If you listen to Temple University head football coach Al Golden—and I try to do that every chance I get, whether it's on signing day or Fan Fest or Cherry and White day, whenever—you will become conversant in what I call Goldenspeak.
"Core values"...you'll hear that a lot.
"Going forward"...that's another favorite catch phrase of his; so is "it's all part of the process."
There are a few more, but I won't write a Golden/English Dictionary here.
The point being that before all of that, Golden came up with a phrase he thought enough of to put on the wall at Edberg-Olson Hall, the team's $7 million practice facility built in 2001.
"Hunting a MAC title with local talent."
It's become a core value, if you will, of the program, err, going forward—so much so that it has appeared in the school's football media guide the past few years.
What you won't hear Golden say is that he's going after this Holy Grail, this MAC title, with BCS-level talent.
If Hunting for a Title with Local Talent is the program's self-proclaimed headline, then "by the way, we're playing with BCS-level players in a non-BCS league" has to be some kind of subhead.
I know it's not as catchy, but it's true.
It's like the guy wrote on the Akron message board, ZipsNation.org, after Temple thumped Akron, 56-17, last year.
"Let's face it, guys," the longtime Akron fan said. "Temple is a Big East team playing in the MAC. Their talent level made us look like a high school team."
The implication was clear, and so were the on-field results.
While Akron might beat out Kent State for a player, Temple is beating out Vanderbilt.
While Kent State might beat out Ohio for a player, Temple is beating out Maryland and Michigan State.
You only need to stop at the A's, B's, and C's of the signing brochure to find that out.
I did a story for the Philadelphia Inquirer recently on a couple of basketball players from Friends' Central, who received offers from Temple and other big-time schools. Before that goes into the paper, you have to fact-check those claims against the Scout.com database. Soout.com will say "yes" if a player has been offered and "no" if he has not. It's a pretty cut-and-dried system, the best there is.
I thought about that while thumbing through the pages of the 2010 signing class brochure the other day.
I followed the same routine with Temple's football signees, and the claims made in the brochure, with only one or two exceptions, were verified by Scout.com's system. That's pretty good when talking about 27 incoming freshmen.
Niyi Adewole, a linebacker from Upper Darby, had an offer from Vanderbilt, as did Myron Ross, a running back from Wissahickon.
Antonio Belt, a wide receiver from Forestville, Md., "selected Temple over Maryland and Michigan State."
Wyatt Benson, a linebacker from Haverford School, picked Temple over "Stanford and Pitt."
Brian Burns, a defensive back and former next-door neighbor to Benson in Southwest Philly, "selected Temple over West Virginia and Rutgers."
Taray Carey, a defensive end from Whitehall, picked Temple over UConn and Boston College.
Those are just the A's, B's, and C's. It's like that all the way down to defensive tackle Dante Weaver, who the brochure says picked Temple over Rutgers and Maryland.
Last year the Owls signed a quarterback, Chris Coyer (pictured), on the night Ohio State extended him a conditional verbal offer (you visit us, we will offer). Temple was on Coyer for months, and OSU arrived on the scene in the last day.
Coyer said, basically, "Thanks guys, but no thanks. I made my mind up. I'm going to Temple."
Now, after a year of fine-tuning, the Coyer quarterback Stealth Fighter is shined and polished and ready to leave the E-O hanger to wreck havoc on the rest of the MAC. He is pictured with this story, a fine photo by Ryan Porter.
He could have gone to Ohio State, much like many of his teammates could have gone to more recognized schools.
Good schools with good football programs.
They could have gone anywhere.
They chose Temple.
Bill Cosby, who made that commercial famous some 20 years ago, should be proud.
So should every Temple fan.
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