Sunday, January 31, 2010

Signing Day: Are we there yet?

Highlights of Brian Burns (above) and Niyi Adewole (below).

The only bump so far this year came when Florida and head coach Urban Myer stole Tyler Murphy from Golden and Temple. College football is corrupt to its core because the power conferences can always steal recruits and coaches from the non-power conferences
By Mike Gibson
When I think about recruiting and how big the story has become on a national level, I'm reminded of the kid I used to be in the back seat of my dad's car on the way to vacation in Wildwood, N.J.
"Are we there yet?" I would say every 10 miles or so while riding along a winding Route 47.
Recruiting is a little like that, especially at Temple University these days.
It's a long and winding road, just like Route 47 was, with some bumps along the way.
Like the first day of vacation, there's a lot of anticipation with Signing Day but you know the trip will be worth it when Al Golden gets you there.
The only bump so far this year came when Florida and head coach Urban Myer stole Tyler Murphy from Golden and Temple.
I love college football, but you've got to admit it is corrupt to its core because the power conferences can and always do steal recruits and coaches from the non-power conferences. There's no protection for the non-BCS schools. College football today is like the Wild Wild West with the one major difference is the bad guys have all the guns.
How are the little guys ever going to succeed against that brutal backdrop?
Signing Day 2010
Wednesday, Feb. 3
3:00 PM: Press Conference
4:00-5:00 PM: Reception
5:00-5:45 PM: Recruit Highlights
Student Center, room 200
13th and Montgomery streets
Main Campus
$10 per person includes light hor d'ouevres.

It's why what happened at Boise State and what is happening at Temple has been and will be a very special story, a lot more special than what can happen at a place like Florida or Alabama.
America likes teams and people who overcome all the odds. America loves the underdog, the rags-to-riches story, and one is being written at Temple today.
It's tough, but it's possible, and when it's done inside a corrupt system, it is all the sweeter.
If you believe in Karma, Urban Myer will get his (bad) day and Temple will get its (good) day.
For today, we'll concentrate on the non-transfers. Temple has one coming in from Michigan, one from Hofstra and one from Northeastern. We want to write about those guys later this week, so we'll concentrate on this list, courtesy of
The following guys will help Temple get to the college football moutaintop:

Already signed:

Rod Streater WR 6-4 192 - Alfred, NY _ Check the film in the post below. If that doesn't make you say wow, you aren't impressed by anything. His best play in the film is replayed in slow motion. It's not a fluke. It's the kind of play only a guy who is a high jump champion can make routinely. Rod was a state high-jump champion at Northern Burlington (N.J.)

Committed but unsigned:

Niyi Adewole LB 6-3 220 - Upper Darby, PA _ Adewole had a teammate at Upper Darby, a linebacker named Amara Kamara. Adewole will have a teammate at Temple this season, a linebacker named Amara Kamara (cousin of the other Amara Kamara). Two teams. Two Amara Kamaras. Two different people. If Adewole is the player Temple's Amara Kamara is, he will be a good one. This story tells you more about Niyi Adewole the person.
Antonio Belt WR 6-1 190 _ Forestville, MD _ The latest to commit to Temple, Belt is an accomplished wide receiver who received high marks for his hands, speed and RAC (run-after-catch) ability at a number of five-star camps. “My trip (to Temple) was really good,” said Belt. “They showed me a lot of love and all the coaches kept it real and honest with me. I really love the campus there."
Wyatt Benson LB 6-0 215 - Haverford, PA _ Tremendous player and student from Haverford School, Benson has the distinction of being the first player in this class to commit. He was a first-team All-Inquirer choice at linebacker.
Brian Burns DB 6-0 170 4.52 Upper Marlboro, MD _ Burns has a tremendous upside with his ability to hit in the open field. Think Jacquain Jarrett.
Taray Carey DE 6-5 210 4.6 Whitehall, PA _ A nonstop motor characterizes this talent, who has the speed and athleticism to get in the quarterback's face and the height to knock the ball down when he doesn't. He's a terrific wrestler, who will use the moves he learned on the mat to pin a few offensive linemen.
Doesn't look like he's got the requisite vertical leap required of a Temple punter ...

