Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Waiting for Addazio



Wayne Hardin was 32 when he took the Navy head coaching gig and appeared on What's My Line here.


Steve Addazio's head coaching record:
1988 6-4
1989 10-1, State Runner up
1990 5-4-1
1991 7-3-1
1992 11-0, State Champions
1993 11-0, State Champions
1994 11-0, State Champions
The two best head coaches I've ever known are Wayne Hardin and Mike Pettine, in that order.
There is no close second group, although I've known Bruce Arians, Dick Vermeil and Al Golden as well on varying levels.
I won't call him Mike Pettine Sr. and I won't call the current New York Jets' defensive coordinator Mike Pettine Jr. because there was a Mike Pettine who wasn't as famous in football before those two, a father and a grandfather of the football ones.
Pettine was the head coach at Central Bucks West who went 326 wins, 42 defeats and four ties. Yes, that's 326-42-4 with three state titles, all in a row, and two more mythical state titles before that. Oh yeah. In that total, were 13 unbeaten seasons.
Pettine could do more with (largely) 5-foot-10, 150-pound white kids than should be humanly possible.
I was excited when Wayne Hardin got the Temple job many, many years ago because I knew he came with a head coaching pedigree. Hardin, before coming to Temple, had Navy ranked No. 2 in the country and playing Texas in the Cotton Bowl.
Hardin, before coming to Temple, coached two Heisman Trophy winners: Roger Staubach and Joe Bellino.
Hardin, before coming to Temple, won a professional football league championship as a head coach.
Imagine Urban Meyer or Nick Saban leaving Florida or Alabama and taking the Temple job now?
That's what it was like to Temple fans back in the day when Hardin took the Temple job.
If you say that can't happen today, I agree. But it was just as remarkable back then to us, believe me.
In the middle of Pettine's great run, many of his wins I covered, I mentioned to Mike that I always thought he would have been the perfect guy to succeed Bruce Arians at Temple.
He laughed.
"I had a chance to meet some of coach Hardin's guys today," Addazio said. "I know you are proud of your coach. I can see it in your faces. I appreciate some of you guys."

"Mike, I think Gerry Faust ruined it for all of us high school coaches."
Pettine had a point.
Faust went from a legend at Cincinnati Moeller to head coach at Notre Dame and he never panned out.
No high school coach, no matter how great, ever made the same jump again.
Yet I always believed that if you can HEAD coach, you can HEAD coach ... if ...IF you are the right person.
Bobby Wallace, who proved he could head coach elsewhere, was never that right person for here.
I always thought Temple should hire a guy who was a proven HEAD coach somewhere else, especially if the talent was already in place.
The talent is in place.
Steve Addazio is in another place, Florida, coaching the Gators in the Outback Bowl this Saturday, yet a week ago Addazio mentioned the Hardin connection.
"I had a chance to meet some of coach Hardin's guys today," Addazio said. "I know you are proud of your coach. I can see it in your faces. I appreciate some of you guys."
(It was funny the way he said that, though I don't think he meant anything negative by it. Some of you guys. I wonder who he didn't appreciate?)
I'm warming to Steve Addazio being cut out of the same mold as Pettine and Hardin because of an email I got this week from Cheshire, Conn.

Mark Ecke, who runs the site Cheshirefootball.com, which covers the Cheshire football team sent me Addazio's year-by-year breakdown at the only job where he ever was a HEAD coach.
"He's the best, you're going to love him," Ecke concluded.
Ecke was as close to Addazio as I was to Hardin and Pettine.
For my money, Steve could not get any better endorsement.
If Addazio is half as good as Hardin and Pettine, he will do a great job at Temple.
The Outback Bowl can't be over soon enough.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Happy Holidays to the Addazio Family


Steve Addazio's first Temple recruit, RB Cedric "The Entertainer" Walker.


Dear Steve,
Happy Holidays to you and your family and welcome to the Temple Football Family on behalf of Temple Football Forever.
I started this blog when I looked around the parking lot in the rain and saw five people, myself included, tailgating before a 2005 loss to Miami of Ohio.
I knew then we only had one place to go and that was up.
I had a dream that we would hire a coach who would take us out of the darkness into the sunshine and we did make that hire.
Now, looking around, there are thousands of people tailgating before every Temple game. Not enough, mind you, but thousands and it's slowly growing.
Over the years, this blog has gotten favorable reviews first on Deadspin.com and in the New York Times (whose college football editor is a Temple grad).
In 2006, it won the Bloggers' choice award as Best New College Football Blog.
The next year, it won for Best Non-BCS blog.

Temple's tailgates regularly draw in the thousands now.
Both awards were voted on by a panel guys who run the biggest and most traffic-driven of the big-time sports blogs, like Deadspin, Black Shoe Diaries and the excellent EverydayshouldbeSaturday (yes, it was one word back then).
While it was nice to be recognized, I didn't get into this for the awards.
I got into it because I had a passion for writing and for Temple football.
You sold me as the next Temple coach on Thursday because I sense you have the same passion for coaching and, now at least, for Temple football.
I liked that very much.
So you had me at wow, not hello (and no I don't go that way).
I wanted to write about the thing I loved the most so this, for the most part, has been a fun venture.
I hope the years ahead are even more fun for you.

Do Temple fans a favor and keep reminding them that you are here for the long haul and if your name comes up in speculation for other jobs in a year or two, please remove it from consideration immediately. The last guy enjoyed reading his name associated for every job a little too much for my taste.
Full disclosure, though, I wasn't for your hiring at first.
You can read my reasons in the posts below.
That's not important now.
What is important is that you hit the ground running and I know you will.
You are inheriting a team that needs no overhaul, just tweaking.
You have a running back with Heisman Trophy talent in Bernard Pierce. Getting him and keeping him healthy should be a top priority in the off-season. Recruiting a stud backup of Pierce-level talent should be another priority.
With Pierce, the Owls were able to beat UConn by two touchdowns in 2010 and a good 2009 Navy team.


Without him, they struggled to put three points on the board at Miami (Ohio).
Offensively, this is a team that should establish the run and throw off play-action effectively and I think you will do that. If you hire a smart offensive coordinator, like current Miami Dolphins' tight ends' coach George DeLeone, I know he will come to the same conclusion, too. DeLeone knows Temple and can help show you the ropes here, since he's a former colleague of yours and was Al Golden's first and best offensive coordinator. Plus, he's highly thought of here. I think he can be had for OC money and job security with the Dolphins can't be too good these days anyway.
You have a quarterback who I think will remind you (at least a little) of Tim Tebow in Chris Coyer and another quarterback, Mike Gerardi, who was co-first-team all-state in New Jersey with a guy named Simms.
Defensively, your first priority is to lock up 6-5, 305 tackle Muhammad "Big Mo" Wilkinson for his senior season. Tell him there's going to be an NFL lockout (there is, by the way). Tell him that no NFL draft projection has him higher than the third round (and none do). Tell him with one good year he will move up into guaranteed money and a No. 1 pick (which he will).
Get a good, attacking defensive coordinator in here who loves to blitz and put the quarterback on his backside because there are a lot of slow, white quarterbacks in the MAC. There are a lot of turnovers to be eaten by the defense as a result. I don't know who you have in mind, but I recommend former Temple DC Nick Rapone, who still lives in the area and was named FCS coordinator of the year at Delaware this season. His daughter currently is a student at Temple.
Rapone loves to bring pressure to make quarterbacks uncomfortable and Philadelphia loves a blitzing team.
Sell those recruits, just like you sold Miami's Cedric Walker today (congratulations, by the way).
Wrap your arms so hard around Philadelphia media and Temple alumni that their ribs break.
Sell them on Temple football like you sold Bill Bradshaw on yourself.
Understand that a lot of us will approach you skeptically until about 10 p.m. on September 3.
That's when Temple will be finished playing hated rival Villanova.
Temple returns 14 starters from an 8-4 FBS team. Villanova returns five from a six-loss FCS team.
A beatdown is mandatory. In fact, it should be on page two of the job description.
I'd say a 35-14 minimum, although I'd like a 55-3 number.
See what you can do for me.
If we can get that kind of margin, we're off and running to a special 2011 both in terms of team and fan momentum.
Meanwhile, good luck and, most of all, have fun.

