Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Daz: 'Scot will call the plays'

The Heisman "campaign" may be low-key this year, but nonetheless Scot Loeffler would be one wise Owl if he fueled the Owls' offense with BP oil.

Google "Steve Addazio" on the internet and what you are likely to find is a litany of ramblings from Florida fans, justified or not, complaining about how Steve Addazio "called the plays" for the 2010 Gators.
Steve Addazio has become a synonym of offensive incompentence in their eyes.
I think it's a pretty unfair characterization given that the buck always stopped with Saint Urban Meyer.
So Florida fans are going to love this latest pronoucement from Addazio's lips:
"Scot will call the plays," Daz said on Meet and Greet Day last week.

 Scot (one T) is new offensive coordinator Scot Loeffler, a quarterback genius who developed Tom Brady and Chad Henne at Michigan and Tim Tebow at Florida.
Loeffler is a big-time offensive mind who knows how to move the football, probably through osmosis, by now.
"Dude, my boy from Temple Football Forever told
coach Daz to give the ball to No. 30. That seals i t.
I'm putting you down for 20 TDs and 2,011 yards in 2011."
Addazio, on the other hand, is a life-long offensive line coach who appears to be more at home in the trenches. If he's comfortable with making Scot Loeffler the offensive head coach and Chuck Heater the defensive head coach, that makes me comfortable, too.
After meeting Daz for the first time last week, I must admit I was, err, Dazzled.
My sense is that he's probably more suited to being a CEO/Motivator than someone who wants to be micromanaging each individual facet of his organization.
That's got to be good for Temple because being a big-time football head coach is too large a job if you can't hire people you can trust. See Andy Reid and his less-than-stellar NFL draft day record as a case in point.
If all Addazio does is leave the offense up to Loeffler and the defense up to Chuck Heater and take care of the CEO duties and motivates the hell out of the Owls, this  should be the best season yet.
The same guy Florida fans hated so much could be the very one Owl fans come to love.
With the exception of a failure to recruit a high-profile tailback to spell Bernard Pierce, he's pushed all the right buttons so far.
There's only one more button to be pushed.
The last thing I told him was to give the ball to No. 30.
He laughed out loud, that hearty belly laugh that I never heard from Al Golden.
Like any good CEO, I hope he processed the tip and passed it along to Scot.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Golden Dome, Meet Bell Tower

Potentially, one of the more bizarre press conferences in college football history will take place today at 3 p.m. at the Fox Gittis Room, Liacouras Center.
In attendance will be John DiCarlo, Owlscoop.com; Bill Bradshaw, Temple AD; Steve Addazio, Temple football coach and Larry Dougherty, SID.
I don't think they'll need more seats than four, although there could be a few curious passersby standing in the background.
I'll try to sum it up here, so none of you will have to skip work to attend:
Dougherty:  (Tapping the speakers.) Testing. One. Two. OK, we're here to announce that Temple football is playing Notre Dame in beginning in the 2014 season. We'll be playing in Philadelphia that year, then there the following year and playing one more game an undetermined year, as early as 2013, in South Bend. At this point, I'd like to introduce Temple AD Bill Bradshaw. Bill?
Bradshaw: Thank you all for coming. I just want to say that this is an exciting time for Temple football and announcing this game is exciting for me, personally, as well as the city of Philadelphia. This brings the Temple brand across the country for three years and we're going to have a great crowd for our 2014 game. I'd like to announce a special deal for the 2014 game. To get a ticket to the Notre Dame-Temple game you must be a full season-ticket holder. By my estimation, we could average 70,000 tickets sold for the six home games of the 2014 season. I really feel sorry for the Notre Dame fans who won't be able to experience the beauty of Lincoln Financial Field that day, but our goal is to fill the stadium with Temple fans and I think that's the best way to do it.  I would like head coach Steve Addazio to say a few words.
Addazio: I echo what Bill said. In fact, I wake up the echos.
(Nervous laughter.)
Seriously, I coached at Notre Dame so I know all about the place. Notre Dame is the biggest name in college football and we want Temple to be the biggest name someday.
Bradshaw: Let's open it up for questions.
DiCarlo: How did this come to fruition?
Bradshaw: We asked them. We wanted a home-and-home. They laughed. Then I said, OK, we'll settle for a 2-for-1. Then they said they wanted the first two to be at Notre Dame. I said, "You didn't think I was born yesterday, did you? You'll just walk out on us after the second game like Navy did. Make us the middle game and you've got a deal." Then we shook on it.
Dougherty: Any more questions? Anyone? Bueller? Anyone?
(More nervous laughter.)
John, help me out here.
DiCarlo: No, I'm good.
Dougherty: I just want to invite all of those in the room to our meet and greet with Steve Addazio in ... what time is it, Bill? ...
Bradshaw: 3:07, Larry.
Dougherty: ...in two hours and 23 minutes. Thanks for coming. 

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

TU-ND press conference a head-scratcher

If you say "big football announcement" it better mean a new conference.

Like a lot of people, I'm a creature of habit.
I get up a certain time.
I go to the gym a certain time.
I go to work a certain time.
I even blog at a certain time.
Always the same times for each task.
On big occasions, I'm able to rearrange my schedule.