Andrew Cerett K 6-5 240 - Huntingdon, PA _
More of a punter than a placekicker, Cerett's measureables (44-yard average. 5.2 seconds of hang time) give him stats Temple punters haven't seen since Casey Murphy. Plus, he's never violated a team rule. Doesn't look like he's got the requisite vertical leap required of a Temple punter, but maybe spring ball will produce a reliable long snapper.
Desmond "Andre" Coble ATH 5-10, 180 4.4 Richmond, VA _ Could be used anywhere on the field, as a kickoff returner, defensive back or Wildcat quarterback. Tremendous acceleration in space.
Sean Daniels RB/LB/DE 6-3 220 - Highland, N.J. _ Rushed for over 1,400 yards as a senior at Highland but is versatile enough to play any of three positions at Temple. A punishing inside runner who had 242 yards in Highland's Thanksgiving Day win over Clearview, Daniels will excel anywhere Golden needs him.
Marquise Goods DB 5-11 175 - Orange, NJ _ Marquies will deliver the Goods to wide receivers and tight ends coming over the middle. He had an incredible 95 tackles last year from his cornerback position, so he's not afraid to hit people.
Elijah Grant OL 6-6 340 - Fork Union, VA _ Fits the mold of the current Owl offensive linemen in that he has the size to dominate right away. From Fork Union, via Piscataway (N.J.) High.
Aaron Hush DE 6-4 250 - Fork Union, VA _ Was the Bridgewater Courier-News' defensive Player of the Year his senior year at Piscataway High. His 18 1/2 sacks demonstrates an unstoppable motor. Gotta love the headline possibilities using the name Hush.
Tyler Johnson TE 6-7 240 4.71 Wanaque, NJ _ The second signee in this class, Johnson has excellent hands and the ablity to contribute to a talented tight end group right away. He was the second player, after Benson, to commit.
Adam Metz OL 6-5 295 - Hummelstown, PA _ All you need to know about Adam is that he was named to the Big 33 team. The Big 33 picks only the best of the best. Another Big 33 player, guard Wayne Tribue, started as a true freshman.
Deon Miller WR 6-6 200 4.7 Fork Union, VA _ Think Plaxico Burress, not only in size, but in his abliity to catch the ball in traffic. Matt Rhule always wanted to dust off the fade pass in the red zone. Miller gives him that chance.
Connor Reilly QB 6-4 180 - Fairfax, VA _ Don't let the boyish face fool you. Reilly produced measurables in touchdowns and yards that a Temple quarterback coming in hasn't had since Adam DiMichele broke all the record books at Sto-Rox. According to the Washington Post, he was 171 completions in 318 attempts for 2,279 yards and 18 touchdowns in his senior year. That's Reilly. Really. Those are more yards and touchdown passes throw for a senior year than Chris Coyer, Chester Stewart and Vaughn Charlton had in their senior seasons. To be fair, though, Coyer had to share time at QB his senior year and those undoubtedly skewed his numbers.
Anthony Robey DB 5-9 172 4.4 Norristown, PA _ Extremely fast, the 4.4 is not a misprint. Don't be deceived by the height. His coverage ability makes up for it.
Myron Ross RB 6-1 205 4.5 Ambler, PA _ Also in the 4.4, 4.5 range, Myron can help the Owls in a variety of ways and his versatility is his major asset. He can return kicks, run from scrimmage, catch passes and play defensive back.
Darryl Shine WR 5-10 175 4.45 Fullerton, CA _ All the reports from California indicate the Owls got a real star, who is capable of starting right away.
Gerald Silvera WR 6-0 180 - West Orange, NJ _ Rutgers' fans I know tell me Temple is getting a real under-the-radar prospect in Silvera. More of a possession receiver than a deep breakaway threat but, given all the drops the Owls had last fall, wouldn't you rather have a possession receiver?
Nate Smith LB 6-0 220 - Highland Park, NJ _ My personal favorite in this class is Nate Smith because I've seen the film and I believe in the same way I believed when I first saw the Glen Mills' film featuring Bernard Pierce. How did that turn out? A sportswriter I know who covered his team tells me "he has five times the talent of his brother" and his brother was an NFL tight end named L.J. Smith. That same sportswriter also covered L.J. in high school so he has a solid basis to make that comparison. I've haven't seen a Temple football player since Kevin Harvey (Paulsboro) make Sports Illustrated's Faces in the Crowd, but Nate did.
Hershey Walton OL 6-4 320 - Reading, PA _ Comes from the same town as 6-7, 300-pound Owl Darryl Pringle, who picked the game up late. Walton is a more polished version of Pringle.
Dante Weaver DT 6-2 320 - New Brunswick, NJ _ The only three-star OL prospect snagged by Golden. It's nice to know that other groups of recruiters have Weaver rated high on their board which probably means he'll be more ready to play right away.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Recruiting season: The most important one

