Reversing Field: Getting Temple Football on YouTube

Today’s post was supposed to be about the LIKELY bowl destinations of the Temple Owls.

Since those likely bowl destinations are the same bowl destinations today as they were on Saturday, we’ll make that post on Thursday—when we’ve been assured by a trusty source that more will be known tomorrow and the four possible destinations could be narrowed to one or two.

So like Ryquell Armstead without Nick Sharga to follow through the hole, we will be reversing field today. Hopefully, like Rock, this post will also result in a Temple touchdown, this time a figurative one.

One of my Pet Peeves for years has been that other schools have their past games on YouTube but it’s almost impossible to find Temple football footage from past years. Temple really hasn’t had a video crew since Fran Duffy (not to be confused with Fran Dunphy) arrived on the scene with Owl Golden in 2006. Duffy is now the video coordinator with the Philadelphia Eagles. The guys who are played with Temple the last decade or so are in good shape.


Frank McArdle’s Ryan team less than a week ago.

It’s the other guys, the ones who played before them, we’ve always been more concerned about from a historical footage perspective.

Thanks to Archbishop Ryan head coach Frank McArdle that could all change. Little did I know I’d be watching Frank’s team from the stands on Thanksgiving Day beat Washington, 38-14, and then have him contact me a couple of nights later, but that’s exactly what happened.

Frank sent us this email out of the blue on Sunday night and we were very grateful to receive it:


Hope all is well. I have read the blog for a few years now and have enjoyed it. I have been going to Temple games since I was a kid and consider myself a Temple fan. I writing to you to see if you wanted to pass this on to former Temple players. I was recruited to JMU  and coached by former Temple asst. Eddie Davis (Bruce era) , after college Eddie got me into coaching at Northeastern University. Eddie and I developed a very close relationship We lost Eddie in 2013. Today Eddie’s wife gave me hundreds of films and other coaching keepsakes of Eddies. Among the films are 8mm Temple Coaches films from his time with Coach Arians. I have

1985 TU vs BYU

1986 TU vs VA Tech

1987 TU vs Penn State & Akron

1988 TU vs BC & Rutgers

I am not looking to sell the films just passing this along to see if any former players wanted a copy of the games.

_  Frank McArdle



My thought process here are not just to get these to a few of the players but to get them to someone who is able to transfer them to YouTube so the entire Temple football community—fans, current players, past players—can see and enjoy them whenever they want.

I know there is a service out there that transforms old eight-millimeter film into a DVD and someone reading this surely must have the ability to transfer that to YouTube. That

If so, contact me at and I will get you in touch with Frank and we can get this process rolling.

Thanks, Frank.

Thursday: Bowl Scenarios



Temple Owls: Bowl Bound

Unfortunately, there are still some Temple football fans around rooted in the mindset of the 1990s.
That is, Temple football is not Alabama and that we as the unwashed Temple fans should be able to accept any scrapes of food that come our way because we are starving for success.
That all changed, though, when Al Golden came to town roughly a decade ago.
Those of us who have followed the program know that Temple has turned the corner and that bowl games should be the norm, not the exception.
So, as in vitamins, consider what happened yesterday to be the adult minimum yearly requirement: A bowl game with expectations of a brighter future.
I don’t know about the brighter future part–new coach Geoff Collins says that next year is going to be, umm, to use his word “ridiculous”–but we’ve achieved our minimum yearly requirement of a bowl game and I guess a lot of us should be thankful for that.

I will say one thing: This season will be a success if Temple, not Wake Forest or Toledo, is hoisting a bowl trophy no matter who the opponent.