TU and ND: Two schools with Subway Alumni
That's why I was excited a couple of weeks ago to hear about the Steve Addazio Meet and Greet, scheduled for Thursday, Feb. 17, at 5:30.
Geez, I thought. I'm off Thursdays. I can go to the gym at my regular time and treat this Thursday like I'm going to work, except I'm meeting the new Temple head football coach instead.
Then I got this email from Temple University yesterday:
"Major announcement concerning Temple Football at 3 p.m., Fox Gittis Room, Liacouras Center."
Well, that does it.
I've got to get there a couple hours earlier than I planned. Whatever needs to be said will be said between 3-3:30 p.m.
Then, I thought:
"Geez, what am I going to do between 3:30 and 5:30?"
(I didn't feel like going to the Draught Horse or Maxi's for an early Happy Hour and I certainly didn't need two hours to browse the bookstore.)
All sorts of things raced through my head, but I narrowed it to these three, in no particular order:
1) Temple is moving to Conference USA for football only;
2) Temple is getting a practice bubble;
3) Temple is scheduling Notre Dame.

Bowl (Site) Time (CT) Network

AutoZone Liberty Bowl (Memphis, Tenn.) 2:30p ESPN

Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl (Fort Worth, Texas) 11:00a ESPN

Military Bowl (Washington, D.C.) 1:30p ESPN

Sheraton Hawai'i Bowl (Honolulu, Hawai'i) 7:00p ESPN

Beef O'Brady's Bowl (St. Petersburg, Fla.) 7:00p ESPN

Carriers New Orleans Bowl (New Orleans, La.) 7:00p ESPN

Certainly, ONLY No. 1 rises to the level of having its own press conference, separate and apart from the Addazio Meet and Greet. If Temple held a news conference to announce a practice bubble or a scheduling agreement, it would hold itself up for ridicule and I don't like it when my school is ridiculed. No school in the history of college football has ever held a press conference to announce a scheduling agreement. Scheduling agreements, even with schools like Notre Dame, usually are released on 8 1/2 x 11-inch paper and double-spaced, not the subject of press conferences.
Now Conference USA is, as Bum Phillips once said, is a horse of a whole other fire department.
No. 1 would be REALLY big news. Nos. 2 and 3, very good news, but those could be addressed at 5:30.
I made a few calls and was disappointed.
The news is not Temple to Conference USA or The Big East.
It's No. 3.
Yeah, that's right. Temple is holding a press conference to announce that it signed a 2-for-1 deal with Notre Dame.
Temple at Notre Dame in 2013. Notre Dame at Temple in 2014. Temple at Notre Dame in 2015.
That's all the news there is to print.
What was it cops say at the scene of the accident?
"There's nothing more to see, you can move along folks."
That's pretty much how I feel now.
When you say "major announcement" I expect a major announcement.
This is a good announcement, not a "major announcement."
Great news, mind you, but not big enough to make me waste a couple of hours. Certainly not big enough for its own separate press conference.
That settles it.
I will see everyone at 5:30 then.

Monday, February 14, 2011

The Steve Addazio Meet and Greet

The Gator and the Hooter

... Important days ahead for Temple football: Thursday, Feb. 17, The Steve Addazio Meet and Greet ... March 23 ... opening day of football practice ... Saturday, April 16, Cherry and White game .... Thursday night, Sept. 3, Temple 55, Villanova 3 ...

My friends who have met Steve Addazio says the man is infectious, so I guess I'll have to use the Dial Anti-bacterial soap I have in my gym bag before meeting coach for the first time on Thursday.
Err, maybe not.
"Mike, I mean his enthusiasm is infectious," my friend, Ted, said.
I usually don't make very many Temple basketball games (I did see the win over Georgetown, though), but I will be going this Thursday, 5:30-6:30, for the Steve Addazio Meet and Greet. So, since I'm there, I will go see the Owls play Richmond in an important hoops game that night.
Al Golden was very good with these types of things and I hear that Addazio is even better.
All I really care about, though, is Steve pounding the heck out of Villanova to jump-start our season and he and his Owligator staff finding a way to beat Penn State with Temple talent.
That's what it will take to shake a Temple fan base that has been encrusted deep into the Earth's core for the last 30 years. Not even a million meet and greets can match what those six hours of football can do.
The university has released this on the night's events:
Join fellow Temple fans for a meet and greet with Temple's new head football coach: Steve Addazio.

Temple Athletics: Meet and Greet with Coach Addazio

Thursday, Feb. 17
5:30-6:30 PM

Liacouras Center, Fox-Gittis Room
1776 N. Broad St.
Light refreshments will be provided.