Future Owl Rod Streater is No. 81 in highlights.
Axel Ofori:
“I visit Temple this weekend,” said Ofori. “I am really looking forward to the trip. If everything goes well I should leave with an offer and it is one that I want.
“I just want to be at a place where I can compete and play. That is the fit I am looking for. It doesn’t have to be a certain level but it has to be a certain type of place. ... I am not ruling out anybody.
“I am expecting to really like Temple and if they like me and offer than my recruiting could be done. I feel that strongly about the school."
From, Jan. 20, 2010
By Mike Gibson
They say there are three seasons in college football.
Spring practice, the fall season itself and recruiting season.
I have a hunch that we are in the middle of the most important season, the recruiting one.
My thinking is that if you do well in this season, the one between the end of the bowl game and Feb. 3, success will naturally follow in the other two seasons.
It ends on Feb. 3 when the faxes with the signed letter-of-intents arrive at Edberg-Olson Hall, but this is the stretch drive, the playoffs if you will.
Axel Ofori was one of a handful of guys who made their visits to Temple this weekend.
I don't know Axel Ofori from Axel Foley, but I like him already.
I like any defensive back who runs a 4.4-40 because you can't have too much speed back there on the last line of defense.
What I like most about him, though, is the attitude on top of his talent.
Or, as they say here in Philly, his Attytude.
There might be bigger stars in this class of commits so far. I write might because you never know until they get here. Judging by the film, though, Nate Smith (RB/LB) of Highland Park (N.J.) could be one of the cornerstones. WR Deon Miller (coming in via last year's class this year) could help right away, too.
Still, to me, it's not as much about what they have done it's what they say before they get here.
Every year, someone has said something that jumped off the page to me.
Last year, it was an offensive lineman from Immaculata High (N.J.), Cody Bohler, who called the guys on the Temple team "the greatest bunch of guys I've ever met."
This year, it's Axel Ofori.
Gotta love his quotes from a couple of days ago on about Temple University, the Temple football program and how much he likes the school.
Axel Ofori was in town this weekend on an official visit to Temple hoping to receive a scholarship.
One of the hallmarks of Al Golden's stay here is that he does things the right way ... he won't go after other people's commits and usually does a good enough job holding onto his own

One of the hallmarks of Al Golden's stay here is that he does things the right way and the kids can sense he's genuine.
He won't go after other people's commits and usually does a good enough job holding onto his own.
If Ofori gets the offer and does commit, he will be the 20st of this class. Already 19 have committed.
By my count, there are about five scholarships left.
Whoever gets one of those four, should accept.
They will get a chance to play right away for a guy who does things the right way at a school about to win championships and make the cover of Sports Illustrated.
Think about it for a second.
Golden already has told boosters that Temple is "loaded" next season. The Owls return six first-team All-MAC performers.
With just a little help with the pass rush and passing game and secondary coverage (heck, maybe long-snapping), it's not a stretch to think this team can't take the next step.
What's the next step?
Take down national FCS champ Villanova before 45,000 people in the opening game and then repeat a similar run through the MAC all the while adding wins over Penn State and UConn.
Do that and Temple makes the cover of Sports Illustrated and becomes the No. 1 "feel good" story in the nation.
Some of these recruits will write that story next season, just like the one true freshman Bernard Pierce help pen last season. That one was a nice little story that had what Golden called an "unimaginable" ending.
This story could be a lot more compelling with a much happier end.
I can't wait to read the Axel Ofori quotes in that one.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Why AG turned down East Carolina (and Cincy and Tenn.) ...

