When Geoff Collins was defensive coordinator for Mississippi State, in his office was displayed an emoticon with a Philadelphia Phillies hat.
Other than the foretelling of his future geographical destination, the emoticon and the Minister of Mayhem are wedded in a couple of ways.
The Phillies, despite their recent cellar-dwelling habits, have done a nice job marketing themselves with things like Fireworks, dollar hot dog nights, ambiance and mascots.
Temple University would do well “borrowing” from that organization by marketing its new head football coach and his balls-to-the-wall system.
Talk to any Temple fan and they will invariably tell you that the No. 1 way to market the team is to win.
The 2015 team did a fairly good job of that and delivered an opening-day crowd of 34,005 for the Army game. Then, despite our warnings to use the nine months the good Lord has given them to develop a defense designed to stop the triple option (eight men on the line, employ a nose guard with A gaps plugged on each side by tackles), Humpty Dumpty fell and all the marketing in the world could not put that fan base together again. All the Owls needed to do was take a half-hour a practice in the spring and the summer to go over the triple option defense. They could have still concentrated the rest of their time on the 4-3 and have been as prepared for the season as they needed to be. But, as John Belushi would say, nooooo. They had to do it their way. The Owls played their base 4-3 defense and the Army fullback kept getting chunks of yards through the A gaps. Even the North Texas State coaching staff figured that out by mid season and played an eight-man line in a 30-19 win at West Point. North Freaking Texas Freaking State.
The Owls got caught with their pants down and did nothing to force Army’s vertically challenged quarterback to beat them. The NTSU coaching staff figured out what any group of professionals would have against Army: load the box and make them beat with the pass.
Let’s hope Collins and his staff are studying any weaknesses of ND right now and adjusting the game plan.
So you need winning based off marketing to get a big crowd for Villanova and more winning to keep that crowd coming back again. Beating Notre Dame will beget a crowd of 35,000-plus for Villanova but to keep them, you have to hammer Villanova as well. A win over ND would wake up a lot of softcore Temple fans who grew up as ND subway alumni and are not quite as impressed with, say, an AAC title.
Anyone who walked out after the Army game last year heard plenty of “same old Temple” comments from fans they never saw again the rest of the season.
Nothing would market the Mayhem like a Mayhem-based win at Notre Dame. Sack, not just pressure, the quarterback, hit him in the mouth and come away with fumbles and interceptions and a win.
Then market the hell out of this form of football, call it new, and get the Joe Philadelphia fan–and especially the softcore Temple fan–onboard. Plaster the I95 and I76 with Mayhem signs inviting Eagles’ fans who cannot get into LFF to watch some exciting football.
Even the Phillies would be impressed with that kind of marketing.
Friday: The Mildcat
Monday: The Magnificent Obsession