of the Atomic Bomb.

Oppenheimer was asked what his first reaction was to seeing the A-Bomb “work” in the New Mexico desert. He said he thought of a quote from the Hindu scripture Bhagavad Gita: “Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds.”

“Now I have become Phil Snow,  the destroyer of programs.”

That’s the quote rattling around in my head when I watch Temple play defense.

Don’t take my word for it. To quote Denise Simpson when talking about O.J., “You know his record.”

It’s right here, serving as a defensive coordinator  for Eastern Michigan/Temple and a defensive assistant for the Detroit Lions:

The Phil Snow Winning File

Season Record Team
2008 0-16 Detroit Lions
2009 2-14 Detroit Lions
2010 2-10 Eastern Michigan
2011 6-6 (with wins over Ala. State and Howard) Eastern Michigan
2012 2-10 Eastern Michigan
2013 0-6 Temple
Total 12-62

We’ll only go back to 2008, because it’s too depressing to go back before that.
Let’s put it this way: Snow’s last shutout against a Division IA team (they were know as Division IA teams then) was 1996. That’s the last century for anyone counting.
In his last 70 games against Division IA foes, he’s held teams to single digits just three times.
That’s three as in the number after two.
Last year, he had the Eastern Michigan defense ranked No. 120 of 125 FBS teams in yards-per-game with a 453.91-per-game yield.
This year, he has Temple’s defense ranked No. 120 out of 125 teams with a 510.8-yards-per-game yield.
You’ve got to give him points for being consistent.

… on the offensive side of the ball,
Temple hasn’t been much better this year,
scoring ZERO points in the second half
of games vs. Notre Dame, Houston
and Cincinnati. … doesn’t seem to be too
much effective offensive chalkboard
work being done at halftime, either

Before you blame it on the players, these are the same players who Chuck Heater had shutting out UConn in the second half of a 17-14 win. That’s when Temple coaches used to make adjustments at halftime.
(Speaking of which, on the offensive side of the ball, Temple hasn’t been much better this year, scoring ZERO points in the second half of games vs. Notre Dame, Houston and Cincinnati. That’s zero, as in the number before one. Doesn’t seem to be too much effective offensive chalkboard work being done at halftime, either.)
When Snow was hired, I wrote I saw no justification in hiring him and speculated it was only because Snow was an old buddy of Matt Rhule’s at UCLA. What he’s done since hasn’t changed my mind at all. This is what I wrote in this blog way back on Jan. 18: “I’m all for hiring old buddies, but not old buddies who give up 38 points per game.”
From someone who watched Temple develop a strong defensive identity under Wayne Hardin (Vince Hoch), Bruce Arians (Nick Rapone), Al Golden (Mark D’Onofrio) and Steve Addazio (Heater), this might be the toughest part of the season to swallow. Rapone would coach the DBs to step in front of the ball and intercept it, rather than let the guy catch the ball and tackle him. That produced NFL defensive backs in Terry Wright, Eddie Parker, Todd Bowles and Kevin Ross. In those days, Temple played the ball and not the man.
Heck, when Dick Bedesem was the secondary coach at Temple, the Owls led the nation with 26 interceptions.

This year?
They have zero.
That’s as in the number before one.
I might be tempted to say it’s the players, but I know the record of the DC all too well.

This tidbit from

This tidbit from



36 thoughts on “No defense for hiring Snow

  1. Some people have said we must give Ruhle and his merry band of coaching non-achievers time. Patience is a virtue. Losing is not especially the way this team has been losing. The defense might as well not even be out there because they are obviously not being coached. Every QB we face looks like Johnny U. I simply can’t put all of that on the inexperience of the kids. It’s the coaches’ responsibility to prepare the kids and they are visibly unprepared. Yes, Al Golden needed patience because the cupboard was truly bare after the Wallace coaching debacle. That’s not true today given that eighty percent of the team from last year returned this year and there was a good recruiting class. The team is losing because of coaching. Had the kicker been changed after Notre Dame, Houston and Fordham likely would have been wins.
    I understand the urge to give the coaches time. Things have changed since the Al Golden years though given the influx of money. TU cannot again lose like they did during the Bobby Wallace years. People then said give him a chance and it almost resulted in the dropping of football. Don’t fool yourself and think that can’t happen now. That’s why mistakes have to be corrected sooner than later. TU needs a proven head coach and there are plenty of them out there who would love to come here. I submit that they be given a chance before its too late for the program.

