Monday, December 17, 2012

Five Rhule changes

"You know, coach Rhule, the thing I like most about here is our TEMPLE helmets."


Rainy days and Mondays always get me down.
There are exceptions and rainy days and Mondays when Temple replaces a 4-7 coach stubbornly stuck in his losing ways with hope and change is definitely one of them.
I wrote this on the first Sunday in December:

Never in my wildest dreams did I think Daz would concoct a harebrained, one-dimensional, offensive scheme that would lead to so many three-and-outs and put Temple's defense in an impossible position. The question then becomes, "Do you see him as a reasonable person open to change or a stubborn former offensive lineman who wants to run the ball all the time?"

In my heart, I knew what the answer to that question was and I thought Temple would be stuck with that guy, Temple Football Forever as it were.
Now, through some miracle, Steve Addazio is gone.
Matt Rhule represents that hope and change and he will be introduced today at a 2 p.m. press conference (Howard Gittis Room, Liacouras Center).
Rhule wasn't my first choice, but he is Bill Bradshaw's and I hope he's the best one.
I can see him making five "Rhule Changes" that could both work and be popular with Temple Nation, as Al Golden used to call it:

2011's best DC in the country.
1) Four and three minus 3 and 4
No, that's not some mathematical formula. Somehow, due to a couple of suspensions and over-recruiting at a position, Temple has about eight linebackers who are able to play at a high level of FBS football and about half of that number of quality defensive linemen. Go from the 5-2s and the 4-3s of the past to, at least temporarily, a 3-4 defense. That gets a lot of playmakers on the field and gives the DC an option to blitz a couple of LBs and keep a couple more in pass coverage. I'd love to see Chuck Heater, who I called the best defensive coordinator in the country a year ago, stay and work out those Xs and Os. If not, former Temple DC Nick Rapone, who is Delaware's defensive coordinator and three-time National DC of the year in FCS football, is available (and his daughter goes to Temple).

2) Binder of men
Mitt Romney had "Binders of Women." Al Golden had his binder of men. I asked Golden what was in his binder once and he said he had how to run a program, down from hiring the grad assistants to how to recruit. Golden always believed in recruiting a "team" of 25 guys, one for each position, including specialists, every year. I always thought that was sound thinking. Steve Addazio flew from the seat of his pants on a lot of things and one of them was recruiting, which explains why Temple had eight good linebackers and not enough good linemen this year. Somehow, I think Rhule will adopt Golden's binder philosophy.

3) Best athletes on the field
Since Matt last left us, Temple was able to recruit one of the best athletes in FBS football, former Penn State quarterback Kevin Newsome. For reasons known only to Addazio, Newsome was kept holding a clipboard on the sideline and running the scout team offense. Meanwhile, the back line of the Temple defense was dreadful. Newsome was only a first-team All-State defensive back in Virginia, along with his national top 5 quarterbacking skills. If Newsome is going to be third-team QB again, he deserves a chance to play defense. He's only 6-3, 215, runs a 4.5 40 and has a 37-inch vertical leap and good ball skills. Somehow, call me crazy, I think the back line of the defense improves with a talent like that.
Hands off my helmet, baldy

4) The King Solomon Solution
After Addazio ditched the most distinctive and, in my mind best, helmet in college football history, I ran a poll  on this site. Overwhelmingly, Temple fans wanted the TEMPLE helmet back but there was a minority who liked the T and had good reasons, too. I'm in favor of splitting this baby right down the middle and the beauty of this solution is that nobody gets hurt. TEMPLE on one side. T on the other side. That way, you get the Temple University brand out there (T) and the Temple football brand (TEMPLE) on the field together.

5) Elephant in the Room
I think the issue of stability and depending on a coach long-term should and will be addressed today and I hope Matt does just that. I grew up as a Temple fan watching Harry Litwack, who was here for decades, Skip Wilson who was here for decades and John Chaney and Wayne Hardin who had double-digit-year runs as Temple coaches. All of those coaches loved Temple enough to make long-term commitments. They "got" Temple, as does current hoop coach Fran Dunphy. If there's are two common threads there those are loyalty and success. All those coaches as successful as they were loyal. Only lately, and only in football, has the position of head coach become a revolving door. That Elephant needs to addressed and I'm confident it will.
If Matt Rhule becomes as successful and as loyal as Litwack, Wilson, Chaney, Hardin and Dunphy, today will be one of the great days in Temple sports history.

Tomorrow: Complete coverage of the Matt Rhule Press Conference

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