Owls’ coaches bring new culture

Temple University football hired an entirely new staff this offseason to cultivate a winning program, and the players are devoted to Drayton’s system.

Members of the Temple football team stand together after a game against the University of Houston on Nov. 13, 2021 | NOEL CHACKO / FILE

Temple University football has a new coaching staff and atmosphere that is centered around discipline. Most importantly, the coaches are focused on getting the players to believe in their process by gaining their trust, said head coach Stan Drayton. 

“The culture has definitely changed,” said sophomore linebacker Kobe Wilson. “I think it has changed for the better. We’re competing more than ever.”

Drayton’s priority is creating a close-knit team, and since he’s filled out his coaching staff, they’ve started building relationships with players through positional meetings and off-the-field bonding experiences, like team dinners and community service work.

Every day of practice, there is a vigorous routine and a high level of intensity. The players push each other in the weight room and on the field by getting loud, but the off-the-field bonding has created a more focused environment, said redshirt-sophomore running back Edward Saydee. 

Players are more focused on the minor details of plays and workouts in practice and are looking to rely on one another more often. 

“We’ve had meetings everyday about football, about life, and we are being around each other more,” Saydee said.

Away from the facilities, the program is participating in team social events. On Feb. 19, the team took part in a charity event at the Salvation Army located on Arch Street near 55th, where they built a piano for a family, unloaded trucks, organized canned goods and helped move boxes. 

Drayton hoped the community service would instill a broadened sense of respect and responsibility in the players. The hope is that respect and responsibility will translate into further initiative on the field, Wilson said. 

Besides community service, coaches are making it a priority to better understand the players they will be around daily. 

“We have to step outside the building,” Drayton said. “Take them out to dinner, walk them to class, whatever it may be, to establish a relationship and a level of trust.”

The Owls brought in a full slate of coaches to turn the program around when former head coach Rod Carey was let go on Nov. 29, 2021, after finishing with a 12-20 record in three seasons. 

Drayton, who was hired on Dec. 15, 2021, solidified his staff in January by hiring Danny Langsdorf as offensive coordinator and D.J. Eliot as defensive coordinator. 

“Everything we do from a systematic standpoint will support who we are as a university and as Temple TUFF,” said Drayton at his introductory press conference on Dec. 16, 2021.

The coaches come from different backgrounds and bring a multitude of qualities to North Broad, including experience with recruiting, personnel and in-game coaching. The players are already seeing the potential this new staff has in bringing more energy to the program, said redshirt-freshman running back Trey Blair. 

“Coaches are holding players accountable more,” Blair added. “Us players, we are going to be able to hold each other accountable because of it.”

Drayton, who came from a large program at the University of Texas, wants to build off the “Temple TUFF” moniker, even though it lost some of its value during the past three seasons due to former coaches finishing with losing records.

“Players holding each other accountable to a standard that goes beyond all the selfish concepts you have for yourself,” Drayton said. “Working together for a common goal, that’s Temple TUFF.”

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