Wednesday, October 23, 2013

... We're over at templefootballforever.wordpress.com ... do not leave comments here. .. just leaving this site up for advertising purposes ... please update your bookmarks ... thanks .. [caption id="attachment_6148" align="aligncenter" width="250"]Anthony Vasser James Casey while playing quarterback for the Rice Owls.[/caption]

All of this talk about James Casey being the "emergency quarterback" of the Philadelphia Eagles got me to looking up Casey's credentials as a potential quarterback should both Michael Vick and Matt Barkley go down on Sunday. Since Nick Foles already is out with a concussion, it looks like Casey would not be in over his head as a quarterback because he was more than a serviceable at that position while playing for the Owls. The Rice Owls.

Call James Casey the Chris Coyer of Rice. Or, if you will, call Chris Coyer the James Casey of Temple. Very similar skill sets. Very similar-type players.

[caption id="attachment_6149" align="alignleft" width="300"]Temple's Chris Coyer catching at a halfback option pass from Jalen Fitzpatrick in front of Deiontrez Mount and Keith Brown. (See, trick plays do work.) Temple's Chris Coyer catching at a halfback option pass from Jalen Fitzpatrick for a first down in front of Deiontrez Mount and Keith Brown. (See, trick plays do work.)[/caption]

Casey, like Coyer, made a position change his senior year and, like Coyer, moved from quarterback to tight end. Unlike Coyer, though, the coaching staff at Rice used Casey wisely as he became the first player in the history of the NCAA to do this: Throw a touchdown, run for a touchdown and catch a touchdown all in the same game. Casey did this twice for the Owls.

Casey was second in the country in 2008 with 111 receptions, which set a Conference-USA record. He caught 13 touchdowns, rushed for six more and threw a pair. Those are the kind of stats I thought Coyer could have put up if he was targeted enough in the Temple offense this season. That's not going to happen, but that doesn't mean he can't throw for a touchdown, run for a touchdown and pass for a touchdown in one or two or more of the remaining Temple games.

Since there are five games left, I'd like to see Coyer do this twice, maybe three times, for Temple. Heck, five times would be nice but I realize I've been spitting into the wind all season on this issue. Coyer is a pretty talented player. Those of us who have seen him all these years, even his one or two detractors (don't get those people, but they are out there), have to agree on that. He can run. He can throw. He can catch. He can block. I realize Coyer is needed to block now more than ever, but I would like to see some plays to free him up to throw the ball out of non-Wildcat formations. On those plays, Chris Parthemore (see his perfect seal block in the slideshow below) can be used as a blocking tight end. Since there currently are no plays in the Marcus Satterfield playbook for the tight end reverse, pitch and throw downfield, maybe line Coyer up as a fullback, have him rip off a few runs to set up a toss pitch option pass downfield. [caption id="attachment_6153" align="alignright" width="238"]Great play for Coyer, running to the left, not the right as shown here. Great play for Coyer, running to the left, not the right as shown here.[/caption]

Too much to ask? Yeah, probably.

I asked Chris after the game on Saturday if the tight end reverse, toss and throw downfield off it was in the playbook and he said no.

My immediate reaction was to say a four-letter word preceded by the word "Oh." (Sorry, Mrs. Coyer.)

There should be a way, though, to have Coyer run the a couple of plays out of the fullback position, establish himself as a threat running the ball inside the tackles and then quick toss and have him throw the ball down the field. I'm 90 percent certain you can get a safety to bite with that kind of setup.

It worked a few times for the Rice Owls with James Casey.

It can also work for the Temple Owls with Chris Coyer.

Monday, October 14, 2013

No Defense for Hiring Snow

Atomic_Bomb

When I watch Phil Snow coach defense for the Temple Owls, I am reminded of the quote of  J. Robert Oppenheimer, one of the two fathers of the Atomic Bomb.

Snow's working for the Temple Owls (link to Owl ESPN page here), we don't know how hard, to stop Army's frisky triple-option offense. For those so inclined to bet, you can cast a few sheckles over at SportsBet Blog. Army is a 2.5-point favorite, according to Fox Sports Temple Owls' page.

Oppenheimer was asked what his first reaction was to seeing the A-Bomb “work” in the New Mexico desert. He said he thought of a quote from the Hindu scripture Bhagavad Gita: "Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds.”

“Now I have become Phil Snow,  the destroyer of programs.”

That’s the quote rattling around in my head when I watch Temple play defense.

Don’t take my word for it. To quote Denise Simpson when talking about O.J., “You know his record.”