Steve Addazio - Announced as Temple's new football coach on Dec. 23, 2010, Addazio helped the University of Florida win two BCS National Championships in the last five years (2006 and 2008). He is Temple's 25th head football coach and most recently served as the associate head coach and offensive coordinator for the Gators during the 2010 season.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Deadline for registering for this meet and greet is Tuesday, Feb. 15. Email: denise.fitzpatrick@temple.edu

NOTE: All attendees at this event can receive a voucher entitling them to a group priced ticket ($10 upper level, $15 lower level) to that evening's Temple-Richmond men's basketball game at the Liacouras Center! Attendance at the meet and greet is required to receive the ticket voucher.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Loeffler completes Owligator coaching Trinity

Loeffler completes the Owligator Holy Trinity

If Groundhog Day was last Wednesday, you can call this Wednesday Owligator Day.
As good as last Wednesday was recruiting for the Owls, Owligator Day beats Groundhog Day by a good bit.
That's because Temple signed Scot Loeffler as offensive coordinator on Wednesday, completing the "Holy Trinity" of Gator coaches who will be roaming the sidelines at Temple.
Steve Addazio, head coach.
Chuck Heater, defensive coordinator.
Scot Loeffler, offensive coordinator/quarterbacks' coach.
Think about it.
Temple's head coach is a guy who was HEAD coach (yes, head coach) at Florida to be its head coach. (I know it's a technicality but Addazio was head coach for three months while Urban Meyer was on sick leave.) I really think Daz's personality is more suited to being a head coach than an offensive coordinator in terms of being a CEO-type and a motivator. We won't know for sure until he beats up Villanova like Muhammad Ali beat up Chuck Wepner, but Temple is getting a guy who could be a gem as a head coach.
Temple is also getting a guy who was co-defensive coordinator at Florida to be its defensive coordinator. ("Head coach of the defense," Addazio said.)
Now Temple is also getting a guy who was at least partly responsible for the development of Tom Brady, Chad Henne and Brian Griese as Michigan quarterbacks because he there when all three were at Michigan.
Oh yeah.
 He was Tim Tebow's quarterback's coach, too.
Temple is sending a message to the rest of the college football world that its football program is in capable hands by completing this Holy Trinity of Owligators.

The Loeffler File:
• Led a Florida quarterback unit that led the nation in pass efficiency (167.3) in 2009. They passed for 3,305 yards for 28 touchdowns with just five interceptions. Florida ranked second in the SEC in passing offense with an average of 236.1 yards per game.

• Guided Tim Tebow in his final season at Florida, during which he passed for 2,895 yards and 21 touchdowns, finishing his senior year with a passing efficiency of 164.17. The quarterback left Florida with five NCAA, 14 SEC and 28 UF records
• Led the Michigan quarterbacks for six seasons, guiding second-round draft pick Chad Henne. Under the tutelage of Loeffler, Henne became the first true freshman QB to lead his team to a Big Ten title and start in a BCS bowl game. Henne set school marks in career passing yards (9,715), touchdowns (87), completions (828) and attempts (1,387).
• Helped develop John Navarre into the team’s first All-Big Ten first-team quarterback since 1997.
• Helped guide two NFL quarterbacks in Tom Brady and Brian Griese as a graduate and student assistant at Michigan and was a part of the Wolverine staff during the 1997 undefeated season and National Championship title.

With these three hirings, it becomes abundantly clear that Temple is serious about big-time football because these are big-time guys.
Why am I so excited about this?
First off, addition by subtraction.
I've been hearing rumors for the better part of a month now that Addazio might have been planning to keep Matt Rhule as offensive coordinator.
Been there, done that.
Rhule had a lot of beautiful square parts he tried to plug into round holes last year.
He had a Heisman Trophy back (at least, talent-wise if not durability-wise) in Bernard Pierce, great wide receivers in Rod Streater, Michael Campbell, Joey Jones, an all-MAC first-team tight end in Evan Rodriguez and a capable backup in Alex Jackson ... and ... AND ...a New Jersey high school first-team all-state quarterback in Mike Gerardi ... and ... AND ... an offensive line that averaged 318 yards across the front.
Yet he (or head coach Al Golden) doesn't play the all-state QB until the middle of the season, yet he (or Golden)  alternates the Heisman Trophy guy with a 5-5, 150-pound back and doesn't even attempt to do what worked so well in 2009. That is, establish the run behind a great back and throw off play-action. If they had done that, MAC secondaries would have bitten hard enough on the ball fake that Owl receivers would have been so wide open the toughest decision would have been which one to pick out.
With Brown out there, except for the UConn game and the first half of the Penn State game, Pierce was never allowed to establish a rhythm.
As a result, save for those rare exceptions, Temple's offense was a clusterbleep from the opening play of the Villanova game until the final play of the Miami game.
You score three points against The Fake Miami with that talent?
You've got to be kidding me.
Loeffler was on campus doing some quality control analysis on Monday and Tuesday.
On Wednesday, he accepted the job.
Evidently, he saw he had a lot of good moving parts to work with. Maybe he made the assessment, like I have, that a big-time backup needs to be developed with Pierce-like size and speed. Maybe Myron Myles is that guy. Maybe Nate Smith is that guy. But we need to find that guy badly.
By Villanova, with a pair of fresh and capable eyes he should be able to find the square holes for those square pegs.
I like the sound of that nickname for our all-star coaching staff.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

This just in ... Donte Dotson

This post falls under the category of "this just in ..." hence, the headline above.
Donte Dotson, a 5-foot-8 wide receiver from Milford Academy (Conn.) via Florida, faxed his letter of intent with the Owls after 4 p.m. on National Signing Day.
Stuff happens when you schedule a press conference so it doesn't conflict with a night time basketball game, so Donte's bio never made it with the post below listing all the Temple recruits.

