Recruiting Season Could Provide Clues

quincy

Tom Pajic leaves the relative quiet of Quincy for 10th and Diamond.

If anything, the newest hire of Geoff Collins provides some needed insurance.

Tom Pajic (which looks like it might be pronounced paycheck but really is pronounced PAH-CHICK) gives the Owls one more guy who has head coaching experience and, the way these AAC coaches fall by the wayside every season, that’s a nice policy.


Of course, the hope here
is that Collins wins the
AAC and gets to coach in
the bowl game, which he
also wins, and decides
Temple is the long-term
place for him

Never mind that the head coaching came at Division II-level Quincy (Ill.) for the last five years, this is another guy who has some experience of what to do with the clipboard in his hands. Given what Ed Foley did and did not do at the Military Bowl, maybe Pajic gets the chance to be head coach in the next bowl game. Not that Pajic is Vince Lombardi, but he and Wayne Hardin do have something in common: They have both beaten Drake as head coaches. The Drake team that Hardin beat in 1979, 43-22, was no slouch, though, having beaten Colorado State that same season. Pajic went 20-34 at Quincy, which is about the same amount of success Foley had as a head coach at Fordham (7-15). Interestingly enough, the guy who preceded Pajic at Quincy also went 20-34 before ending his tenure there.

Who would I have rather hired for this spot? Hmm. Al Golden might have been a good choice, but he is way above Temple’s pay grade. A better choice would have been current Baylor DB coach Francis Brown, but Temple  probably couldn’t afford him, either. Collins is the Godfather to Brown’s son, so maybe he’s a guy to keep an eye on in the future for a spot here.

Of course, the hope here is that Collins wins the AAC and gets to coach in the bowl game, which he also wins, and decides Temple is the long-term place for him. Hope and history, though, rarely jive in a league where Navy’s Ken Niumatalolo is the longest-tenured head coach.

There is at least a little irony is the new position, Director of Player Personnel, for Pajic because how he and Collins do as a recruiting team will telegraph Collins’ long-term intentions toward Temple. If the Owls finish again in the 100s—they were ranked No. 127 in recruiting by Scout.com in this February’s class—it is a sign that Collins has one eye on the exit door at the E-O.

If, however, Collins and Pajic can pull in a respectable class—say, for sake of argument in the 50s, not 120s—then the Collins will be following the plan promised by Al Golden to build a house of brick, not straw. Say what you will about Golden, but he gave the uni a great five years and left the program in great shape in terms of players. Matt Rhule did pretty much the same. Golden, Rhule and even Steve Addazio had classes ranked in the 50s so that’s not an unattainable goal at Temple. One-hundred-and-27 is unacceptable off an AAC title, even given a month to recruit.

The Owls had three players drafted in the first five rounds of the NFL draft and that should mean something to top-notch recruits. Between now and the start of summer practice, Pajic and Collins are on the clock and Temple fans should be paying attention.

Monday: Above The Line

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23 thoughts on “Recruiting Season Could Provide Clues

  1. Can’t win without good players regardless of the amount of heart they have. Collins dropped the ball on recruiting but redeemed himself with a very well run and seemingly productive spring campaign. I like t that he did not pick his starting QB because all of them will work to be the number one over the next several months. 120 days til the first game.

    • I thought (and so did Wayne Hardin) that the spring was very up-tempo. As for the Cherry and White game, I’d like to see that closer to a real game with the real situations you’d face in a game. Don’t understand why we did not practice kickoffs, punting and kick returns in front of the biggest crowd we’ll face until 9/3. Got to get the kids used to that kind of situation or you might face a Khalif Herbin/UConn type return at ND.

  2. Rhule did bring some good kids in while at Temple, but he sure did the program a disservice with this last recruiting year. He brought a couple kids with him to Baylor but overall, 127th? Yeah, Collins didn’t do any recruiting and just concentrated on keeping the kids Rhule had recruited if I’m not mistaken. Why he didn’t go after some of his own is a mystery. But my point is that Rhule’s last recruiting class here sucked according to it’s ranking, for whatever reason. I’m hoping he saw some good things with Rhule’s recruits and felt it was satisfactory. Let’s hope it works out.

    • it is the curse of successful G-5 programs – you LOSE TWO recruiting classes every four or five years. One of the front end when the new coach arrives (2013 for Rhule), and one on the back end when he leaves (2017 for Collins)..,

      • Good point, but I thought Golden’s first class bucked the trend. Twenty-nine players were signed, none of which were Wallace targets, and a handful of those went on to play multiple years in the NFL. If he could do it, and hire a staff in the same month time frame, a little extra hustle by Daz, Rhule and Collins should have earned the same result. Flying around in a helicopter and not coming back with a four-star is just flying around in a helicopter.

