Before Syracuse got on the Carrier Dome turf on Saturday, two of the up-and-coming coaches of the MAC (as well as two potential Orange hires), Al Golden and Turner Gill, did battle down the Thruway in Buffalo. Golden’s Temple Owls were bested by the Bulls, 30-28 on a last-second 35 yard prayer from quarterback Drew Willey.
For those that didn’t watch the game, it was very entertaining. I’ve heard a lot about both of these teams, but haven’t seen much of them until now (I caught a little bit of Temple’s game against UConn, but not enough to know what kind of team they really are). I was very impressed by both. Both teams feature impressive offenses. Temple runs a no-huddle spread (a la Northwestern), while Buffalo runs a pass heavy offense with a little shotgun, but also features a pretty good ground attack.
Both teams made stupid mistakes down the stretch- penalties on both sides, a missed field goal and a kickoff out of bounds by Temple to set up the winning score- that could possibly be attributed to bad coaching. But I think for the most part both of these coaches had their teams prepared and put them in a spot to win the game.
Gill and Golden have taken programs that were horrendous and given them a shot to succeed in the MAC. Gill has a great offensive mind, and as the head coach and offensive coordinator I think he could help improve the Syracuse offense. The only question is would he keep Mitch Browning around or just run things on his own. Gill is a Nebraska legend and interviewed for their open position last year before losing out to Bo Pelini. If given the Syracuse job it would appear that his “dream” job with the Cornhuskers is occupied for the next few years. He could build up his BCS resume by turning around the Orange.
Golden is a defensive coach who uses a 3-4 scheme that has been successful at Temple and previously when he was the defensive coordinator at Virginia. His spread attack seems promising as well, and could work well in the Big East.
Now obviously there is no current opening at Syracuse, but we all know (hope) what is coming. Either of these coaches would be good fits. They have ties to the Northeast and have had success so far in their current rebuilding projects. Hopefully they would jump at a chance to move up to the Big East and bring back some respect for the Syracuse program.