Happy Holidays,
Mike Gibson
Temple Football Forever

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Addazio's loyalty his most endearing trait

I think Steve Addazio will be more loyal to our kids than Al Golden.
Something Steve Addazio said at this morning's press conference really grabbed me and gave me better insight into the person he is.
It had nothing to do with Temple and everything to do with Steve Addazio the person.
He mentioned Florida.
In a 40-minute press conference when he was introduced as the new head coach at the University of Miami, Al Golden did not mention Temple once.
That snub by Golden really gored my goat.
Heck, if I was Golden I might have said:
"I want to thank Bernard Pierce,who gave me my two biggest wins, against UConn and Navy, and I want  to thank Adam DiMichele, without whom I would not have won nine games in my second and third seasons. Most of all, I want to thank my Temple kids."
The first part of that would have been true and the second part of that would have been nice. That he said neither gave you a glimpse into Al Golden the man.
There is no doubt in my mind that if the Owls would have been fortunate enough to play in the New Orleans Bowl, Golden would have already flown the coup and taken half the staff with him before the bowl game and left the Owls with Matt Rhule and two grad assistants coaching against Troy

I always thought Al Golden looked after Al Golden first and Temple a distant second.
There is no doubt in my mind that if the Owls would have been fortunate enough to play in the New Orleans Bowl, Golden would have already flown the coup and taken half the staff with him before the bowl game and left the Owls with Matt Rhule and two grad assistants coaching against Troy.
No doubt whatsoever.
I like Steve Addazio The Man better.
Can Steve coach?
We won't find out until the Villanova game nine months from now.
Temple returns 14 starters from a team that beat a BCS league chanpion and won eight games. Villanova loses 16 starters from an FCS team that lost six games.
If Temple doesn't hammer the living shit (excuse my French) out of Villanova, Addazio can't coach worth a damn. If Temple wins, 35-14, he's a good coach.
If Temple wins, 55-3, he's a great coach.
I'm hoping for greatness.
He already earned my respect as a man on Thursday with some casual offhand remarks he made about his Florida kids.
Addazio mentioned Florida a few times which was, to me, a good thing and bodes well for his future loyalty to Temple.
That tugged me at the heartstrings.
He mentioned the opportunity Urban Meyer gave him to run the program and thanked him for it.
Most of all, he mentioned the special bond he had with his players that dicates he coach them one more time in the Outback Bowl.
"I'm getting ready for a bowl game," Addazio said. "I've got a bunch of players anxious to get started and I owe that to them and to the University of Florida to be there with them."
Could you imagine Al Golden saying the same thing about his Temple players and coaching them in a bowl game after he got the job at Miami?
I didn't think you could.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The Steve Addazio Era (or Error)



If Steve Addazio puts a 55-3 (or even 35-14) beatdown on Villanova, he becomes my new favorite head coach in a hurry.

This has never been a site that says everything we do is just peachy and let's get behind the coach because he's our guy, like a lot of college football blogs.

I've told it like it was since Day One five years ago.
Or at least the way I saw it was.
Five years ago, I thought Al Golden's hiring was a good thing for the program and I wrote about it here.
I never said Al was perfect, but I did predict he would turn things around at Temple.
I trusted him with my team.
That was a bold prediction at the time when many people said this was an impossible job, but I went ahead and did it because everything I had read and heard about Al Golden until that point was positive. I have read a lot of about Steve Addazio in the last three days and I would say about 99 percent of it has been negative and this piece by a great writer named Dave Jones is just a small sample.
That doesn't mean Al Golden was immune from criticism in this forum along the way.
I've criticized Al Golden a few times (the Navy fumble comes to mind).
I've criticized Al Golden's grasp of quarterback recruiting.
Overall, though, I maintained that Al was the right guy to lead the only team I really go crazy over.
As much as I'd like to say the same thing about Steve Addazio,  I can't because it comes with all of the red flags associated with bad Temple football hirings in the past.
With the talent in place to win now, this was a time Temple should have hired a head coach and not take a chance with an assistant coach. The best predictor of future success is past success and there is really no way to predict how Addazio will do as a head coach because his record as such is 0-0.
That would not have been the case if Temple went after a proven winning head coach, like former USF head coach Jim Leavitt (to use just one example) who was 94-37 in his prior job.
I don't have children, so Temple football is like a child to me.
Coaches come and go, players come and go, players' parents come and go, but Temple football and me and fans like me are always here _ and I'll always love it because it's my kid.
If you see your kid playing on the train tracks and there's a locomotive coming, you don't say, "Geez, I hope everything turns out OK for my kid."
You yell for the kid to get off the tracks if you can't get there and carry him/her off yourself.
I'm in yelling mode today.
Well, there's a locomotive coming.
Coaches come and go, players come and go, players' parents come and go, but Temple football and me and fans like me are always here
It might not be the Jerry Berndt Express or the Ron Dickerson Express or the Bobby Wallace Express, but it looks like it's got the same kind bad brakes (or breaks) ahead.
Quite frankly, I'm stunned and appalled with this hiring.
I will go on record right here and now as saying I hope Steve Addazio takes Temple to the MAC championship in 2011 and wins it.
When you have 14 starters returning from a team that won eight games, have an improved quarterback situation ahead and a guy with Heisman Trophy talent (if not durability) running the ball, then that's really the only standard he should be judged on right now.
Fall short of that and he's an abject failure.
I will also go on record right here and now and say this hiring is a step backward.
I've researched everything I could about Steve Addazio over the last few hours and I did not find one (1) positive news or feature story about Steve Addazio, although I found 22 negative ones.
That's telling.
The fans who know Steve Addazio and are more familiar with his play-calling than I am are pretty anti-Steve.
That's alarming.
I will go on record right here and now as saying I hope Steve Addazio takes Temple to the MAC championship in 2011 and wins it
There's a great blog that covers the Ball State football program called Over the Pylon. A few weeks ago, the name Addazio was connected with the Ball State job.
This post thanks God that he didn't get it.
When Ball State fans are happy the coach you hired didn't get their job, that tells you all you need to know.
Five years ago I was excited to write about Al Golden.
Forgive me if I'm a little underwhelmed writing about Steve Addazio now.
If he starts bringing Gator recruits with him up north, like Al Golden stole an Owl recruit last week, I might change my mind.
It will take something that dramatic in the short term to get my attention.
He's married to my kid right now and, as Robert DeNiro says to Ben Stiller in Meet The Parents:
I'm watching you.

In a rush job, they could do worse than Davie

... ESPN analyst Bob Davie to be named head coach at Temple... unless a big-money PSU-connected donor dictates Temple give the job to Tom Bradley Steve Addazio named head coach ...commentary tonight at 11 p.m. ...

A crawl coming to the bottom of your TV screen soon (we think).

I've been hearing speculated on two web sites, Owlscoop.com and and OwlsDaily.com, that the decision to name a head football coach at Temple University could be a rush job.
That's because Ann Weaver Hart, the school's president, is set to go on vacation on Wednesday in Utah and they want her to be here for the decision.
I don't think I've ever heard of a worse reason to rush into a decision of this magnitude.
First, I don't think she needs to be there.
Second, I think it's more important to get the "right guy" than for it to be the "right time."
To me, the right guy is the current offensive coordinator with the Pittsburgh Steelers, Bruce Arians, but I'm also willing to accept the notion that there is more than one "right guy" for this job.
Look, unless some billionaire Steelers' fan approaches Temple and says he will pay for a an expanded E-O, a bubble and Bruce's contract and that of his assistants if they hire BA, I'm realistic enough to know that Bruce Arians is no longer on Temple's radar like he was in 2005.
Would he do the best job of all these candidates?
In my mind, yes.
In my mind, too, it's time to move on to get a head coach now.
Bob Davie, semifinalist
for 2000 coach of the year
in college football