We'll only go back to 2008, because it's too depressing to go back before that.
Let's put it this way: Snow's last shutout against a Division IA team (they were know as Division IA teams then) was 1996. That's the last century for anyone counting.
In his last 70 games against Division IA foes, he's held teams to single digits just three times.
That's three as in the number after two.
Last year, he had the Eastern Michigan defense ranked No. 120 of 125 FBS teams in yards-per-game with a 453.91-per-game yield.
This year, he has Temple's defense ranked No. 120 out of 125 teams with a 510.8-yards-per-game yield.
You've got to give him points for being consistent.
... on the offensive side of the ball,

Temple hasn't been much better this year,
scoring ZERO points in the second half
of games vs. Notre Dame, Houston
and Cincinnati. ... doesn't seem to be too
much effective offensive chalkboard
work being done at halftime, either
Before you blame it on the players, these are the same players who Chuck Heater had shutting out UConn in the second half of a 17-14 win. That's when Temple coaches used to make adjustments at halftime.
(Speaking of which, on the offensive side of the ball, Temple hasn't been much better this year, scoring ZERO points in the second half of games vs. Notre Dame, Houston and Cincinnati. That's zero, as in the number before one. Doesn't seem to be too much effective offensive chalkboard work being done at halftime, either.)
When Snow was hired, I wrote I saw no justification in hiring him and speculated it was only because Snow was an old buddy of Matt Rhule's at UCLA. What he's done since hasn't changed my mind at all. This is what I wrote in this blog way back on Jan. 18: "I'm all for hiring old buddies, but not old buddies who give up 38 points per game."
From someone who watched Temple develop a strong defensive identity under Wayne Hardin (Vince Hoch), Bruce Arians (Nick Rapone), Al Golden (Mark D'Onofrio) and Steve Addazio (Heater), this might be the toughest part of the season to swallow. Rapone would coach the DBs to step in front of the ball and intercept it, rather than let the guy catch the ball and tackle him. That produced NFL defensive backs in Terry Wright, Eddie Parker, Todd Bowles and Kevin Ross. In those days, Temple played the ball and not the man.
Heck, when Dick Bedesem was the secondary coach at Temple, the Owls led the nation with 26 interceptions.
This year?
They have zero.
That's as in the number before one.
I might be tempted to say it's the players, but I know the record of the DC all too well.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Temple Football Forever now: templefootballforever.wordpress.com

Do not leave a comment on ']['his site ... we're over at templefootballforever.wordpress.com ...leaving ']['his site up only to transfer items over to the new one. ...clickable link in yellow below ... get there by clicking on this yellow brick road

Sunday, July 07, 2013

We've moved: We're at templefootballforever.wordpress.com


After six years of Temple Football Forever on blogger, I thought it was best to move to a WordPress format.
The reason I’ve done that is in my other job I work almost exclusively in wordpress and it’s easy for me to hit the same buttons for images, text, etc., going back and forth to this hobby I love, Temple Football Forever.
We’ll get back to regular posts soon.
The only thing I liked about the former website was the design with the black background and all of the sidebar items I was able to use.
We’re working on the design and hopefully some of the sidebar items will return.
Meanwhile, the Owls are practicing for Notre Dame and we’re here practicing to get this website up in tip-top condition within the next few days and hopefully not weeks.
Bear with us.
We'll iron out these technical details soon.

Thanks for all your support since 2005.

Friday, July 05, 2013

Another American Revolution


Just a couple of days before the nation celebrated the anniversary of the signing of The Declaration of Independence, another American Revolution was taking place.
Instead of throwing some tea overboard in Boston Harbor, American Athletic Conference (AAC) football fans bombed Stanford.
No worries.
No real explosives were used, just an internet bombing of the Stanford blog.
For some reason, ESPN pulled the plug on its AAC blog, written by Andrea Adelson, who was transferred over to the ACC (Atlantic Coast Conference) to do that blog.
Apparently, ESPN plans no blog-specific coverage of this new conference, a move that outraged the fans.
Orlando Sentinel reports on AAC fan revolt.
This is the same ESPN that has TEAM-specific blogs for both Notre Dame and Stanford.
I could see Notre Dame, but not Stanford.
Neither could the fans of the AAC, who have taken over every discussion at the Stanford board.
I think it's a brilliant move.
While it will drive more traffic over to Stanford, the discussion will be dominated by AAC fans.
A topic on the quarterback controversy at that school, say, will turn into a discussion about the AAC from the comments below the story.
If ESPN was smart, they would rid themselves of this problem by assigning a guy (we suggest Matt Fortuna)  to start an AAC blog.
Then the Stanford fans can get back to commenting about Stanford and the AAC fans will have a place to go.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Rutgers' fixation with Temple

Hopefully, the Owls will be smiling like this after the RU game in November.
Photo by Patrick Rosenbaum