  2. Nice guy, but this is a big business and if you lose to Fordham, it’s cause for dismissal. If you lose to Fordham and Idaho, it’s just confirmation that it’s the only decision to make at the end of the season. Decisions on stadiums and leases are due within the next year or two and bringing back an 0-12 coach means 70,000 empty seats next season. You cannot sell an 0-12 season. Not after the recent 26-12 run.

  3. Every game that Rhule keeps Snow around confirms that Rhule isn’t the right guy to be HC. Too bad it doesn’t matter because we have no AD to make a change. No temp AD is going to fire the football HC. It doesn’t matter how much the HC should be fired.

  4. Why are we just ripping Snow? I agree he is awful but what about some of the other assistants that Rhule hired? What has Brandon Noble done with the DL? Not much from what I can see? No pressure on the QB and can’t stop the run. How about Francis Brown? He apparently is a damn good recruiter, but our DB’s are clueless. 6 games and 0 , that’s ZERO as in NONE ,interceptions. I bet if you had a count on how many passes the secondary has broken up, the number isn’t much higher.You can’t win without the ability to create turnovers.

  5. Left one more thing out. Who is coaching our special teams? Atrocious would be the best word I can use to describe them. No big play potential, unless you’re on the opposing team.

  6. Absolutely right about the special teams. All due respect to Ryan Alderman but why is he returning punts? He couldn’t break one against seven defenders. Jihaad Pretlow was a superb returner in high school. I rather risk a fumble every now and then than no chance for a td return.

  7. All well and good but look at a lot of our defensive performances last year. A 35-0 drumming in the second half against Rutgers stands out in my head. The games after that we gave up yardages of 528, 508, 472. 407 (Army win, so not bad) and 475 (we were up 10 after the first quarter and fell apart.) I was a little worried when we left the MAC because we were so excited to take take program to the “next level” that we didn’t even realize where we were at that time.. sure we had some amazing renaissance years but we had never beaten a MAC team with a winning record. To become the “Boise State of the East” as Addazio once claimed he wanted his team to be, you first need to dominate your conference, and we did that against some of the worst teams in the country but not against the better teams in the conference. With guys like Montel Harris, Bernard Pierce, Mohamed Wilkerson, Adrian Robinson, etc, gone, and the QB position being a usual weakness, I just had a bad feeling going into the Big East and now the AAC. So if you have no chance against the better teams and you don’t finish games that you could have won (Idaho, Fordham, Houston) you go from being a seemingly mediocre 4 win team to a 1-11, 0-12 disaster. And I don’t think that’s Rhules fault (although Snow is bad.) The team just wasn’t and isn’t ready

  8. S#ITBegins! Now I know what that motto means! Snow is actually a great pick! He’s the Dan Quayle of Temple Football.

    • Yea, I heard he spells football “Futball.” LOL

    • The gross ineptitude across the coaching staff all gets back to a HC that’s in over his head. Both coordinators are brutal as evidenced by the stats. The owls are ranked 120 out of 125 D1 programs. Do you think they have the 120th ranked talent?

      MR was a huge stretch for a head coach and the initial concerns around his staff choices have come to fruition. A defense that can’t hold a team (even FCS) to under 500 yards in a game, abysmal special teams and an of fence completely under utilizing talent and lacking in the ability to effectively gameplan.

      I’m glad MR is a nice guy and can recruit well, perhaps he should consider a career in sales.

  9. So let me ask u this? U have to know Temple isn’t firing Rhule after this season. I’m not a Rhule hater or apologist but I do believe a coach should b given some time to recruit his players and develop them. So if after this season Rhule fires Snow and maybe even the OC and he brings in a good recruiting class shouldn’t he b given some time to develop PJ, Zaire, and the rest of the young talent?

    • Talent means nothing with someone who can’t coach his way out of a paper bag. Southern Miss. fired its coach after an 0-12 (first) season last year. Temple can do the same. The key for Temple would be hiring someone who was good somewhere else and I don’t mean FCS or Division II.

      • Conveniently left out here is that Southern Miss is 0-5 this year with 2 losses of 50+ points. Rhule may indeed prove to be a stiff, and Snow should go, but Temple is no easy fix. And last year’s defense sucked. The UConn example is flawed. We only win that game because the Huskies kicker was horrendous.

  10. Oh my Gosh. I never expected to go back to the days of tailgating at Jetro Lot with all of the great ex-Temple players making gallows humor remarks but this is where we are now. I now have good friends who are resigned to the “fact” that we will not be in a bowl in three years. Three years? A lot of us could be dead by then. I’m not willing to wait. I want a GREAT head coach who gets more out of the players than they can give. Someone who lost to Fordham and Idaho with this current group of players does not fit that job description.