The fact that it should have been better cannot be changed now. Beat UConn and Army, as the Owls should have, and the Owls would have finished 8-4 and gone to a similar bowl that they will go to now so it’s a wash.
As far as the 43-22 win over Tulsa goes, the Owls made Nick Sharga disappear again and that’s sad because he’s not only the best fullback in the country but one of the four best fullbacks I’ve ever seen in my 40 years of watching Temple football (right up there with Henry Hynoski, Mark Bright and Shelley Poole) and maybe, with Poole, the best blocking fullback I’ve ever seen at Temple.
If there’s a God, there will be a game plan featuring Ryquell Amstread following Sharga through the hole against the bowl opponent and a similar role for Rob Ritrovato next year. The Owls have a Heathen OC, Dave Patenaude, though, and he seems intent on doing things his way.
That way worked against Tulsa. It did not work against Villanova, UConn or a myriad other games.
Collins delivered the minimum his first year, which fit the definition of ridiculous in one way in that you are not supposed to go from double-digit-win seasons to a six-win one.
Seven wins would be better and the Owls have a chance to do that in a couple of weeks.

That would be exceeding the minimum by one.

Thursday: Fizzy Wraps Up The Season

Saturday: Bowl Scenarios

Monday: Bowl Reality

Wednesday: Ridiculousness 



Tulsa Preview: Setting Up Next Year’s Slogan


Anyone who thinks a 2-9 Tulsa this afternoon (4 p.m., ESPN NEWS) is going to be a pushover for Temple is sadly mistaken.

Exhibits A and B are two scores: Tulsa 45, Houston 17 and USF 27, Tulsa 20.

Both of those are real scores and both happened this season, not some season long ago. The Hurricane beat one good team badly and hung tough with the second- or third-best team in the league on the road a week ago.

Yes, Temple is 5-6 and Tulsa is 2-9 and ostensibly playing for a lot more than the Hurricanes. Still, this is Senior Day at Tulsa and 19 seniors are saying goodbye. They will not quit.


So Temple has to execute. In our minds, maybe not Dave Patenaude’s, that means establishing the run with the tailback following the best fullback in the country through the hole, then hitting on explosive plays in the play-action passing game. Really, that’s the only way Temple has won the prior two seasons and the only way Temple can win today.

This game is as much for Temple setting up next year’s slogan as much as anything else. When the Owls finished 6-6 at the end of the 2014 season, fullback and team leader Kenny Harper got up on the podium at the E-O and said, simply: “Leave No Doubt.”

He and the rest of the seniors were leaving the unmistakable slogan for the next year that six wins would not be good enough; that six wins would be putting the Owls’ fate in someone else’s hands. Harper’s words carried the Owls through one 10-win season and an appearance in the AAC championship game. The next year’s slogan was “Unfinished Business” and that was also fulfilled with the business being an AAC title.

This year, though, is different.

.. .that means establishing
the run with the tailback
following the best fullback
in the country through the
hole, then hitting on explosive
plays in the play-action passing
game. Really, that’s the only
way Temple has won the prior
two seasons and the only way
Temple can win today

Six wins would MOST LIKELY put the Owls in a bowl and give them the chance to finish the season with the kind of exclamation point they were not able to even in 10-win seasons the last two years. From our algorithms, we have been able to determine that there is a 99.5 percent chance for this year’s Owls to reach a bowl with six wins, while the six-win team of 2014 stood no more than a 45 percent chance.

Winning a bowl this year would be a welcome difference compared to the last two seasons but to win one you’ve got to get to one first.

Owls had trouble with that minor detail in their last six-win season  because the AAC had four bowl-tie ins in 2014, having sold their fifth–the Bahama’s Bowls–to the MAC. This year, the conference has seven bowl tie-ins and since the winner of the league, probably UCF, will be going to a New Year’s Six Bowl, any six-win AAC team will qualify for some bowl. Even in the unlikely event that the AAC has eight six-win teams, the profile of the league is such that any qualifying team will not be snubbed.

At least, that’s the way we see it.

If the Owl team that showed up for Navy shows up for Tulsa, the Owls will be one of those teams. If, on the the other hand, the Owls who lost to UConn show up in Oklahoma today, they will be sitting on the couch watching other less talented teams  and wondering just what swag, money downs, juice and #TheStandard really means.