If it's not Bruce, I'm 100 percent sure I know who the "right guy" type is.
The right guy, right now, is a proven winner as a head coach (did I say head coach?) and brings instant national credibility and name recognition to the program.
That eliminates Penn State assistant Tom Bradley, it eliminates Florida assistant Steve Addazio and it eliminates Pitt assistant Frank Cignetti.
All good names, but I don't want to find out they can't make good decisions on the fly when they are already employed by Temple.
Western Michigan head coach Bill Cubit?
I think he can do the job and I know his body of work well, but does the Joe Philadelphia fan know who he is?
By all accounts, Bob Davie was a winner at Notre Dame, is a great recruiter and has name recognition from his college football TV work. He's from Western Pennsylvania and knows the lay of the land on both sides of the state.
The only comment I could ever find Bob Davie making about Temple was a positive one.
"I remember watching Temple a year ago," Davie said. "Watching Temple, we watched them against Boston College, we watched them against Pittsburgh, we watched them against Navy, West Virginia, Temple is a good football team."
Davie was talking about the 2000 Temple football team in a Notre Dame question-and-answer session posted on Sept. 25, 2001.
If he liked what he saw then, he should like what he sees now.
I first met Bob Davie while working as a sports writer for The Daily Intelligencer in Doylestown in 1979.
Bob and I were both in our early 20s at the time, I a guy who covered the dynamite Central Bucks West football team, and he a lead recruiter for the University of Arizona.
Davie was in town to sign CB West superstar quarterback Kevin Ward.
I covered that press conference.
"Coach Davie is the reason I'm going to Arizona," said Ward, who was recruited by every major school in the country.
Maybe Davie can sprinkle that recruiting dust here.
He could get recruits to come to Temple and it won't take much to be a better game coach than Al Golden.
My guess is that he won't line up in an illegal formation on the first play of the biggest game of the year after a nine-day layoff. I might be crazy, but I think he'll take the victory formation rather than hand the ball off to a running back with 17 seconds to go. I hope he knows it's probably not a good offensive philosophy to hand the ball off to a 5-foot-5 guy on every first and second down, then throw on third down when everybody knows it's coming.
If he can avoid even little game-day brain farts like that, I'll take him.

Friday, December 17, 2010

A look at the candidates



Temple should avoid candidates who are perceived to have underperformed elsewhere, like Dave Wannstedt, Randy Shannon and Ralph Friedgen.

Financial consultants talk about the concept of risk/reward.
Simply put, they say to receive a greater reward one must accept a greater risk.
That would normally apply if you have some money in reserve.
Temple's betting the house and the farm (and maybe the program) on this new head football coaching hire and I'm of the contrary opinion that the less risk the administration takes in this hiring, the greater the reward.
360 Tomahawk Slam Dunk: Bruce Arians
Regular slam dunk: Bill Cubit
Uncontested layup: Bob Davie
Contested layup: G.A. Mangus
Jumper with hand in face: K.C. Keeler
Halfcourt heave (no head coaching experience): Matt Rhule, Steve Addazio
Turnover: Frank Cignetti Jr. or Sr., Curt Cignetti, any Cignetti, John Latina, Ralph Friedgen, Dave Wannstedt, Randy Shannon or Paul Guenther
 This is one hire Temple can make where there is little risk and great reward because the guy who already did this job very well (better than Al Golden, really) is out there.
He's not dead.
He's not retired.

Bruce Arians:
Tomahawk 360 slam dunk
He's really the one guy out there who would be well-received by the great majority of our fans.
Iowa coach Kurt Ferentz said it best in a 2005 unsolicted comment during an interview with the St. Louis-Post Dispatch, talking about coaching changes: "Look at Temple. The biggest mistake they made was firing Bruce Arians. They still haven't gotten over it."
This is an opportunity to right that wrong and move the program forward in the process with a guy still young enough to do the job.
Arians is still very much involved with football at its highest level.
Enough about Bruce Arians, though, the only coach I will put in the "no risk" category.
The argument about him "doing it 22 years ago" is ridiculous because the Temple job now, while hard, is 10 times easier than it was 22 years ago. Yeah, the landscape has changed _ for Arians' benefit. When you go from a rock-strewn practice field (now the Student Pavilion) to a $7 million practice facility and a $500,000 sprinturf field, that's some pretty damn good landscaping right there. Everything at Temple now is easier than when Arians had to walk through that mine field.
The other guy I'm "somewhat sure" can do the job is Philly native Bill Cubit. He's the Western Michigan head coach. In his short time in Kalamazoo he's had winning seasons, gone to bowl games, beaten Big 10 teams like Illinois and Iowa (with MAC talent) and never lost to Temple. He'd have twice as much talent at Temple and only needs to beat one Big 10 team to earn his paycheck in my mind.

Bill Cubit: Regular slam dunk
Yet he reportedly has expressed no interest in Temple. Maybe he'll change his mind and elect to come home.
We can only hope.
Other than that those two, I'm hearing the same names as you are and, I must admit, I'm a little underwhelmed.
The top names on the list, in no particular order, are Cincinnati Bengals' (what have they done?) aide Paul Guenther, Pitt offensive coordinator Frank Cignetti, Jr., former Notre Dame head coach Bob Davie, Temple offensive coordinator Matt Rhule, Delaware head coach K.C. Keeler, Florida assistant Steve Addazio and South Carolina quarterbacks' coach G.A. Mangus.
The second group talked about includes retreads like Dave Wannstedt, Randy Shannon and Ralph Friedgen. I don't think any of those three are serious candidates. Let's keep it that way. I think Temple should avoid those three at all costs because it would send a message that Temple is willing to take someone who is considered to have underperformed elsewhere. Bad message to send the fan base. Bad message to send the nation.

Bob Davie: Uncontested layup
If that's all there is, as Peggy Lee once said in a song, don't expect the fan base or whatever is left of it to get all fired up.
Five years ago, we were talking about Al Golden, Rick Neuheisel and Jim Harbaugh as Temple coach.
Maybe a big-time candidate with pizzaz will pop up at the last moment, but I don't see it.
I think Mike Leach would have done a fine job here and his hiring would have sent a message to the world that Temple is serious about winning in football, but I think the university is too politically correct to do this. Yet Maryland doesn't care about political correctness and appears poised to hire Leach now.
Guenther would be an absolute joke. Nobody knows him. Nobody cares about him. He's never won as a head coach anywhere. He's got no ties to Temple. If they hired him, you can board up the Edberg-Olson Complex right now because Temple would not draw more than 5,000 a game next year sans Penn State.
I know Rhule is well-liked within the E-O, but there's a big world outside the E-O and there was no more underachieving facet of Temple's football team in 2010 than its offense. To give the top job to the guy who was in charge of a failed endeavor would be a huge mistake and probably sell maybe five more tickets than the 5,000 who would show up to watch Guenther's Temple team.
K.C. Keeler, I think, would prefer to stay in Delaware. His success was based on D1A transfers and he wouldn't get those here, so I have doubts about him doing the job in Philadelphia even if he was interested.
So, in my mind, it's down to Mangus and Davie.


G.A. Mangus: Contested layup
 I think Mangus can do the job. He might be the most intriguing of the non-Arians' candidates.
He was a head coach at Delaware Valley and he was a legend in Doylestown. If that was his last stop, I'd say no but he worked for The Old Ball Coach (Steve Spurrier) at South Carolina and is every well thought of down there. He can recruit. He can head coach. He's an offensive mind. I like him. I think he can do the job. I'm not sure, though. There's that risk thing again.
Davie was a winner at Notre Dame and brings more of a recognition factor to Philadelphia. He was 35-25 at Notre Dame, is a great recruiter, originally from Pennsylvania, wants the Temple job because he interviewed for it in 2005 and now has sent feelers to the university that he's interested again. I like him. I think he can do the job.
I'm not sure, though.  Again, a risk but a slight one.
So there you have it, a couple of guys I'm relatively sure can do the job and a handful of guys I think can do it.
Do you roll the dice or play it safe?
I know what I would do.


If you close your eyes, it's easy to imagine Ann Weaver Hart having the same conversation about the same concerns with Temple offensive coordinator Matt Rhule.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

It all keeps coming back to one guy: Arians



In an NFL town, Bruce Arians (talking to Hines Ward) would bring Super Bowl winning credibility to Temple.