I was kinda hoping for a late pickup to be a big-time running back of Bernard Pierce SIZE and talent, but evidently coach Steve Addazio is really serious about finding some big-time explosiveness in the passing game and willing to roll the schollies on one position.

We can only hope Bernard Pierce stays healthy this year, because I see a Grand Canyon-like dropoff between first- and second-string tailback talent should he not. We found out in the final two games that the expiration date of a 5-5, 150-pound running back is about eight games into a 12-game season.

The press conference started at 4, so Dotson did not make the booklet handed out to the fans that afternoon.
Here's his bio:
Postgraduate: Played wide receiver for one season for coach Bill Chaplick at Milford Academy … had 41 receptions for 693 yards and five touchdowns during the 2010 season … averaged 16.9 yards per reception … also rushed 12 times for 131 yards … earned coaches' offensive player of the game accolades twice and specialist of the game once.

High School: Played quarterback for coach Adam Ratkevich at Deerfield Beach HS … 2009 first-team Sun-Sentinel All-County honoree … two-time Miami Herald first-team All-County selection as an athlete … as a senior, rushed for 1,026 yards and passed for 1,068 yards and 11 touchdowns while leading the Bucks to the district title … team finished the regular season at 7-3

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Temple signing class bios (with videos)

The 2011 Class of Temple Football Owls

Only time will tell if Juice Granger becomes TU's Cam Newton
Watching Steve Addazio today he used a word that I've used to describe quarterbacks for years.
"What's it?" Addazio said. "I can't describe it, but I know it. Juice has it."
Addazio was talking about new quarterback recruit Clinton "Juice" Granger.
The new Temple head coach was referring to it the way I've been describing it for years in referencing quarterbacks.
You just know if quarterbacks have it or don't.
You can throw me all the stats in the world about how this quarterback ranks against that quarterback in terms of yards, touchdowns, etc., but "it" is the most important factor to me.
It is a hodgepodge of ingredients, that's the best way I can put, err, it.
Overlapping skills like moxie, mobility,  leadership, intelligence, will to win, toughness, guts, courage, clutchness=it.
I know who has it.
You probably know who has it.
Walter Washington had it.
Then Adam DiMichele had it.
Vaughn Charlton never had it, nor did Chester Stewart.
(Heck, I never saw anything on their high school film that ever led me to believe either one had it so I was not surprised once they got here that they struggled so mightilty to put points on the scoreboard.)
There's not a big enough body of work to determine if Mike Gerardi or Chris Coyer have it.
I'll tell you what. Gerardi had "it" against Buffalo, but he didn't have it against the fake Miami.
Three points?
That's damning. That's not it.
What is it John Chaney once said?
"If you tell me you don't love me once, you are done."
The rule on it is "if you have it sometimes and not others, you really don't have it."
Anything less is an "it" violation.
DiMichele, to me, had it all the time. So did Matty Baker, Tim Riordan, Walter Washington, Brian Broomell and Doug Shobert.
Tink Murphy never had it.
Give me a Temple quarterback with "it" and we're in business.
I loved Al Golden for a lot of things, but not for his understanding of it.
Don't get me wrong. Golden was a great CEO and wonderful leader at Temple, but he was not God.
He had no clue what "it" was.
Never once did Golden bring up the "it" factor in any press conference or Signing Day function.
Throwing Charlton out there and Stewart out there game after game when Golden could have recruited a better JUCO was proof Golden never understood "it."
God, if you had Adam DiMichele once, had do you throw the fanbase Charlton and Stewart without getting a big-time JUCO All-American to push them?
That was the most encouraging thing about Wednesday's press conference.
If a coach understands what "it" is, then I'm on board.
I don't really care if he can express a precise definition of it because I can't either.
So if Juice has it and Jalen Fitzpatrick has it, we're in business because the quarterback position is that important.
There's some Juice in this recruiting class and it doesn't stop with the quarterback position.
Owlsports.com did a great job of introducing the recruits so I will provide that link here for those you want to delve into it further.
What follows is the Cliff Notes' version with my analysis at the end:

Robbie Anderson
 Robbie Anderson, WR, 6-3 180, Davie, Fla. • South Plantation HS _ High School: Three-year letterwinner that played wide receiver and safety for coach Doug Gatewood at South Plantation HS … also returned kicks … finished prep career with 42 receptions for 545 yards and six touchdowns … as a junior, had 39 receptions for 477 yards and six touchdowns … selected Temple over Florida, Illinois, Indiana, and Marshall.
TFF ANALYSIS: Owlsports doesn't mention Western Michigan, which had Anderson as committed as late as Tuesday of this week. According to this story, he assured a Western Michigan newspaper as late as Feb. 1 that he would honor his WMU commitment. Makes you wonder, doesn't it? I think he could be moved to safety, an area of need for the Owls.
Naniyah Bah, WR • Freshman • 6-2 • 184, Clinton, Conn. • The Morgan School (pronounced NINE-ee baah) _ Played wide receiver and defensive back for coach Mike Eagle at The Morgan School … as a senior, had 49 receptions for 724 receiving yards and seven touchdowns … also had 29 carries for 95 yards and a touchdown at running back … had 29 tackles and two interceptions at defensive back … 2009 All-Pequot League honoree.
TFF: Love the speed and 1,000-yard history as a rusher, which shows me his RAC (run-after-catch) ability, which would make him suitable for immediate playing time in Addazio's spread offense. Will be in the mix for receiver immediately.
Antonio Belt, WR • Freshman • 6-0 • 170, Forestville, Md. • Forestville Military Academy • Fork Union Military Academy  _ Belt played wide receiver for coach John Shuman during the 2010 season at Fork Union … helped the Cadets to a 6-2 record … fellow FUMA teammates Nate Smith and Hershey Walton are Temple signees.
High School: Three-star prospect by Scout.com and Rivals.com … played quarterback, wide receiver, and cornerback for coach Charles Harley at Forestville Military Academy … as a senior, rushed for 414 yards, had 448 yards passing, and had 403 receiving yards and three touchdowns … as a junior, had 11 touchdown receptions … as a sophomore, had four touchdowns and returned two interceptions … also played basketball.
TFF: Athleticism and the year of maturity at Fork Union puts him in the mix immediately.

Brandon Chudnoff
Brandon Chudnoff, LB • Freshman • 6-2 • 228, Philadelphia, Pa. • George Washington HS _ High School: Played tight end and defensive end for coach Ron Cohen at George Washington HS … rated the 33rd best player in Pennsylvania in the Class of 2011by Rivals.com … 2010 Mini Max Award winner by the Maxwell Football Club … 2010 Associated Press second-team Class AAAA All-State honoree as a senior … 2010 Pennsylvania Sportswriters' second-team Class AAAA All-State honoree … 2010 Philadelphia Inquirer first-team defense All-Southeastern Pennsylvania pick … 2010 All-City honoree … 2010 Public League AAAA Gold Defense All-Star … All-Combine second-team selection at the U.S. Army All-American Combine … team won three consecutive Public League championships … registered 450 tackles and 18 sacks during prep career … participated in the 2010 Chesapeake Bowl … 2009 first-team coaches' All-Public League selection … 2009 Philadelphia Daily News third-team All-City pick … as a junior, had 10 sacks and 11 receptions for 119 yards and three touchdowns … National Honor Society member … 2007-08-09 Top Achiever Award recipient from the Philadelphia Eagles … also participated in swimming and lacrosse … attended the 2010 Temple Football Camp … high school teammate Daquan Cooper is a fellow Temple signee.
TFF: Workout freak who is versatile enough to play either DE or OLB. With an injury at either position, could see immediate playing time. Must improve as a pass rusher.

Daquan Cooper, WR • Freshman • 5-10 • 161, Philadelphia, Pa. • George Washington HS _ (pronounced DAY-qwahn) _ High School: Two-way athlete for coach Ron Cohen at George Washington HS … 2010 Associated Press second-team Class AAAA All-State honoree as a senior … 2010 Pennsylvania Sportswriters' second-team Class AAAA All-State honoree … 2010 Public League AAAA Gold Offense All-Star … played wide receiver and defensive back … also returned punts and kickoffs … as a senior, had 24 receptions for 426 yards and six touchdowns … participated in the 2010 Chesapeake Bowl … … attended the 2010 Temple Football Camp … high school teammate Brandon Chudnoff is a fellow Temple signee.
TFF: Immediate candidate to be Temple's next great punter returner after Delano Green.

Malcolm Eugene
Malcolm Eugene, WR • Junior • 6-4 • 205  _ Huntington, N.Y. • Elwood-John Glenn HS • ASA College _
Enrolled at Temple in January … has three seasons to play two … originally signed a National Letter of Intent with Hofstra in February 2009.

Junior College: A 2010 JUCO All-American … three-star prospect by Rivals.com … played two seasons at Brooklyn's ASA College for coach Dennis Orlando … 2010 first-team All-Conference honoree … helped team to back-to-back 7-3 records … as a sophomore in 2010, had 49 receptions for 898 yards and eight touchdowns … participated in the 2010 Triumphant Sports Junior College All-American game ... as a freshman in 2009, had 21 receptions for 335 yards and five touchdowns … ASA teammate Jerry Watters is also a Temple Owl.

TFF: Seldom drops a ball, much like current Owl  Rod Streeter. Could be a great compliment to Streeter at the other end.

Jalen Fitzpatrick
Jalen  Fitzpatrick, QB • Freshman • 5-11 • 180, Harrisburg, Pa. • Harrisburg HS _ High School: Played quarterback for coach George Chaump at Harrisburg HS … 2010 Pennsylvania Sportswriters' Class AAAA first-team All-State quarterback … 2010 first-team Harrisburg Patriot-News All-Star … selected to play in the 2011 Pennsylvania Big 33 game … finished prep career with 3,075 yards passing and 28 touchdowns while rushing for 1,675 yards and 16 TDs … helped Harrisburg to a 9-3 overall record and a perfect 6-0 conference record as a senior in 2010… as a senior, went 98-of-179 for 1,743 yards and 17 touchdowns … also rushed for 1,116 yards … also played basketball.

