Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Recruits: TU heading to the Big East

Over the last month or so, the biggest news surrounding Temple football has not been the verbal of three-star recruit Ben Onett or 11 other prospects, it's the things the prospects and their families have been saying about Temple.
More specifically, one thing.
One of the recruits flat-out said that the Temple coaches have told him that the school is going to be playing in the Big East soon and another recruit's father, Tavon Young, offered this interesting nugget yesterday:

"Tavon has committed to Temple,” said Mr. Young. “First and foremost is the academics and they pass with flying colors. He has always loved the staff that came up from Florida. He likes the defensive scheme. It is close to home and he will be a part of the Big East in 2012."
Tanner Kearns, a tight end targeted early by Addazio, said this two weeks ago:
“I got to meet their coach and like him. I know they play in Eagle Stadium (Lincoln Financial Field) and plan on moving to the Big East soon.”

That's news to me, but not news to at least two recruits.
There are only a couple of conclusions to make from this:
1) Our coaching staff is blowing smoke up recruits' butts in order to get the verbal;
2) Where there is smoke there is fire.
"Tavon has committed to Temple ...it is close to home and he will be a part of the Big East in 2012."
_ Tavon Young, Sr.

I'm hopefully going with No. 2 here because, while head coach Steve Addazio has a fabulous reputation as a recruiter, I don't see him making stuff up to get a commitment.  His reputation for integrity, minus a possible UConn dalliance, is impeccable.

And I don't see two recruits independently making up this Big East angle.
Maybe Addazio has had private conversations with athletic director Bill Bradshaw that indicated this move is imminent. Maybe not. Now that Villanova's bid to get a spot has fallen through, TV sees Temple as the only real shot to get the largest available ratings' market and has told the Big East to pursue Temple or no new TV contract.
Maybe not.
When recruits and their fathers routinely throw in the Big East angle as a reason for commiting, something has got to be up.
Where there is smoke, fire follows.
The question now is when does this become a fully-involved four-alarmer?

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Their perception versus our reality

Steve Addazio talks Temple football on ESPN Wednesday.

Perception versus reality.
You hear the concept all the time.
I like to read what other people think about Temple football, both the experts in the field and those with lesser knowledge in the stands.
If one theme has carried the day for the past six months or so, it's this:
"Temple has lost Al Golden. The Owls will take a step back."
That's THEIR perception and the perception of most of the country.
Whoa, Nellie, as that great college football philosopher Keith Jackson used to say.
OUR reality, at least those enough close to the program with knowledge to comment is this:
"Temple has 19 starters back from teams that went 9-3 and 8-4. The Owls have potential legendary caliber coordinators in Chuck Heater and Scot Loeffler. They have a motivator in CEO Steve Addazio who would put even Al Golden's considerable ability in that area to shame. The Owls are not taking a step back."
I'm a lot more comfortable in the second statement than the first.
Father forgive that first group because they do not know of what they speak.
They will find out soon enough.
Addazio went on ESPN today and tried to break down the perception and I think he did a pretty good job of that.
"We really feel that Temple can be the Boise of the East..."
_Steve Addazio
People will believe what they want to believe but facts are facts.
The Temple media guide will list 13 returning starters but when you break down the game sheet, ESPN got it right. Nineteen (that's right, 19) guys who started at least six games return.

Going to http://www.owlstix.com/ is the only
way to guarantee seats for the PSU game.

Add in the fact that guys like Bernard Pierce will play more (please, God) then they did last year and this is a formidable group that Addazio and a battle-tested SEC and national championship staff go to war with on Sept. 1.
As one father of an offensive lineman told me on Cherry and White Day:
"Mike, these guys are from the SEC. My kid told me, 'Dad, these guys really know what they are doing.' When these MAC coaches try to go up against them, their heads will be spinning. They won't be able to deal with it."
I have a lot of respect for Villanova coach Andy Talley, but I feel sorry for him (just him, not Villanova) on Sept. 1.
It should be fun to watch beginning in just 72 nights. Hopefully, that night will be the beginning of a dozen dates that change the perception of Temple football everywhere.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

TU recruiting: Nothing to get excited about (yet)

Ben Onett's recruiting video is impressive.

I usually don't write about Temple football recruiting for a couple of reasons:
1) The NCAA rules involved in what is considered a college "booster" or "supporter" are pretty vague and it's just good judgment for me not to be involved in the process.
2) The NCAA rules about "verbals" and "soft verbals" are screwed up. Al Golden had a great idea about an "early signing period" meaning that the kids who commit within a certain time frame (say, the ones who already committed) cannot be contacted by other schools without a major penalty involved. That would reward hard-working staffs, like Golden's and presumably Addazio's, for making solid early calls and protect them against a BCS team swooping in and taking their recruits.
So I wait until the signatures are signed on the dotted line to talk about the kids.
Generally speaking, I think Temple University (or really any other) football recruiting is really nothing to get excited about until the first Wednesday of every February.
It's good to see that new head coach Steve Addazio is targeting what he feels is a quarterback with the "it" factor in Benjamin Onett of St. John's (D.C). He recently added a couple of defensive backs, Archbishop Wood running back Brandon Peoples, a punter and a backup placekicker.
All good, solid kids.
I'm playing the waiting game with Addazio, though, because, quite frankly, I was underwhelmed with his first class. Compared to the hastily recruited first class of Bruce Arians (Heisman Trophy runner up Paul Palmer, NFL pro bowler Tre Johnson, among others) it falls even short for a guy who had a month to put together a group.
I'll give Steve the benefit of the doubt, but I don't think we'll get a Heisman Trophy runner up or an NFL pro bowler from this past February's group. Just a hunch.
We had a three-time first-time all-state running back (Owen J. Roberts' Ryan Brumfield) who WANTED to come to Temple passed over and a RB schollie given to a guy who is about the same size and a full tenth of a second slower in the 40 (Spencer Reid) who was an unimpressive honorable mention third-team All Central League player.
That was a WTF moment for me.
Everything I've heard, though, is that this guy is a great recruiter.
I hope the best is yet to come and, on signing day, we're talking about a guy who is down to Alabama or Temple. Or Penn State or Temple.
Then he pulls out the Penn State hat, replaces it with a TU hat and says: "I've decided to take my talents to Temple University."
I fully expect given everything I've heard, such a moment will happen soon with Steve Addazio.
At least that's a fervent hope.
Congrats to all of the kids who have so far had the wisdom to pick the Owls, but I'm not excited about TU recruiting.