After the 2012 Temple spring game, I talked to a couple of Temple players in the parking lot at Lincoln Financial Field.
I asked the two guys to do me one favor.
"If you do anything this year, please beat Rutgers," I said. "I've never seen more obnoxious fans in my life."
This is how every RU-TU game should go. ....interesting use of the possessive in headline.
"Don't worry," one of the Owls' said, "we've got something special planned for them."
Their fans are at it again today, calling the Owls' recent recruiting surge into New Jersey "getting RU leftovers" and saying that the Owls' recruits are "RU Plan B" guys who Piscataway can pooch on signing day if needed.
I don't get this RU fixation with downplaying Temple's recruiting successes, but it does stir the rivalry juices.
I guess if Kent State didn't teach RU a lesson in humility, Temple is going to have to come the first Saturday in November.
Not all RU fans are like this, to be fair, but from the 54 plus replies to that thread, a good 50 of them give Temple no credit.
Last year, it was Temple's fault.
It's football, not rocket science, so:
On offense, look for the Owls to use guys like Khalif Herbin and Jalen Fitzpatrick on quick slants to open up the running game for, say, Zaire Williams, on wraparound draws.
On defense, use the Owls' speedy LBs to get in Nova's face one second after he snaps the ball.
After Temple blew a 10-0 halftime lead and went on to lose, 35-10, last year I could not blame the kids.
They could have not known that the "something special" their coach had planned for Rutgers was to run the ball up the middle all day against the then top-ranked run defense in the country.
Nor did they figure the Owls would play defense passively, dropping eight into coverage at times and allowing the Rutgers' QB all day to throw the ball in the second half.
As far as Temple games go, it was the worst game day strategy I've seen since Ron Dickerson and that's pretty bad.
Yesterday, the Owls spent all day helping build a house in Philadelphia as the Habitat for Humanity program.
I hope when they go to Piscataway in the fall they help tear down one.
Just judging by what new coach Matt Rhule wheeled out in this spring's game, I think Temple will have a much better plan of attack this fall.


A week later, Kent State showed Temple what should have been the blueprint for beating the Scarlet Knights _ use ultra-quick linebackers in blitzing situations and force Gary Nova, the QB with happy feet, into  six interceptions.
That should be the plan this year.
It's football, not rocket science, so:
On offense, look for the Owls to use guys like Khalif Herbin and Jalen Fitzpatrick on quick slants to open up the running game for, say, Zaire Williams, on wraparound draws.
On defense, use the Owls' speedy LBs to get in Nova's face one second after he snaps the ball on both gap and edge blitzes.
I'm looking forward to Notre Dame, like every other Owl fan, and I fully understand the "one game at a time" mentality in a 12-game season.
With apologies to Thomas Jefferson, though, not all wins in a 12-game season are created equally and the first Saturday in November certainly qualifies under that declaration of war, not independence.

Friday, June 28, 2013

No. 2-rated player in state commits to Owls



One spring day in 1980, Wayne Hardin was standing on Geasey Field commenting about his strong stable of running backs at Temple University.
"And then we have Jim Brown at tailback," he said. "Jim Brown. I like that name."
That's the same way I felt this morning when I heard the news that Temple landed someone named Anthony Davis.
Anthony Davis' verbal to TU was all over the Pittsburgh papers.
The Anthony Davis I remember was robbed of a  Heisman Trophy at USC as a running back.
The Anthony Davis Temple got this morning is a cornerback at Gateway High in the WPIAL who is the No. 2-rated player in Pennsylvania, as determined by 247sports.com.
When I walk into a room for a purpose, I sometimes don't remember what that purpose was but I have a pretty good long-term memory about Temple football recruiting and I don't ever remember Temple landing a top 1-2 player from Pennsylvania.
Temple has landed top players from New Jersey, like Kevin Harvey (Paulsboro) and P.J. Walker (Elizabeth), but never someone this high from its own state.
Hardin was a rookie coach at Navy when Jim Brown, the greatest ever to have a ball in his hands, was snubbed for the Heisman Trophy.
No. 2-ranked in Pennsylvania.

Someone named Paul Hornung won it instead for a LOSING Notre Dame team. Brown's omission will go down at the biggest Heisman snub ever.
Snubs apparently are a thing of the past for Temple, though. The recruits keep getting better.
The Owls currently have the No. 43-rated recruiting class in the country and Davis' verbal can only move that ranking up a notch or two in the upcoming days.
Davis plays a position the Owls sorely need to upgrade.
No cornerback has ever won the Heisman Trophy, but there's always a first for everything.
Who knows?
If the first Jim Brown and the first Anthony Davis can get snubbed for the Heisman, then maybe this Anthony   Davis can add one of those snubbed names to the trophy.

Monday, June 24, 2013

TU recruiting ranked ahead of USC, Stanford



Another great Temple football trailer by the TU video staff. Fran Duffy's legacy lives.

In football recruiting, it's one thing to say you are recruiting with the big boys and another thing to be actually doing it.

Judging by the company first-year Temple head coach Matt Rhule keeps, he's doing it.
According to the latest recruiting rankings posted by Rivals.com, Temple is in the middle of a very impressive list of schools.
The Owls' 2014 recruiting class is about half finished and they rank ahead of USC and Stanford and just behind Wisconsin and Arizona, currently ranked No. 43 in the country.
That's about as impressive as these things get at Temple.
The hat is worth $150 alone. If it was a Temple '][' hat, it would
be worth $200.
In all of my years of covering the Owls, I don't remember them ever recruiting at that level.