    What Temple's checklist should be:
  • Proven WINNING head coach;
  • Multiple WINNING seasons (not just one);
  • Must have proven it at THIS level, not below;
  • Knows Philadelphia and suburbs and;
  • Immediately recognizable to area high school coaches;
  • Working knowledge of Temple and its challenges;
  • Would make a splash with Temple fans and alumni


A couple of years ago, I had the opportunity to purchase a house.
Because I'm middle-aged, I knew it might very well be the last house I purchased and I knew I had to get this right because I would not get another chance.
I had my checklist ready.
I wanted to live in a nice neighborhood, get a single home at the end of a block, with a garage, be near public transportation and within walking distance of shopping options.
I went on ReMax and RealEstate.com, scoured the papers, and did my research.
After seeing about 10 houses, my realtor turned down the street and up the driveway of this one house.
"Wow," I told her.
It was in my price range and I loved it.
"You like it?" she said.
"Yeah."
We saw about 10 more houses, and a lot of them were great, but I kept going back to this one.
When the list came down to five and four and three, I kept comparing it to the one I liked the most and those other houses just did not compare.
I'm living in that house now.
I bring that story up because my search then is a lot like Temple's football coaching search going on right now. Temple athletic director Bill Bradshaw has to get this right because he might not get another chance.
There are a lot of names floating around, but there is only one guy I'm am totally 100 percent positive who can do this job at the level I want it done.
Bruce Arians.
Why am I so sure?
He's already done it.
Arians had two six-win seasons when Temple was playing the BYUs, the Georgias, the Florida States in addition to the Penn States, Pitts and West Virginia. That's defending national champion BYU, by the way, which Arians played toe-to-toe and lost, 26-24, before 52,000 screaming Temple fans at Veterans Stadium.
Arians had a six-win season against the 10th-toughest schedule in the nation.
Arians chewed MAC winning teams and spit them out. He was 5-0 against MAC winning teams. Al Golden, on the other hand, was 0-14 against winning MAC teams
Arians chewed MAC winning teams and spit them out. He was 5-0 against MAC winning teams. Al Golden, on the other hand, was 0-14 against winning MAC teams.
Arians never had a $521 million stadium to play in, never had a $7 million facility to practice and never had a university with 12,000 kids living on campus (only about 1K lived there then) and the university infrastructure he has now.
When my younger friends mention that he did this 22 years ago, I reply that it's easier to do it now than it was 22 years ago.
I mention that Temple's two best hires were guys they hired in their 50s: John Chaney and Fran Dunphy.
Arians is a real person, like Chaney and Dunphy, not a snake-oil salesman.
If Bill Bradshaw wants crowds of 5,000 at Temple home games next season, he will go ahead and hire a guy like Frank Cignetti, Paul Guenther, Dave Wannstedt, Randy Shannon, Matt Rhule, G.A. Mangus or Bob Davie

A quarterback at Virginia Tech, Arians will develop quarterbacks at Temple and move the ball and score touchdowns. If Bill Bradshaw wants crowds of 5,000 at Temple home games next season, he will go ahead and hire a guy like Frank Cignetti, Paul Guenther,  Dave Wannstedt, Randy Shannon, Matt Rhule, G.A. Mangus or Bob Davie. If you are going to think about guys like that, then ask permission to talk to Western Michigan's Bill Cubit. He's a Philly guy who's beaten MAC teams regularly and has never lost to Temple.
Why not go for the best, though?
If he wants an attacking style of football and a name Owl fans can get behind, he will hire Bruce Arians. I knew Al Golden and I know this man and he's a better coach and a better person than Al Golden can ever hope to be.
On defense, one of my favorite Arians' stories happened at Rutgers.
With 1 minute, 46 seconds left and Temple holding a 35-30 lead, a quarterback named Scott Erney moved the Scarlet Knights down the field against a Temple prevent defense to the Owls' 30. When Rutgers called its last timeout, Arians got in the face of defensive coordinator Nick Rapone and told him to do something.
Rapone called "jailbreak" which was the terminology for eight-man blitz.
The result was four straight Temple sacks and the game ending with an Owl lineman named Swift Burch landing on top of Erney at the 30 _ the Rutgers' 30.
Afterward, Arians explained the change of heart.
"If I was going to go down, I was going to go down with my guns blazing," he said, holding the game ball.
I've had several ex-Temple players tell me they walked in unannounced to Arians' office at the Steelers' practice facility and he has two things on it _ a calendar and an old Temple helmet.
Arians would bring blazing guns, a knowledge and love for and loyalty to all things Temple, and a buzz back to our fanbase.
If we can get him, and I think we can, that's our guy.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The next Temple coach: A proven winner

What Bradshaw should be looking for:
1) Proven WINNING head coach;
2) Multiple WINNING seasons (not just one);
3) Must have proven it at THIS level, not below;
4) Knows Philadelphia and suburbs and;
5) Immediately recognizable to area high school coaches;
6) Working knowledge of Temple and its challenges;
7) Would make a splash with Temple fans and alumni
When Temple athletic director Bill Bradshaw is not lamenting the fact that he's shorter than 6-feet-tall, he tells some pretty good stories.
Ask him sometimes about the tosses that LaSalle University starting baseball shortstop Fran Dunphy would make to starting second baseman Bill Bradshaw back in the day.
Pretty funny stuff.
I'm partial to one Bill Bradshaw story, though.
It talks about his first meeting with future Temple football coach Al Golden.
Bradshaw got back in the car for the long drive to Philadelphia, sat down in the passenger seat and scribbled a few words at the bottom of his notepad.
This is our guy.
So he was.
No one knows what was at the top of that notepad, but I assume it was a series of qualifications Bradshaw was looking for in the next Temple head coach.
Finding a guy who can do the job here is both tough and easy.
Tough because there are so few of them.
Easy because you can narrow the list of special people down to three or four and target those.
All you have to do is look at history.
There are three Temple coaches who have done anything worth a damn here in my lifetime and Bradshaw would be wise to look for similar qualities in the next Temple coach as the following three:

Joe and Wayne
Wayne Hardin _ Was 80-52-3 at Temple. No one ran a more innovative offense. No one was smarter. No one made Temple look better on game day than Hardin did. Hardin is a genuis and he toyed with the overmatched mind of the coach on the other side. Allentown Morning Call columnist John Kunda said it best when an undermanned Temple team was beating a vastly more talented Penn State team in State College. "Hardin's outcoaching Joe again." The entire press box roared laughing because they knew it was true. Hardin's teams were always better-prepared than the teams they were facing. When Hardin had nine days to prepare for his team's most important game, you would never see Temple line up in an illegal formation on the first play of the game (I wonder how that's going to go over at The U this fall?). When Hardin came to Temple he was already a proven winner on this level as a head coach (he was head coach at Navy when it was No. 2 in the nation) and had a knack for developing quarterbacks (Roger Stabauch and Bob Broadhead) and knew the Philadelphia area (he was head coach of the Continental League champion Philadelphia Bulldogs). When he got to Temple, the Owls were disciplined and some of his quarterbacks were Doug Shobert, Steve Joachim, Marty  Ginestra, Terry Gregory, Frank DiMaggio and Brian Broomell. Al Golden only had one quarterback of similar ilk: Adam DiMichele.


Bruce Arians
 Bruce Arians _ Led Temple to two winning seasons against top 20 schedules. One of his teams was 6-5 against the 10th-toughest schedule in the nation. (By comparison, Golden was 8-4 this year against the 112th-toughest schedule in the country.) Under Arians, the Owls beat West Virginia twice and Pitt in three of five seasons. Arians, from York, also knew the area and was a great recruiter. A former quarterback at Virginia Tech, Arians developed Tim Riordan, Lee Saltz and Matty Baker and a guy named Ben Rothlisberger. Knows Temple inside and out. Gets Temple. Loves Temple.  If you think Golden was a good recruiter, you should have seen the talent Arians brought to North Broad Street. On the day Arians was mistakenly  fired at Temple, quarterback Glenn Foley and defensive lineman Alonzo Spellman de-committed from the Owls and signed with Boston College and Ohio State. That's recruiting.

Al Golden
Al Golden _ Succeeded here because he knew the  recruiting footprint and was a tireless worker. Never developed quarterbacks like Hardin or Arians, but his emphasis on defense more than made up for it. Great recruiter, but failed to identify talent at the quarterback level post-Adam DiMichele and that cost him a bowl game and possible double-digit back-to-back winning seasons.