I don't mention coach Fran Dunphy on here because I'm not much of a hoops fan, but I admire the man a lot.
The thing I admire most about him is that he already is a Hall of Fame coach in my mind but he doesn't drag Temple needlessly through speculation every time a big-time opening comes up.
Fran Dunphy is a Philly guy through and through and even if he wins the national championship with the Owls, he will likely remain the Temple head coach.
Temple will be his last head coaching job.
There is much to admire about that.
You can throw a Brinks' truck worth of money at him and he will likely wave the Brinks' truck by so he can get to his Suburu parked in the Liacouras Center lot.
Philly and family mean that much to him.Temple fans are comforted by that and they don't take it for granted.
They trust Fran Dunphy. They have plenty of reasons to do so.
I must admit that I get uneasy with this yearly speculation that comes up surrounding Temple's other high-profile coach, Al Golden.
Word comes tonight from multiple reliable sources that Al Golden has withdrawn his name for consideration for the East Carolina head football coaching job, reportedly telling Terry Holland to politely take his job and shove it.
Politely, of course. (Rick Stockstill will likely get that job now.)
It's all part of The Plan.
I have to trust Al today because the one thing he said when he took the Temple job was that he had a plan to turn Temple's football fortunes around and that it wouldn't take long for Temple fans to discern that plan.
You've got to give the guy credit. He had a plan and it didn't take any of us long to realize that it would work.
He is an East Coast recruiter without peer who has high schools from Boston to Washington, D.C. locked up. He can walk into any one of them today and be welcomed with open arms.
He would have to change his whole recruiting footprint if he went outside that corridor. Cincinnati, Tennessee and East Carolina are far outside that footprint.
His alma mater, Penn State, is not.

I have a feeling he's got a similar plan for his own career.

My guess is that he's had his eyes on the Penn State job all along.
Think about it.
What better way to get the attention of the people he wants to nudge than to have Temple ... TEMPLE ... beat Penn State in State College next year?
Golden told selected boosters at the bowl party that the Owls were "loaded" next year.
Loaded, with emphasis on loaded with talent.
Penn State people may not realize it, but Temple was a quarterback away from being in the game until the end with the Nittany Lions this season. I'm not talking about a Colt McCoy here. I'm talking about an Adam DiMichele, a guy who is capable of making 20 to 30 positive plays on his own.
Temple might have that guy next year.
With one swift Temple over Penn State blow, he would unsettle the Penn State fan base and hasten the departure of the legendary Joe Paterno and sell himself as his successor in the same day.
He would not get that chance at Cincy or at Tennessee or at East Carolina. reported him as the leading candidate at Cincy before he withdrew his name from consideration for that job. My guess is that Golden, not Cincy, made that decision.
Same with Tennessee.
Do you really, honestly, think Louisiana Tech's Derek Dooley is a better coach than Al Golden? The same Dooley who had a losing record in the past three years?
I didn't think you did.
If Al Golden wanted that job, he probably could have gotten it.
He didn't want Cincy.
He didn't want Tennessee.
He didn't want East Carolina.
He wants Temple.
It's all part of The Plan.
Hopefully, The Plan evolves into Al Golden seeing Temple the way Fran Dunphy sees Temple but that's up to Al to decide.
With no attractive jobs left, he'll have another year to think about it.
What the Temple administration does behind the scenes and what he Owls do on the field will determine the future now.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Temple's football family hurting today

