Friday, December 21, 2012

Dead period: We're still alive


"What are you doing here?" Coughlin asked Rhule. "Go home."
"Well, coach I have a lot of things I have to do yet."
"No, go home. Your family comes first."
Is it the end of the world if there is no Temple football news?
No, thank God.
Fortunately, as we learned this morning, the abacus used by the Mayans for their calculations was just a little, hopefully a lot, off.
On Monday, Temple head coach Matt Rhule said this would be a "dead period" but he was referring to the recruiting world. No contact with recruits is allowed until the end of the holiday period.
I love reading the gossip column by Dan Gross in the Philadelphia Daily News but his last column of the calendar year was Dec. 15. Since Tom Cushman, Mark Whicker, Gary Smith, Ray Didinger and Stan Hochman left the DN, Gross' column is the first thing I turn to in my DN.
There's nothing grabs my attention in that sports section anymore.
If they were on top of things, and they aren't, they'd interrupt eight pages of their non-stop ad naseum Philadelphia Eagles' coverage for a story on Rhule's developing staff.
In the absence of hard news, substantive rumors will have to suffice.
The latest "Gross-like" gossip is defensive coordinator Chuck Heater stays in his current position and adds the title "assistant head coach" to the job description. I think that's quite likely and Heater's retention would be welcome news. The first sign that was going to happen was that Chuck remained at Temple to both interview for the head coaching position and keep the recruits together.
Like most things he does, Heater performed those duties flawlessly.
Bill Cubit made it to the semifinals in 2010, not the finals.

The second sign was that Steve Addazio hired Don Brown as his defensive coordinator. Hopefully, Heater told Daz he was planning to stay at Temple before that.
When Temple beat UConn, 17-14, and shut out the Huskies in the second half, I found myself standing next to Chuck by one of the buses post-game.
"I don't know what you did or said at halftime, but you are a genius," I told him.
"No, it wasn't me, it was the boys," Heater said. (Yes, Chuck did use the word boys.)
In my mind, Heater was the best defensive coordinator in the country in the 2011 season. Temple finished third in the nation in scoring defense, behind only Alabama and LSU. Temple did not have Alabama and LSU talent.
I saw a lot of Temple's defensive problems in 2012 as being Daz-oriented.
A nonsensical run-first, second and third approach resulted in a lot of three-and-outs and a tired defense. Two suspensions to linemen gutted front five depth. Daz kept the team's potentially best defensive player (in my mind, at least) on the bench as a Scout team quarterback.
Bringing Heater back and giving him Kevin Newsome and allowing him to work out the X's and O's of a 3-4 defense would be a big plus for Temple.
Future Owl kicker Jim Cooper, Jr. in this week's SI.

Another lively development in the dead period was future Owl kicker Jim Cooper, Jr. featured in this week's Sports Illustrated Faces in the Crowd. He's the first  future Temple football player featured there since Kevin Harvey played at Paulsboro. You are not likely to read about that development in the Daily News, either.
The latest offensive coordinator rumor has former Western Michigan head coach Bill Cubit, the former OC at Rutgers, coming home to Sharon Hill and helping Rhule out. I like that move, if it happens.
Cubit is an offensive mastermind and would allow Rhule to concentrate on being team CEO, which is really a full-time job.
Speaking of that, hate to say it, Matt, but I'm rooting against the Giants the next two weeks.
In the presser Monday, Rhule told a story about his wife getting sick and Giants' head coach Tom Coughlin telling him to leave and go home.
"What are you doing here?" Coughlin asked Rhule. "Go home."
"Well, coach I have a lot of things I have to do yet."
"No, go home. Your family comes first."
Well, Temple is his family now.
Somehow, I think the Giants can get along for the final two games without an assistant offensive line coach. Heck, the Eagles fired almost their entire staff over the last few weeks and they seem to be doing just fine.
Err, maybe that's a bad example but you get my drift.