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.
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.
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:
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
|Some of these guys I had the pleasure to meet and they are great people.|