And they will leave a lot of doubt for next year and for the entire Geoff Collins Era. So there is a lot at stake in the three hours that begin at 4 this afternoon or next year’s slogan could be a real doozy.

Tomorrow: Game Analysis


Fizzy’s Corner: UCF Impressive

Editor’s Note: Dave “Fizzy” Weinraub checked in with these thoughts on the Central Florida game on 10:10 a.m. of Thanksgiving Day. After watching high school football, stopping off to get some turkey, we got home Thursday night and saw this always welcome contribution. We hope Fizz checks in on his thoughts after the Owls (hopefully) beat Tulsa.

By Dave “Fizzy” Weinraub

 It was a pleasure to watch; the changing offensive sets, the motion drawing the defenders to where they were most vulnerable, the sequence of plays that made the defense think they knew what was coming, and the pass patterns of the receivers aimed at drawing attention away from an excellent running quarterback.  On defense, mostly everything was under control.  There was never any panic or broken assignments, and yardage was begrudgingly given up.  The pass defenders usually were looking at the QB when the ball was thrown, which resulted in four interceptions.  All-in-all, the best coached team I’ve seen all year, in person or on TV.


Of course, I’m talking about Central Florida and their coach Scott Frost, who will probably be making 5.5 million somewhere else next season.

On the Temple side, the score would have been closer had Frank Nutile not had the horrible day he did.  But Central Florida was one of the three teams I mentioned earlier in the season, that has more talent then we do.  Coupling that talent with outstanding coaching, made a formidable task.

A win next week gets us bowl eligible, for what that’s worth.  The best thing about playing a bowl game is it gives the team extra practice for next season.  It also gives us more TV exposure, which might help recruiting.  But not if we lay an egg like we did in the last two bowl games.


and may your bird be bigger than mine!

Tomorrow: Tulsa Preview


Thanksgiving With (Just a Few) Words

Editor’s Note: The biggest reason I have to be thankful for (as a Temple fan at least) was to be able to write this story roughly one year ago. On this Thanksgiving Day, we republish it in its entirety.

The morning after arguably the greatest win in Temple football history, there are no words.

Literally no words are coming out of my mouth, at least in the sense of being able to talk this morning.

The throaty and hoarse condition is more than OK because it was the result of cheering for the Owls at beautiful Navy-Marine Corps Stadium as they captured what really is their first-ever major football championship. The 1967 MAC title was admirable, but that was a day when the school played to a level of football that was beneath their status even then as one of America’s great public universities.

So this was it.


Walking out of the stadium and into the concourse, I let out a very loud primal: “THAT’S WHAT I’M TALKIN’ ABOUT!!”

Fortunately, I got a few high fives and smiles from my fellow Temple fans and not fitted for a straightjacket. It also put the voice out for 24 hours, maybe more.

When it comes to Temple football today at least, you cannot think in terms of a national championship—the deck is stacked against G5 teams in an unfair system—so what happened yesterday was the pinnacle of Temple football success. Thousands of Temple fans, easily in excess of 10,000 Temple fans, made Navy’s 15-game home winning streak a moot point by turning that stadium into a Temple home field advantage and to get to that mountaintop and look down from it is incredibly satisfying.

Hey, it’s a pretty spectacular pinnacle. The only thing that would have made it better was a G5 slot in a New Year’s Six bowl against Penn State, but that’s not happening for a number of reasons that are not important today. (Objectively, would you take a team for the Cotton Bowl that has won seven straight against this schedule and beat a Navy team, 34-10, over a Western Michigan team that struggled to beat a four-loss Ohio team? I would but I don’t expect the bowl committee to be that objective. I can also grudingly see the WMU argument.)