Sure, Bruce Arians was a great recruiter and, on the day he was fired in 1988, defensive end Alonzo Spellman (Rancocas Valley) and quarterback Glenn Foley (Cherry Hill East) de-committed from the Owls to sign with Ohio State and Boston College, respectively. Both became NFL players.
Who knows what would have happened to Temple football had Arians been retained, but my guess is that the Owls would not have entered a 20-year black hole.
Now, thanks to Al Golden, Rhule and, even Steve Addazio, the Owls have climbed out of that hole and show no signs of going back into it.

Addazio got up in front of the assembled press on Feb. 4, 2012 and said that the Owls' No. 54 class was the highest-ranked ever.
France checking in. Thanks, France.
He was right.
For all of Al Golden's No. 1 MAC recruiting classes, he never had a class rated as high as No. 54 nationally.
If Rhule keeps up at this present pace, the Owls could move up a tick or two or down a tick or two but I don't see him falling as low as 54.
There are a couple of reasons for this.
Rhule had a month to recruit his first class.
He's had a few months to recruit this one.
He's a dynamic, young guy who the kids relate to well.
In assistant Terry Smith, he's got a guy plugged into the fertile Western Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic League (WPIAL).
The next step for Rhule is to sign one of these superstar Philadelphia kids who keep getting away. One of these days a Sharif Floyd won't feel the need to go to Florida or David Williams would rather play in South Philadelphia instead of South Carolina or a Matt Ryan clone would like to chuck it around the pitch at LFF, rather than hand it off to a running back in Boston.
That'll happen, too.
It's just a matter of time.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Time marches on



Neil Young's Heart of Gold (original studio verson).


Time marches on and, for me, I got another year older on Wednesday.
I must admit, I don't feel any different.
Age is just a number until you find yourself in a wheelchair and, fortunately, that hasn't happened for me.
Yet.

I keep active.
I jog every day and, this time of year, three hours a day, always rocking some sort of a Temple T-Shirt.
Heck, I even ran into a young Temple assistant when he was jogging the other way one spring afternoon at Mondauk Commons in Upper Dublin Township.
That assistant was a guy named Matt Rhule.
We were two Temple football T-Shirts passing in the middle of the afternoon, a couple of days before I thought Bruce Francis was going to get drafted.
I don't think Matt does the Mondauk Commons trail anymore but, then again, neither do I.
He's come a long way since then.
I've just gotten older.
Sometimes, though, things happen that make you wonder if someone is trying to send you a message.
True story: Jogging Wednesday around 5:45 listening to 98.1 (WOGL) and, out of nowhere, the second song comes on by the Beatles (or was it Paul by himself?), "I hear it's your birthday."
Usually when you hear that song, it's preceded by an explanation about someone's birthday and why they are playing it but not this time.
No dedication.
No request.
No explanation.
Nothing.
Then the next song is Neil Young's Heart of Gold.
"Keep me searching and I'm growing old."
Now I'm figuring out that some sort of crazy Poltergeist got into my old AM/FM radio (I don't do the IPOD thing).
That had me REALLY down, but then I got home and read James Gandolfini died.
Not happy to hear that, but I had a better day than he did. RIP James, one of my favorite one-role actors of all time.
I'm sure Gandolfini would have been good in a number of roles, but he made Tony Soprano a cultural Icon in the same kind of way Jason Alexander made George Costanza, Carroll O'Connor for Archie Bunker and Henry Winkler for The Fonz.
So while birthdays now are far from my favorite days of the year, this one more than the last few taught me a good lesson in perspective.
That, and to stay away from eating too much rich Italian food.

Notes: As far as my Temple football birthday present, the Owls recruited their second consecutive lineman on June 19. ... Last year, Steve Addazio gave me Matt Barone, who I think will have a very good career at Temple, and, this year, the June 19th signing was Kenny Randall of Mainland Regional (N.J.). Randall is 6-3, 290 and comes to Temple with the reputation of being a lock-down run-stopper.




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Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Dogbe, Nutile a couple of good additions



Frank Nutile's junior highlights at Don Bosco.

Like the guy in Moneyball, I like stats.
One of the reasons the Oakland A's were able to build a team from low-budget to competitive was that Billy Bean never overthought things.
He'd rather draft guys who put up good numbers in competitive leagues (heck, he preferred top-level college baseball players over high schoolers) and roll the dice that past history is the best predictor of future history.
I've always been one of those people when it comes to recruiting Temple football players.
That's why I particularly like the recent recruiting additions of defensive end Michael Dogbe and quarterback Frank Nutile.
Dogbe was a sack machine playing for Parsippany Hills, a school that produced one-time Temple quarterback Mike Gerardi.
Nutile threw 14 touchdown passes playing for Don Bosco, a program consistently rated in the USA Today's  national Top 10.
To me, the most important stats for a quarterback are wins and touchdown passes.
Fourteen touchdown passes as a junior and an 8-3 mark for a storied program is a pretty good base upon which to build senior stats.
Contrast that to former Temple quarterback Vaughn Charlton, who was handed a scholarship even though he had only nine touchdown passes as a senior playing in a very weak and now defunct Southern Chester County League. On the other hand, Adam DiMichele had 36 touchdown passes as a senior at Sto-Rox.
You know how those two careers turned out.
Dogbe had eight quarterback sacks, which means he was disrupting a lot of offensive game plans.
I'll be watching Nutile and hope he pushes the touchdown totals over 20 this year.
Hopefully, Dogbe will be in double-digits in sacks.
Either way, I think past performance dictates future success for both guys at Temple.