TFF: If this kid was 6-2, not 5-10, he'd be recruited by every SEC school. Don't count him out in the QB mix, because he moves around to see open receivers downfield. I think Addazio will give him a shot to dazzle at QB first.
Clinton Granger, QB • Sophomore • 6-3 • 235, Philadelphia, Pa. • George Washington HS • Pierce College _ Junior College: Played quarterback for coach Efrain Martinez at Pierce College in Los Angeles … 2010 second-team All-Pacific Conference selection … in 2010, passed for 1,176 yards and 10 touchdowns while rushing for 200 yards and five touchdowns … redshirted as a true freshman … selected Temple over Florida International, Minnesota, and North Texas.

TFF: I hate (actually love) to say this, but this kid reminds me of Cam Newton in everything he does. He's got the ability to feel the rush and either get rid of the ball or take it upfield for positive yardage. Temple hasn't had that since 2008.

Kenneth Harper, SS • Freshman • 6-0 • 215, Gainesville, Fla. • Buchholz HS _ High School: Played fullback and safety for coach Jay Godwin at Buchholz HS … participated in the 2010 Orlando Nike Combine, earning All-Combine honors as an athlete … two-time first-team Gainesville Sun All-Area honoree … as a senior, had 133 tackles, including 81 solos, two interceptions, and 10 break-ups … as a junior, rushed 32 times for 240 yards and had 20 receptions for 333 yards … also had 91 tackles, including 63 solo takedowns, five TFL, 10 break-ups, and two interceptions… also played basketball … Buchholz teammate TE Louis Addazio plays at Syracuse.
TFF: An incredibly impressive playmaker who I predict has the best chance to becoming a true freshman starter from this class (Juice Granger is a close second). Smart, tough.

Tyron Harris
Tyron Harris, WR • Junior • 6-3 • 195, Lindenwold, N.J. • Lindenwold HS • Pierce College (Calif.) _ 
Junior College: Played two seasons for coach Efrain Martinez at Pierce College in Woodland Hills, Calif. … received his associate's degree in December 2010 … helped the Bulls to an 8-3 record en route to a win in the American Championship Bowl … as a sophomore in 2010, had 38 receptions for 708 yards and six touchdowns while playing all 11 games ... 2009 second-team All-Conference honoree … as a freshman, had 32 receptions for 603 yards and seven touchdowns … participated in the Elite Combine as a junior … became the second Division I-A player to come out of Lindenwold HS, joining Dell Robinson who played at Navy … attended the 2008 Temple Football Camp … selected Temple over Hawaii, New Mexico State, and Wisconsin.
TFF: His symbiotic relationship with Juice Granger gives him a great shot to get on the field often.

Chris Hutton with the stiff arm
Chris Hutton, DB • Freshman • 5-10 • 185, Sicklerville, N.J. • Paul VI HS _ High School: Played wide receiver and cornerback for coach John Doherty at Paul VI HS … as a senior, had 32 tackles, four interceptions, and a sack to help Paul VI finish 8-2 overall and win the West Jersey Football League Constitution Division title … offensively, had 14 receptions for 301 yards and two touchdowns … had six tackles in the title-clinching victory over Camden Catholic … attended the 2010 Nike Combine … … attended the 2010 Temple Football Camp … selected Temple over Rutgers.
TFF: Tremendous bloodlines (brothers played at Temple and Notre Dame) means he's got a chance to be horse for us in the defensive backfield. Call him Smarty Jones.
Cory Johnson, DT • Freshman • 6-3 • 285, Chambersburg, Pa. • Chambersburg Area HS _  High School: Played for coach Mark Saunders at Chambersburg Area HS … moved from defensive end to tackle as a senior 2010 second-team All-Conference selection … 2010 first-team Public Opinion Online All-Star … as a senior, had 101 tackles, 24 TFL, and three sacks … had a season-high 18 tackles against Central Dauphin … attended the 2010 Temple Football Camp … also participated in track and field … finished eighth in the shot put at the 2010 PIAA Track and Field Championships.
TFF: Likely to be redshirted due to depth at DT.

Eric Lofton, OL • Freshman • 6-5 • 280, Lumberton, N.J. • Rancocas Valley HS  _ High School: Played tight end and offensive tackle for coach Dan Haussman at Rancocas Valley HS … as a senior, had two receptions for 21 yards … also wrestled at heavyweight for the Red Devils … also recruited by Villanova and Rutgers.

TFF: Outstanding athlete who will eventually work his way into the OT rotation, but may need a redshirt year.
Praise Martin-Oguike, LB • Freshman • 6-1 • 220, Sewaren, N.J. • Woodbridge HS _ (pronounced oh-GEEK-way) _ High School: Played linebacker and tight end for coach Brian Russo at Woodbridge HS … … as a senior, had 112 tackles and 12 sacks … as a junior, had 90 tackles, two sacks, two blocked punts, and a blocked field goal … also participated in track and basketball … attended the 2010 Temple Football Camp … also recruited by Rutgers, Connecticut, and Cincinnati.

