A Most Special Group of Seniors

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My favorite internet photo of the Eagle Bank Bowl because it shows only about 1/10th of the Temple fans who were there. Twenty thousand Temple fans traveling to D.C. for a bowl game is something I will always remember.

While paging through my copy of the Eagle Bank Bowl program from the 2009 game, I was stunned to see many of the current football players for Temple on that roster.

A college career these days usually is four years and most of those players would have graduated by now but, in my mind, 2009 represented the rebirth of Temple football from what was essentially a 30-year slumber and a lot of those guys were there.  Chris Coyer was throwing the ball to Ryan Alderman every day in practice and Coyer was named the Scout Team MVP the week before Vaughn Charlton started against UCLA in the Eagle Bank Bowl.

The best helmet by far this year. I hope they keep it.

The best helmet this year. I hope they keep it.

Who knows would have happened had Coyer started the bowl game, but I think he might have made just enough plays with his arm and feet to have won it in the second half after Bernard Pierce went down in the first half. Al Golden was 100 percent right in preserving Coyer’s redshirt at the expense of a loss to UCLA in a bowl game but, in retrospect, he was probably a lot more talented than Charlton and Stewart even then. I do know for metaphysical certainty that had Joe Paterno granted Adam DiMichele his release he would have had an extra year of eligibility and Temple would have probably won the MAC that year and maybe have had the same kind of year Northern Illinois is having this season.

Either way, as a Temple fan in D.C.,  freezing your ass off watching a football game never felt so good, at least for the first half.

Kamal Johnson, a defensive tackle, had a sack in the Eagle Bank Bowl and another in the New Mexico Bowl and is the only Temple player I’ve ever known to have sacks while playing for the Owls in two bowl games.

I hope he’s not the last.

Click on the photo for five upsets this weekend.

Click on the photo for five upsets this weekend.

One of the current seniors, Sean Boyle, spent much of the 2008 year (no, that’s not a typo) centering the ball to Adam DiMichele. Imagine that? Boyle played on an offensive line in front of DiMichele, Charlton, Coyer, Chester Stewart, Clinton Granger, Mike Gerardi, Connor Reilly and as a teammate to P.J. Walker. I once said “Hi, Pat” to Sean and he shot back, “Mike, I’m Sean.” Could not tell the difference between Sean and his twin brother Pat. Sorry, Sean. I will always remember both guys as great Owls.

I will go to my grave thinking that Chris Coyer was grossly underutilized by an offensive coordinator, Marcus Satterfield, who never really understood how his versatility could have created so many more scoring opportunities in the passing and running game.

While Ryan Alderman was not my choice to return punts this year (I would have picked the redshirted Khalif Herbin), I walked up to him and thanked him after an early game for not fair catching. “We need to make that an offensive play,” I told Ryan. (He’ll probably get off a good return tomorrow night. That’s my prediction.)

Juice Granger could have quit when they moved him from quarterback but he didn’t and caught a touchdown pass in the Cincinnati game. That was a great moment in a year devoid of great moments. Whatever you think about Juice, just remember, he was the quarterback who “managed” the team to 63 points in a win at Army last year and would have “managed” the team to more than 50 points against Fordham if the team adopted a similar game plan this season. The team was getting six yards a pop (5.8, exactly) against Fordham on the run in the first quarter but then inexplicably stopped running.

I talked to Cody Booth’s dad before the Houston game and lamented they haven’t thrown the tackle eligible pass to him. They still haven’t. Kid has the best hands on the team and he plays tackle, they should throw at least one tackle eligible pass in his direction. In the NFL, this is allowed on any play in which a lineman declares to the ref to be eligible. In college, it’s allowed only on fourth down FG attempts, which would be a perfect fake from a FG formation for Temple. In fact, I have serious doubts that this coaching staff even knows HOW to draw up a tackle eligible play on the blackboard. In the diagram below, the right tackle (in this case) would be eligible:

Cody Booth would be eligible if he lined up on the far right as a TE in this formation.

Cody Booth would be eligible if he lined up on the far right as a RT in this formation.

Paul Layton is the Montel Harris of punting. He will go down in my mind as one of the three greatest punters in Temple history, right up there with Brandon McManus and Casey Murphy. He understands the art and just doesn’t boom for the sake of booming. Temple’s downed more kicks inside the 10 this year than I remember in a long time. I think his game translates well to the next level.

