Fox News has its Bill O’Reilly No-Spin Zone and Temple football will have its spin zone on Wednesday morning at 7 a.m. on National Signing Day.
No one can say how the Owls’ coaching staff will spin it, but pretty much everyone agrees that there will be a spin involved. There can be no other conclusion based on the way the Owls handled their other recruiting classes. The theme of past signing days I attended was Al Golden saying we were No. 1 in the MAC by all objective analysis and Temple’s goal is to be No. 1 in everything, recruiting, workouts, gameday, etc. Instead, this will be one of the lowest-ranked recruiting classes in recent years, with Temple ranked No. 102 in the country by one of the two major recruiting websites. Sixth in the AAC by one, eighth–behind Mensa-level Navy–by another.
I do not know how to spin that, but I guess that Temple will bring up all of the examples of two-star guys who came to 10th and Diamond and made it to the NFL. For every one of those guys, though, Al Golden was able to get a guy heavily recruited by a BCS team like Boston College (Kee-Ayre Griffin) or Pitt (Adrian Robinson) who really made a contribution at Temple.
Bernard Pierce, who I called “The Franchise” for his three years here, was a two-star who Golden was able to stash away at a reform school (Glen Mills). This is the way you build winning teams: Get five guys who the big boys want, stash a couple of guys away, and then do a tremendous job watching the film.
That’s what Golden did.
The spin tomorrow will probably be “we watched the film, trust us.” That’s OK, too, if Temple is able to land T.J. Simmons of Lakeland (Fla.) and Adrienne Talan, a linebacker who is between Nebraska and Temple. I would love to get the Canadian defensive end, Mathieu Betts, who is between Temple and Purdue. If Rhule is able to pull off those three, the spin becomes easier to swallow. Love the legacy recruit, Kareem Ali. Jr., and the kid he was able to bring with him, Greg Webb. I believe both of those guys could earn starting jobs next season. That would upgrade the talent level of a team which already returns 20 starters and set the minimum bar for Rhule wins at eight. A healthy Simmons following a fullback, say Rob Dvoracek, could do some serious damage against Penn State. Simmons following last year’s offensive line without a lead blocker like Dvoracek would not nearly be as effective. Remember, Pierce, Matty Brown and Montel Harris followed great blocking fullbacks through the hole and enabled Temple to set up an effective passing game. Don’t try to tell that to Rhule, though, who thinks his “process” of no running game, no pass protection and no wide receiver separation can prevail against any opponent. There’s a lot of spin in that gameday coaching process, too.
This is not a Golden class, though. At best, it is a Silver one, maybe a Bronze. I’d rather have the top-rated class the AAC, like Golden had in the MAC for three-straight years. If Simmons is 100 percent—and that’s a big if—he could be better than Bernard Pierce. Having his announcement rescheduled for 7 a.m. is a big positive for Temple, which does not currently have a franchise running back on the roster.
Keep your fingers crossed and set the alarm for 6:55.