TFF: This kid reminds me of Junior Galette, who made the Saints, and you know what he did his first year, which was start and make the greatest punt block in Temple history. I would not be surprised to see OH GEEK WAY do the same.

Jacob Quinn, OL • Freshman • 6-5 • 245, Wilmington, Del. • St. Mark's HS
 _ High School: Team captain … played offensive and defensive tackle for coach John Wilson at St. Mark's HS … 2010 Delaware High School State Lineman of the Year … 2010 and 2009 first-team All-State honoree … helped the Spartans to a perfect 12-0 record as a senior in 2010 en route to the state championship … three-year starter … as a senior, had 66 tackles and nine sacks ... 2009 first-team All-Conference honoree for offense line … selected to the 2009 Football Leadership Council … played right tackle as a sophomore … attended the 2010 Temple Football Camp … also recruited by Delaware and Maryland.

TFF: I like his versatility in that he can move to either side of the ball. Certainly has the talent to play right away.

Spencer Reid shows moves his dad doesn't have.
Spencer Reid, RB • Freshman • 5-10 • 205, Villanova, Pa. • Harriton HS _ High School: Played running back and linebacker for coach Matt Barr as a senior at Harriton HS … 2010 second-team All-Main Line honoree … played tailback at St. Joseph's Prep as a sophomore and junior … as a junior, finished as the second-leading rusher for the Hawks with 416 yards and six touchdowns on 65 carries while playing in only six games … averaged 6.4 yards per carry and over 69 yards per game … had a career game to remember against Archbishop Ryan, running for 176 yards and scoring four touchdowns … attended the 2010 Temple Football Camp.

TFF: Love the kid, but I don't get this scholarship on anything but a PR level. Instead of having a second-team All-Central League running back who runs a 4.5, Daz could have had a three-time first-team all-state running back who runs a 4.4.-40 (Ryan Brumfield), a kid who is the same size, the same great student, the same great person. That kid is going to kill us for four years at Eastern Michigan. I hope Spencer Reid reminds us all of Bernard Pierce but, sadly, I don't think so. Why not offer both Brumfield, who wanted to be here, and Spencer Reid? Prove me wrong, Spencer. I'll be rooting for you. (Really.) Reid's ceiling (the best he can be) is a Mark Bright, who was pretty good. Brumfield's ceiling is Paul Palmer, who was a lot better.
Daz did not do his homework here.

Raysean Richardson is a pain in the neck to opposing QBs.
 Raysean Richardson, LB • Freshman • 6-1 • 210, Chesapeake, Va. • Oscar Smith HS _ High School: Four-year starter at outside linebacker for coach Rich Morgan at Oscar Smith HS … two-time All-Tidewater selection … 2010 Southeastern District Defensive Player of the Year … team went 52-4 during his prep career … finished with 300 career tackles … as a senior, had 106 tackles and eight sacks … selected Temple over Connecticut, Illinois, and Syracuse.

TFF: Here's a great story on Raysean, who played at a high level of football in Virginia. Outside chance of being an immediate starter or at least making the two-deep.

Nate Smith, LB • Freshman • 6-0 • 220, Highland Park, N.J. • Highland Park HS • Fork Union Military Academy _ Postgraduate: Played running back and linebacker for coach John Shuman during the 2010 season at Fork Union … helped the Cadets to a 6-2 record … fellow FUMA teammates Antonio Belt and Hershey Walton are Temple signees.
High School: Four-time All-Division honoree … 2009 Player of the Year … three-time All-State, three-time All-GMC Conference and three-time All-Area honoree … 2009 first-team coaches' All-Public League selection … four-year letterwinner for coach Rich McGlynn at Highland Park HS … team won four divisional championships and played in the 2009 state championship game … during his prep career, recorded a school record 378 tackles, including 131 as a senior … rushed for more than 3,700 yards … as a senior, rushed for 2,442 yards and 32 touchdowns … as a junior, had 92 tackles, including 14 TFL … played in the North/South All-Star game … also a three-year letterwinner in basketball … lettered in track and field … attended the 2009 Temple Football Camp.

TFF: Great running back, great linebacker. Must impress upon him the team's dire need at running back this year. Would provide a great insurance policy should Bernard Pierce go down with an injury, a policy the Owls could not purchase last season. Potential to be immediate starter on either side of the ball. My pick for Best of the Class.
Hershey Walton, OL • Freshman • 6-4 • 320, Reading, Pa. • Reading HS • Fork Union Military Academy _
Enrolled at Temple in January … originally signed a National Letter of Intent with Temple in February 2010.
Postgraduate: Played defensive tackle for coach John Shuman during the 2010 season at Fork Union … helped the Cadets to a 6-2 record … fellow FUMA teammates Antonio Belt and Nate Smith are Temple signees.
High School: Played offensive line and defensive line for coach Preston McKnight at Reading HS … 2009 first-team All-Lancaster Lebanon League honoree on offense and defense … participated in the East-West Berks Senior Voices All-Star game and the Pennsylvania Bowl … 2009 Philadelphia Eagles Top Achiever Award recipient … high school teammate was Owl Darryl Pringle … also played basketball … participated in track and field … 2010 Berks County All-Division honoree in track … 2010 Andy Stopper Memorial Award recipient … attended the 2009 Temple Football Camp.

