Best Cherry and White Day Ever?

proof

Proof that a stadium or two can be built at TU without community opposition

Back in the day, they built a $22 million on-campus stadium right in the heart of Temple University’s footprint with nary a peep of protest from the surrounding community or student “Stadium Stompers.”

That day was two years ago and it is now the permanent home of Temple soccer, field hockey and lacrosse.

It will also be the temporary home of the Temple football Owls for what could be the best Cherry and White Day ever. The game will be moved to the soccer home of the Owls a few blocks south of 10th and Diamond this year, better know as the “Temple Sports Complex” or, more specifically, Howarth Field.

logical

We called for this a year ago and the university listened

We’ve called for the Temple spring football game to be moved here last year (see inset to the right) and finally the university listened. Meanwhile, we had a lot of the status quo apologists on social media pooh-pooh the idea saying “you can’t do it because of recruits” and “you can’t do it because of logistics.”

Well, Temple is doing what the naysayers said cannot be done and the powers-that-be (Pat Kraft and company) need to be applauded for that, moving the football game from an overly cramped facility to a more roomy location with plenty of seating.

nexttwo

The discussion last year centered on just why the university was intent on squeezing 5,000 pounds of fans into a 100-pound bag when a 2,000-pound bag became available.  Bringing portable seats for 500 people when, on a nice day, you can get 5,000 people into a little over 100-yard square area made sense when you had no place else to go.

Now they do and I hope this is the temporary spot for the game going forward, at least until a larger stadium can be built. The soccer facility opened in the fall of 2016 and the place has 2,000 permanent seats and they can still move those portable E-O seats to that location.

South Florida, which also plays in a NFL stadium, moved its spring game from its football complex to its soccer complex in 2016 and it was an unqualified success. All the Bulls had to do was line the soccer field with football yard lines, put a couple of goal posts in and away then went.

April 14th’s Cherry and White game figures to be the best ever for a couple of reasons, a celebration of the school’s third bowl win and Paul Palmer being inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame. Bruce Arians can’t come this year due to a prior commitment, but has promised to catch a Cherry and White game in the future.

The people have been the ones who have made Cherry and White great in the past. Now that they get to enjoy it in a place slightly larger than a phone booth, the location just adds to the usual great time.

Friday: Rock and Hard Place

Monday: Scheduling Buddies

Wednesday: The Bullhorn Lady

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Taver, We Hardly Knew Ye ….

aramark

The Aramark indoor football field is twice as big as the old Student Pavilion and the ceiling is high enough for kicking practice.

Notes, quotes and anecdotes from about as interesting an offseason week for Temple football as we’ve seen in some time ….

Doing his best post-Pro Bowl Nick Foles’ impersonation, Taver Johnson walked sideways across the stage at the Aramark Center exactly a week ago and said this:

“How y’all doin’?”

famer

When a Temple Hall of Famer calls, Geoff Collins should have at least listened

Little did those of us in attendance know, at least at that time, that Johnson might as well kept walking and gone right out the side door for good because that’s where he was headed in a real sense. By then, it had to be obvious to head coach Geoff Collins that Johnson was leaving and Collins probably said, “hey, I need you through signing night.”

Going from defensive coordinator at Temple to a defensive backs’ coach at Ohio State is mostly seen as at least a lateral move, certainly not a step up in the coaching fraternity but if it floats Johnson’s boat, go for it. Heck, Taver had the same job at Purdue before being enticed to leave there for the DC job at Temple one year ago.

Temple was ranked No. 56 in total yardage defense and No. 58 in scoring defense a year ago and that screams two words to me: Mediocre and Replaceable. Giving up 28 (really, 21) points to UConn and 13 points to a Villanova team that Rhode Island … Rhode Island … held to six is not a ringing endorsement of last year’s defense.

With the dissolution of the Bruce Arians’ staff in Arizona, there are a number of “overqualified” guys with Temple connections who Hall of Famer Paul Palmer told me were definitely interested in the job: Former FCS Defensive Coordinator of the Year Nick Rapone and Kansas City Chiefs’ Hall of Famer Kevin Ross.

If one or both are hired, they immediately become the two best defensive coaches on the staff. Both guys are Temple (and Tempe) TUFF, love Temple, and would be a positive influence on the kids and their fellow staffers and the fans. This is about the biggest no-brainer in Temple history. Neither would leave Temple for lesser positions, even at Alabama. Of course, Temple being Temple it hired another less-qualified guy from the one of the same two directional Alabama schools Bobby Wallace last coached, West Alabama. It would have nice for Collins to look around and grab a guy or two from the pre-Al Golden Era at Temple. Sometimes, you think he believes Temple did not have football before 2005. This was one of those times.

“Mr. Mike”

Now that Nick Sharga has left, we all have to find our next favorite player on the Temple team.

(Hell, I’m not the only fan who had No. 4 No. 1.)

Mine has been Isaiah Wright since the end of our season.

wright

Like the guy said on the TV broadcast at the Army game, “Isaiah Wright is a touchdown waiting to happen.”

As I sat down next to long-time buddy and Temple linebacking great Steve Conjar, a guy across the table noticed me and said, “Mr. Mike!”

That guy was Isaiah Wright and it was the first time I had the pleasure of meeting him in person. He extended his right hand.

“I’m Isaiah Wright.”

“Isaiah Wright, my favorite Temple player. No joke.”

Then Isaiah introduced me to the guy sitting on his right, Linwood Crump (Junior), and I told the defensive back that he was going to be a starter but to not take anything for granted.

He said he would not.