What is important is that the Owls have gone from being a perennial Bottom 10 team and laughed at nationally to being ranked in the Top 25 for two straight years and going to a title game one year and winning it the next. When you think of the success P.J. Walker and Jahad Thomas have had here, there is a Twilight Zone quality to the parallel between this success and their success at Elizabeth (N.J.). In their freshman year at Elizabeth, they won one game; in their freshman year at Temple they won two games. In their sophomore year at both schools, they won six games. In their junior year at both schools, they reached the title game and lost and, in their senior year at both schools, they lifted the ultimate hardware together.

Truly amazing and I will miss both of those guys.

Back on Cherry and White Day, I wrote that this team will be better than last year’s team while people on other websites—notably, Rutgers and Penn State fan boards—insisted that Temple would take a step back. I was consistent in my belief that this was the STEP FORWARD year, not the step back one, and that belief was rooted in knowledge that both the defense and offense were significantly upgraded despite graduation losses. Only a Temple fan who follows the team closely would know that, not the know-it-alls who make assumptions on subjects they have no idea what they are talking about.

Today at noon, the Owls will know where they will go for a bowl game. They can finish the season in the top 25 and set the record for most wins in Temple football history.

It won’t be the cake because we saw that yesterday, but it will be the Cherry on top of that white cake and it will be delicious even going down past what promises to be a future sore throat.

Friday: Fizzy’s Corner

Saturday: Tulsa Preview

Sunday: Game Analysis

Tuesday: Season Analysis

Thursday: Looking Ahead

5 Things to Be Thankful For …


Even in a 5-6 season (so far), there are things to be thankful for and, for today, we will run down this small list.



For all the self-flagellations of Temple fans over poor attendance, Boston College—a Power 5 team playing in Boston against a New England rival—drew slightly over 20,000 fans in 37,000-seat Fenway Park in a 38-13 win over UConn on Saturday night. Temple, having a worse season than BC, drew an average of over 26,000 fans for a 5-6 team. Last year, for a 10-win team, the Owls averaged  27,229.


Nick Sharga

The fullback returned to the modern offense for the first time since the Wyatt Benson days of Al Golden and Sharga proved the position could be the key that starts an effective offense. Jahad Thomas and Ryquell Armstead followed Sharga through the hole a year ago. That accomplished two things: Shorten the game and keep the defense fresh while chewing up clock and make the play-action passing game much more effective by bringing the linebackers and the safeties up to the line of scrimmage to defend the run and then passing over their heads. Sharga was largely a forgotten man by this staff who only gave him lip service and not the minutes he earned. Hopefully, this style of Temple TUFF football doesn’t die with the departure of Sharga because Rob Ritrovato has shown he can be an effective replacement. If OC Dave Patenaude pushes back on truly embracing a style of offensive football that epitomizes TEMPLE TUFF, head coach Geoff Collins should push him out the door no later than January.



With the satellite tailgates and the main alumni tailgate, the pre-game party atmosphere at Temple was second to none. The two strongest satellite groups were Wayne Hardin’s guys, led by Steve Conjar, and the Bruce Arians’ group, led by Sheldon Morris. The alumni association did a bang-up job with the main tailgate and, for $25 bucks, could not beat the spread or the accompanying giveaways.


Frankie Juice

Frank Nutile, the backup who became the starter, provided some juice when he was forced into action as a starter against Army, a game that was lost due to no fault of his own. (Some incredibly poor coaching defensive adjustments in Army’s last series lost that one.) Juice was the reason for a 36-13 lead over a very good Navy team, not responsible for the Middies getting back into that one. Despite the four interceptions against UCF—when the Owls should have been running the ball deep in their own territory—Nutile is determined to have the seniors go out on a good note at Tulsa and we have no reason to doubt him. (Norm Van Brocklin had four interceptions in a 1960 game against the Cowboys but the Eagles won the NFL championship that year. It’s a bad day, not a career-killer.)