There are also three Temple coaches who failed to achieve sustained success here and Bradshaw would be wise to avoid this type:

Jerry Berndt _ Was 0-11 as a head coach at Rice before coming to Temple. A huge red flag that Temple ignored at its own peril. Could coach Arians' talent to a 7-4 record, but could not recruit at this level afterward. What should Temple learn from this: Don't hire a head coach who hasn't posted multiple (that's more than one) winning seasons at THIS level (i.e., avoid Ron Vanderlinden like the plague, who hasn't even had one winning season at this level).
Ron Dickerson _ Was hailed as the "greatest defensive coordinator in America" by Penn State coach Joe Paterno before Temple hired him. On game day, he looked lost out there. Hey, Paterno never said he could be a head coach. What should Temple learn from this: Avoid coordinators who have not proven they can win as a head coach with this next hire because Temple can't afford to get this wrong.
Bobby Wallace _ Posted multiple winning seasons at the Division II level, but had no recruiting footprint in the northeast and had no passion to live here and did not connect with the high school coaches here. A bad hiring on so many levels, you can write a book about it. What Temple should have learned from this: No more lower-level head coaches, please.
So who is our guy?
The list of people who "can do this" becomes very small, but manageable:

Bill Cubit, Philly through and through
 1) Arians The guy performed at a higher level than Golden with 1/10th, maybe 1/100th of Golden's facilities. You can talk him into leaving the Steelers now. He's got a head coaching, not an assistant's, mentality. Age? Look what Dunphy's done and Dunph is older. There are 49 Division IA (FBS) championship coaches older than the 58-year-old Arians now and most of those guys are doing good jobs.
2) Bill Cubit, Western Michigan He's a Philly guy, knows the area, and comes in with a proven track record as a winning head coach with, say, 1/2 of Temple's current talent. He, unlike Golden, knows how to beat Big 10 teams. At Western Michigan, he's beaten Purdue, Iowa, Minnesota and Indiana. You can convince him into coming home because he would automatically triple his current salary by getting the Temple job. On the day he beat Temple at Lincoln Financial Field, Cubit walked over to Citizens' Bank Park afterward and watched his beloved Phillies clinch the NL East.
3) A unnamed head coach in D1A/FBS (not D1AA/FCS) who was or is a proven winner AT THAT LEVEL and knows Philadelphia and the suburbs and would be welcomed with open arms. Who is that guy? Well, it's definitely not Ron Vanderlinden and it's definitely not Andy Talley or K.C. Keeler (the FBS part) and it's definitely not Mike Leach or any coordinator in college football today. They all meet some criteria, but not all.
Is that third guy out there?
I don't know. I don't think so.
So there's your list.
I told you it takes a special person to do this job right.
So go get him.
These kids deserve nothing less.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Thank you, Al (and Miami)


What Miami can do to Temple, PSU can also do to Miami in a year or two.
 All of us agree Al Golden did a terrific job here at Temple University.
He did what a lot thought could not be accomplished: Save a football program at Temple.
Mark D'Onofrio: Crapshoot

So we have to thank Al today and wish him the best of luck in Miami.
He did what he said he would.
Build a house of brick, not straw.
Had Temple hired Rick Neuheisel or Jim Harbaugh (two guys who wanted the job for at least a couple of weeks), the house might have been straw.
Or at least stuco.
Al Golden has proven you can win at Temple and that makes this an attractive job for the next guy.
Before we cannonize Al for Sainthood, though, please remember that this is the same Al Golden who was 0-14 against winning MAC teams despite having the top recruiting class in the MAC for four of his five seasons.
This is the same Al Golden who was badly outcoached by Ohio's Frank Solich for two straight years.
This is the same Al Golden who lost to Miami (the fake one, not the real one), 23-3, in his final game at Temple. This is the same Al Golden who lost to a guy in that game who was 1-7 in the MAC the year before.
Just sayin'.
Thank you to Miami, too. I don't think Al Golden is any better a head coach than Randy Shannon, but you will find that out soon enough. He never reminded me of Wayne Hardin or Bruce Arians on game day, let's put it that way.
His game coaching was suspect at best.
A couple of weeks ago, I ran a poll asking Temple fans what Al Golden's best quality was.
Only two people voted for game-day coaching.

Bruce Arians: Sure thing
My guess is Al and Kelly Golden, but we will never know.
The next Temple guy, in my humble opinion, will be Mark D'Onofrio.
I like Mark very much.
Do I think he's the right hire?
Quite frankly, no.
When you get to this point, hiring an assistant _ any assistant, even a Temple assistant _ is a crapshoot.
I'm done with crapshoots.
Ron Dickerson was perhaps the top assistant in America when he was hired to be head coach at Temple.
How did that hire turn out?
Not good.
There's a Peter Principle involved here.
Some great assistant coaches are not made to be head coaches.
Temple lucked out with Al Golden.
I hope it has the same luck with Mark D'Onofrio, although hiring Bruce Arians, in my mind, would be a sure thing.
More on this in the next few days.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The Al Golden Coaching Carousel

After some pretty structured newspaper writing for many years, I took to blogging on the side for fun (certainly not profit).
I know a little about everything, which enabled me to pass the tests for Jeopardy and Who Wants to be a Millionaire, but a lot only about the one thing that interests me most.
Temple football.
If the 15 questions on Millionaire were about Temple football, I'd go right to the $1 million.
No doubt.

So I started a blog on the thing I knew most about right around the time Temple joined the MAC.
Joining the MAC was the culmination of a lot of hard work by myself and others.
I wrote to each member of the Temple Board of Directors about the importance of keeping big-time football at Temple University.
I purchased five cars from one of the BOT members, Wilkie Buick president Dan Polett, who later became chairman of the BOT and reminded him of that. (Like that made  a difference. I know it didn't.)
I went to the press conference that the uni (university) held to announce its admission to the MAC and I told a friend of mine afterward, Sal, this:
"Whew. We almost came close to no program. I wonder how many people know that. Temple football now and Temple football forever."
When I got home, I had the title of my blog.
Temple Football Forever.
I knew the next order of business was getting a head coach who would take us out of the abyss.
That was a little out of my control, so I crossed my fingers and toes and hoped  athletic director Bill Bradshaw would find the right guy.
I was more for a "big-name" guy, but I would have been OK with a young tireless assistant because I remember what Bruce Arians, once a young, tireless, assistant did for this program.
Bradshaw went the tireless assistant route and came up with a gem, Al Golden.
"People would not believe the plans I have for this program," Al Golden said of Temple, Nov. 20, 2010
What I didn't figure on was Golden being mentioned for every job since the end of his second year.  I didn't want the instability factor. I didn't have it with Harry Litwack. I didn't have it with John Chaney. I didn't have it with Wayne Hardin and I didn't have it with Bruce Arians, who turned down the Virginia Tech head job in 1986, saying, "I can't leave my Temple guys."
A guy named Frank Beamer got it instead.
I certainly don't have it with Fran Dunphy, a guy who is happy with being Temple coach for life. Fran Dunphy gets Temple, much like Harry Litwack, John Chaney, Skip Wilson, Wayne Hardin and Bruce Arians did.
I pray for the day when Al Golden gets Temple.
When it comes to Al Golden being mentioned for every job every year, my reaction is to close my Owl eyes (like the image accompanying this story) and say, "not this shit again."
(Unlike newspapers, you can say shit in a blog. I usually avoid words like that, but it's apropos here.)
I guess that's the price of success, but it doesn't mean I have to like it.
Now, in the same week, Dave Wannstedt left Pitt, Urban Meyer left Florida and Randy Shannon was fired at Miami.
And Al Golden is being mentioned for each and every job.
I knew this shit would come up again.
I would like for one year, one year, Al to get up and say, "I have no interest in going anywhere. I'm going to stay at Temple and finish the job."
Tonight at halftime of the Georgetown basketball game would be a good place to do it.
Let's face it.
Al is 0-14 against winning MAC teams.
There is still much work to be done.
Al Golden doesn't want to build this program in the image of Rutgers, which people keep asking him about.
He wants to be the Boise State and the TCU of the East.
That's very attainable in my view. It's as close as a year away.
Al had the greatest Al Golden quote I ever heard.
"People would not believe the plans I have for this program," Al Golden said of Temple.
That was just one month ago.
I hope he was sincere.
That's the Temple side of it.
There is also the Al Golden side of it and I believe that strongly leans toward him staying at Temple, too.
Although he has told no one of this, I think Al Golden wants to be the head coach at Penn State. Joe Paterno is not going to live forever, nor is he going to want to stay as head coach there forever.
Paterno's deal is now year-to-year.
JoePa has said he's staying one more year.
I believe Al Golden is taking him at his word.
What better place for Al Golden to position himself to get the Penn State job than Temple? There's no reason for him to go to Miami for a year or go to Pitt for a year.
Temple is loaded next year. Temple faces Penn State in Philadelphia.
Already Al Golden is No. 1 or No. 2 on the wish list of every Penn State fan to succeed JoePa.
Beating Penn State would immediately move him to the No. 1 position and, at the same time, give another great Pennsylvania university a terrific parting gift.
That's the way I want to see Al Golden go out.
I hope that's the way he sees it, too.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Hosed, thy name is Temple

Results of the Al Golden poll:
Question: Of all of Al Golden's good qualities, what ONE does he do best?

