New Uniforms?

eastjumbo

These uniforms are probably the best ones featuring the Temple ‘][‘ on the helmet

In the grand scheme of things, uniforms rate somewhat behind coaching, talent, practice facilities, stadiums and fan bases in terms of importance.

That doesn’t mean they aren’t important at all because they are.

During one of the great Temple wins recently—an overtime win at UConn in 2012 that made the Owls 2-0 in a one-time BCS league—it was with great pride that I noted that the Owls did it wearing what I thought was their best uniform combination:

Cherry pants, white stripes, white jerseys, cherry helmets.slight

They played well and looked good.

It is against that backdrop that I cringed when I heard Temple was getting new uniforms by the end of this month.

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

At Temple, it ain’t broke but fixing it could break it.

All over the NCAA, I see teams with awful-looking so-called “modern” uniforms—Maryland comes in the 2011 Temple game comes to mind here—getting their asses kicked by more traditional uniforms.

Temple’s uniforms have remained pretty much the same through the years.

When Al Golden got here, he eliminated the Temple ][ on the helmets for a very good reason because he felt the “football brand” at Temple when he played at Penn State represented toughness and that brand was having TEMPLE spelled out across the helmets.

NCAA FOOTBALL: OCT 31 Temple at Navy

That brand was created by Wayne Hardin in 1970.

“We want people to know who were are,” Hardin said. “We’re Temple. We’re spelling it on the helmets so they won’t forget who we are. There are plenty of schools that have T’s on the helmet but not many that spell the name.”

That brand continued until Jerry Berndt brought the T back because Penn, the Philadelphia team he formerly coached, had a P on it.

To me,  that wasn’t a very good reason.

Golden brought TEMPLE back on the helmet and that lasted until a bald-headed guy who shall remain nameless brought the T back. I’m OK with the ‘][‘ because it is the school brand but not OK with an entirely new look because it is supposed to be attractive to recruits.

Something tells me the new uniforms are going to be closer to a Maryland-type monstrosity—the Under Armour CEO is a Maryland grad—than a more traditional Temple look.

Whatever it is, if the word TEMPLE comes back on the helmet, that would be an acceptable step forward and a fitting tribute to the Hardin Era.

Monday: Spring Phenoms Old and New

Wednesday: The Scrimmage

Friday: 5 Things To Look For At Cherry and White

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Succession Plan: Never Too Early

fiucollins

FIU was one of many stops for the Minister of Mayhem

There has been a lot of talk on social media, if not the real one, about this supposed succession plan Temple has with basketball coach Fran Dunphy.

It comes down to these choices:

One, Dunphy returns to complete the remaining three years on his contract;

Two, Dunphy is told he has one more year and Aaron McKie will be named coach in waiting;

Three, Dunphy is told he has one more year to get to the NCAAs or he’s out.

Following Temple athletics as closely as I have for the last 40 years, I’ll opt for No. 1 and bet a good $20 on that happening. Temple has the same kind of aversion to eating contracts as Jon Stewart has to eating at Arby’s.

What does this have to do with football?

The Owls, at least in football, have to have a succession plan for reasons probably not to their liking. This may not be the topic to talk about during spring practice, but this is the kind of thing Dr. Pat Kraft should be at least thinking about and it’s never too early.

burn

My five-point criteria is specific: 1) Proven winner; 2) Proven ability to win as a FBS head coach; 3) ability to recruit; 4) ability to CEO and hire a solid staff; 5) ability to win at Temple

 

Since Al Golden left in at the end of the 2010 season, Steve Addazio and Matt Rhule have left and, the way I read Geoff Collins, he would probably be gone after eight or nine wins this year. It has nothing to do with Collins himself, just that it’s a nomadic profession that lends to stops at places like Albright, Western Carolina, Georgia Tech, UCF, Mississippi State, FIU,  Florida and Temple. He’s probably used to moving and not adverse to it. Think about it: Is something so special about 10th and Diamond that would make Collins want to plant roots in the concrete and build something here like Joe Paterno did at Penn State?

I didn’t think so.

Kraft, who probably isn’t going anywhere, has to have a few names on the piece of paper in his pocket should he get that 3 a.m. call from Collins in December.