Michael Dogbe's highlight reel. Would have used "who let the dogs out" as the musical track.

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Monday, June 10, 2013

Temple Stadium upgrades

A very minor adjustment adds just 2,000 or so seats to Temple Stadium.
The big news this week for Temple football was that Temple Stadium was getting an upgrade.
OK, technically they call it Lincoln Financial Field but, if I had an extra $200 million or so laying around, instead of investing it in an on-campus stadium, I'd purchase the naming rights from the Lincoln Financial Group (they only paid $139.6 million for it for 20 years) and rename the place Temple Stadium.
If, by some miracle, Temple could attract just 1/3d
of its 130K living alumni and on-campus students to
home football games,
the AAC might put the Temple '][' in its logo.

Photo by John Van Wert
Not Temple Football Forever Stadium, not the Owls Nest, not even The Apollo of Temple, just Temple Stadium.
Could you imagine Brent Musburger or Al Michaels doing a Monday Night Football game there with this opening:
"YOU ARE LOOKING LIVE AT TEMPLE STADIUM, WHERE THE PHILADELPHIA EAGLES ARE HOSTING THE NEW YORK GIANTS."
The school could spend $100 million in advertising and not get quite the bang for the buck as a few of those openings would deliver.
I've soured on the idea of an on-campus stadium after attending the Temple basketball game against UNC Charlotte.
I turned to three friends from my high school days and asked: "Where is everybody? This place is empty."
The university has a nationally known basketball program but not a nationally known following.
Those who demand an on-campus stadium say that attendance would go up if the uni built one, say, at 15th and Norris between 16th on the West and Montgomery Avenue on the South.
I did not get that feeling in a half-empty state-of-art Liacouras Center back in February nor do I feel the fans who attended the home games against Canisius, St. Bonaventure or Duquesne got that feeling as well.
To me, the best upgrade for "Temple Stadium" would be fans putting down their remotes and getting off their couches and going to home games. TV ratings for Temple home games in the nation's fourth-largest market are off the charts high, so you know there are enough Temple fans interested in watching. The challenge is getting them into cars and onto the subway.
It's not like the place is in the middle of nowhere, ala UConn.
It's a 10-minute subway ride for 12,500 students living on campus and a one-hour ride for 130,000 living alumni.
Winning will bring the fans, for sure.
Got to hope that winning, combined with an exciting brand of football the Owls will be playing for the next few years, will bring enough "Temple people" so that the nation is impressed.
The fans will get a chance to vote with their two feet.
THEN maybe we can talk about an on-campus stadium.
Not before.


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Monday, June 03, 2013

Smith: Temple's Gateway to the West


Our first attempt at Adobe InDesign. (OK, we'll get better.)


The Gateway Arch in St. Louis represents the city known as the Gateway to the West.
Move that about 300 miles to the Northeast and put it in Pittsburgh for Temple's purposes.
Former Gateway head coach Terry Smith is proving to be one of Matt Rhule's most productive hires so far.
Look at the list of the six "hard" verbals so far and it is peppered with Smith's Pittsburgh-area ties.
Today is a good day to talk about those ties for two reasons:
Scout.com is reporting today that Lenny Williams, Sto-Rox's outstanding dual-purpose quarterback, is about to commit to Temple and the Owls are coming off their first-ever camp held in the Pittsburgh area this weekend..
That would be great news because Williams would be the Owls' most high-profile recruit out of the Pittsburgh area since Victor Lay signed out of Aliquippa. (Adam DiMichele, also from Sto-Rox, would have qualified but he was technically a Penn State recruit and a transfer from a Florida JC.)
The website 247.com's list of hard Temple verbals.

As a senior at Sto-Rox, DiMichele threw for nearly 3,000 yards and 36 touchdown passes.
Thirty-six TD passes.
By comparison, recent Temple recruits Chester Stewart (DeMatha, Md.) and Vaughn Charlton (Avon Grove, Pa.) had 17 and nine touchdown passes during their senior years.
We'll see what kind of numbers Lenny Williams puts up in the TD-throwing department his senior year, but I'm willing to bet it'll be closer to 36 than 17.
Williams would be the fourth Temple verbal from the Pittsburgh area this season, joining the Gateway duo of Delvon Randall (safety) and interior linebacker Brenon Thrift and Renaissance Christian Academy athlete Troy Simons.
Smith, DiMichele and Rhule all were in Pittsburgh this weekend, spreading the Temple gospel.
Evidently, they found a few believers and that can only be good news for Temple fans going forward.

