By Jack Kerwin | firstname.lastname@example.org
No idea. No vibe. No nothing.
As far as Temple University’s hiring of Florida defensive coordinator Geoff Collins as the Owls’ new head football coach and what he may bring to the table, that’s about it.
His resume is solid. He fits the profile of a young, high-energy, character guy, too.
But, aside from that, it’s just numbers – the success he’s had at SEC schools in the past few years, Mississippi State being the other – and the typical bio of someone working their way up the coaching chain.
He is not Matt Rhule.
That is the one thing that needs to be emphasized to anyone already in the getting-carried-away stage, even before a formal announcement, as if Temple has unearthed yet another coordinator turned first-time head coach who is primed to take the program to another level. Al Golden, Steve Addazio and Rhule all proved to be positive choices for the modern-day grid evolution along North Broad.
All were Northeast natives. All had extensive professional ties to the Northeast beyond that. Rhule, in particular, had a special bond with Temple that he never failed to share. Despite all the uproar with him up and bolting for Baylor, strange move or not, considering the issues at that Power 5 school, Rhule did spend 10 of the last 11 years at Temple.
He left to be an assistant with the New York Giants after being undercut by Addazio’s coaching changes in 2012, but wanted – WANTED – to return when the top job opened up with the former’s departure for Boston College. He loved the school, the potential of the program, and had a connection with the city – in fact, he never left even as he coached for Tom Coughlin’s club up I-95.
Collins? At 42, he’s a year older than Rhule. He actually coached with Rhule for four years at Western Carolina, the school he attended and played for while an undergrad. He even has some Northeast ties, having coached at Fordham a year and Albright for two. The rest of his 22-year coaching career has been spent below the Mason-Dixon Line.
Frankly, his background probably is stronger than what Rhule brought to the table when he was named Temple head coach four years ago, if only for the “name” brand of the teams he coached … and, really, the success his defenses for those teams had. In each of the last three seasons, his units have ranked among the best in the nation.
But the Temple job, if the ultimate goal is to become a legit, relevant major-college program, requires a special touch, an intangible, hard-to-define quality from its leader that only time will tell if it exists in that individual.
Thing is, not even Golden, who rescued the Owls from the scrap heap, and Addazio, who led them to their first bowl win in 33 years, had it. Rhule did.
Collins? At this point, no idea.