If he does, it probably means the Owls have done something special, like win another AAC championship and that would probably be an acceptable trade-off.

To me, the next head coach at Temple is a no-brainer. My five-point criteria is specific: 1) Proven winner; 2) ability to win as a FBS head coach; 3) ability to recruit; 4) ability to CEO and hire a solid staff; 5) ability to win at Temple.

Since someone is out there who has proven all of those qualities (Al Golden) and is probably not going to get a better offer than head coach at Temple over the next couple of years, it would be wise for Kraft to keep that name and phone number on a scrap of paper in his pocket.

Otherwise, work on a guy who has at least four of those qualities.

Churning the coordinator pile is like walking through a mine field. If you get through three or four mines, there is always that fifth one up ahead. That’s the one that could blow up this program.

With a $17 million practice facility and a (possible, not probable), $130 million stadium to gamble, you do not want to roll the dice on another unproven coordinator.

Friday: Spring Practice Position Flexibility

Sunday: Done Deal II

Commitment Issues: The New Norm

 

A very familiar headline appeared in the papers the other day.

“Matt Rhule Turns Down Colts to Remain at Baylor.”

Familiar, because I’ve seen that headline somewhere before:

“Matt Rhule Turns Down Missouri to Remain at Temple.”

Now, the chances are that Matt Rhule was offered either job are about as good as I being offered the job of replacing Mike Francesa on his highly successful radio show.

None.

yeahright

Yeah, right after I turned down WFAN’s offer to replace Mike Francesa.

It was just floated out there, maybe not by Rhule, but by his agent to make him look better returning to his other positions.

dyingbreed

These two unfortunately are a dying breed

This is the new norm in college football these days and that’s one of the two reasons that college football is harder to get into for me with each passing year.

Commitment Issues.

Gone are the days when a great coach like Wayne Hardin can stay at Temple for 13 years or the days when Joe Paterno plants his flag down in State College and turns down being a millionaire as head coach of the New England Patriots for lesser pay and a chance to build something at Penn State.

Money talks and bullbleep walks, as the late-night TV commercial used to say.

hardo

Wayne Hardin, talking about Temple in 1976

The other reason—lack of a true all-inclusive national championship—has been covered in this space in the past and I don’t see that as changing any time soon, either.

Today, though, is about Rhule.

My issue with him was these proclamations of lifelong fidelity to Temple and then to turn around and leave the team that made him millions for Baylor and not even coach the bowl game. That was his decision and, while I didn’t agree with it, I have to respect it.

The bottom line for Rhule is that he gave Temple a great 10 years and if he felt that he had to leave before the bowl game, that should be his decision. God bless him and I hope he has a great career, but the latest dalliance with the NFL makes me think he’s got second thoughts about the mess he’s gotten into at Baylor. It’s a similar situation to Al Golden at Miami, who gave Temple a great five years.

Hopefully, both will straighten things out and have solid careers. Funny thing is they could have had good-paying jobs at Temple for life with a fraction of the headaches.

Maybe it’s something for Geoff Collins to think about.

Friday: Five Unanswered Questions

Monday: The Coaching Shuffle

 

Back to the Bad Old Days

Anyone who has followed this space for the last dozen years of its existence knows where it started and where we left off last December.

From chronicling the depths of a 20-game losing streak to the glorious championship in a great league in December, the Temple program reached the lowest of the lows and pretty darn near the highest of the highs.


This team doesn’t
have a plan on offense,
other than throwing
the ball 54 times
a game. That’s not
the Temple football
we’ve all come to
know and love.
The Temple football
we love is running
Ryquell Armstead and
David Hood behind the
lead blocks of Nick
Sharga, and letting
that set up explosive
results downfield in
the play-action
passing game

Less than a year ago, many of these same Owls were holding and kissing a championship trophy in Annapolis.

Now, after a 28-24 loss to a UConn team that gave up 70 points a week ago, we can officially say we’re back to the bad old days.