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Friday, May 24, 2013

Creedon's Clear-thinking Revival

Believe it or not, the only shot of SP's exterior on the internet.


Sometimes you have to think outside of the box.
Or, in the case of Temple's new indoor football facility, inside a box that was already built.
Credit James Creedon, Temple's vice-president for Construction, Facilities and Operations, with an out-of-the-box solution to Temple's recurring problem of finding a place to practice on inclement days.
“We thought, ‘Are there any other options that might be out there?’” Creedon said. “We started talking about the Student Pavilion, and thought that there might be some lower cost, cost-effective options that would achieve the same result with the Pavilion.”
Sitting a few feet Southeast of the corner of 15th and Norris was an unused building with a perfectly good roof high enough to once house a golf driving range and waiting to be demolished for a library. Heck, I used to play pick-up basketball in there no more than seven years ago when I had a Temple Fitness Club Alumni Membership pass.
Did the library REALLY need to go there?
Could that perfectly good (and relatively new, compared to most buildings on campus) structure be used for another purpose?
The Student Pavilion, once a White Elephant, has been revived and reinvented.
Call it Creedon's Clear-Thinking Revival.
We're rolling, rolling, rolling on the West Side of Broad.
“We thought, ‘Are there any other options that might be out there?’” Creedon said. “We started talking about the Student Pavilion, and thought that there might be some lower cost, cost-effective options that would achieve the same result with the Pavilion.”
Sweden checking in for a five-minute visit. Thanks, Sweden.

Now, instead of waiting a year or two down the road for a bubble to be wedged into the already small space around the Edberg-Olson Football Complex, the Owls can walk the couple blocks to practice at 15th and Norris.
Remember Hurricane Hanna?
The Owls had to bus down to the Nova Care Complex to practice three days that week before a home game against UConn, an overtime loss.
Al Golden, the head coach at the time, had a good relationship with Andy Reid.
Now that Reid is gone and Chip Kelly doesn't know Matt Rhule from Matt Damon, all bets are off for a similar continuing amicable relationship with the Eagles. No one wants to put 100 guys on a couple of buses and travel through downtown traffic for seven miles every time it rains. That's small-time.
Remember Hurricane Sandy?
The Owls had to hastily reschedule an off-day Monday into a practice for Sunday and missed an entire Tuesday practice altogether.
Now, no more bus rides to Nova Care.
The best thing about the indoor bubble is that it has a roof and will be ready with a nice turf field by Aug. 1.
Give that Creedon guy a raise.
Or at least a shorter and more spiffy job title.

Friday, May 17, 2013

$600 million, World Hunger or Temple football?

I am playing responsibly ... spending only four bucks.


World Hunger loses.
I know I'll take heat from the press and other do-gooders for this, but I have big enough shoulders.
(Plus, the Somalis haven't exactly shown a large amount of gratitude for the last food run Bill Clinton made for that country some 20 years ago.)
So I'm bringing back this "oldie but goodie" post for a day.
Not going to give the numbers I'm playing for the $600 million, but one line has significance for past Temple greats and another line plays to the strength of the current Temple team.
If I find the right needle in the right haystack and the right grain of sand on the Wildwood Beach, half of the $600 million goes to Temple FOOTBALL (not athletics) to benefit the Temple FOOTBALL program long after I'm gone.
Decisions to use that could be a stadium, could be an extended lease with signage rights to LFF.
Or maybe an eight-story practice bubble with an underground parking garage for athletes and coaches attached to the E-O.
It's all up to Temple.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Two Owls who give a Hoot

Chris Coyer at last year's Big East media day.

There have been times when no one wanted to see them leave the field, Chris Coyer and Kevin Newsome.
Coyer, upon accepting his MVP award at the New Mexico Bowl, and Newsome as arguably the nation's top player coming out of high school.
Makes the move to tailback.
Now both are among the Temple Owls who swallowed their pride and accepting position changes this fall and, because of that, they exponentially increased their chances of getting onto the field.
Coyer will become an H-Back, more of a tight end than a fullback, ala Evan Rodriguez in his final year at Temple.
Newsome will take his considerable talents to the halfback position.
I root for anybody who puts on a Temple uniform, but I know two guys I'm rooting for more than anyone else this fall.
Chris Coyer and Kevin Newsome.
Because, in a team sport, they did it for the team.
The team.
That's the most important thing.
Coyer showed that it's going to work just fine in the spring game, catching a pair of touchdown passes.
Newsome did not get the chance in the spring because of a shoulder injury, but, just from the 44-yard run in the Louisville game last year, he showed top-level tailback instincts.
And if the Owls showed a need in the spring game, it's for a top-level tailback. Maybe it is Zaire Williams coming into the school in the fall, maybe it's Newsome, but it's nice to have options.
When Kevin Newsome first reported to the Edberg-Olson facility last year, he proudly stated: "I'm a Temple Owl for life."
When Matt Rhule approached Coyer about making the switch to H-back in the final week of spring ball, Coyer simply said: "I'm a Temple guy."
How can you not root for guys like that?