By Mike Gibson
Once upon a time not so long ago, being a Temple football fan was like being a member of an exclusive club in the Dark Ages.
You'd meet, watch the plague spread, then hope that someday the university would hire a savior to find a cure for the football program we loved.
The group would be so small in selected seasons, maybe down to three or four cars in the tailgate section of Veterans Stadium.
DANIEL H. III, suddenly January 11, 2010 of Jenkintown. Beloved son of Grace and the late Daniel H. Jr. Devoted and loving father of Victoria and Alexandra. Brother of Nancy Gagnon and Steven. Special friend of Colleen Berry. Uncle of Nicole, Elena and Annah. Dan was an avid Temple Owls Football fan. Relatives and friends are invited to the Viewing on Friday eve. 7 to 9 P.M. and on Saturday from 9:00 A.M. until time of Service at 10:00 A.M. at the JOSEPH J. McGOLDRICK FUNERAL HOME, 507 West Ave., Jenkintown. Interment Hillside Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, remembrances may be made to the Breathing Room Foundation, 120 S. York Rd., Suite 7, Hatboro, PA. 19040. Published in Philadelphia Inquirer & Philadelphia Daily News
We commiserated because we all knew what it meant to be a Temple football fan in those days. We all experienced similar pains.
It meant walking into a bar and asking for the Temple game to be turned on just one of the TVs and inevitably bracing for the bartender to laugh at you.
He might turn the Temple game on and he might not.
It was a 50-50 shot.
Then you'd brace for the smart-aleck comments from the patrons asking "who put the Temple game on? ..."
Well, that exclusive club lost one of its most treasured members this week when Dan Glammer passed away at the all-too-young age of 46.
I first met Dan through the message boards discussing Temple football in the late part of the last century, then later at the tailgates.
When there were five (that's 5) left at the Miami (Ohio) pre-game tailgate in 2005, Dan Glammer was one of those fans. I was another one.
Dan was smart, funny (enough to be an award-winning comedian) and kind.
The kindness will always stick with me.
When Temple was playing at Kent State two seasons ago, a rumor got around on the Internet that the game would be on at Chickie and Pete's in South Philly and that they had some kind of special hookup that no other place had.
I was off work that night, so I headed down there.
I was five minutes from home when the cell rang in my car.
Nobody has my cell number, but Dan knew I wanted to see the game so he somehow found it.
"Mike, this is Dan. The game's not on. It's not on anywhere."
"Thanks, Dan. You saved me a trip."
A random, unsolicited, act of kindness and a much-appreciated one.
Dan didn't have to do that.
He just did.
I saw him at the bowl game in D.C. and I remembered thinking I've never seen him look that happy.
Heck, until the unexplainable pick-6, I've never been that happy.
He was sitting (standing, really, the whole game like the rest of us) in the row in front of me.
He knew about the conniption I get every time Bernard Pierce is taken out of the game so, at one point, he turned around and said:
"Preps! Pierce is out. McPherson's in."
"GET HIM OUT!! GET HIM OUT!!" I yelled in the direction of Al Golden. "PUT THE FRANCHISE BACK IN ..."
McPherson then ripped off a 12-yard gain.
Everybody was cheering, going crazy.
Dan was clapping and laughing when he turned around to say:
"Keep talking, Preps," he said.
Those were, sadly, the last words he ever said to me.

Sign Dan's guestbook

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Temple delivers a record Philly TV audience

Bars in Philly, unlike Somers Point, were packed last Tuesday cheering on the Owls.
By Mike Gibson
A couple of days ago, I dashed off a note to Inquirer TV writer Mike Klein and asked him to get the ratings for Temple's EagleBank Bowl football game with UCLA.
I thought they'd be high because Temple always did well on TV when Paul Palmer was going for the Heisman Trophy in 1986 and before that when Wayne Hardin put together a string of winning years.

My email to Mike Klein
From: Mike Gibson

Date: Sun, Jan 3, 2010 at 9:20 PM
Subject: Ratings for Temple-UCLA football

Hi Mike,
I don't have access to local Neilsen TV ratings, but you might so I thought I'd ask this question:
Could you please publish in your column the local Neilsen ratings for the Dec. 29th TU football game with UCLA?
I was in Washington, but my guess is that the game did very well.
Mike Gibson
Temple Football Forever
There always has been a lot of interest in a "winning" Temple team.
While the "hardcore" fan base delivered some impressive numbers at RFK Stadium, with 20,000 Temple fans making the trip in brutal cold, the "softcore" fan base also produced last Tuesday.
While there were reports all over the place that several watering holes inside Center City (the game was played during Happy Hour) were packed with people cheering on the Owls, there's nothing like cold, hard numbers produced by the ratings folks at ESPN.
The numbers Klein found were even beyond my expectations and ran in his Inqlings column Tuesday.
I dashed off a similar email to Daily News' columnist Dan Gross, a Temple grad, who wrote me back: "I'll try to get you the numbers, Mike, but I don't think I'll put them in my column."
Klein beat Gross to the punch.
Page under "Owls fly" and Klein's numbers is really the best empirical data supporting the "latent" support and interest for Temple football in the Philadelphia area.
"It would serve the Big East right if a ... competitive Temple team delivered its Philadelphia TV market to the MAC"
_Shelly Anderson
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
in a 2007 story

An estimated 140,000 viewers watched the game, which made it the most-watched ESPN bowl game in Philadelphia since 2007 (Penn State was in the Alamo Bowl then).
All of this proves a couple of points:
A winning Temple football team can deliver the fourth-largest market to any football conference in the country and there is a "softcore" group of fans just waiting to jump on the bandwagon and follow a Temple team that proves to be a consistent winner.
The bandwagon's journey will get underway only with a convincing win over Villanova to start next season but there is enough evidence that there are thousands of people waiting to jump on this Owl Express once that happens.
Warm up those engines.