TFF: Could project on two-deep chart.

Khadeem Wilson, DE • Freshman • 6-3 • 240, Jersey City, N.J. • St. Anthony's HS  _ High School: Played tight end and defensive end for coach Sean Fallon at St. Anthony's HS … attended St. Anthony's as a freshman, sophomore, and senior … transferred to Marist in Jersey City for junior year … 2009 first-team All-North Jersey Tri-County Conference honoree on both offense and defense … as a junior, had 36 tackles and an interception return for a touchdown … attended the 2010 Temple Football Camp … also played basketball.
TFF: Redshirt candidate.

Postscript: I hope coach Daz will be able to offer SS Desmond Blue and RB Jared Williams of Bradenton Southeast to really put a nice tidy blue ribbon on this class.
Both  have a chance to start immediately and Temple showed great interest in both earlier this month.
I hope the interest is still there because Blue and Williams would be good for Temple and Temple would be good for Blue and Williams.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Groundhog Day for The Gator, The Hooter and The Heater

The Gator, the Hooter and the Heater will all be at SAC Room 200 today.

... Temple commits: QB: Jalen Fitzpatrick, Clinton Granger; OL: Eric Lofton, Jake Quinn; ATH: Daquan Cooper; WR: Malcolm Eugene, Robbie Anderson, Antonio Belt, Tyron Harris, Chris Hutton; RB: Spencer Reid; LB: Praise Martin-Oquike, Raysean Richardson, Nate Smith; DB: Kenny Harper; DE: Brandon Chudnoff, Kadeem Wilson, Cory Johnson; DT: Hershey Walton. ...

Fittingly for Temple at least Signing Day is today, falling on Groundhog Day for the first time in five years.
They say if the Groundhog wakes up this morning and sees his shadow, it's going to be six more weeks of winter.
If not, it's going to be an early spring.
So it goes with Temple football today.
For the most part, after going through five Temple coaches and nearly 30 years of signing days I've devised this foolproof system for telling if today will be a good day.
If you follow the steps of this system and don't see what you'd like, it will be five more cold and icy years like the Bobby Wallace ones. If you go through the progressions and come  up with positives, it will be five more years of Al Golden.
Or better.
The first part of my "process" is forgetting about the film session after the cocktails because every one of those guys will look like five-star recruits once they get the projectors rolling. It's either the editing or the cocktails.

As Al was found of saying so many times, it's all part of the process.
The first part of my "process" is forgetting about the film session after the cocktails because every one of those guys will look like five-star recruits once they get the projectors rolling. It's either the editing or the cocktails.
Or both.
Go to the Howard Gittis Room (200) at the Student Center today (4 p.m.) and grab one of those bio books of the new recruits.
Thumb to what other schools were recruiting our new players.
If the kid's top choice other than Temple was Delaware or North Texas State, most likely things are not going to work out for him here.
If the kid picked Temple over BC (Kee-Ayre Griffin) or Pitt (Adrian Robinson) or Penn State (later, with Adam DiMichele), the kid is most likely to be an impact player here.
Or at least a solid contributor.
If you see enough of those level kids, it's a good class.
I'd advise going to the Student Center today just to meet new head coach Steve Addazio, The Hooter, and Chuck Heater.
One scholarship offer gives me agita but I won't get into it because he comes from a good and, from what I can see, very well-fed, family

The Gator with (The Hooter and) The Heater, if you will.
I think I'm more pumped about Chuck Heater being here than Addazio or even any of the recruits not named Nate Smith.
Nate Smith, a linebacker and running back from New Jersey, was the best recruit in last year's class and I'm pretty sure he will be the best recruit in this one. He had to go to Fork Union for a year and that's all good because it will mean that he's ready now.
Heater is also the best 57-year-old recruit we've ever nabbed. I thought Mark D'Onofrio was a good defensive coordinator, but this guy has credentials that Mark might never get.
No less an authority than Urban Myer called Heater a "Mother Teresa" as in miracle worker and he was that guiding the Utah defense through an unbeaten season and the Colorado defense through an 11-1 season and the Florida defense through two national championships. Everywhere he's gone, this guy has the magic touch.
If could have gone anywhere, but he chose Temple.
Back to  the scholarships.
One scholarship offer gives me agita but I won't get into it because he comes from a good and, from what I can see, very well-fed, family. Once he puts on that Owl uniform nobody will root for him harder than me.
We really needed a running back with big-time ability in this class as an insurance policy for a Bernard Pierce injury and unless Bradenton Southeast's Jared Williams faxes in his LOI in the next few hours, I don't see one in this class.
Smith might be if they give him a shot to carry the ball, but that's a coaching staff decision. We seem to have plenty of solid linebackers already on the roster, but no Bernard Pierce-like backup on the other side of the ball.
Maybe The Hooter can whisper that idea into Addazio's left ear and Heater's right ear at the same time.
After all, he looks a little like a Groundhog.

Thursday: A look at the bios of the kids who've signed on the dotted line.