For the record: Matt Rhule signing a bunch of ex-Temple Owls is not like Chip Kelly signing a bunch of ex-Oregon players with the Eagles.
Not like it at all. It could be the exact opposite.
Yes, we’re all making the same jokes around here – look at the Carolina Owls. Or is it the Temple Panthers?
Not the same.
Kelly brought in what, eight ex-Ducks? First of all, as you quickly saw, the Chipster did not bring in much talent. Most of the ex-Ducks were backups, so Eagles fans probably hoped at the time that what Kelly really was doing was establishing a culture.
As we saw, Kelly produced a sort of anti-culture in Philadelphia, where his arrogance reigned supreme. It was a losing formula from the start. Of the eight Ducks Kelly brought in by 2015, only Kiko Alonso and Kenjon Barner played last season in the NFL. (And Alonso isn’t exactly the poster child for successful Kelly moves.)
It’s a natural worry that college coaches shouldn’t overvalue their own ex-college players. Rhule already has been gently mocked on social media for trying to win a Super Bowl “with the 2015 Boca Raton Participant Temple Owls.”
It’s an amusing joke, bringing up a legitimate concern.
Except, a couple of things are way off about the Kelly comparison. No. 1, Rhule has proved more successful at establishing the right kind of culture, which allows voices to be heard in his locker room. Rhule never had a problem, for instance, with reporters talking to Temple coordinators and other assistants. The guy isn’t paranoid. That sounds like a little thing, but let’s argue it’s a huge thing. He didn’t succeed at Temple and Baylor simply on scheme and recruiting advantages. He had no recruiting advantages.
So let’s look at what he’s actually doing.
Bottom line, Rhule has found value, and if his advantage is that former Temple players who have legitimate talent actually want to play for him, that’s telling.
Here’s a bigger tell. Rhule loved Tyler Matakevich with the Owls. He’d personally recruited him, had stood on a table as an assistant making his case to sign this guy with no Division I offers. Maybe Temple fans thought Matakevich would sign with the Panthers after four seasons mostly as a special-teams ace with the Steelers. That didn’t happen. Matakevich signed a two-year, $9 million deal with Buffalo.