Someday, soon I hope, Al Shrier is going to finally spill the beans of what is in that iconic briefcase of his. It’s the biggest secret in Temple sports history.
I saw it many times in the 1970s, but those who came before me said the greatest Sports Information Director any school has ever had possessed that same item in the 1950s. He still has it now and still carries it around.
What reminded me of Shrier’s briefcase were the powers of organization in developing a plan. Mr. Shrier as I called him during my years at Temple, some as sports editor of The Temple News (which he also was about 25 years before me), was impeccably organized. I hope Temple head football coach Matt Rhule has a plan beyond what I have heard so far or saw the last couple of weeks to fix his defense. If he keeps it in a briefcase and carries it around, that’s fine, too.
So far, all I’ve heard is the Audacity of Hope.
Hope, that by saying a few words to the seniors that will make it all better. First my eyes hurt watching the Owls try to rush three against Quinton Flowers, then my ears hurt shortly after I heard the “game plan” was to assemble the seniors at one end of the field and tell them that you have confidence in them providing enough leadership for a win on Saturday. I would hope our game plan is more sophisticated than that. Maybe I won’t be able to talk after Saturday, completing the ailment Trifecta.
Football’s a simple game. Rush the passer, protect yours, establish the run, throw off play action, limit mistakes. Seems to me the best way to do that is play to your strengths. Temple has five outstanding starting players on the defensive line and plenty of solid depth there. Keep them all in the game for the same time (5-2, instead of 4-3 or 3-8) to rush the passer and help stop the run. That way, you do not have to blitz but you have that option because you have one of the best blitzing linebackers in Temple history. I hope to see a Temple team flying around Paxton Lynch all day like Killer Bees and never again to see a three-man pass rush. The former is the best way to force fumbles and interceptions; the latter is the best way to get picked apart by a first-round NFL draft pick.
If Temple utilizes its personnel better than Memphis, it will do a lot more to advance the cause of winning than getting a group of wonderful seniors together and saying, “C’mon guys.”
We all know these kids have the will to win, but there has got to be a how-to as well. Maybe coach Rhule has it stashed away in Al’s briefcase. That’s OK, as long as he uses it.