Report: Temple prefers candidates with defensive backgrounds to be next football coach

Temple is interested in Texas A&M University defensive coordinator Mike Elko and University of Miami defensive coordinator Manny Diaz, reported.

Temple fans cheer during the Owls’ 35-14 road win against the University of Maryland on Sept. 15. | LUKE SMITH / THE TEMPLE NEWS

When former coach Matt Rhule left Temple University for Baylor University in 2016, the administration hired a defensive coach to replace him.

After Geoff Collins’ departure to Georgia Tech last week, Temple might go the same route. Temple has a “clear preference” for a coach with defensive expertise, reported on Monday.

Temple has interest in Texas A&M University defensive coordinator Mike Elko and University of Miami defensive coordinator Manny Diaz, the report added. Neither has been a college head coach.

Elko is in his first year at Texas A&M. The Aggies (8-4, 5-3 Southeastern Conference), who are the No. 19 team in the College Football Playoff Rankings, are tied for the 15th-best red zone defense in the Football Bowl Subdivision. Texas A&M has allowed 26.3 points per game.

Elko coached against Temple in 2016 and 2017. He served as Wake Forest University’s defensive coordinator from 2014-16, including the Demon Deacons’ Military Bowl win in his final season. In 2017, Elko coached the University of Notre Dame’s defense, which held the Owls to 5-of-19 on third and fourth downs in its season-opening win.

Diaz is in his third year as Miami’s defensive coordinator. The Hurricanes (7-5, 4-4 Atlantic Coast Conference) have the No. 15 scoring defense in the FBS this season, allowing 18.2 points per game. They also have the second-best total defense in the FBS, conceding 268.3 yards per game. Only the University of Michigan allowed fewer yards per game.

On Sunday, the Inquirer reported that Ohio State University defensive coordinator and associate head coach Greg Schiano, University of Alabama co-offensive coordinator and wide receivers coach Josh Gattis and Alabama analyst Butch Jones expressed interest in replacing Collins.

On Monday, Jones received an offer to become the associate head coach at the University of Maryland, reported.

Temple special teams and tight ends coach Ed Foley is the interim coach and will lead the Owls during the Independence Bowl on Dec. 27. He will also interview for the job.

Baylor University assistant head coach and defensive backs coach Francis Brown, a former Temple assistant, was granted an interview on Monday, OwlsDaily reported.

“We will be exhaustive and deliberate in the process yet move as quickly as possible,” athletic director Patrick Kraft said in a press release last week.

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