Helicopter Recruiting

Did not like the way this chopper took off. Ed Foley must have been flying.

Helicopter Parenting is a term that has been around for a while and it means a parent or parents who take an excessive interest in the lives of their children, almost to an unhealthy level.

helicopterparent

Geoff Collins thanks God he landed safe and sound.

A much more recent phrase is Helicopter Recruiting, and that has an entirely different connotation. What might be unhealthy parenting usually translates into healthy recruiting and recruits almost universally love to be recruited that way.

Plus, it enables a coach to get to a lot of places on the same day.

Count new Temple football head coach Geoff Collins as a devotee of Helicopter Recruiting, something old coach Matt Rhule did not particularly like.

The first coach from the area who did this was Greg Schiano at Rutgers eight years ago and it produced some outstanding recruiting classes for the Scarlet Knights.

Right now, Temple fans will settle for Collins holding serve with most of Rhule’s 16 committed recruits and that apparently is the plan. If Collins can poach a couple of Power 5 recruits, something that Rhule and Al Golden seemed to do toward Signing Day, that can only be considered a bonus.

Really, Collins cannot be fairly judged by this recruiting class. We hear he’s a great recruiter, but that will be determined by his next class, not his first. One recruit we can talk about is Florida quarterback Todd Centeio because he already is enrolled at Temple and in the luxurious Morgan Hall. He’s a three-star and undoubtedly will give the other quarterbacks a run for their money.

Todd Centeio already is enrolled at Temple.

We usually do not like to talk about specific recruits in this space because of two reasons. One, these guys have not signed their names on the dotted lines yet and, two, the NCAA has specific rules against contacting recruits and we adhere to them.

If such news breaks our way, we’ll report it but, for now, we will leave the Helicopter recruiting to a good pilot named Geoff Collins.

Tuesday: The Patenaude Effect

God And The Power 5

baylor

Amazing how $7 million can make someone (not me) a fan of another team so quickly.

When Matt Rhule took over the head coaching job at Baylor, one of the reasons he gave was that he was called to accept the position because of his faith.

That kind of stunned the people who knew him at Temple over nearly the last 10 years because no one had ever heard him mention his “faith” or “God” in a public statement in any of his press conferences at the Edberg-Olson Football Complex.

Many had just written off the comment as “playing to the audience.” That said, in his first press conference at Temple University, was his statement of “wanting Bill (Bradshaw) to allow me to sign a 15-year contract” also playing to the crowd?

Probably.

Still, I could see God listening to all of this and giving the Dikembe Motoembo “no” waving finger to Rhule on both counts.

That begs the question. How come God has never called for one of these big-time coaches to come help a lesser school than a Power 5 one?

You know, the same God who might agree with the Pope on this:

impossible

To me, God is the Being who says to go help the weaker become stronger.

In college football, that means telling the big-time coach to go help the G5 team, not the P5 team.

Maybe I’m wrong, but I don’t think so.

The photo of Matt Rhule cheering for the Baylor basketball team does not sit well with me, not because I wish him ill but because it represents the perfect illustration of power and money over weakness and poverty.

It is amazing how $7 million dollars makes one a fan of another team so quickly.

I would like to think that if I was offered $7 million tomorrow to be a fan of, say, Alabama and reject my fandom of Temple that I would say no and I am fairly confident no amount of money could make me reject  the team I love.

God must love the Power 5 over the Group of 5. I’m still waiting (hell, praying) for the first photo of Nick Saban or Dabo Sweeney saying at a press conference that they have been called to a school like Temple or Navy because God called  them to go there.

Because God gave me common sense, I will not hold my breath but I would love to, err, God-willing live long enough to see that day.

Sunday: Recruiting Thoughts

New DC Johnson Has Been Here Before

taver

The last time Taver Johnson attended a Temple game the crowd was 1/15th this large.

The last time Temple fans saw Taver Johnson in action as a defensive coordinator, the Owls’ program was in the gutter and in desperate need of intervention.

Probably none of them remember him.