  11. Southern Miss didn’t hire a can’t-miss HC like Clawson, Lembo or Todd Bowles. Temple should be an easy fix with five straight No. 1 MAC recruiting classes soon to enter a restructured league not significantly better than the top of the current MAC. UConn might be flawed, but no points is still no points and Heater has his Marshall defense ranked No. 20 in the nation. Snow’s got Temple ranked 120.

  12. What we have here is a perfect example of the “Peter Principle” at work. Because Coach Ruhle, is a great recruiter and a very nice guy there was a belief, without facts to back it up, that he had what it took to be a head coach. That belief clearly has been shattered by reality. The mistakes he’s made are legion and his teams are not ready to play. They aren’t even “Temple Tuff.” Other than a couple of players, I see a lot of going through the motions. This week, Army, which always plays with intensity and toughness is going to run for 500 yards because our defense, under a blanket of “Snow,” will not be ready to stop the triple option. Our only hope is that we outscore them but I see very little chance of that happening because Satterfield will fail to recognize, as he did at Fordham, that his linemen have a 50 plus pound weight advantage. Instead, he’ll through some quick screens and then some bombs because, well, they’re more fun to call. He doesn’t realize yet that a coach is recognized for winning and not his play calling. Gonna be another bleak saturday for the Owls I’M afraid.

    • John, I think a coach who is a great recruiter but not a great coach can be a successful head coach, Greg Schaino at Rutgers is a good example. But in order to do that you need a good staff, don;t have that with Rhule’s staff and most likely a huge $$ commitment, which I’m not sure Temple has the means or desire to pile up the huge deficit that Rutgers did. And in that case Schiano took over a team coming off of an 11-44 record the previous 5 seasons versus the team Rhule took over which was 35-26 the 5 years prior to his being named HC. Plus while his first couple of years were bad, they were still in line with what the team was doing under the previous coach, not a potential drop off of 4 wins to zero. I really doubt this coaching staff could have Temple approaching 4 wins by season 3 let alone next year.

      At least Rhule is making “progress” in one are, moved up from 15

  13. Going under the assumption that a good number of people have that Rhule isn’t going anywhere after this season and should at least get 2 seasons. Who are some viable candidates for both OC and DC, think both current guys need to be replaced. I tossed out Tom Bradley as a DC candidate, but knowing that there is all of the scandal issues may not fly with a lot of people, how about Pasqualoni now that he will possibly be looking for work for next season? Any other good candidates out there, same for potential offensive coordinators.

  14. If that’s the case, we’re looking at Snow/Satterfield for 2 more years. Don’t know that many decent coordinators that would work with a lame-duck head coach. He only hires his buddies anyway and if those two are the best he can find, Heaven help us if he decides to replace one. If they keep him, I don’t think he’s got the Gonads to fire either one.

    • If that turns out to be the case then he better be the absolute best recruiter there is because this team will have to win on talent alone and that’s going to take more than 3 recruiting classes. That is why I don’t subscribe to the, give him a second year and then evaluate. Either turn this around next season or get used to 2-9, 3-8 seasons at best for the remainder of Rhule’s contract. By the way, how long did he sign up for?

  15. Here are a couple of reasons to fire him now:
    1) He can’t coach (duh?)
    2) Three de-commits after Fordham mean many more are to come
    3) if he goes 0-12, recruiters will nip away at the ear of our remaining 17 recruits saying, “Dude can’t coach. Don’t go there.”
    4) Coordinator change won’t improve things because of the imminent firing next year.

    I say cut the losses. Army is a 50/50 game and the coaches will have to commit to the run to win, which I don’t think they are smart enough to do. We need to play Dazball to win on Saturday and they are too stubborn to do that.
    If the Army game becomes a loss, the decision must be made at the highest level of the BOT to cut the losses now (by now, I mean the end of the season).
    Literally and figuratively.

    • Agree that cutting our losses now is needed. One of the defending comments for Rhule has been, let’s look for improvement over the season. Well, the defense gets worse. UC’s offense struggled mightily against Miami OH and USF in the 2 games prior to Temple. As mentioned above, after scoring 20 1st half vs UC, the Bearcats adjusted. We did not, result 0 2nd half points. Temple had the no. 1 MAC recruiting classes the last 2 years, added to a competitive, top level MAC team. The MAC beat UC, Rutgers and UCONN the last 2 years, but we can’t? It’s not a talent gap, it’s a coaching gap. Rhule should be let go.

