When you follow Temple football as much as I do, you inevitably interact with Temple football coaches on rare occasions.
Every signing day during Al Golden’s tenure, he was always gracious enough to take the time to talk to me about a question or two I might have had or share to me his general philosophy about the program.
I liked Al very much, but that did not stop me from criticizing some of his gameday coaching.
When I ran into Steve Addazio at a New York City alumni meeting (I was in NYC that day to audition for the Who Wants to Be a Millionaire Show), he went into a long story about why he was about to kick Matty Brown off the team because “I’ve had about enough of his shit.” The former Temple players who were standing and talking to Daz with me, Russ and Tom, then explained to Daz that I was the “Temple Football Forever” guy and then Daz begged me to keep that story quiet.
I did, because it was off the record.
Matty never did get kicked off the team, had a great senior season, and I had another great Temple football coaching story that could be told beyond the statue of limitations.
When another Matt, Rhule, got the Temple head coaching job, I dashed off an email that day wishing him luck. Much to my surprise, he then called me and we had a wonderful 35-minute discussion about everything from future assistants to helmets. I liked Matt Rhule just as much as Al Golden, but that like did not stop me from criticizing some of his gameday coaching. (If he coached as brilliantly as Wayne Hardin did during a 13-year career, he would have been above criticism but he did not and was not.) At the time, I casually mentioned to Matt that I had Bruce Arians‘ cell phone number, Matt asked me for it, I gave it to him, and it gives me great satisfaction that those two Temple coaches keep in touch from time to time. At the UConn post-game in 2012, I found myself standing next to another great guy and great Temple coach, Chuck Heater, by the team bus. “You are a genius, Chuck,” I told him for shutting out the Huskies in the second half. “It’s the boys, Mike,” Chuck said.
Yeah, the boys and the best kicker in the country, Brandon McManus.
That brings us to today’s coaching promotions and I feel this is a very good day for Matt Rhule and Temple football because George DeLeone got a position of importance (OL coach, run game coordinator).
I’ve always felt the more grizzled guys a young coach has, the better the staff. Phil Snow has proved that on the defensive end and I think George will be the same kind of guy on the offensive end.
That doesn’t mean I don’t have a George story to tell. At the UConn game in 2012, the UConn team was leaving a pre-game meeting at the UConn hotel (where my fellow Owl fan and friend Phil and I were staying) and we saw George , then the Huskies’ OC, on the way out. He recognized us (we think from signing days), nodded, and we went into the meeting room and came away with a UConn offensive playbook that was left behind. It was beautiful, blue, in a binder, and filled with every UConn play.
I won’t say what happened to the playbook, but Temple shut out UConn in the second half on the way to a 17-14 OT win.
Moral of the story is keep a closer eye on those Temple playbooks this season but otherwise to thank goodness George DeLeone is on our side again.