Then, Johnson was the DC at Miami (Ohio) and there was an announced crowd of 11,257 (“missing about 9,000 no-shows”  according to an AP story on the game) in the stands at Lincoln Financial Field but, in reality, you could count the crowd in about 20 minutes and probably come up with one third of that number. Outside, before the game, there were five fans tailgating in the rain in Lot K waiting for the game to begin right up to a half-hour before kickoff.

johnson

Taver Johnson’s last stop was Purdue.

Five, as in the number that comes after four and before six, and the day will go down in Temple football infamy, Oct. 29, 2005. The entire lot was empty except for those five fans.

In all fairness, in those days there was a larger group of Temple tailgaters a couple of lots over at the Jethro Lot but those five in two cars were all that showed in Lot K that  rainy day.

The gloomy rain was a fitting backdrop for a program that hit rock bottom with only two directions apparent: Up or out. The talk of tailgate that day was speculating on the miracle man  who could save the program because then coach Bobby Wallace had already announced he was not coming back at the end of the year, nudged out by the administration. Rick Neuheisel’s name came up, as did Frank Solich’s. Al Golden was an unknown at the time to any of the five Temple fans left.

I know. I was one of them. The other four shall remain nameless, but they have all witnessed a rebirth in the program and the tailgate atmosphere that is truly remarkable. The Owls were able to start crawling out of the gutter a  couple of months later when a Virginia assistant coach named Al Golden, also a DC, was named head coach.

Johnson’s defense was impressive in a 41-14 win over the Owls, but so was every other defense that played against the Owls that year. That was the ninth loss in an 0-11 season on the way to 20-straight losses.

Now Johnson is back and will roam the sidelines in the same capacity this year as DC of the Owls. Ironically, same sideline, too, because the “home” side for Temple was the other side of the Linc in those days.

It seems like a good hire for new head coach Geoff Collins. In that year of 2005, Johnson presided over a Miami defense that spearheaded a 7-4 record. In addition to “holding” Temple to two touchdowns, his defense limited Cincinnati to 16 points, Buffalo to 13 and Ohio to 10.

That was Johnson’s only experience as a FBS defensive coordinator.  His most recent experience was Purdue defensive backs’ coach the last two years and that was the same Purdue team that gave up 63 points to Penn State. Still, he brings a mostly P5 coaching set to Temple and that has to be a plus because he will go on the recruiting trail looking for a P5 skill set. He was at Arkansas (linebackers and cornerbacks) in 2012 and 2013 and coached the cornerbacks at Ohio State from 2007-2012.

He even served as interim head coach of the Razorbacks.

When he finally roams the sidelines, he will see a whole other side of Temple, both on the field and in the stands, that he saw the first time and the impression should be a favorable one. We can only hope those fans have a favorable impression of the work Johnson does in their view, but we won’t know for sure until about midway through the 2017 season.

Friday: God and The Power 5

How Do We Know About Collins?

geoffrey

Great story on Coachingsearch.com about Geoff Collins.

About a year ago, just about every Rutgers’ fan was singing the praises of getting an Urban Meyers’ disciple in then Ohio State co-defensive coordinator Chris Ash.


“Over the last 4
years, I’ve helped
Matt (Rhule) with
key decisions within
the program; philosophy
shifts at different times.”
_ Geoff Collins

A few of those same fans are singing a different tune about Ash now. Rutgers lost to Michigan, 78-0; Ohio State, 58-0 and Penn State, 38-0 (yes, the same Penn State team that beat Temple by a measly touchdown). The Scarlet Knights are coming off a 2-10 season and some people are questioning his game day coaching ability. Even the media has joined in as NJ.com called the loss to Michigan State “all on Chris Ash.”

The point being the 100 percent praise Ash received a year ago mollified considerably after watching the guy with the clipboard in his hands.


If those decisions
were to utilize
the fullback to
jump start an ailing
running game and ditch
the four wides and
go to a play-action
passing game, expect
Temple to head to
a NY6 bowl under Collins

Geoff Collins has received universal praise as Temple’s new hire, just like Ash did a year ago at Rutgers, so the question some fans might ask about Collins is “How do we know he won’t be a Chris Ash?”