Arguably, this is worse than the 20-game losing streak because those teams had no talent. This team has three of five starters returning on the offensive line,  a 900-yard running back, the best fullback in the country, the entire wide receiver corps, pretty much the entire defensive secondary and outstanding defensive linemen like Michael Dogbe, Sharrif Finch, Karamo Dioubate and Greg Webb. Al Golden had a plan and he stuck to it and saw it through to the school’s first appearance in a bowl game in 30 years. This team doesn’t have a plan on offense, other than throwing the ball 54 times a game. That’s not the Temple football we’ve all come to know and love. The Temple football we love is running Ryquell Armstead and David Hood behind the lead blocks of Nick Sharga, and letting that set up explosive results downfield in the play-action passing game.

assistant

Our hiring advice to Dr. Kraft the day Rhule quit.

There is plenty of championship level talent here and it is being squandered.

Whatever Golden lacked in game day acumen, he more than made up in being a brilliant CEO and terrific recruiter and Matt Rhule pretty much took the baton from Golden without fumbling it.

This team has plenty of talent, but has no plan and poor leadership at the top.


Would it absolutely kill
the Owls to start Anthony
Russo for a series or
two or even the first quarter
at Army? Certainly
not as much as the poor
quarterback play is
killing this
team now

Quarterback turnovers are killing this team and the CEO in charge doesn’t have the requisite gonads to make the change that is needed now. Would it absolutely kill the Owls to start Anthony Russo for a series or two or even the first quarter at Army? Certainly not as much as the poor quarterback play is killing this team now.  This offense needs a spark and a quarterback change is the best way to ignite that spark.

Logan Marchi isn’t as much the problem–the kid is trying hard but probably cannot see the field as well as a taller quarterback might–as the stubbornness from head coach Geoff Collins and  offensive coordinator Dave Patenaude of sticking with him when Collins said unequivocally that anyone who turns the ball over would sit.

That rule only applies to non-quarterbacks, evidently.

You have to wonder what Marchi has to do to earn a spot on the bench on this team. On the Pick 6, the ball was tipped ever so slightly and, had the Temple quarterback been 6-4 instead of 6-0, the pick 6 would not have happened.

After the Pick 6, what, exactly, does Collins say to the kid?

“That’s your ninth interception in league play,” Collins might say. “You can have 10, 11 and 12 but I’m drawing the line at 13.”

Ugh.

He probably does not say anything and that’s the even worse.

Collins has one of the best kickers in the country and, instead of using him with five minutes left to kick a field goal and cut it to one, he got greedy. Had Boomer kicked a field goal with five minutes left, it’s 28-27 and all the Owls would have had to do is get into field goal range again for the win. Instead, they put their hopes on the back of an erratic quarterback and asked him to throw the impossible Hail Mary pass.

After Rhule left, we wrote that it was time for Temple to hire a head coach, not an assistant. Temple had too much talent to have another head coach learn in the job and squander this much talent.

Golden was available, and that back to the future path probably should have been the road Dr. Pat Kraft had taken. UConn made the smart hire in Randy Edsall, a guy who knows how to win there.

Golden knows how to win here.

Instead, Kraft rolled the dice with Collins and, in a matter of months, Temple went from the Penthouse to the Outhouse.

Welcome back to the bad old days. We thought they ended roughly a dozen years ago but unless key personnel, philosophical and coaching changes are made on the offensive side of the ball, they are here to stay for a long time.

Tuesday: Fizzy’s Corner

Thursday: Thowback Day

Saturday: Stacking The Box

Never Forget

endlosing

This is what ending a 20-game losing streak looks like.

The phrase “Bowling Green Massacre” jolted me out of my seat a couple of weeks ago, probably not for the same reason it jolted the nation.

How could Kellyanne Conway, the President’s Media Director, know about a football massacre involving Bowling Green and Temple in the mid-2000s?

That’s the only Bowling Green massacre I knew about but it turned out that she was talking about something entirely different.

In a little over a decade, though, that’s how far Temple football has come. From not just one, but two, Bowling Green Massacres (70-7 and 70-16) in consecutive seasons to flirting with the Top 25 in the last two seasons.

For those of us who were there then and are here now, it would be wise to Never Forget.

patience

I  thought about that when I heard that Geoff Collins was heavy on the Daz-like slogans while giving a halftime pep talk to the assembled—it would be a stretch to call them a crowd—group at the UCF vs. Temple basketball game on Wednesday night.

So far, Collins has been light on the recruiting and heavy on the slogans in his two months on the job.