Running the show (CEO) 40 (42%)
Recruiting 30 (31%)
Public Relations 22 (23%)
Coaching during games 2 (2%)
(Note there were two votes for coaching during games. Thanks, Alfred, and Kelly for voting.)
We don't usually talk Temple basketball here.
Not because I don't like the sport (I do, I used to play lunchtime fullcourt for an hour every day at the Doylestown YMCA in my 20s and 30s) or Temple basketball (I do), but because I don't enjoy the sport nearly as much as I do football.
I like playing basketball.
I like watching football.
That's the difference.
For me, Temple basketball is no more than a diversion between the end of the football season and the Cherry and White football game. I understand for a lot of the university it is much more than that and that's cool.
I bring up basketball today because both the Temple basketball and the football teams had something in common during this calendar year.
They both got hosed.
I did watch the A-10 basketball championship game with Richmond last year from the comfort of a treadmill in the gym.
Afterward, all the talking heads gushed all over Temple.
One of the guys, I forget his name, said: "This means Temple is a three (seed) and I think you can even make an argument for a two." The other three agreed that Temple deserves no worse than a three.
On the ride home, I thought three, dreaming of a two.
I wasn't the only one, as this story from the 700 Level indicates.
Then I got to the Liacouras Center and saw it was a five.


ESPN led its 3 p.m. show Monday with Temple.

As Muhammad Wilkerson would say on his Facebook page, smh.
(That's Shaking My Head for anybody over 30.)
Everybody said Temple got hosed. Nobody said Temple deserved a five.
I thought about Temple getting hosed while on the stairmaster yesterday afternoon, watching ESPN. The tease to the college football show at 3 p.m. was:
"They beat a BCS Conference champion, finished 8-4, and nobody wants them in their bowl. We'll tell you why in a few minutes."
Ugh.
I couldn't wait.
I had to get off the stairmaster and get to work.
I pretty much knew what the story was anyway.
After I got home last night when reading all the reaction across the country, pretty much agreeing that Temple's football team got hosed out of a bowl bid.
What is this about Temple and getting hosed?
It wasn't the only time Temple's got a big-time hosing on the national stage.
Speaking about UConn, remember UConn?
Instant replays in 2007 clearly showed Bruce Francis catching the game-winning touchdown, yet a Big East replay official, Jack Kramer, let a call on the field stand instead of doing the right thing, the proper thing, and overturning the call.
Oh yeah.
UConn was in the Big East.
Temple was kicked out of th same conference three years earlier.
I'm sure that had nothing to do with the decision.
Yeah, right.
Hosed?
What about Navy, 2008?
Temple's defensive front wall stopped a Navy ballcarrier cold. A whistle was blowing loudly, so Temple stopped playing and a pitchout resulted in a game-winning touchdown.
Everybody heard the whistle (from a Navy fan in a white T-shirt) except the officials, who said it wasn't them.
I guess those same officials would have flagged Temple for roughing the ballcarrier if they put him to the ground.
Temple lost in OT.
How about UCLA last year?
Apparently on the way to a big bowl win, Matt Brown gains two yards on third-and-one. All the replays confirmed this, but Temple was out of challenges. Oh wait. The officials rule him down inches short. Temple gets stuffed on fourth down.
Hosed.
Now this.
They said what won't kill you will make you stronger.
If we're not dead, we're getting awfully strong.
I think we're strong enough, thanks.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

No Bowl for Temple

DEJA VU.. 20 years earlier ...
Nov 23, 1990
By Mike Kern, Daily News Sports Writer
No, Temple (6-4) is not going to a bowl
for the first time since 1979, now
that the Independence Bowl has decided to take Louisiana Tech (8-3)and surprise
late entry Maryland (6-5).
And, yes, second-year coach Jerry Berndt is obviously disappointed.
But, no, he is not discouraged.
If the Owls can win at Boston College(4-6) tomorrow afternoon, it would be
the first time in 11 years they won more than six games.
"That's something to be proud of," Berndt said late last night."There's no
question, we felt we had a legitimate shot (at the bowl). And we did. Then, all
of a sudden, Maryland comes out of nowhere. But sometimes, you just don't know
what's going on behind the scenes. "
The Independence Bowl settled on Louisiana Tech and Maryland for the Dec.
15 game in Shreveport, La., after Baylor announced Wednesday night that it
was withdrawing from consideration.
The Bears, who remain in therunning for the Southwest Conference title and
a berth in the CottonBowl, had been under pressure from the Independence to make
a commitment.
"It's unfortunate they (the Independence committee) made the decision
when they did, without giving us a chance to participate Saturday," Berndt said.
But I feel pleased for (Maryland coach) Joe Krivak. And they did upset Virginia.
We've had one of those miracle kind of seasons(after going 1-10 in 1989), and it
would have been a great reward. But as I told the squad today, it's something we
have no control over. We can't let it affect us.
"They were down. But we had a good practice. I hope we'll use that as
a little more incentive. The fact that we were even considered shows some
respect for what we've done. It's a credit to the players and the staff to
even be considered. It's a real privilege and an honor, particularly coming off
of the season we had last year."
This just in ... players are reporting on their numerous Facebook pages that the Owls did not receive a bowl invitation.
I can't say I'm surprised.
Earlier this week, I posted a "30 percent chance at no bowl" and got assailed that the number was way too high.
Well, I was around in 1990 when a 6-5 Maryland team got picked over a 7-4 Temple team, so I have viewed these opportunities with a jaundiced eye ever since.
The list of 8-4 teams who have not made a bowl this decade is a very short one.
The list of 8-4 teams who have beaten an 8-4 Fiesta Bowl-bowl BCS Conference champion by two touchdowns and not made a bowl is even shorter.
One.
Temple University.
There's plenty of blame to go around and we will address it in the days ahead, but here is the Cliff Notes' version:
Temple has way, way, way (did I say way?) too much talent on the offensive side of the ball to be struggling to score points.
Some one's head is going to have to roll and the guy operating the guillotine is a good friend of the potential rolling head, so I don't know if he has the gonads to release the cutting device.
Also, please make sure the defensive coordinator reads former Eagles' coach Jimmy Johnson's book on blitzing.
It might come in  handy next year.
I've never seen a Temple team in my life make slow, white, quarterbacks look like Peyton Manning by absolutely refusing to go after them with linebackers and safeties.
We have super fast linebackers, guys like Amara Kamara, who have a history of rushing the passer well at other positions. They were never used to do that this year.
We played an Ohio team that used the belly option to embarrass us in Ohio last year and, despite having a year to look at that film, seemed comfused and perplexed every time that same team ran plays out of that same formation this year.
The kids have a saying for that on Facebook these days.
WTF?
SMH.
Our offensive and defensive schemes need an overhaul.
Will they get one?
They better.
Our football life depends upon it.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Minny AD's dirty tricks (and latest bowl news)

The latest bit of controversy coming from Minnesota extends to a record-setting former Gopher player sending emails to eight Temple officials, including athletic director Bill Bradshaw, about the Minny AD's underhanded methods of recruiting a head coach.

Joel Maturi, bad guy AD
The way these coaching searches are supposed to go is that the AD of a school looking for a coach is supposed to contact the AD of a school with a coach in order to get permission to speak to said coach.
This Minnesota AD, Joel Maturi, supposedly routinely skips over that protocol and that has riled some grads.
I say good for the grads, boo to the AD.
Turns out Temple never had to be worried.
Al Golden is not interested in Minnesota.
He still has bowl games, and championships, to win at Temple.
In bowl-related news, it appears the Owls will have to wait until tonight to learn of their bowl destination.
Saturday night was a good night, not a great one, for Temple.
The Owls needed three of the four teams vying for bowl eligibility to lose and one to win.
The good news is that Middle Tennessee State won.
That means no way, no how, are the Owls going to Detroit to play another MAC team and that's very good.
The bad news is that Washington also won.
Louisiana Tech and Oregon State lost, which was very good.
The latest possibilities are vs. Fresno State in Boise, an unknown foe in New Orleans or Nevada in San Francisco.
Nevada ain't happening, so my gut tells me Boise.
My heart tells me New Orleans.
Go heart.