    • Rhule went after two of our kids (Hand and the TE from Paulsboro). I’d expect that out of Art Briles, not Matt. Daz could have had P.J. but he promised not to poach Temple kids on the way out and he kept that promise. I think that is the least we could have expected from Matt. I guess I was wrong. Collins had SEC connections. I’m mildly surprised he wasn’t able to convince a higher-rated kid to give Temple a try. We did, however, get one of the Florida equipment kids to leave the Gators to come to Temple. (True story.) Sadly, the Florida equipment kid did not raise our recruiting ranking from 127 to 126.

      • I disagree a bit with the ‘Rhule stole Harrison Hand’ stuff because it’s not like Hand is a bar of gold that was taken in a heist or had no say in the matter. For the most part for non-blueblood programs, kids commit to the staff/HC. Hand loved Rhule, not Temple. I think it’s this way for most programs not named Ohio State, Michigan, Alabama, etc.

        Joe P.

      • I’m no big fan of Daz. (I don’t believe you use a uni for 1-2 years and leave.) BUT (and this is a big but) he promised Temple he would not poach the Temple kids on the way out and he kept his promise. Daz spent two years trying to recruit P.J. and liked him very much and probably would have wished to take him to BC, but Daz made a promise to Temple and kept it. I only wish Rhule would have made a similar promise to Temple and followed through, that’s all. If Sulin and Hand wanted to follow Rhule to Baylor, Rhule should have said he made Temple a promise and will stand by it. Rhule said Collins was a “home run” hire for Temple and probably should have told those kids they would be just as happy with Geoff as they would him.

      • Where they r kids or Rhule kids?

  3. No wonder his coaching record was meh. They look like a peewee team. I know D-3 kids are smaller but they look like their 12 years old.

    • I don’t get the fact that we are hiring a lot of guys who have never done big-time recruiting and putting them in positions of DPP. We’ve gone from guys like Terry Smith and Francis Brown, who really relate to recruits like Adonis Jennings and Greg Webb (and Randall with Smith) to guys who have dealt only with D2 kids. Collins must know what he’s doing but the optics right now are not good.

      • Tommy Paycheck must have great contacts in the Garden State’s fertile football farmland. Could he pull in a midwestern USDA Prime OL? When was the last time a Nebraskan played at TU?

      • The closest was when Walter Washington turned down Nebraska to play at Temple.

  4. Coach Collins is probably out of here in 5 years or less especially if he pulls off the “triple” being the AAC championship, bowl win and Top 25 ranking. And that would be a pretty good outcome to the Collins era. Should that happen, I would hope we get a coach that had their P5 HC experience, made enough money at the P5 level school and had their full of all the other issues and pressures associated with such a program. And with all of that behind them, that guy would be happy to get back to coaching at a very high level (top 25 at that point and a history of conference championships), ideally would know the TU recruiting territory and limits, be happy making a pretty good buck for a G5 program, and is from the Pennsylvania/New Jersey area. And at that stage of his life is looking for the job he can have until retirement assuming he continues TUFB at a conference contender level. In short, I would hope either Golden or Rhule would be brought back if available. And they probably would be.

    • Five years? I think it’s very possible that it’s closer to one than five. So far, Collins has made no promises to Temple and has had one crappy recruiting class (not a reflection on the kids, but a comparison to the 126 teams rated above Temple). If he’s around in five years, that crappy recruiting class will come back to haunt him. So, unless he knocks my socks off (his socks are already off) with this class, I think his priority is living off the harvest Rhule gave him and not looking to plant crops for future famines.

  5. Ed, I do very much like your profile for the next Temple coach. … a P5 head coach who has nothing else to prove and has already made his money. Give me Nick Saban. 🙂 No Tommy Tubervilles, though. 😦 Seriously, I like what UConn did with Edsall and I don’t think Edsall will have the wandering eye he had the first time. I think we can do the same with Golden, who will be motivated to do better than his buddy Rhule did here and knows the grass is not always greener on the other side of the fence. Of course, we are putting the cart way before the horse here and let’s hope Collins can win three national championships at Temple before leaving. 🙂

    • I can see your point a bit Mike with Harrison Hand situation though I also think PJ was perhaps more loyal to Temple because you were giving him a legit shot at QB (IMO Flood royally goofed on that one trying to offer as an athlete; it’s not like we had a blue-chipper QB in hand that we didn’t want to piss off at the time). I remember reading that Franklin was originally telling a number of his Vandy commits to stay with the Commodores when he took the PSU job but he did end up taking a few. I do think though that he knew ’16 was likely his last season at TU (I originally had you pegged at 8-4/ 9-4 w/ a bowl win; after you bounced back during the UCF game he was pretty much gone because I think he realized had that game gone south his window of opportunity was about to shrink by 80%) and he wasn’t hitting recruiting the way he had been. Odd to go from classes in the 60’s/70’s to 120’s overnight.