In many ways, this is my favorite group of seniors because they were all around when it changed from losing to winning.

Things did not turn out the way I expected for them this year because of dumb coaching last year (running the ball 75.9 percent of the time on both first and second down, setting up third-down disaster scenarios) and even dumber coaching this year: No quarterback sneak robbed the team of a win at Rutgers, using a punter to attempt a 25-yard FG  against Houston when a perfectly good backup kicker (Nick Visco) was available cost them a 16-15 lead with less than 2 minutes left in that one. Visco later went 7 for 7 in from the same distance in extra points at SMU. That cost the team two wins right there. Not pounding the ball against terrible run defenses (Fordham and Idaho) cost the team two more wins. Matt Rhule spent this year learning on the job and these seniors were the Guinea Pigs. My stance all season was Rhule should have learned on the job at place like Kutztown, not a place like Temple. At the Temple level, this is a too big a business to hire a CEO who requires on-the-job training. The Temple community learned that lesson the hard way with the bottom line being 1-9 and there are simply no excuses for 1-9.

So it is with great sadness that we as Temple fans say goodbye to these players tomorrow night (7 p.m., ESPN3) in their final home game at Lincoln Financial Field. UConn is the opponent.

They deserved a lot better.

NO NAME POS YR HT WT HOMETOWN HIGH SCHOOL PREVIOUS SCHOOL

3 Clinton Granger QB Sr. 6-3 230 Philadelphia, Pa. George Washington Pierce College
4 Ryan Alderman WR Sr. 5-9 175 Downingtown, Pa. Bishop Shanahan
6 Blaze Caponegro LB Sr. 6-1 225 Allenwood, N.J. Wall Township
9 Levi Brown DL Sr. 6-2 300 Bethlehem, Pa. Liberty
10 Chris Coyer HB Sr. 6-3 250 Oak Hill Va. Oakton
11 Zamel Johnson DB Sr. 6-0 175 Staten Island, N.Y. Port Richmond Hofstra
15 Paul Layton P Sr. 6-1 215 Burnt Hills, N.Y. Ballston Lake Albany
21 Abdul Smith DB Sr. 6-0 205 Trenton, N.J. Perkioman School Rutgers
50 Jeff Whittingham OL Sr. 6-2 305 Atlantic City, N.J. Atlantic City
63 Pete White OL Sr. 6-4 330 Upper Marlboro, Md. St. John’s Maryland
74 Evan Regas OL Sr. 6-4 320 Toms River, N.J. Toms River North
76 Cody Booth OL Sr. 6-5 285 Millersville, Pa. Penn Manor
78 Sean Boyle OL Sr. 6-5 305 Towson, Md. Calvert Hall College HS
83 Chris Parthemore TE Sr. 6-4 250 New Cumberland, Pa. Cedar Cliff
86 Deon Miller WR Sr. 6-5 210 Highland Springs, Va. Highland Springs Fork Union Military Academy
93 Kamal Johnson DL Sr. 6-4 310 Willingboro, N.J. Willingboro
 Some of these guys I had the pleasure to meet and they are great people.
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60 thoughts on “A Most Special Group of Seniors

  1. So true Mike. TU right now should be anticipating what bowl their going to instead of hoping to turn what has been a disaster of a season into one that merely is bad. The coaches remaining after this season better get a whole lot smarter by next year or else the Owls are doomed to another season of mediocrity. By the way,I think you meant to mention Casey Murphy not Casey Jones, who, I believe may have been a legendary engineer, but not a punter.

  2. Thanks, John. Fixed. Got my Irish wires crossed up. 🙂 … Casey Jones owns PaddyWhacks. If I can get a ride from NE Philly from my friend, Matt, I will be there a half hour before game time. If not, the subway should get me there 5 minutes before the game. It’s going to be tight. I’ll swing by the tailgate for a couple of minutes and go in …

  3. Layton did not miss a FG in the last 2 minutes of the Houston game. He missed it in the 3rd quarter. But why let the facts get in the way when it makes the coaches sound so much dumber in the last 2 minutes. And lets leave out that Layton had been 1 for 1 in PATs that game, the same distance you pointed out that Visco made 7 for 7 in the SMU game. Even with that FG, Temple would have still needed a TD in the last minute to win.

    • He did miss it in the fourth quarter. TEmple would not have needed a TD because Houston got a garbage TD and Temple would have had a 16-15 lead with 2:15 left. Fact. Even Rhule said a FG there changes the whole complexion of the game. Go back and read the game story. I did. It gives us a 16-15 lead and a chance with 2:15 left.