Both can call me Mr. Mike any day of the week and, just maybe, they will give him No. 4 before the start of the season. Whatever number they give him, I just hope they don’t make him disappear like they did with Nick Sharga.

Aramark Center

Moody Nolan is listed as the architect for the new football stadium.

complex

He also did the job at the new Temple football indoor facility called the Aramark Center (the football team shares this spectacular indoor arena with locker rooms and training facilities with the rest of the students). This is a much-larger version of the old Student Pavilion, large enough to get some punting and field goal work in—something that could not be done at what Collins affectingly called the “Mayhem Mansion.”

That said, it takes up such a large portion of the 15th and Montgomery area that it would now be pretty hard to see how a 35,000-seat stadium could fit in a North-South configuration. It would have to be East-West and cross and close 15th Street permanently with the Student Pavilion and tennis courts knocked down. Had the Pavilion been knocked down and replaced by what is now Aramark first, there would have been no need to close down 15th Street.

Now it is really hard to conceive of a stadium fitting into the old Geasey Field square footage alone but that could be the least of Moody Nolan’s problems.

Friday: Thoughts on The AAC Schedule

Paul Palmer: Waiting Hardest Part

Temple Owls Paul Palmer

Paul Palmer

One of Bernie Sanders’ favorite sayings this campaign year has been: “Enough is Enough.”

It could be Paul Palmer’s as well.

lawhorn

Temple’s D1 national leaders.

In my mind, Temple’s all-time greatest player has waited long enough to be inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame’s 2017.

If he’s not Temple’s best player, to use another Sanders’ analogy, he’s in the top tenth of the top one percent of players who ever wore the Cherry and White. That should be enough to get him into the Hall of Fame.

Another good reason is that this is Palmer’s sixth year on the ballot, joining a group of just 81 players who have been on the ballot that long.

The wait is not over and will not be for a long time. It will be until Jan. 7th before Palmer hears whether he is a member of that class. Nothing has changed since the first time we heard Palmer was a candidate a few years ago when we wrote this story for Rant Sports.com.

He had done enough then, and enough should be enough now.

Friday: Power 5 Health Care

Cheers for Boo

booharry

Paul and Harry are already in the booth at ND stadium doing a sound check. Just kidding, photoshop courtesy of Matt Morgis.

When is being second better than being first?
When you are talking about the Heisman Trophy vs. the Maxwell Award, that is.
The Maxwell has always been a poor man’s Heisman, but Temple has one Maxwell Award-winner, Steve Joachim (1974). That was a remarkable achievement, but it wasn’t the Heisman (it went to Archie Griffin that year). Joachim has been the Owls’ color analyst alongside Harry Donahue for the past 17 years and did a good job.

Paul Palmer politely applauds for Vinny Testaverde. (We all know who SHOULD have won.)

Paul Palmer politely applauds for Vinny Testaverde. (We all know who SHOULD have won. Even Testaverde and Bosworth were wearing Temple Cherry ties that day.)

The Heisman, though, is a whole different animal. When Paul Palmer sat down with eventual winner Vinny Testaverde (Miami), third-place finisher Jim Harbaugh Jr. (Michigan) and fourth-place finisher Brian Bosworth (Oklahoma), he put Temple in the national spotlight that the Maxwell could not have provided.


Temple Radio Fun Fact:
Owls have had a Heisman winner
(Joe Bellino), a Heisman runner up
(Paul Palmer) and a Maxwell Award
winner (Steve Joachim) as radio
color guys

I think Palmer, the Heisman Trophy runner up (1986), will do a great job as Harry Donahue’s new analyst and I’m happy to see him on the radio team this season, beginning Saturday (3:30 p.m., 97.5 The Fanatic).
How do I know that?
Paul, or Boo-Boo as he’s called by his friends (now mostly shortened to Boo), had a gig as a sideline reporter for the Owls. In those days, I brought a transistor radio to the games (to hear mostly about the injuries) and HAD to listen to the radio for the road games because the Owls were rarely on TV.

Paul with Bob Hope, who lived to 100 accepting his first-team All-American Award on live NBC TV.

Paul, holding the greatest helmet in college football history, with Bob Hope, accepting his first-team All-American Award on live NBC TV.

In a game at the Vet against Virginia Tech, the Owls were having trouble kicking extra points and field goals. They already had missed two field goals and an extra point, but if Virginia Tech proved one thing that day it was they could not stop Big East Offensive Player of the Year Walter Washington, the Temple quarterback. On several plays, Washington could be seen literally dragging two or three Hokies on his back for 10 or so extra yards. Washington was 6-4, 250 and an Abrams’ Tank out there. VT players were infantrymen by comparison.  He could not be stopped on any potential two-point conversion. Temple knew it and VT knew it.
Washington scored in overtime. An extra point would have tied the game. A two-point conversion would have won it. Normally, the “football play” would have been to kick the extra point, but this was no normal day. The Owls didn’t have a kicker, but they had a guy VT couldn’t stop. Harry threw it down to Paul, who suggested, very strongly, that the Owls give the ball to Washington to end the game here.
“Somebody’s got to grow a pair,” Paul said, referring to Bobby Wallace.
Paul said what every Temple fan was thinking and he suggested exactly what Wallace should have done.
Wallace didn’t grow a pair, went for the tie, and missed the extra point.
My admiration for Paul, already high, went through the roof that day.
Temple fans will love listening to him on the radio this fall.
I’m bringing the transistor along again.

Tomorrow: The Helmet Surprise

Thanks to the NCAA suspending Johnny Manziel, his bowl game against Temple is still in play ...

Thanks to the NCAA suspending Johnny Manziel for only one half of the first game, his bowl game against Temple is still in play …