Doomsday bowl scenario faces Owls today


Go Freaking Blue Raiders!!!!
A Doomsday Bowl scenario faces the Owls today.
No, I'm not talking being one of the few teams in history to miss a bowl with an 8-4 record.
I'm talking about going to a meaningless bowl in Detroit to play another MAC team, Toledo.
MTSU vs. Fla. Int.
Time: 6 p.m.
TV: None
Radio: Link here

There's a lot of scuttlebutt out there that the MAC, in order to maximize its teams in the bowl picture, will pit two of its teams, namely Temple and Toledo, in the Little Ceasars Pizza Bowl in Detroit.
I'll pass on that one, thanks.
I'm sure there are some positives in there, but I fail to see them.
To me, it has all the appeal of moving the Cherry and White game to Detroit.
All week long, the talk has been of Las Vegas and El Paso and, recently, New Orleans.
If the announcement tomorrow is Detroit against another team in the same conference, downer would not be a strong enough word to describe my reaction and, I guess, that of my fellow Owl fans.
We can do two things now.
Hope for the best and root like hell for Middle Tennessee State in Miami for tonight's 6 p.m. game.
That's because, if Middle Tennessee State wins tonight at Florida International, it takes the automatic spot in the LCB opposite a MAC team, probably not Temple (hint: Toledo).
It eliminates the tempting option (only to MAC officials) of putting two MAC teams in that bowl and opens up a spot for Temple in another locale.
MTSU has a shot. It's a 4 1/2-point underdog on the road, which means it would be favored at home. The Blue Raiders (5-6) have had their moments this year, pummeling Louisiana-Lafayette (34-14) and beating Western Kentucky and Florida Atlantic in their last two games.  That might not sound impressive, but Florida Atlantic beat Florida International, 21-9, and LL hung tough at Ohio (38-31).
Really, MTSU is playing for Temple tonight and, in the absence of the Owls having a game, I've adopted the Blue Raiders.
As much as I've railed against Boise, I'd take Boise over Detroit in a heartbeat, particularly if the Detroit foe is another MAC team.
As bowltoligist Chris Squieri (Doogie on a pair of Owl message boards) points out, Temple's dream scenario tonight is a Middle Tennessee State win coupled by losses by Washington (vs. Washington State), Oregon State (vs. Oregon, a given) and Louisiana Tech vs. Nevada (a probability).
Should Florida International win, I will be doing a lot of tossing and turning tonight with the possibility of throwing up at about 8:30 Sunday night.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Al Golden to Minny? Ha ... Ha


The Al Golden Football Camp is the largest one-day camp on the East Coast.
 Today, long-time reader of TFF Brian sent me an excellent question about how speculation about Al Golden going to Minnesota and anywhere else, for that matter, affects Temple.
While not getting into the Temple part, I answered it this way:

All I can say about Minnesota is that Owlscoop.com, which has direct access to Al Golden, has said that Al Golden has no interest, had no interest and will have no interest in the Minnesota job.


Al Golden has done enough RIGHT NOW at Temple to move into the No. 1 or No. 2 spot to replace JoePa at PSU, which is his dream job.

Could you imagine what would happen if, before 50,000 screaming TEMPLE fans (and maybe 20K) PSU fans at the Linc next year, he, Mike Gerardi/Chris Coyer, Bernard Pierce/Ryan Brumfield, Rod Streater, Mo Wilkerson and Adrian Robinson, et. al. BEAT Penn State?

He immediately moves into the No. 1 spot at PSU and gives Temple the greatest parting gift of all.

Going anywhere right now jeopardizes dreams he has for two of the three major educational institutions in Pennsylvania.

And, more importantly, himself.

Golden has the largest single-day camps during the summer within easy driving distance of 45 percent of the nation's population (and football talent). This is Golden's recruiting footprint.
He won't give that up to go just anywhere.
Minny?

Ha. Ha.


Now to answer the Temple part.
I don't like Al Golden's name coming up in speculation for all of these jobs every year.
It can't help recruiting.
However, look at it this way:
If his name wasn't to crop up every year, he wouldn't be doing his primary job, which is to put Temple football on the national map.
Is that job done?
Heck no.
A bowl game against UCLA was a nice step last year.
A bowl win, over say a Utah or a Miami (Fla.), is the next step.
Beating Penn State next year would put Temple football right in the middle of the national map with a thumb tack over an Owl logo.
Only then will the job be complete.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Orlando Sentinel: Sun Bowl vs. Miami


It's not going to be this dark in El Paso on Dec. 31 at 2 p.m.
 Gotta love the MAC.
It's the only conference where you can look reasonably horrible before a small crowd in Ohio in the last regular-season game and get what amounts to a reward.
Win the conference or division and go to Detroit,  Boise or Mobile.
Finish somewhat farther back in the conference and go to El Paso or Las Vegas.
Or D.C.
It was that way last year for the Temple Owls, when they spit the bit at Ohio and lost, 35-17, in the defacto MAC East championship game and got the marquee opponent of the MAC postseason in UCLA before 20,000 Temple fans in D.C.
It appears to be that way again this season, the marquee opponent part, not the D.C. part.
I must admit that I thought the season was, for all intents and purposes, over with a 23-3 loss at Miami.
The Owls would not have been a hot team coming into the postseason.
Their one marquee player has been an injury question mark and they would not bring 20,000 fans on the road with them like they did last year.
Reading the reports, though, I'm thinking that the Owls will find their way to a bowl game, more likely than not in a sunny and warm (err, warmer) climate.
If I had to handicap it today, I would go with these numbers:
  • 30 percent chance of Sun Bowl vs. Miami of Florida;
  • 20 percent chance of Vegas Bowl vs. Utah;
  • 15 percent chance of Humanitarian Bowl vs. Nevada or Fresno State;
  • 5 percent chance of "some other bowl";
  • 30 percent chance of no bowl;
That's from a selective reading of the situation. So it looks more like bowl than no bowl for Temple.
Orlando Sentinel says the Owls will go to the Sun Bowl to face Miami (Fla.) and I will take that.
The first thing you have to do when you read a bowl projection is skip over the ones that have "bleacher report" written next to the writer's byline.
It's a bunch of Joe Schmoes, like you and me, reports worth money Bleacher Report paid for them _ which is nothing.


The MAAC Vegas Bowl in, well, you know.
 The people you have to pay attention to are the ones who are paid and answer to the person paying them.
That's why I'm giving credence to sites like CBSSportsline.com and people like Stewart Mandel of Sports Illustrated.
Those sites have the Owls going to either the Sun Bowl to play the U (the real Miami) or the Vegas Bowl to play Utah.
I'll take either one.
I will pass on playing Boise or Nevada in Idaho, which is where many of the Joe Schmoes on Bleacher Report have us going. Pass, because it's too much of a hardship for our fans.
The only reason I want to play a bowl is to get this bad taste out of my mouth that I've had the last couple of weeks and I want to be there when it happens. Since I haven't been eating garlic, it must be the losing that's eating at me.
I like what Michael Vick said after the game last night.
"I hate losing. It makes me sick. It makes me ill."
I hear ya, Michael. Losing makes me sick, too, and the only remedy is to win again.
I don't want to wait until next year for the cure.
It's only a reward, though, if you go there (wherever) and win.  I want to see these Owls and especially the seniors go out with a swagger. I want to avenge the loss to UCLA and close the season the way it started _ bringing home a trophy. The season started with a Mayor's Cup Trophy.
I want it to end with a Sun Bowl or a Vegas Bowl Trophy.
You can only get that by playing the game.
Beating Utah or the real Miami is the best mouthwash I can think of right now.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Al Golden can fix his team with one phone call

The Brumfield File:
  • No. 2 all-time rusher in Pennsylvania history with 8,595 yards;
  • Averaged 9.79 yards per carry against defenses designed to stop him;
  • Over 100 TDs for his career;
  • A 3.0 GPA;
Quotable:
"You hate to say the word 'unstoppable,' but that's what Ryan is. He likes the challenges. The more he gets challenged, the better he plays. But what you like most about Ryan is that he's a great kid. Here's a kid that has every right to have an ego, and he doesn't. He gets along with everyone. It's why his teammates don't only want to play with him — they want to play for him."