We won’t really know about him until after the first two games, but so far he comes up a little short in comparing him to the guy who avenged the Bowling Green Massacres.

Al Golden in a little over a month to work in his first year (December, 2005 was his hiring date), Golden signed 29 players including future NFL players like Junior Galette, Andre Neblett, Alex Joseph and Steve Manieri.  That was without the benefit of signing a single target of the former coach, Bobby Wallace, WHILE hiring a staff. There was a method to Golden’s madness, too, as he said it was his intent to recruit captains of winning high school teams so they could bring that same mindset to a poisoned well at 10th and Diamond. In that first class of 29, he signed 18 team captains and all had winning seasons in their final years. Ten of the captains won league championships.

Collins has catching up to do to get to that standard, but Golden did all this on the tail end of a 20-game losing streak and helped turn this thing around.

After two months, we really don’t know if Collins will be as good as Golden, Matt Rhule, Steve Addazio or better than all three or somewhere in between.

Right now, the start is not as good as the Golden one but maybe because the culture is in place  it does not need to be. All that matters is the finish.

We should know a lot more after the Notre Dame and Villanova games.

Sunday: Fake News

Mulligans and Aliens

americansked

Temple should have capitalized on having this to recruit a decent class this season.

A friend who is an amateur astronomer posted a photo of some far-off galaxy on Facebook and apologized for the quality of the photo due to atmospheric conditions.


A Virginia Tech model,
where you make a bowl
every year and reach
up and win a title
here and there, should
be a realistic
expectation for Temple
at the G5 level

My response was that someone from that galaxy probably posted a photo of the Milky Way with the same apology on, say, Cleon Facebook.

In other words, we’re not alone.

It’s a lesson Temple football fans would be wise to understand today, a couple of weeks after Signing Day. The prevalent feeling on the major Owl message board (Shawn Pastor’s OwlsDaily) is that we’re giving new head coach Geoff Collins a Mulligan on this class, but the next class better be good.

The lesson should have been don’t look back because the other beings in this football universe might be gaining on you.

That’s where the other guy comes in because new coach Charlie Strong did not need a Mulligan to haul in a significantly better class for USF and former Temple head coaches Al Golden, Steve Addazio and Matt Rhule did not need a Mulligan in their first transition classes. Despite working about a month, the classes that Golden, Addazio and Rhule brought in their first time were ranked significantly higher than Collins’ first class.

In between preparing for a medical procedure I should have done 10 years ago but had been putting off, I found a little bit of time to look at those classes.

The Charlie Strong class was easy to find. The other classes were much harder to quantify against this one. (You really only know four years from now but you can compare them against how they were ranked at the time.)  According to Scout.com, Strong’s USF transition class this season was ranked No. 95th with seven three stars. In roughly the same time frame to recruit, Collins had Temple was 127th with only three three-stars. In the same conference, both teams with a new head coach, a significant gap in results.

Strong did not have a championship trophy to carry around on a helicopter, either. It’s fair to compare the two classes. Because we have evidence to work with given roughly the same circumstances, Collins should have done better. You can talk all you want about how it is the “Temple Way” to recruit two stars and coach them up to four stars but if you get three stars, your mathematical chances of coaching them up to four- and five-stars improve. Temple should be OK next year, but the impact of this class won’t be felt until three or four years down the road and that is how a foundation is laid for sustainable success, not just one “up” season followed by a “down” season. At Temple, the goal should not be “up and down” seasons like so many other schools seem to have. A Virginia Tech model, where you make a bowl every year and reach up and win a title here and there, should be a realistic expectation for Temple at the G5 level.

An AAC trophy should have meant a better haul than the 2017 class Collins was able to bring to 10th and Diamond and long-term is where the impact will be felt. Without helicopters or AAC trophies, Temple coaches have done better with roughly a month to recruit.

transition

 

While it might have been tough to expect Collins to do a whole lot with this class, the evidence is there in black and white that he should have done better. In college football, getting to the top is tough but staying there is tougher so capitalizing on a championship season when you can with recruiting should have been prioritized.

There are a lot of football teams in this universe and, if you slip up one year, they could be passing you in two or three. There are no Mulligans when you are not alone.

Saturday: Fun With Graphics