The Theory of False Equivalency

Albert Einstein did not come up with it, but it was on display for the last three months on the Temple Fan Facebook page. Most fans understood that there were many starting AAC championship-level players back (Sharga, Ryquell Armstead, Ventell Byrant, Keith Kirkwood, Isaiah Wright, Adonis Jennings, Jacob Martin, Freddy Booth-Lloyd, Michael Dogbe, Greg Webb, Karamo Dioubate, Julian Taylor, Artrel Foster, Champ Chandler and Delvon Randall, three of five starters on the offensive line, just to name a few) and this coaching staff underachieved with that level talent. Yet, there were a few—they know who their names are—who insisted “this was a whole new team with new coaches” and that Matt Rhule was 2-10 and Al Golden 1-11 in their first year so Collins should get a Mulligan for this year. False equivalency. Rhule had 4-7 MAC talent; Golden had 0-11 independent talent. Hell, even Steve Addazio had a 9-4 first year inheriting a whole new group of players but he was smart enough to stick with Golden’s winning formula.

Thursday: A Throwback Story I’ll Always Be Thankful for

Saturday: Tulsa Preview

Sunday: Game Analysis

Tuesday: Season Analysis

Thursday: Looking Ahead

The Exception To the Rhule


If the Owls go from 10 wins to five in one year, staff changes need to be made

Whatever happens in Tulsa a week from now, 11 games have provided more than enough evidence to come to one conclusion.
If Matt Rhule was the perfect guy to lead Temple football into the next decade, and he probably was, Geoff Collins is The Exception to the, err, Rhule.
In other words, The Anti-Rhule.
matt rhule, temple football,

What made Rhule great here doesn’t necessarily transfer to Waco and what made Geoff Collins a good coordinator in Gainesville doesn’t necessarily transfer to the top spot here

It took Rhule three years to understand the key to winning at Temple is running the football behind the fullback, playing sound, fundamental defense (no Mayhem), shortening the game with long drives predicated on a running game that forced opposing defenses to bring their linebackers and safeties up to the line of scrimmage and then hitting on explosive plays in the passing game by using play-action.

You’ve got to wonder
if the Temple
administration is
kicking itself now
knowing that there
was a guy out there
who knows how to win
here, Al Golden,
and they passed on
him to roll the dice
on an unproven coordinator
It’s a simple formula but it’s a proven effective one for the last two double-digit win seasons. This is football, not Rocket Science.
Why Collins saw the need to tinker with that formula with talent tailor-made to run it is beyond the comprehension of most Temple fans.
Certainly this one.
The shame of it all is that Temple went from a guy in Rhule who understood what it takes to win here to someone who might never grasp the concept. What made Rhule great here doesn’t necessarily transfer to Waco and what made Geoff Collins a good coordinator in Gainesville doesn’t necessarily transfer to the top spot here. Rhule’s gone and probably won’t be back but you’ve got to wonder if the Temple administration is kicking itself now knowing that there was a guy out there who knows how to win here, Al Golden, and they passed on him to roll the dice on an unproven coordinator.
Now we have at least a 50/50 chance–I assume Tulsa will be either a two-point favorite or a two-point underdog when the lines come out–of going from two 10-win seasons to one five-win one.
I made it a point to approach Dr. Pat Kraft at the pre-game tailgate and congratulate him on one thing.
“What’s that?” the Temple AD said.
“Firing the soccer coach,” I said.
“Because you said in the statement that Temple will not accept mediocrity,” I said. “That’s something new at Temple because Temple never fires any coaches. That statement shows Temple’s not playing when it comes to holding coaches to a standard.”
“I meant it,” Pat said.
If this season finishes in a five-win disaster, big changes need to be made at least at the coordinator level if not above.
In a week, the Owls have a chance to be either mediocre or bad.
If it’s the latter, I hope Kraft holds American football to the same standard he demands from the international kind.
Tuesday: 5 Reasons To Give Thanks
Thursday: A Throwback Thanksgiving Day Story