  4. Defense was awful last year and more of the same this year not sure its all Snow even though is resume is questionable. I think the talent isn’t there on defense. Is Anthony davis still committed for next year? Any others coming in that will help? What happened to Buddy Brown and Tyler Haddock?

  5. These seniors are great athletes, and I enjoyed watching them! I savored the offensive bursts much more than the defense busts. The coaching change obviously made things more difficult. I hope the Owls kick some Husky butt tomorrow in a fun chilly, frozen-tundra game that we will all remember for years to come.

  6. PS. could you please set up a Temple Owls Basketball For Ever Blog. It’s fun reading and participating in Temple fan forums. If not, is there a site for “Ramsey-like” fans like me to rant about Owl Basketball? I will bring the Bud Light. Thanks

    • Dave, don’t have the same passion for Temple basketball I do for football. Football is fighting for its life at Temple. Basketball will always be fine. We’re now a laughingstock in football again and that doesn’t please me one bit. Last night, the ESPN guy on the Rutgers’ game said, “That Worten catch was the best because it helped avoid what would have been an embarrassing loss to Temple.” I thought those days were over when AG righted the ship. Thanks, Matt Rhule, for blowing up gaping holes in a perfectly good ship.

  7. Some nice talented kids willing to adapt to three coaching staffs. Welcome to the ranks of lifetime temple fans comprised of former players. Fight fight fight for the cherry and the white. Go beat UCONN and Memphis!

  8. To run a successful tackle eligible play on a 4th down FG attempt, wouldn’t you have to at least be successful kicking more than one FG this season? It would also be helpful to have someone other than your punter be the holder. And wouldn’t the defense cover Cody Booth, a former TE, when the referee announces he is the tackle eligible? I doubt you would catch the defense by surprise. If you’re going to run Cody Booth on a tackle eligible on a 4th down FG attempt, wouldn’t it be better just to leave P.J. Walker, Robbie Anderson, Jalen Fitzpatrick, et al on the field and run a regular play?

    • One tackle eligible play a year would not hurt. Also, there’s no rule against Jalen Fitzpatrick trying that reverse pass again. It would work more than once in a season, but maybe not five times. I hope I see it tomorrow. Coaches use one of my suggested plays a year and that went for six.

      • In response to your last thought on play calling, I’ll use the expression “a blind squirrel occasionally finds a nut” and leave it to your flock to determine whether I am referring to you or Ruhle.

      • They did run it again versus Central Florida by Fitzpatrick unfortunately overthrew a wide open P.J. Walker.

  9. 1-9 with the only loss in 2013 to the worst team in FBS is the definition of blind, so it must be Rhule.

  10. Now that that stigma of losing to a FBS school has been lessened by Georgia Southern defeating Florida, expect the rejuvenated Owls to win big tonight.

  11. How Rhule and company can keep their jobs after yet another disaster is beyond me. As an alum and fan since 1979 I’m embarrassed. I would honestly rather drop the program than continue to produce this type of team.

    I feel very badly for the kids subjected to this abbsymal level of coaching.

  12. 1-11

    1-11

    1-11

    ABSOLUTE FREAKING DISGRACE

    PHIL SNOW MUST BE FIRED

    MARCUS SATTERFIELD MUST FIRED

    MATT BLOCKHEAD RHULE, WHO HAS ZERO HEART, MUST BE TERMINATED ASAP, NOW IF NOT AFTER NEXT SEASON.

    ANYTHING ELSE IS PURE STUPIDITY MARRIED TO INSANITY

  13. ANYTHING ELSE IS PURE STUPIDITY MARRIED TO INSANITY

  14. ANYTHING ELSE IS PURE STUPIDITY MARRIED TO INSANITY!!!

  15. ANYTHING ELSE IS PURE STUPIDITY MARRIED TO INSANITY!!!!!

  16. ROBEY SHOULD BE CUT MONDAY MORNING

  17. IF YOU CAN’T THROW HIM OFF THE TEAM FOR MENTAL INCOMPETENCE, HE SHOULD NEVER SEE THE FIELD EVER, EVER !AGAIN

  18. All I can say is WOW! the staff and the players , just unbelievable. I dont know where to start.

    Breathe in 123 breathe 123 be back after a drink!!

