WRITTEN BY: TOM HANSLIN @tomhanslin
PHILADELPHIA — When Temple interim head coach Ed Foley learned of the news circulating around Geoff Collins’ candidacy as the program’s next commander in chief, Foley decided to make nothing of it and move on to the next drill in practice.
Foley, who has served as the Owls’ assistant head coach for four seasons, addressed the media following practice at Edberg-Olson Hall for the first time on Tuesday, just one week after Matt Rhule accepted the head coaching position at Baylor.
“Just another day at the office,” Foley said. “I’ve been here for nine years and now to be able to go out there and stand in front of the kids and tell them, ‘Hey, this is how we’re gonna do it, this is what we’re gonna do day-by-day to become the greatest Temple football team of all-time with 11 wins’ has been a thrill for me.”
Foley has been no stranger to change. Since joining Temple’s coaching staff in 2008, Foley has been a part of three head coaching changes, dating back to 2010 and 2012 with the departures of Al Golden and Steve Addazio, respectively.
“Watching it happen three times, it’s literally day-by-day,” Foley said. “There’s a shock the first day, and then it gets a little bit better each day for the kids. From my standpoint, it’s the same way in terms of these transitions. I think when Al left, it was a shock and I’m not sure (the coaching staff) did a good enough job bringing the guys along. It was a little bit better with Steve and I feel like this time it’s even better because some of the guys have been here for the last one. But the senior leadership has been the factor. They’ve been through it.”
While the seniors have been a strong voice on and off the field, Foley empathizes with the younger players, who will experience more obstacles.
“I respect the fact that they’re hurting. Your attention turns immediately to the kids, so to me that’s the most important thing,” Foley said. “Forget the bowl game and the wins and the football side of it. Just in terms of being in a situation in your life when you have to deal with sudden change, how can we get these guys over that? Moving on to the next thing as quickly as possible, that’s what we’re all about right now.”
Over the course of the week, several players used social media as a platform to endorse defensive coordinator Phil Snow for the head coaching gig, but multiple sources believe Snow remains in the running to join Rhule’s staff at Baylor.
“It’s all stuff that we’ve got to deal with that’s another distraction away from what we have to do,” Foley said of the myriad of coaching rumors on social media. “All that other stuff is not a whole lot different than some of the other stuff that goes on that they hear throughout the year. Obviously it’s going to be more impactful, but it’s just still crowd noise to them.”
Foley hopes the team’s mindset is fixated on Wake Forest (6-6), the opponent Temple will face in Annapolis, Md. at the Military Bowl on Dec. 27. With a victory over the Demon Deacons, the Owls would achieve an 11-win season for the first time in program history, which Foley believes is also a great distraction and motivational tool.
“We’re going to try and do something that no Temple football team has ever done. I don’t know how much more they can do,” Foley said. “The coach who is going to come in and run this program just has to work with a bunch of talented guys that love to compete. I don’t think it’s going to be some monumental changeover or a rebuilding of any sort. The players are in place here and the culture’s in place here for this program to be really successful in the foreseeable future.”
Temple is expected to make an official announcement regarding the hiring of Geoff Collins as early as Wednesday.