Temple Owls

PHILADELPHIA, PA - SEPTEMBER 02: Temple live mascot Stella the Owl is seen prior to the game between the Army Black Knights and Temple Owls at Lincoln Financial Field on September 2, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
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Geoff Collins puts finishing touches on first Temple staff

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A little over four weeks after landing his first head-coaching job, Geoff Collins has completed his first coaching staff.

Temple announced Thursday that Collins has made three additions to his initial staff: Tony Lucas, Cory Robinson and Andrew Thacker.  Lucas will serve as running backs coach, Robinson defensive backs and Thacker linebackers.

Lucas and Thacker join the AAC program from the FCS level.  The former had spent the past four seasons at Delaware State, the latter was at Kennesaw State for the 2016 season.

Robinson served in the same capacity at Toledo this past season.

With the trio of hires, Collins’ nine-man on-field coaching staff is full.  The coach had previously brought in Dave Patenaude (offensive coordinator/quarterbacks), Taver Johnson (defensive coordinator/safeties), and Jim Panagos (defensive line) from outside the program.  In late December, it was announced that Collins had retained three coaches from Matt Rhule‘s staff: Ed Foley (tight ends), Frisman Jackson (wide receivers) and Chris Wiesehan (offensive line).

Temple hires Taver Johnson as defensive coordinator

FAYETTEVILLE, AR - APRIL 21:   Interim Head Coach Taver Johnson of the Arkansas Razorbacks talks to his players on the field during the Spring Game at Donald W. Reynolds Stadium on April 21, 2012 in Fayetteville, Arkansas.  (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
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Taver Johnson will be Temple’s new defensive coordinator, the program announced Wednesday.

Johnson arrives in Philadelphia from Purdue, where he served as defensive backs coach from 2014-16. Prior to that, Johnson spent two years on the defensive staff at Arkansas.

“Taver Johnson is an outstanding coach, a relentless recruiter and a positive role model for his players,” new Owls head coach Geoff Collins said in a statement. “He has experience coaching several positions throughout his career and has excelled at every university he’s been a part of. What I like most about him is his passion for the game and his love for the players he coaches. He really stood out in this process as a man who fit into the beliefs, philosophies and overall mentality that is Temple Football.”

Johnson — and Collins, who, as a former defensive coordinator, will surely keep a close eye on that side of the ball — take over one of the best defenses in college football. The Owls finished the ’16 season ranked sixth nationally in yards per play allowed, third in total defense and 11th in scoring defense in route to their first American Athletic Conference championship.

At Purdue, Johnson’s unit ranked 99th nationally in pass efficiency defense, permitting a 59.4 percent completion rate on 7.9 yards per attempt with 22 touchdowns allowed against 12 interceptions.

Geoff Collins retains three Owl coaches for first Temple staff

Cleveland Browns, Wide Receiver, Frisman Jackson, during the game against the Baltimore Ravens, Sunday January 1, 2006 at Cleveland Browns Stadium in Cleveland, Ohio. The Browns  beat the Ravens 20-16. (Photo by Jamie Mullen/NFLPhotoLibrary)
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Temple’s 2017 coaching staff will have a decidedly familiar feel to it despite a change at the top of the football program.

Temple announced Wednesday that new head coach Geoff Collins has decided to retain three assistants from Matt Rhule‘s former coaching staff. That trio includes Ed Foley, Frisman Jackson and Chris Wiesehan.

The school stated in its release that “[w]hile it is expected that Foley will continue working with the tight ends, Jackson with the receivers, and Wiesehan with either the offensive line or running backs, all responsibilities will be determined when Collins finalizes his staff.”

Collins was hired by the Owls Dec. 13 after spending the past two seasons as the defensive coordinator at Florida. This is Collins’ first head-coaching job at any level of football.

The 45-year-old long-time assistant replaces Rhule, who left for the same job at Baylor earlier this month. Rhule has already taken two of his defensive assistant coaches with him to Baylor.

Wake Forest continues ACC’s strong bowl start with upset of No. 24 Temple

Wake Forest running back Cade Carney runs the ball against Temple during the first half of the Military Bowl NCAA college football game, Tuesday, Dec. 27, 2016 in Annapolis, Md. (AP Photo/Gail Burton)
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If the ACC’s upper crust is as competitive as the league’s middle class, Florida State, Louisville and Clemson should go ahead and start popping the champagne now. After 6-6 Boston College and 6-6 NC State earned a pair of bowl victories over fellow 6-6 Power 5 teams on Monday, 6-6 Wake Forest scored an impressive pelt on Tuesday with a 34-26 upset of American champion and 24th-ranked Temple in the Military Bowl in Annapolis, Md.