  19. If for nothing else, the coaching staff should be kept on for their creativity. Losing games like this on a weekly basis is an art.

  20. Thanks, Mr. Satterfield, for checking in … four games, zero points in the second half this season (ND, Houston, Cincy and UConn). Those hoagies at halftime must taste good because nothing else is getting digested.

  21. Just thawed out after getting back from the game. There isn’t really anything that is worth while to be said about this game or season. Just think we have 2 to 3 more years of the same, at this point I really don’t even care what the outcome is next week at Memphis. Everyone have a nice Thanksgiving holiday

  22. I agree, JD. Also thawing. Administration will either show huge gonads and cut their losses and get Lembo or Clawson in here the day after the season ends or muddle through a four-year disaster. There is really no upside to keeping Rhule now. My guess is they will muddle through a four-year disaster rather than pay two head-coaching salaries at the same time. A miserable next four years for Temple fans. Hopefully, Lew Katz set aside some of that $25 million donation as a contingency for buying out the current staff’s contracts once the Doomsday Scenario of 1-11 comes to pass a week from tonight.

    • At the very least maybe Katz can give Rhule a few bucks to help him keep better track of time during the game so he will know a game is 60 minutes long rather than 30. At least over the next couple of days the ranting of the RhulAid drinkers should be hilarious in their rationalizations of his the best guy for the job best ” he wants to be here”

  23. If what Vince Lombardi was peeved about was what his championship team was doing “out there” what would he say about possibly the worst serial display of coaching in the history of the game. I hope Matt Rhule is happy that he took care of his friends when he assembled a staff that has done nothing but underachieved in every aspect of the game. Be it “not so” special teams to prevent “nothing” defenses this staff has brought mediocrity even this Temple fan for forty years could never imagine. For example, Ryan Alderman is a gutsy receiver but should not be returning punts because he has no chance of breaking one. Yeah, he’s sure-handed but for a team as bad as this one wouldn’t it have been better to risk a fumble in exchange for a chance at a return. Not this coaching staff, which played it by the book. The problem is that the book was written in 1900. I saw nothing imaginative or even intelligent for most of this season. Chris Coyer should hire a lawyer and sue for the worst use of a talented athlete in the history of the game.
    Someone could take this season and create a documentary about what coaches should not do if they want to be successful. Finally, the odds of this coaching staff getting it together next year are about as low as this year’s team keeping a twenty-one point lead. Things look bleak owl fans as long as Matt Rhule and his merry band of loser coaches are guiding the Owls.

    • John, I don’t know if Matt Rhule will be a good HC on not but I really have doubts about this staff. My neighbor came cam to the game with me last night and he has a son who is a 3 year starter and another who right now is committed to UConn but was recruited by Rhule as well. So while not an expert he has met Rhule, Paqualoni, Schiano, Rhule and while not an expert I would say has better insight than I do with regards to the inner workings of a college team than I do. He had some interesting comments last night, first off he did feel, and his son and some other Rutgers players felt this year’s Temple team was better than last. One if his game time observations was that the coaches on the Temple sidelines didn’t seem to be working with or coaching their groups of players when they weren’t on the field. He was saying the on the Rutgers sidelines the LB say is always getting the LBs together after a defensive series, has the white board out , talking to individual players, etc. Contrary to some of the RhuleAid drinkers who think any change in the coaching staff brings instant instability,turmoil and ruin to the team, he was saying the Schiano did a total evaluation of his staff after each season and had no problem with turnover in the assistant ranks, either moving coaches around or bringing in new ones. What concerns me most about Rhule in this regard is not that he hired all of his friends but rather given that his position on AGs staff was really his only substantial coaching stint at the FBS level and he really doesn’t have the kind of network that even coordinators who have spent time in several programs would have to tap into when taking a HC position.

      • The BYU coach they were saying yesterday fired his whole offensive staff. Rhule should fire his whole staff and start over because this is a travesty and an insult to the fans. Temple’s team was better this year and the coaches squandered that talent.

  24. never in the history of college football has a team played so consistently this bad in the 4th quarter…, coaching is about making ‘winning’ adjustments at halftime and giving your team a chance to win in the 4th quarter…, sometimes you get outplayed and win because your staff out coaches the opposing sideline…, sometimes you get out coached and still win because you have better athletes…, but you NEVER win when you get out played and out coached!!!

    all things considered, this IS the worst season in the history of Temple Football…,

    so the question remains, “Will the University and BOT continue to reinforce failure?”

    hello everyone: Matt Rhule is the big elephant in the room

  25. Mike, I take it that you’ve not written anything about last night because you’re either still cold from last night or the debacle that took place on the field has left you incapable of writing. Take heart, this groundhog day of a season has only one more game left. That’s one thing to be thankful about.