At the 1:11 time stamp, a song written and performed by the multi-talented Kevin Newsome kicks in ...

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Karma, Komen and Temple football

Temple football takes an active role this year at today's Race for the Cure.
If Karma translates into support from the City of Philadelphia, season tickets might be moving at a brisk pace between now and August.
If you were at the Susan G. Komen Race for the cure this morning, you saw Temple football take an active role in the race.
For those of you who
want to donate to Nadia,
there is still time
I was there because my late mom was a survivor (she succumbed to another disease subsequently) and I don't want to see any other woman go through what she did.
Some Owls were there because they had similar personal experiences, others were there because they are just good people.
We as fans are lucky them on OUR team.
Not that the Owls weren't at past Komen races, they were, but this was just a little bit different.
This time the Owls were racing and walking for the cure for a disease that affects so many women and their families. Last year, they were "just" handing out water.
It's all part of Temple being Philadelphia's team.
The Owls have given the City of Philadelphia much in the past eight years.
In the past, the Owls have bowled for Big Brothers'/Big Sisters, visited the Children's' Hospital, handed out free turkeys for Thanksgiving and kept Diamond Street clean with regular sweeps from 10th all the way through 15th. This is not just a one-time deal. This happens every year.
The Owls do it not because they have to, but because they care.
I really did not see it at this level until Al Golden arrived in 2005 and it's just evolved in a positive way every year since.
If Philadelphia gave back to them what they give to Philadelphia, Lincoln Financial Field would be packed every Saturday afternoon.
It hasn't translated so far, but the Owls are winning hearts one person at a time.
Let's hope Karma kicks in one day.



Football
Bernard Pierce & Darryl Pringle
Blast from the past: Bernard Pierce helps Darryl Pringle clean up.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Next up for Hall: Paul Woodrow Palmer

Vinny Testaverde smiles while Paul Palmer and Brian Bosworth applaud at the 1986 Heisman announcement.


Paul Palmer gets introduced by the late,
great Bob Hope on Bob's All-American Show.
Someone, maybe one of the first math professors in the Stone Age, said it best:
"Numbers don't lie."
If so, expect Paul Woodrow Palmer to follow Temple's Wayne Hardin into the Hall of Fame soon, maybe as soon as next year.
By the numbers, Palmer compares favorably with this year's two running back inductees, Wisconsin's Ron Dayne and North Carolina State's Ted Brown.
Here they are:

Name
Career Rushing Yards/Highest Season
100-yard games
Highest single game-rushing Yards
Paul Palmer
4,895/1,886
21
349
Ted Brown
4,602/1,350
27
251
Ron Dayne
6,397/2,034
29
339

That's not even counting the most important numbers:
All-purpose.
In just his Heisman Trophy runner-up season of 1986, Palmer posted 2,633 all-purpose yards, ahead of Dayne's best year (2,422, 1999) and Brown's best year (1,672).
When it comes to moving the sticks, yards any way you can get them count just as much as a handoff from the line of scrimmage.
Also interesting was the fact that Palmer tossed not one, but two touchdown passes, one in his sophomore year and one in his senior years.
More than the numbers, though, were his durability and versatility.
Palmer could run between the tackles, outside the tackles, was an outstanding receiver and, was 3 for 7 throwing the ball during his senior season _ very good numbers for a non-quarterback.
He was fast, shifty and had great moves in the open field as well.
Bernard Pierce was a great back but, in my view, having seen all of the games both Paul and Bernard played, there was only one thing Pierce did better than Palmer and that was straight-line speed in the open field. Still, Palmer was fast enough with the ball in his hands and never injured (or seemingly never injured).
The fact that Palmer played his entire career against a Top 10 schedule while playing for Temple and finished No. 2 in the Heisman balloting in 1986 adds to his impressive Hall of Fame resume.
I can't think of anyone on next year's list as deserving.

Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Coach voted into Hall of Fame



There are more good  TU plays called in these 10 minutes than 2 years of Dazball.

