Temple Tuff goes way back to this brawl at the end of the game (and the video). Thanks to David Nelson for it, all filmed at Temple Stadium.
A quick google (or was it dogpile?) search found the first reference to “statistics are for losers” with a time stamp on it came in 1962, when Associated Press reported: “The Cardinals outgained the 49ers, 314-215, [in a 24-17 defeat] but ‘statistics are for losers,’ [coach Wally] Lemm said.”
That was originally attributed to former Tennessee head coach Bob Neyland, but there was no date on the statement so we know it goes back sometime before 1962. Neyland coached at Tennessee between 1926 and 1952, so it could be way, way back.
Statistics are for losers but, in effect, are they really?
Here are five statistics we’d like to see that would guarantee Temple our minimum goal of breaking a more meaningful stat, the school record for wins (10, tied by two). The Owls only need to do one of these five to get to 11; anything above that would be gravy and probably add to thet win total:
30 touchdown passes
When he was P.J., Phillip Walker threw for 20 touchdowns after grabbing the job for good midway through his freshman season. With no pocket protection his sophomore year, he fell into a sophomore slump that had little to do with his own play but more to do with an offensive scheme that allowed defense a free run (blitzes) on Walker just about every third down. Now that the coaching staff has provided him with the pocket protection of a back and even very good blocker in Nick Sharga, Walker has a much better view of the field. If Walker throws 10 more touchdown passes this season (one more per game), the Owls should get to 11 wins. (Twice, he kept the interceptions for a season down to eight and that has to be a goal, too.)
2,000 yards rushing
Between Jahad Thomas (1,278 yards, 17 touchdowns) a year ago and Jager Gardner, Ryquell Armstead and David Hood, this is challenging, but doable.
Before the Penn State opener, Temple head coach Matt Rhule set a goal of 40 sacks for his defense. When the Owls recorded 10 sacks against the Nittany Lions, fans assumed that goal might be achieved midway through the season. Instead, the Owls needed 14 games to get 32 sacks. They don’t need to get 10 sacks a game, but a more consistent 5-7 sacks per game should get them to a figure they should have had last season. The overall speed of the defense—with possible kickoff returner Haason Reddick as one of the defensive ends—should make this happen. Reddick is without a doubt the fastest defensive end I have ever seen at Temple.
Someone making 15 Touchdown Catches
Bruce Francis did this in in the 2007 season and, if a guy like Jahad Thomas is split out into the slot (this would be made possible only if either Jager Garner or Ryquell Armstead prove they can provide his RB production), he’s got the breakaway skills to match that. Thomas’ position in the pros will be as a slot receiver, not a running back, so the Owls will be doing him a big favor by splitting him out for his senior year. If not, either Marshall Ellick, Romond Deloatch, Ventell Bryant or Adonis Jennings have the talent to make it happen. Francis, though, had the talent and the drive and one of those three needs to find a stick shift to get to the next level.
With Sam Shaffer getting nine of them all by himself, the Temple Owls led the nation in interceptions with 26 in 1981. The coach of the defensive backs at the time was city legend Dick Bedesem, who also had stints as head coach at Villanova and Delaware Valley College. Temple has a “Willie Mays” type centerfielder at free safety in Sean Chandler, and his vision and break-on-the-ball skills should make him a nightmare for opposing quarterbacks. Any time the ball is thrown into the center of the field, it has a chance of coming back the other way. Chandler led the nation with two interception returns for touchdowns a year ago.
Monday: Temple’s Next NFL Back