Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Red flags and green flags for the Owls

The Owls probably won't even need Matt Falcone (15) to punt because they
will  be scoring touchdowns on every possession like depicted here. Still,
it would be nice to save Brandon McManus strictly for the 157 extra points
he will need to kick in the 2011 season.

Follow Temple football for 30-plus years, like I have, and you might have seen a lot of red flags along the way.
A red flag, by my definition, is one thing that leads a person to believe that the outcome of a particular endeavor probably won't be desirable.
I saw a red flag in Temple's hiring of Jerry Berndt, for example. How could Temple hire a guy to coach one group of Owls when he was coming off an 0-11 season coaching another group of Owls (Rice)?
I saw a red flag in the hiring of Ron Dickerson. Joe Paterno called him the best assistant coach in the country. If so, how come Dickerson, as defensive coordinator at Clemson, gave up 55 points in his last game?
Bobby Wallace? Don't get me started. How do you expect a guy who has no East Coast roots to coach an East Coast team?
This is the only red flag I care about.
Red flags all.
Big red flags.
I've met Steve Addazio.
I like Steve Addazio.
Spring practice, by all accounts, is going very well.
That doesn't mean that he doesn't have to jump over some red flags to earn my trust or really the trust of every Temple fan.
I'm willing to overlook the one red flag that every Florida fan seems to hate the guy because, in my mind, the buck stops with a head coach and he hasn't been a head coach since Cheshire, Conn. If Addazio has any Florida sins, they were forgiven because no less a football expert than Urban Meyer saw fit to forgive them.
Still, I have some concerns.
I have not heard yet that there is a plan for a reliable, explosive, backup to Bernard Pierce. Maybe there will be. Geez, I hope so.  I don't see a kid with close to Pierce-like talent in the program and that includes Matty Brown. Maybe when Nate Smith gets settled he will be but we don't even know if he will  play running back.
No Pierce-like backup in sight so far. That's a red flag.
Having Brandon McManus punt?
Not a big deal to Steve Addazio.
It's a big deal to me.
I don't want that valuable leg exposed to twice the injury risk so, by Villanova, I hope I see Matty Falcone punting (I know he's injured now). Falcone was a first-team all-state punter at Palmerton High. Falcone was a special teams' star for the Owls in the 2009 season, who missed all last year with a leg injury. Hopefully, he'll get to kick some by July. If Matty can't do it, somebody can. I find it hard to believe that in a school of 37,000 full-time students (OK, 18,000 boys) you can't find a kid who can punt a football dependably.
Other than that, more green flags so far.
According to a few of the players I've spoken to, to a man they say "Addazio has us working twice, maybe three times, as hard as Golden did."
Not one kid complained about it, either, saying that the extra conditioning will pay off in November and December.
Maybe even January.
Cherry and White game, 2:30 p.m., April 16

Practices are superbly organized and everyone seems ultra impressed with the way offensive coordinator Scot Loeffler and defensive coordinator Chuck Heater go about their business.
Loeffler is a professional at moving the ball and scoring touchdowns and Heater is the same way about stopping the ball and going the other way with it.
Addazio seems to be respected and hands-on, but not a micro manager like the last guy was.
That's a good thing, not a bad thing.
Being a big-time college coach requires wearing too many hats to be a micro manager. You've got to hire great people and give them shared responsibility.
Addazio seems to have done that.
If all we have to worry about are backups at punter and running back, I'll take it.
For now.