Temple president says stadium is next logical step for Owls football

5 Comments

Temple is having one of the best seasons in program history, and that has helped spark conversations (and debates) about a stadium plan that has lingered for years. In a column in The Philadelphia Inquirer, Temple president Neil Theobald says a stadium is the next logical step for the Temple program and university.

“While we are proud of our team’s success and the national spotlight it provides, discussions about bringing football home to Main Campus suggest that we are further along in this process than we are,” Theobald said in his column. “We are at the beginning of this process — fund-raising to date suggests the idea is financially feasible, but Temple’s Board of Trustees has not even authorized the hiring of an architect. Central to our decision-making will be conversations with the North Philadelphia community. Those conversations are just beginning.”

“We have a dynamic young coach [Matt Rhule] who wants to stay at Temple and build a national program,” Theobald goes on to explain. “A new on-campus football stadium is a logical next step not only for football, but — in my view — for one of the nation’s leading urban research universities, located in one the nation’s great cities.”

With regard to Rhule, the Temple coach is one of the trendy upcoming names in college football coaching. Rhule has done well in continuing the work done by his predecessors on the staff and says all the right things about building the Temple program. However, he will likely receive plenty of phone calls if things continue to go well and you just never know when an opportunity too good to pass up will come along. This is a reality for anumber of Group of Five programs, and Temple knows that after losing its last two coaches to power conference coaching opportunities in the ACC. Theobald’s comments about Rhule aside, the overall point is Temple has commited itself to funding the football program over the past decade more so than ever before, and the work has been evident in facility upgrades around the program. The stadium is a long-time nemesis though.

Temple has taken up residence in Lincoln Financial Field, home to the NFL’s Philadelphia Eagles, since the stadium opened its doors in 2003. There was a time when the Eagles wanted to keep Temple out of the stadium and jack the rental fees for the university, but cooler heads have prevailed enough for Temple to feel at home in The Linc. Temple has played the role of extra resident in the Philadelphia sports complex since 1978, when the Owls moved from Temple Stadium to Veterans Stadium, a cookie-cutter multi-purpose stadium that was primarily known as the home of the Eagles and baseball’s Philadelphia Phillies (and the USFL’s Philadelphia Stars) until each major league franchise built brand new sport-specific stadiums. At times, Temple would play home games in historic Franklin Field at the University of Pennsylvania. Temple Stadium was torn down in the mid-1990s to make way for a church.

Playing games at Lincoln Financial Field has led to attendance concerns whenever Penn State or Notre Dame are not in town. The Owls sold out both home games against the Nittany Lions and Irish this season, but capacity issues are noticeable for other games. Playing in a stadium closer to Temple’s campus without the travel hassle of riding the Broad Street line down to the sports complex and playing in a reduced capacity stadium could work well for Temple, if the financial commitment to the program remains in place as it has been in recent years, since the hiring of Al Golden.

As with any new stadium conversations, Temple faces a number of concerns before an on-campus facility can be constructed. Finances are always a concern, as Theobald acknowledges. Where to put it is another.

Former Hurricanes coach Butch Davis throws his name in the ring for Miami job

33 Comments

Former Miami Hurricanes head coach Butch Davis has interest in coming home. With Miami firing Al Golden as head coach Sunday evening, Davis has jumped in line to be a candidate for the job.

In a radio interview Monday morning on 790 The Ticket in Miami, Davis said he would like to be considered for the job. Davis certainly has Miami roots, but he also has a bit of a checkered past from his time after leaving Miami.

Davis took over the job of head coach at Miami in 1995 after Dennis Erickson took a job with the Seattle Seahawks after turning down offers to coach the Denver Broncos and Philadelphia Eagles. Davis had previously been an assistant coach at Miami under former Hurricanes coach Jimmy Johnson. Davis joined Johnson in the NFL with the Dallas Cowboys and stayed in Dallas from 1989 through 1994. Davis was a perfect fit for Miami in 1995, but it would take a few years to get Miami to resemble a national power worthy of national title aspirations. Davis left Miami following his only double-digit win season with the program (2000), and Larry Coker finished the national title mission a year later as Davis was the head coach of the Cleveland Browns. Davis lasted three seasons in Cleveland, being forced to resign after a 3-8 start in 2004.

After a few years off, Davis returned to the sidelines as the head coach at North Carolina. After three consecutive 8-5 seasons in Chapel Hill, Davis was fired by the university amid allegations of academic misconduct and improper benefits to players under the watch of Davis.

There is probably a pretty good chance Davis would receive a warmer welcome to the Miami family from former Miami players. Many players were vocal about their displeasure over the hiring of Golden years ago because he was not perceived to be a Miami guy (Golden played for Joe Paterno at Penn State, making him about as much of an opposite of a Miami guy as there could be), and many have celebrated the firing of Golden in the past 24 hours. Davis being a former assistant during Miami’s prime and one who came back to build a championship-caliber team would seem to be enough to receive a warm welcome from the Miami family.

No. 6 Clemson blasts Miami as Golden Era continues to disappoint

16 Comments

There are two ways to look at No. 6 Clemson (7-0, 4-0 ACC) dominating Miami (4-3, 1-2 ACC) to the tune of a 58-0 final score. Let’s focus on the positives first.

