Photo: Temple Football/@Temple_FB
By Michael Lipinski, Sports Talk Philly Contributor
All is quiet on the Temple football coaching search front. Insanely quiet especially considering the chaos of the coaching carousel around landscape of college football.
Despite the silence, there are rumblings among insiders that athletic director Arthur Johnson could be dipping into his past, particularly his time in Texas, for the next Temple football head coach. Johnson was in the Longhorn’s athletic department from 2014 until he took the job at Temple. That’s seven-years worth of connections, including three former Power 5 head coaches, with one of the most well-known brands in college athletics.
Here are some names that could fit the “Texas to Temple” connection:
(Note: In no particular order)
Drayton is the current offensive run game coordinator/running backs coach for the Longhorns. He has been a fixture in college and professional football coaching circles since 1993. He’s been credited with fine tuning the run game of players like Ezekiel Elliott and Jordan Howard.
Why He’s a Fit for Temple: Drayton spent considerable time in the Northeast, he played and coached at Allegheny and he was on the staff’s at UPenn (1995) and Villanova (1996-2000). He is credited for bringing Brian Westbrook to Villanova. Drayton has spent time in winning programs in the NFL and college. He has a knack for developing talent especially at the running back position. Drayton is 50 years-old and he could be running out of time to take a head coaching position. Now could be the time if Drayton wants to make the jump in the ranks.
Why He’s Not a Fit for Temple: Drayton has no head coaching or coordinator experience on his extensive resume. Would Drayton be ready to take on the extensive rebuild that is needed on North Broad Street? As mentioned above, Drayton is 50 years-old, is he ready for the demands of being a head coach or is he content being one of the best position coaches in the country?
Herman is the former head coach at University of Houston (2015-2016) and Texas (2017-2020) and currently serves as an offensive analyst for the Chicago Bears. He led Houston to the 2015 AAC Championship and earned AAC Coach of the Year honors in the process. Herman has a 50-22 overall record as a head coach including 5-0 in bowl games.
Why He’s a Fit for Temple: Herman is a proven commodity as a head coach, he’s never had a losing record as the man in charge of a program. He is familiar with The American from his two-years in charge at Houston. He also has experience in an urban setting, Houston is similar to Temple in that respect. Herman spent 2012-2014 with Ohio State, where he won a Broyles Award as the top assistant in college football, and has an understanding of how to run a successful program. Herman could be a reclamation project of sorts after being ousted from Texas despite never having a losing season and winning every bowl game he played in.
Why He’s Not a Fit for Temple: Herman has spent all of his coaching career in the Midwest or the South, would Herman be able to connect with the coaches, parents, and players along the I-95 Corridor that Temple needs to recruit for success? Herman was making $5 million a year as the head coach at Texas, would he be willing to come to Temple for considerably less money? Another factor in the Herman equation would be his success. Temple needs a head coach that is willing to stay and build the foundation of a program. They need a coach that is willing to invest 5-years into the program and the surrounding community. While the track record is small, that has not been Herman’s MO.
Flood is the current offensive coordinator for the Longhorns and is a massive Counting Crows fan. He has been a coach at the college or professional level since 1995 and was the former head coach at Rutgers.
Why He’s a Fit for Temple: Flood checks all of the boxes that Temple is looking for in a head football coach. He an assistant coach under Greg Schiano from 2005-2011 when the former took the head coaching job in Tampa Bay. Flood was promoted to head coach at Rutgers in 2012 and helped usher the Scarlet Knights into the Big Ten. He was 27-24 as the head coach of the Scarlet Knights including a bowl victory. Flood has been a fixture in the Northeast recruiting during his college career, he is well liked by players and coaches, and is considered one of the best offensive line coaches in the nation.
Why He’s Not a Fit for Temple: Flood’s tenure at Rutgers ended in controversy and chaos. There were curfew violations and run-ins with the law while Flood was the coach at Rutgers. In September 2015, six Rutgers players were charged by New Brunswick (NJ) police with a variety of offenses including felony assault, robbery, conspiracy, and weapons charges from an alleged August ’15 home invasion attempt. Five of the six players were ultimately expelled from the team and University. Flood’s biggest misstep came when he improperly contacted a faculty member regarding a grade for a player that was suspended for academic reasons.
Strong is currently the assistant head coach/linebacker coach for the Jacksonville Jaguars. Like Herman and Flood, Strong has prior Power 5 coaching experience on his resume. He was head coach at University of Louisville (2010-2013), University of Texas (2014-2016), and University of Southern Florida (2017-2019).
Why He’s a Fit for Temple: Strong has been a fixture in the college coaching ranks since 1983 when he started as a graduate assistant at Florida. He led Louisville to two Big East Championships and two BCS bowl game appearances. His signature win at Louisville was 33-23 win over Florida in the 2013 Sugar Bowl. Strong won the Big East coach of the year award twice, 2010 and 2012, and was also part of championship staffs at Florida (2006, 2008) and Alabama (2020). Strong’s time at Texas and USF wasn’t as successful as his time in Louisville but he does hold a winning record as a head coach, 74-53. From a recruiting perspective, Strong understands the challenges that a school like Temple presents. Louisville and USF (Tampa) are similar in make up to Temple as far as being an urban university. The bulk of his head coaching career was spent in the Big East/AAC, he knows the lay of the land when it comes to the conference.
Why He’s Not a Fit for Temple: Strong has only had three winning seasons in his last six as a head coach. He was tabbed to rebuild the USF program and the program regressed into what it is today. Outside of three seasons, 2012, 2013, and 2017, his teams have not won more than seven games in a season. Strong is also older, 61-years old. Does he have it in him to put effort into another reclamation project?