You know, like another hot assistant, like UConn’s Bob Diaco—the national college football assistant coach of the year in 2012 with Notre Dame—who falls on his face as a head coach. Heck, we don’t know if Ash will join Diaco but a 2-10 first season with one of the wins over Howard doesn’t engender a lot of confidence among the North Jersey faithful. What they have learned in East Hartford and Piscataway is being the greatest assistant coach in the world does not automatically translate to being a great head coach. They are two different jobs and even Matt Rhule had a rocky first couple of years. For every assistant who turns into a great head coach like Rhule, there are 10 guys like Diaco who need to get fired. Head coaches who move from one place where they did well as a head coach to another have a higher rate of success. Those are the guys P5 schools can afford to hire.

As far as assistants go, the answer is we do not know, but the weight of the evidence is in Collins’ favor over Ash or Diaco.

goldenash

RU fans wanted Golden over Ash in this poll.

The truth is, with an assistant coach, you never know but there are a couple of things with Collins that give him a little more street cred than say, an Ash or a Diaco. One, the Temple program is in much better shape, player-wise, than the Rutgers or UConn. Two, no less of an authority on Temple football than Matt Rhule himself said the hire of Collins was a “home run” and, three, in two coaching stops along with way, Collins was Rhule’s boss, not the other way around. Rhule learned from Collins. Four, Collins was a coordinator, not a “co-coordinator” like Ash, so you know the Florida Mayhem defense was his production and there are no blurred lines on who contributed what. Collins already has been a coach at Temple of sorts over the last four years as “helped Matt with key decisions within the program” according to this interview.

If those decisions were to utilize the fullback to jump start an ailing running game and ditch the four wides and go to a play-action passing game, expect Temple to head to a NY6 bowl under Collins.

Now all Collins has to do is perform on game day and, from what he has done in the days leading up to his first one, all systems are go for a great liftoff.

Staff: Quality Over Speed

spouses

This helmet won seven-straight games between a black helmet loss and a white helmet one.

There is a long stretch of empty offices between the ones occupied by Ed Foley, the other two holdovers (Chris Wiesehan, Frisman Jackson) and head coach Geoff Collins at the Edberg-Olson Complex.

Already, Dave Patenaude has taken over the offensive coordinator’s office that Glenn Thomas used to occupy and the leading candidate to replace defensive coordinator Phil Snow is reportedly Florida defensive backs’ coach Torrian Gray. The only holdup seems to be Collins talking Gray into taking the job and the fact that Gray is a Lakeland (Fla.) native reluctant to leave. The process seems a little bit slower in comparison to past Temple head coaches (for instance, by this time in 2011, Steve Addazio had pilfered Chuck Heater and Scot Loeffler from the national champion Florida staff) but, hopefully, Collins is taking his time to sort through the 457 text messages he got asking him for a job.

spouse

If Geoff Collins recruits coaches and players like he recruits spouses, Owls should be in good shape.

If Randy Shannon, as expected, gets the Florida DC job, though, moving up to Temple DC would be a nice move for Gray. One monkey wrench Florida head coach Jim McElwain could throw in is to make Shannon and Gray co-coordinators, which means that Collins will have to look elsewhere.

If that’s the case, so far, so good because quality beats quantity every day of the week and Temple should not settle for less. These are much tougher decisions for Collins than, say, going with the Cherry helmet at the top of this post. That one should be a no-brainer.

Patenaude, the former offensive coordinator at Coastal Carolina, is known for a roughly equal distribution between rushing and passing yards there and that bodes well for the Owls to keep their play-action passing game which features a significant dose of fullback blocking.

Defense should also not be a concern because Collins was arguably the best defensive coordinator in college football last year and should have a significant say on that side of the football.

As far as Temple, Rhule seems to have raided virtually the entire staff. Even Rob Dvoracek, whose name has not been reported going to Dallas, even is joining Baylor. (I got that nugget from his mother at the Military Bowl.) Also joining Rhule is former Cardinal O’Hara running back Damiere Shaw, another guy who rose through the graduate assistant ranks. Another student assistant, Mike Wallace, is leaving to join Thomas, Rhule and Phil Snow.

