When it comes to speculating on the kind of Beginner’s Luck Geoff Collins might have compared to, say, Matt Rhule, Steve Addazio or Al Golden, the old Brooklyn Dodgers’ owner Branch Rickey quote comes to mind:
“Luck is the residue of design.”
Arguably, Golden, Rhule and Addazio all had a good design going into their first seasons but there is something about this Collins guy that stands out—at least in my mind.
Golden had a 32-page binder on how to build a football program from the ground up, everything from recruiting to dealing with the press and parents and hiring a coaching staff. He started behind the eight-ball, though, as he was following an 0-11 season by Bobby Wallace and had a lot of leftover JUCOs in program.
So Al gets a pass.
Addazio succeeded Golden and Collins reminds me more of Daz than Rhule or Golden in the sense that he seems to have a workable plan that would lead to success in the first year. Addazio wanted to run the ball and had a big offensive line and a high NFL draft pick in Bernard Pierce. With that, and with Chris Coyer at quarterback, the Owls won their first bowl game in 30 years.
Things fell apart for Daz in Year Two when the Owls graduated to the Big East and he stubbornly stuck with the run against better personnel groups that were geared to stop it.
Rhule was all over the map in his first year, and probably went against logic by promoting Connor Reilly over the bowl-winning quarterback he still had on the roster. Many of us felt Rhule had six-win talent his first year and his head-scratching decisions both with personnel and in-game were learning on the job and the 2013 Owls were the Guinea Pigs.
Now Collins has come in with perhaps the best and deepest receiving corps in Temple history, a fine defensive line and secondary and a four quarterbacks who should not be THAT much of a dropoff from P.J. Walker. The receivers will help this new quarterback, whoever he might be. The lead running back, Ryquell Armstead, is outstanding, and that should help as well. The only question marks are the offensive line and linebackers, but they were quite good in the spring. What the OL lacks in talent, it makes up in experience and what the LBs lack in experience, they make up in talent.
Collins has a formula for success and a lot of pathways to it. He has closely studied past Temple game film in a way other Temple coaches have not. Just last week, Collins said Sharif Finch was the best player on the field in a 2015 win over Penn State. If he’s going back and watching 2015 game film, his preparation and design is probably outstanding and comparable to what Daz’s staff—which had several key members of a national championship Florida team—did his first season.
As Temple center John Palumbo told his dad during Addazio’s first season, “Dad, it’s night and day between these guys and Golden. These are SEC coaches. They know what they are doing.”
Collins, a SEC coach, probably knows what he’s doing, too.
That’s why my gut tells me.
It could be indigestion, but I doubt it.