_Tom Barr, head coach, Owen J. Roberts
Sometimes numbers mean nothing.
Sometimes the numbers all add up and the mathematical formula is pretty clear.
I found some numbers that were pretty fascinating over the last few days and I just want to share some here.
They tell the story of why this Temple season has a different, more hollow, feel for me than last year did.
They also show me the equation for getting the Owls out of this morass.
Temple football by the numbers:
  • Al Golden is 0-14 against MAC teams with a winning record;
  • Al Golden's two most impressive non-MAC wins were against Navy last year and against UConn this season;
  • Against Navy last year, Bernard Pierce went for 268 yards and two touchdowns with a pretty anemic passing attack on his side;
  • Against UConn this year, Bernard Pierce went for 179 yards with three touchdowns (again, with an anemic passer).
So who is most responsible for Temple's success?
Al Golden or Bernard Pierce?
Certainly, you can make a case for Bernard Pierce to date.
Going forward, to use a term Al Golden fancies, going forward, Al Golden is most responsible for Temple's success.
That's because the one thing he can supply is out there for the taking.
Bernard Pierce. Or at least a Bernard Pierce clone.
Certainly, we'd all like to see the Bernard Pierce of last year show up for his junior season (and the bowl game if the Owls are lucky enough to secure one).
What Al Golden failed to do "going backward" was make sure the Owls had a running back with Pierce's ability or close to it backing up Bernard should Bernard have gone down.
Let's face it.
Bernard had some injury issues after last year ended. Temple should have been better prepared than to replace him with a 5-5, 150-pound guy, no matter how good that 5-5, 150-pounder was.
The No. 1 running back recruit was a guy named Myron Ross (now Myron Myles) out of Wissahickon. Myron's a nice back, like Matty Brown, a nice back, not a Gosh-darn superstar.
I don't think Myron Myles on his best day can give Temple going forward what Matty Brown did.
And that, quite frankly, wasn't enough against Ohio and Miami.
And it won't be enough going forward.
He struggled to go over 1,000 yards in his senior year at Wissahickon.
Bernard Pierce was a Gosh-darn superstar, a 2,000-yard back, at Glen Mills.
We all kind of knew he would be something special in college.
So what Al Golden can do going forward is get me another Bernard Pierce as an insurance policy should the real one go down.
Short of cloning Bernard and waiting 18 years for the gestation period, I have a sure-fire answer:
Ryan Brumfield of Owen J. Roberts.
Brumfield, like Pierce, is a gosh-darn superstar.
I wrote about this kid in Friday's Inquirer.
He's five inches taller than Matty Brown (5-10) and 30 pounds heavier (180). He's a tenth of a second faster (4.4 compared to 4.5) and he's a lot shiftier and stronger. He's not quite Bernard (6-0, 218) but he's proven to be more durable.
Think a bigger version of Paul Palmer and that's what I'm talking about.
Brumfield has an offer on the table from Buffalo (Al Golden, I beg you, please don't let this kid go to Buffalo) and "interest" from Pitt, Penn State and Rutgers.
If Temple gets involved now, the Owls can have him.
The Owls should get him.
Temple needs Brumfield and Brumfield needs Temple.
That's a one plus one that adds up to two superstar runners for the Owls.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Thanks for a nice season, everybody


"And that's the way I used to play linebacker."
"But, coach, I'm a QB."
"Oh yeah, I forgot."

Goodnight and good luck.
I think that was Edward R. Murrow's line, but I was too young to remember him.
Let's face it.
The season is over, thanks to the BCS schools who derailed the teams-with-worse-records-can't-be-chosen-over-better-records rule at the end of last season. That means eight-win teams with small fan bases are in jeopardy of getting shut out this year.
Last year, no eight-win team could have been taken over nine-win Temple (excluding bowl tie-ins). This year, any six-win team can be taken over eight-win Temple.
The BCS schools pushing that rule change through is another example that big-time college football is corrupt to the core. The rich get richer. The poor get poorer.
If you think anybody is going to bend over backwards to invite an eight-win Temple team to a bowl, your thinking process is all wrong.
The only bowl that would want us, The Military Bowl, is spoken for with two tie-in participants eligible.

Geez, I hope Al Golden decides to stay at Temple but my gut tells me he's gone
Why would the Military Bowl want us?
That was the former Eagle Bank Bowl and we helped them out big-time by putting 20K fannies in the seats last year vs. UCLA.
Can we even put 1K fannies at any other bowl?
No.
It's all about the Benjamins in college football, in case you forgot.
It was a nice season, not a great season, not even a good season.
Why?
Because you can't return 21 starters at 16 positions and not improve from 9-3 to 10-2 or better.
And you certainly can't go from 9-3 to 8-4.


Bruce Arians, the only logical choice as next Temple coach.
 It's a nice season, not a good one, and it represents a regression from a year ago.
So there is blame to be assessed (in this order):
1) Matt Rhule. Sorry, Matt, you do not deserve to be back as offensive coordinator. You are a defensive guy, a career linebacker and a career linebacker coach. There are way too many weapons (Rod Streater, a 318-pound average offensive line, Michael Campbell, Bernard Pierce, Matt Brown, Delano Green, Erod, AJax, etc.) for this team to struggle putting points on the board. There already is an accomplished offensive coordinator on the staff. His name is Rob Spence and he turned scoreboards into  adding machines at places like Clemson and Syracuse. He deserves at least a chance to move up and show what a lifelong offensive mind can do.
Why do we consistently make slow, white quarterbacks look like Fran Tarkenton? Because we don't blitz anywhere near enough to sack these guys 10 yards behind the line of scrimmage, like we should

2) Mark D'Onofrio. Why do we consistently make slow, white quarterbacks look like Fran Tarkenton? Because we don't blitz anywhere near enough to sack these guys 10 yards behind the line of scrimmage, like we should. We should punch these guys in the mouth (figuratively, of course) early and often and make them uncomfortable back there.
I've been a big Mark D'Onofrio supporter to take over Al Golden's job once Al Golden leaves.
No more.
I'll take a 57-year-old Bruce Arians, a guy who is not afraid to blitz, over Mark D'Onofrio any day of the week. I've never seen a more passive defensive coordinator when it comes to attacking the other guy's quarterback.
Fifty-seven is not old anymore.
I never thought it was.
When I was 21 and working at the Doylestown Intelligencer, I wrote a column that Temple should hire John Chaney as its new basketball coach.
I got called into the office of the Managing Editor, Jim McFadden.
"Mike, don't you think 50 is a little old for a new basketball coach?" he said.
"Fifty's not old," I said.
My boss smiled.
"You get a raise," McFadden said.
He was 50, too.
The point is if you can do the job, it doesn't matter how old you are.
Bruce can do the job.
Bruce can recruit. He knows Temple. He loves Temple.  He will put other quarterbacks on their asses and make them give the ball to us early and often.
He's a Super Bowl winner.
An NFL pension is no longer an issue with him, like it was last time. He's making $600,000 and his boss is Mike Tomlin. At Temple, he would be making $1.2 million with no boss.
This move makes sense for both Bruce and Temple,
If there ever was a time for Bruce Arians at Temple, it is now.
Do I think Al Golden is leaving?
Geez, my heart says he stays but my head says he's gone.
If my heart was right tonight, we would have won, 23-3, instead of lost, 23-3.
So I think my head is right this time, too.
The tug might be too strong this year.
Yes, he's as good as gone. Benjamins also figure into the Al Golden saga. We don't have them. Other schools do.
I salute him.
What a terrific job he's done here and I can't thank him enough.
If he failed this year at all, it was sticking with his Penn State boy, Rhule, for way too long.
Golden proved that you can win at Temple, just like Arians did some 20 years ago.
When Al leaves, let's keep this momentum and move forward with the only other guy who's proven he can win here. I don't want to go back to the days that existed between those two regimes. Hiring Jerry Berndt, Ron Dickerson and Bobby Wallace was a crap shoot. I don't want any more crappy crap shoot hirings.
I want a sure thing next time and Bruce Arians is the only sure thing out there right now. He's the round peg that fits nicely into Temple's round hole.