Clemson looks every bit worthy of serious College Football Playoff contention talk as any team in the country so far. A complete team effort in Miami saw the Tigers jump out to a 21-0 lead in the first quarter, the defense score a touchdown and a complete mismatch in total yardage on the road in conference play. Miami may be down, but the Hurricanes are not the ACC’s equivalent of Iowa State or Purdue. Starting quarterback Deshaun Watson completed 15 opf his 19 pass attempts for just 143 yards and one touchdown, but he also got an early rest as Clemson piled on early and put this one in the bag with plenty of time to spare. Watson also rushed for 98 yards and a score. As Watson rolls, so will Clemson.

This was Clemson’s third straight ACC victory by double digits, and the Tigers also own a quality victory over a Notre Dame team that continues to be in the top 15 of the polls. Of course, Clemson’s fate in the ACC and perhaps the national championship picture will likely come down to what happens on November 7 at home against Florida State. The Tigers and Seminoles are the top teams in the ACC and the most likely playoff contenders from the conference. Clemson also has to avoid slipping against North Carolina State next weekend in Raleigh, but all systems appear to be good to go for Clemson. If Clemson gets by these next two games, the Tigers could be in a very good position when the first playoff rankings are unveiled on November 3.

The picture is not nearly as pretty at Miami, where the latest demoralizing loss of the Al Golden Era will only increase the pressure for the program to start making some serious changes. At this point there is really only one move Golden has left to make, but he may be too loyal to play it. Miami defensive coordinator Mark D’Onofrio has long been the subject of criticism at Miami, and the time has come for Golden to make a change at that position. That is, of course, unless somebody higher up makes the decision for him first.

Miami did lose starting quarterback Brad Kaaya to an injury in the game. He was taken to the locker room to undergo concussion protocol testing and was not set to return. What is unknown is whether that decision was based on the results of the testing or the fact that the game was already out of hand for the Hurricanes. Kaaya’s injury was not even an excuse for this one.

Clemson out-gained Miami 567-146 in total offensive yards. Miami had three turnovers and seven penalties for 88 yards. The most fight Miami showed took place in the pregame warm-ups when a couple Miami players got into a bit of a shouting match with some Clemson players, but this is not like it used to be in Miami. These Miami players have no room for smack talk because they cannot back it up on the field the way the Hurricanes of the 1980s did.

Miami still has a difficult road to travel in order to get to the postseason. Although Miami just needs to win two more games, the Hurricanes still have contests against Duke in Durham, a road trip to North Carolina, a home game against Georgia Tech and a road trip to Pittsburgh. Those are not going to be easy games at all for Miami. This season could get ugly coming down the stretch.

Miami LB Raphael Kirby’s career ends following injury

Leave a comment

Miami’s 30-20 victory over Virginia Tech this weekend came at a price. Senior linebacker Raphael Kirby injured his right knee while making a play and will now miss the remainder of the 2015 season as a result. Miami head coach Al Golden announced the news during his weekly day-after teleconference, per The Miami Herald.

“I’m crushed,” Golden said. “Raphael represents what we want in a Miami Hurricane. He’s a leader. He’s unselfish. He holds his teammates accountable, and he’s a big part of who we are.”

Kirby played in 39 games for the Hurricanes, ending his career with 124 tackles. His senior season ends now with a team-leading 44 tackles. The loss of Kirby is the third at the linebacker position this season for the Hurricanes, with Darrion Owens and Marques Gayot also out due to injuries.

“We are tremendously disappointed for Raphael,” Golden said. “He is the true definition of a leader on the field, in the community and in the classroom. His commitment to our team and our goals has been unquestioned over his career, and he will be sorely missed. We will support Raphael through his recovery as we continue to lean on his leadership for our team.”

Miami will look to fill Kirby’s spot on the field with either Trent Harris or Juwon Young.

Corn Elder’s OT INT saves Miami from near disaster vs. Huskers

7 Comments

Miami buried Nebraska in the first half and looked to be piling the dirt on the Huskers midway through the fourth quarter. Then a funny thing happened. The Zombie Huskers rose form the dead. Down 33-10 in the fourth quarter, Nebraska scored three times to force overtime with a 33-33 tie score made possible by a two-point conversion that was reminiscent of the 1983 meeting between these two.

In the overtime session, Tommy Armstrong had his first pass on the first play of the overtime picked off by Corn Elder. The play was ended with an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty against Nebraska, putting Miami inside the 20-yard line for their offensive possession. After not trusting the running game on a crucial fourth down in the fourth quarter, Al Golden played it simple and stuck to the ground until he had to send the field goal unit out. Somehow, Miami escaped Nebraska, 36-33 in overtime after leading the game by a score of 33-10 midway through the fourth quarter.

Miami quarterback Brad Kaaya was having his way with the Nebraska defense for the most part until Golden got conservative with the play calling. Kaaya ended the game with 379 yards and two touchdowns.

This was Nebraska’s second loss of the month of September, both to unranked teams (BYU was unranked at the time of the season opener). If you think that is ararity, you are correct.

Nebraska will get a chance to even its record at home next week. The Cornhuskers will host Southern Mississippi, a team that is starting to show some signs of life in the early going after a few down seasons.

Miami gets a week off to evaluate its 3-0 record and figure out how to keep this momentum going. The next test for the Hurricanes will be a road trip to Cincinnati on October 1. After that Miami will open ACC play on the road in Tallahassee against Florida State. That is the start of a key stretch that includes games against FSU, Virginia Tech and Clemson.