Bruce Arians, who coached the Owls from 1983-88 and most recently led the Arizona Cardinals from 2013-17 before retiring in January, visited Temple on Friday and Saturday.
“There’s something about this place that everyone wants to come back and just keep seeing how we’re doing, and it’s a great feeling having an all-time coach like that being on the sideline watching practice and critiquing you,” redshirt-senior quarterback Frank Nutile said.
Arians and New York Jets coach Todd Bowles, who played for Arians from 1983-85, spoke at Geoff Collins’ coaches camp on Friday at Edberg-Olson Hall.
“I told the coaches [Friday] night, ‘You couldn’t coach like I did at Temple. You’d get arrested,’” Arians said.
Today, NCAA rules limit how often teams can practice and how often they can have full contact.
Arians’ players remember “Black Sunday.” After a loss to the University of Delaware on a Saturday, Arians held a full-contact practice on Sunday at 5:30 a.m.
Arians had his first head coaching job at Temple and didn’t get another one until the Cardinals hired him. He doesn’t anticipate that he’ll want to return to coaching, but he still wants to work. Within the next few weeks, Arians hopes to find out if he’ll have an opportunity as a broadcaster.
Last season, Arians coached linebacker Haason Reddick, whom the Cardinals selected with the 13th pick in the 2017 NFL Draft to make him the fourth first-round pick in Temple history.
Reddick played all 16 games and made three starts for Arizona last season. He forced two fumbles and recorded 2.5 sacks. He initially played inside linebacker before injuries to other players forced him to move outside.
“For a rookie to learn two positions and play as well as he did was just amazing enough,” Arians said. “But he’s going to be, he’s going to be one of the really really good ones in the National Football League for a long time.”
Reddick was one of the players who helped Temple start 7-0 in 2015 before its loss to the University of Notre Dame on primetime television in front of a sold out Lincoln Financial Field.
Arians was “proud” to watch Temple’s success that year because he once doubted Temple would improve its facilities to what they are now.
Arians feels Temple’s program is in good hands with Collins. The two met in Phoenix shortly after Collins was hired.
Arians had several Temple connections on his staff in Arizona. Former Cardinals defensive backs coach Nick Rapone and former special teams coordinator Amos Jones coached with Arians at Temple. Former Arizona cornerbacks coach Kevin Ross played as a senior captain for the Owls in 1983.
Arians spent part of the weekend recalling memories of his Temple days. He regards former Owls running back Paul Palmer, who will be inducted in the College Football Hall of Fame later this year, as the best player he coached.
“Every time he talks when he’s around his guys, is kind of how I feel about this team,” Collins said. “They’re special kids. And one of his best parts of his life is when he was the head coach at Temple.”
“Probably the best fans that Temple has right now are the guys from 80 to 88, and they set a standard for representation of this university and pride in the university, the way they wear our stuff and the way they handle themselves,” Arians said. “And it makes me very proud to have been a part of it.”