When it comes to coaching staffs, only the G5 schools seem to get significantly raided by the P5 schools and not the other way around.

Still, Collins has enough coaching contacts scattered throughout the nation—even more than Rhule—to find a decent staff. He should be given the time to find the best.

Thursday: How Do We Know?

Fizzy: Adventures in Woulda, Coulda, Shoulda Land

sunset

Every once in a while, we submit the extraordinary insight of a former Temple football player, Dave “Fizzy” Weinraub. Fizz graced us with this analysis of the game. Enjoy.

By:  Dave (Fizzy) Weinraub

For the third year in a row, we end up in despair.  Two years ago, we lost out three in a row.  Last year, we lost a winnable game in Houston, and then a horribly coached and played game against Toledo.  This past Tuesday, after a terrific conference championship, we lost to Wake Forest.  There were three major reasons for this loss, the defensive coordinator, the offensive coordinator, and the NCAA.

When I watch a game, I mentally grade the coaching.  That’s because the players will always make great plays and poor plays, and many in-between.  The refs will also be inconsistent, and that’s to be expected.  What shouldn’t ever happen, is that the coaches screw it up.  That’s what happened.

Yes, Phil Snow coached a highly rated defense this year.  Despite the fact he always drove me crazy when he’d go to a three-man  rush when the opponent had a third and long, the defense was fine.  It wasn’t even satisfactory on Tuesday.

Wake found a weakness early on, and Snow never adjusted.  Wake would come up to the line, look to the sideline for the called play, and then adjust their formation.  After Wake’s adjustment, Temple would look to their sideline for their defensive call.  Yo Phil, while you were sending in the call, Wake Forest was already running the damn play.  Over and over, even into the fourth quarter this was happening and a major contributor to the Wake Forest tight end catching and running down the middle of the field without a Temple defender in sight.

How do you fix it? Well, it’s simple.  You let your defensive captain make the call on the field.  We have two guys on the defense who will probably be playing on Sunday.  They should be trusted to make the call.  When I was playing in high school (in a previous century), we had four different defenses, and the captain made the call.

Moving on to the offense, I could never tell if it was Matt Rhule, who dictated the mostly conservative play calling, or the offensive coordinator.  But in the AAC, it didn’t matter because we had more talent than mostly everyone, and we’d overwhelm the other teams in the second half.  It mattered Tuesday though.

Wake was consistently blitzing up the middle, yet we ran no real screens, no middle screens, no jet sweeps, which would have put Jahad outside their rush, or flares to Jahad after a quick fake.  Over and over on first down, we called the straight hand-off to our running back into the teeth of the blitz.  All this did was put us in second and third and long, so they could bring great pressure on Walker.

Four times we were in the red zone, and two of those times the first play was the direct hand-off which got stuffed.  We ended-up having to kick four field goals, despite two, first and goal situations.  Yes, I know; Phillip took some horrible sacks. However, those sacks were after we were already in second, and third and long situations.

Now let’s review the NCAA bullshit rules that allow schools to poach each other’s coaches.  Mike Jensen from the Inquirer and I, tried to fight this nonsense four years ago. I even wrote a letter to the NCAA, and got a politician’s reply from the Executive V.P. that any rule change would have to be initiated by the schools themselves.  The NCAA won’t ever force a change because they fear the Power 5 will simply form their own association.

There’s an easy solution for the problem.  Simply move the signing day back to March 1st, and mandate that all the coaches who are leaving must coach in championship and bowl games.   It’s grossly unfair to the players and their schools for the current piracy to continue.  How much did the coaching turmoil affect Temple?  For sure, it couldn’t have helped, and it was a definite factor in keeping us from finishing in the top 25.

So Temple fans, here we are again.  A new head coach is on board, and there will be new coordinators.  Will we improve?  I’ll let you know after the Notre Dame game.  On the plus side, I did get to see a win  over Penn State last year, and a conference championship this year.

Tomorrow: Season Analysis