      …still, he and Golden are pretty much your version of Schiano IMO in that even with their faults/ flaws they left their programs in immensely better shape than they found it, so it’s tough to be ‘mad’ at them. I actually heard a cuse fan say years back that recruiting tends to be a lagging indicator and as you said, if Collins can’t recruit well you won’t feel it too much until about 2019-2020 or so. Rutgers learned the hard way with Flood (see ’15-’16 seasons, especially when Carroo, a Schiano recruit, wasn’t playing). A number of us were saying in 2014 even after the bowl/Lambert win that we were concerned about our last few classes and sadly we saw it manifest itself on the field (Flood had 23 players from the 13-15 classes alone not make it past their 2nd year).

      Joe P.

      • You are a good fan, Joe, with some interesting perspectives. Hope we can get together to shake hands before the next RU-TU game. To me, Temple should play RU every year and BC should play UConn and Pitt should still be playing WVA (hell, I’d like to see Navy-Maryland every year, too). Those rivalries are a victim of the P5/G5 split.

  6. Mike: I certainly hope it’s more than one year here for CC(Coach Collins). But it’s even more interesting to think about CC still being here after 5 years as HC. On one extreme he will have had tremendous success. Three National Championships might be a little bit of a “stretch” (call me a pessimist if you must). But a few “triples” including one year with a top 15 finish would be a great run. And he’s content with that and stays at TU. But realistically he’s out of here in 5 years if he is that good of a recruiter and coach. On the other extreme, he is still here because he hasn’t had much success. To a large extent that would probably be due to not knowing how to recruit a TU player (i.e. tough, athletic, undersized, overlooked, needing repositioning, great attitude, good work ethic and a chip on his shoulder to prove he can do it at a high D1 level). Ultimately the program under him will be somewhere in between those extremes. My guess is CC reads this blog routinely. It has a lot of great stuff about TUFB and its history both good and bad. But as I read the articles and replies, I draw the conclusion that success at TU is sort of 2 parts great recruiter/player developer (meaning recruiting the type of kid defined above as opposed to chasing 4 and 5 star kids) for 1 part great X and O coaching. But bottom line is, CC’s recruiting classes have to be ranked in the 50’s starting next year. In its not, he should start thinking about moving on for his own career sake. So I don’t think it’s putting the cart before the horse if he doesn’t have the right focus on recruiting for TU (as opposed to a P5 or D3). This one down recruiting year might really hurt in 4 or 5 years. Maybe we overcome it. But I hate to think about how 2 very poor recruiting years would set this program back.

    • X’s and O’s vs Jimmy’s and Joe’s.., a timeless great football debate..,

      A successful HC at Temple must: 1. be a sideline master on game day; 2. be a master of player development; 3. and, must assemble a coaching staff capable of finding and recruiting uncut diamonds.

      HC don’t find the players, the assistant coaches do all leg work.., the HC comes in after the talent has been identified.

      Francis Brown found Ryquell Artstead, Todd Centeio…., etc.., etc.., Who on this current staff can do what Brown did for Temple the last 3 years? We’ll soon find out..,

      MR showed great year over year improvement in all 3 above, especially in number 1.

      CC appears to understand the importance of number 2.

      • The light bulb went off for MR at the end of year two, when he said going to a spread offense was something that was against all his basic instincts as a football coach. Hardin was a sideline master without peer; no Temple coach (including Golden and Rhule) could recruit like Bruce. Golden and Rhule were better CEO types than game coaches, but recruited well enough. Geez, if Collins has Hardin’s game-day acumen, Bruce’s ability to sell ice cream to the Eskimos and the CEO ability of Rhule and Golden, the Owls might go 15-0.

  7. Err, make that 14-1 because Foley will be coaching in the national championship game and Collins, Patenaude and Taver Johnson will be out recruiting for Auburn.

  8. I think our 3 parts are essentially the same. But the HC sets the direction for recruiting meaning the type of kid and where to look. From that direction the assistants go about looking for recruits. I just hope CC takes a long look at how AG and MR went about recruiting and player development and learns from it.

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