  16. I was so pissed off after the Fordham game, then I heard all of the “I’m embarrassed, this will get fixed” quotes by Rhule and then he’s got two weeks to fix it and scores only three points at halftime against the worst team in FBS? Are you freakin’ kidding me? That sealed his fate for me.

  17. Yup, not gonna lie, seeing how Temple performed after getting 13 days to prepare for Fordham was just plain disgraceful… Juice was awful that game, but they should have prepared to take the game out of juices hands and Into the hands of Gilmore, Zaire, and Harper. Worst preparation I have EVER seen. One thing I disagree with you mike is the uconn analogy; it’s actually more impressive that we held a top 10 team to 6 points in the second half this year, then a team that held an anemic uconn offense to 0 points, and clearly this defense sucks so I’m not impressed

  18. Mike, the real reason why he has to go is that you and I are too old to go through another rebuilding cycle. What the last two years of the Golden era and the one year of Addazio’s rein did was give us Temple fans hope. For too many Saturdays, I’ve had to ignore looks of amazement and dumbfoundedness when asked what I was doing Saturday and answered going to a Temple game. I’m just tired of it and cannot wait for Ruhle to grow into the job. Both of us know, having suffered through the Berndt, Dickerson, and Wallace years, that either you have it or you don’t and that is obvious from day one. I remember Wallace losing to William and Mary and thinking what has the administration done. I get the same feeling now and fear that it will lead to the termination of football.

  19. I hear, you John. One of the strangest takes I’ve been hearing the last couple of weeks is: “You’ve got to be patient. This thing is going to take 2 or 3 years.” When, exactly, did they let us in the SEC? If we were suddenly in the SEC, I could see 2 or 3 years. When Louisville and Rutgers leaves, we are in no better than the MAC. Daz gave us our best recruiting class in the last 8 years. Where is all that talent now? A GREAT COACH gives us the best chance of winning right now and this guy, sadly, will never be a great coach. Does it take a rocket scientist to know you can run the ball all day on Fordham and Idaho? Does it take a rocket scientist to know that mixing in a few Coyer fake passes and runs would give defensive coordinators fits? No. But he can’t figure this simple shit out.

    • Ok, I’ve been reading the same thing on several of the Temple blog sites, statements like you’re going to love what he is building, give Rhule 2 to 3/4 years (ok I get the need to recruit more talent). My question is what in Matt Rhule’s resume leads those who are big supporters of his to have this attitude? I’m not saying it’s wrong I would just like some more information. I’m familiar with him being on Golden’s staff, saw him a good bit during Addazio’s first season on Temple Tuff but there didn’t seem to be anything that made him really stand out over other members of the staff. From what I read during the hiring process the pluses for Rhule were he know’s Temple, good recruiter (an important attribute for a successful college coach), he wants to be here (I think that is overrated depending on who yo are hiring) and the players wanted him. On the other hand there was a group that was critical of him under Golden and his role seemed to be diminished under Addazio. I’m with John and Mike in that I’ve been through this before with Dickerson, Berndt and Wallace and really don’t want to be going through another 3 or 4 years to get the team to where it may be playing .500 ball at best.

  20. If Temple gets stomped by Army, then I pity the phule!

    • I’m going to give Rhule the game plan now if he wants to win Saturday: Commit to the run game. 20 carries for Zaire, 20 for Kenny. Zaire gets 201 and Kenny gets 114 and Temple wins. Now watch him throw 10 bombs of over 50 yards resulting in three sacks, a fumble recovery and two interceptions. Like I wrote before, the Temple offensive game plan is like Groundhog Day: The same Tennessee-Chattanooga plays over and over again. I predict we will see the “fake-a-pass-five-seconds-after-I-hand-the-ball-off-to-a-runningback” play by a Temple quarterback. Everybody falls for that one.

      • dont forget 3 end-arounds when they hand it off to robbie anderson, and the line is pushed back so far that he barely makes it to the line of scrimmage…

  21. I’m trying to forget. Thanks for reminding me, Michael.

  22. I’m more worried about a “Snow Job.” Army runs it up the gut, Temple loads the box, 50 Yard TD Pass. 7-0 Army.

  23. I’m worried about everything. Army is better than Idaho and Fordham. Did anyone see us improve significantly against Cincy and Louisville? I didn’t. One meaningless half of Louisville doesn’t prove anything.

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