For all of my life, I've simply known him as Coach.
That's what I called him when I first met him as a sports writer for The Temple News back in the 1970s and that's what I called him when I saw him last year.
Now I'll just call him a Hall of Famer.
This morning news comes from Atlanta that  coach Wayne Hardin has been voted into the Hall of Fame.
Probably the best compliment coach ever gave me was last year.
"Mike, I read your blog and it is first-class," coach said.
First-class.
Coach was the man behind greatest helmets in Temple history, although I have seen better Temple hats.
(Doc Chodoff also told me the same thing a couple of years ago and I was just as flattered.)
I like that hyphenated word because that's the way I've always described coach Hardin.
He was a first-class coach and, for the years he was Temple's head coach, the Owls had the best head coach in the country.
Period, end of story.
To me the definition of a great head coach is someone who gets the most out of the talent available to him.
Nobody got more out of his talent than Wayne Hardin.
Wayne Hardin stories on TFF through the years
"We get kidded about our short, fat, kids, but we don't time them in the 40," Hardin once said. "They might not be too fast over 40 yards but, from here to there, they are not too bad and that's all we ask of them."
Meanwhile, he made a nice living out of outsmarting coaches with better players.
Hardin never beat Penn State, but it wasn't out of a lack of wits against Joe Paterno.
"Hardin's outcoaching Joe again," Allentown Morning Call columnist Joe Kunda said out loud in the Beaver Stadium press box as the Owls took a halftime lead at Penn State.
Everybody laughed.
Ukraine checking in for a 3-minute read of TFF.

Everybody knew Kunda was right.
Think about it.
The highest Temple was ever ranked came in 1979, when the Owls rose to No. 17 in both the AP and UPI polls.
The highest Navy was ever ranked (at least in the modern era) was No. 2 in the nation in 1962.
The head coach in both cases?
Wayne Hardin.
No one has ever been more deserving of the Hall of Fame.
Congrats, coach.


Wednesday, May 01, 2013

Bradshaw's retiring a sad day for Temple football

"Now, Steve, you aren't going to leave me after a couple of years, are you?"

The Catholic Church requires three documented Miracles in order for to qualify for Sainthood.
By those standards, Bill Bradshaw is a Temple football Saint.
TFF and Bradshaw through the years:
A compilation of stories on Temple Football Forever mentioning Bill Bradshaw through the years.
That's why the news of Bradshaw retiring today (effective June 30) is truly a sad day for the program.
When the 2005 Temple president, David Adamany, formed a committee to "determine the future of Temple football" it was with one goal in mind:
To kill the program.
In December of that year, Adamany put the committee together and said "once their report is completed, it will be made public."
Bill puts the myth
of Temple making up
attendance figures to rest.

That report was never made public because the outcome was not the one Adamany wanted or expected.
The Board of Trustees, led by then Chairman Howard Gittis, voted to keep football and strengthen it.
Behind the scene, Bradshaw worked the room for the "pro-football" people.
By the time the vote was in, he was exhausted.
"I didn't know what the outcome would be, but football was saved by one vote," Bradshaw said.
Miracle No. 1?
Check.
Then football was saved again by one trip Bradshaw made to talk to Virginia defensive coordinator Al Golden.
Bradshaw brought with him a yellow legal pad.
When he got out of the meeting, he had four words written on the notepad:
"This is our guy."
Even though the university went through the motions of forming a "football selection committee" Bradshaw steered the committee toward Golden, who was just what Temple needed at the time. A young, energetic football surgeon who would spend 80 hours a week, sleeping at 10th and Diamond if necessary, to resuscitate a dying patient.
"I'm going to build a house of brick, not straw," said Golden, and he did.
Miracle No. 2?
Check.
Getting Temple into the MAC for football was no miracle because the Owls were also being courted by Conference USA at the time, but getting the Owls out certainly qualifies.
When no power conference wanted Temple, Bradshaw pulled the Big East rabbit out of his hat by working the phones and commissioners on TU's behalf. The signature moment that forced the Big East's hand might have been a Sunday trip Bradshaw and  then president Ann Weaver Hart made to the Conference USA convention in Dallas.
Thinking Temple might take the largest available football market to CUSA, the Big East moved fast to lock up the Owls within a week after that reported meeting.
Interesting tweet from Florida's Sharrif Floyd, a No. 1 draft choice.
Sometimes you've got to force the other guy's hand and Bradshaw, a good poker player, knew how to do that.
What happened to the Big East after Temple signed up was beyond Bradshaw's control.
Miracle No. 3?
Check.
When Steve Addazio left after two short years after saying Temple was "my dream job" and that "I could see myself staying here the rest of my career" the program faced another crisis.
Hire another name from a big-time program and risk losing him after a year or right a ship that faced the possibility of losing a head coach every year.
Bradshaw thought about it, listened to the players and parents and decided that stability was needed above all at this point and hired Golden disciple Matt Rhule.
Miracle No. 4?
Only if Rhule is able to produce on-field results like Golden was and the early indications are all positive.
There's still time before the Canonization but, in my mind, Bill Bradshaw is a Saint and, thankfully, a living one.

Bill Bradshaw and Temple football 



Year
Action
Result
2005
Negotiated move into MAC
Gave TU opportunity to compete for automatic bowl bids
2006
Hired Al Golden
First bowl appearance by Owls in 30 years, MAC East co-champs (2009), bowl eligible 3 straight years
2011
Hired Steve Addazio
First bowl win in over 30 years
2012
Move to Big East, expanded football facility with $10 million addition
Gave Temple an upgrade in number and quality of possible bowl bids, solidified future recruiting
2012
Hired Matt Rhule
Stabilized a program hemorrhaging head coaches