The Owls, playing on the same field on which they trounced Navy to win their conference title earlier this month, started as they finished that day — with an interception of Wake Forest John Wolford on the third snap of the game, and a 48-yard touchdown pass from Phillip Walker to Adonis Jennings just one play later.

Wolford redeemed himself two drives later, finding Cam Serigne for a game-tying 41-yard touchdown pass and then a 20-yard scoring strike to Tabari Hines one drive later, giving Wake Forest a 14-7 lead at the 5:20 mark of the first quarter.

The lead would not change hands again.

In fact, the Demon Deacons (7-6) ripped off a 31-0 first half run, turning a Temple fumble and interception inside its own territory into a pair of touchdowns to build the 24-point lead.

Temple (10-4) spent the next two quarters chipping away at that deficit, using another long touchdown pass from Walker to Jennings and four Aaron Boumerhi field goals to eventually climb back to within 31-26 with 3:56 left to play in the game. But the Owls’ inability to convert on third down did them in; three of Boumerhi’s four field goals were from 38 yards or closer. Walker completed 28-of-49 passes for 396 yards with two scores to Jennings and an interception, but the Owls netted minus-20 rushing yards and converted only one of a dozen third down tries.

With a chance to force a stop and add a touchdown to complete the comeback, Temple allowed an 80-yard kickoff return by John Armstrong to start Wake Forest’s next drive at the Temple 15-yard line. The Deacons could not move the ball, but a 30-yard Mike Weaver field goal pushed the lead to 34-26 with 1:59 remaining, and Temple’s would-be game-tying drive ended before it started as the Owls were pushed off the field in a turnover on downs.

Wolford completed 10-of-19 passes for 183 yards with two touchdowns and a pick, while Cade Carney and Matt Colburn combined to rush 31 times for 131 yards and a touchdown apiece.

As good as the ACC’s start to bowl season has been, the American’s has been that bad. Outside of Tulsa’s whipping of Central Michigan, the American has fallen short of expectations this December, with Houston being blown out by San Diego State, Memphis failing to keep pace with Western Kentucky, Central Florida losing to Arkansas State in an effective home game, and now its league champion falling to a 6-6 Power 5 team.

Stout defense has Wake rolling over AAC champ Temple in Military Bowl

WINSTON-SALEM, NC - NOVEMBER 5:  Quarterback John Wolford #10 of the Wake Forest Demon Deacons hands off to running back Cade Carney #36 during the first quarter of an NCAA football game against the Virginia Cavaliers on November 5, 2016 at BB&T Field in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. (Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images)
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With an off-field controversy seemingly behind them, Wake Forest came into Tuesday afternoon looking for its first postseason win since 2008.  After two quarters of play, they’re 30 minutes away from ending that nearly decade-long drought.

Thanks in very large part to a stifling defense, Wake jumped out to a 14-7 first-quarter lead on Temple in the Military Bowl Presented by Northrup Grumman and extended it even further in the second to take a 31-10 advantage into the halftime locker room.  How stifling was the Demon Deacon defense?  The Owls scored on a 48-yard touchdown pass on their first play from scrimmage.  The remainder of the half, the Owls managed 89 yards of total offense.

Wake’s run defense was particularly effective, holding Temple to just 14 yards on 15 carries, with 23 of those yards coming on a late carry by Jahad Thomas.  The Owls entered today’s game fourth in the AAC and 51st nationally in averaging just over 191 yards per game on the ground.

John Wolford nearly accounted for a majority of the offense for both teams, passing for 183 yards and a pair of first-half touchdowns in helping the Demon Deacons grab a solid first-half lead.  Temple’s offense (137) and Wake’s rushing offense (80) accounted for a combined 217 yards as, aside from Wolford’s performance, it was a decidedly defensive first two quarters of play.

The Owls are currently riding a seven-game winning streak, which included a win in the AAC championship game.  That proved to be Matt Rhule‘s last game as the head coach as he left for the Baylor job and is not coaching this postseason contest.

The Demon Deacons, meanwhile, had lost two of their las eight after winning four straight to start the 2016 season.