  26. Too disheartened, John. Unfortunately, I see next season unraveling pretty much the same way with at most 1 or 2 more wins which would excite the 4 or 5 Matt Rhule fans left, but nobody else.

    • At this point, even his relatives have to have concluded that he’s been an abject failure as a head coach but a genius in fashioning new and dismal ways of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. Maybe his goal is to maximize the number of people he can elate. Had Temple won all of those completely winnable games, only Temple people would have been happy. His way, the entire fan bases of Fordham, Idaho, Houston, SMU, Rutgers, Central Florida, and Connecticut have come to appreciate and love the Owls for their unique ineptitude and ability to lose a game in its waning minutes. How much more exciting is it when your team wins as the clock is expiring as opposed to a blowout win, which is boring. So Mike, during this season of giving , Matt Rhule and his minions have given hundreds of thousands of people joy they otherwise would not have had. It’s a Christmas miracle.

  27. What I hope is only a small part of the fan base and not reflected by the BOT is the change in expectations for the team next year that a group of, as Mike calls them, Rhule Apologists. Now you are starting to see several posters talking about, well if the team wins 4 games next year, “shows” improvement, given the much tougher schedule next season, get 5 wins in 2015 then primed for bowl eligibility in 2016!!! I guess they figure after repaeating playing a lot of fr. and so. last year and saying the same thing this year, it might be tough to use that one again. If you are playing a lot of fr. 3 years in a row you have a program in trouble. As for the schedule, only 3 OOC games listed so far, Vanderbilt, Navy and PSU. I look at that and 1 more game much tougher next year over this. Is Navy better than Army, yes but not as much as some would like to believe. And as much as I’ve been critical of Snow, he has shown he can put a defense out there that can stop the option attack. As for the AAC schedule, how is it going to be harder than this year with Tulsa, Tulane and EMU replacing Louisville and Rutgers. Those teams even the ones with good records are coming from a watered down, weak C-USA and will be stepping up in competition plus they haven;t been recruiting at a BCS level as Temple has for this year and last. If this team isn’t close to 500 next season and bowling in 2015, then Al Golden;s tenure will be nothing more than one of the few and far between bright spots in this program since the 70’s

    • I’ll be renewing our season tickets next year and expecting significant improvement. Regardless, will also keep them in 2015 unless admin allows Notre Dame to buy its way out of the game (a real possibility). But no promises for 2016 unless tangible progress is shown. Everyone gets a slice of blame pie on Thursday, and agree the largest goes to the staff. Disagreed with Rhule last night when he said the locker-room needs a leader. This isn’t the NFL, the HC needs to set the tone.

      • SUO, feel that same as you regarding tickets, I’ll be back next season. Depending on how that goes will really will have a big impact on 2015. I’ve been through what potentially the Rhule regime could turn out to be before and not sure if I want to go through it again. I didn’t hear that comment from Rhule but in college fb, I thought the HC had to do more that and one thing I did notice during the game was how animated Matekevich was on the sidelines when the D cam off the field in the second half. Looks like he was trying to provide some of that. Comments like that are why I ask people who are fanatical Rhule supporters what big advantage did he bring that any other qualified coach wouldn’t. I thought he knew the make up of the team at least for figuring out who were the leader type.

  28. I wouldn’t be surprised to hear the Rhule gets fired Monday morning. I gave MR the benefit of the doubt up until last night. Most importantly the players have given up on MR, and the past three losses are wrist-slashingly alarming. I would wager a win in Memphis if Rhule is canned Monday at 10AM. Say your prayers, cross your fingers, and click you heels three times. There’s no coach like Ed Foley. There’s no coach like Ed Foley…

  29. i will not be renewing season tickets if the University does not take positive action.., how can anyone/institution afford to throw good money after bad? i have have never seen Temple Football players give up and play so poorly in the second half as they have done this season…., right now Temple is one of the worst five programs in all of America…., we can’t blame Rhule and his staff anymore, heaven and earth knows they are bad.., all blame today and tomorrow resides with the University and the BOT…, the facts are clear, so… “will the University and BOT continue to reinforce failure?”

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