If anyone spent some time listening to the AAC coaches conference call on Monday, it’s pretty safe to sum up the Temple game plan against East Carolina in four simple words:
Same S*it, Different Saturday.
That’s because Temple head coach Matt Rhule included in his summary this sentence: “I think we always have to take a step back, catch our breath (and) not listen to anyone on the outside tell us what’s wrong.”
Anyone on the outside …. Temple football should have such problems.
Thanks largely to two-straight deflating losses coming off a 2-10 season, there is no “outside” when it comes to Temple football. Despite having three 24-hour sports talk stations, there has not been a single call taken on the air to talk about Temple football this season and probably few ever. Meanwhile, the town dissects every play in every Eagles’ game like it’s a frog in biology class.
The newspapers and internet are not any better. There is no critical coverage of Temple football in the Philadelphia Daily News or Philadelphia Inquirer, no columnist suggesting opinions on why the team was blown out in two-straight games. The coverage is pretty much straight forward game stories and an occasional feature.
The internet sites who follow Temple football, Owlscoop and Owlsdaily, range from being lapdogs for Rhule (Owlscoop) or right down the middle (Owlsdaily). The message boards on both sites seem to clamor for four more years of “patience” even if those four years are all losing ones.
“I think we always have to take
a step back, catch our breath
(and) not listen to anyone on
the outside tell us what’s wrong.”
_ Matt Rhule
Temple football has lapsed into irrelevance in its own city, quickly to be followed by apathy unless something big happens soon like a win over ECU or Penn State—with the emphasis on soon.
“Not to listen to anyone on the outside,” Rhule said.
What outside? There is no “outside” unless he’s talking about this site. If he is, we can assume Temple will be doing the same things this weekend that got it blown out in the last two.
So, as a favor to the fans who cannot bear to watch this train wreck anymore and are skipping the ECU game, we will give you a few of the offensive highlights now:
• Temple will give a half-hearted attempt to establish the run game with Jahad Thomas in the pistol behind P.J. Walker. When he gains one and two yards on his first two carries, it will abandon the run game and blame the blockers. “We have to do a better job blocking,” Rhule will say. “I will talk to them on Monday about it.” Nobody will remind Rhule he said the same thing after the prior two games.
• Temple will throw no less than five (5) two-yard passes on third-and-eight to a slow possession receiver, hoping he can break five tackles before getting to the sticks. None of them will work.
• Temple will not attempt a single toss sweep with Jahad Thomas running behind dynamic blockers in fullback Kenny Harper and tight end Colin Thompson. “I suggested to Marcus that was something we tried and worked to the tune of 268 yards and two touchdowns for Bernard Pierce behind Wyatt Benson and Steve Manieri at Navy,” Rhule would say after the game. “Marcus told me he never ran those kind of plays at Tennessee-Chattanooga and he’s not comfortable calling them and we left it at that.”
• Temple will line up three wides most of the time, but ECU will pick up all three in its nickel package and P.J. Walker will have no blocking back to protect him and one-half second to pick from three well-covered receivers. “P.J. is just going to have to thread the needle better,” Rhule will say afterward.
• The best blocking fullback in the AAC, Kenny Harper, will spend most of the day on the sidelines Saturday, waving a towel and cheering his teammates on as a backup tailback. “I thought Kenny showed great leadership on the sidelines,” Rhule will say afterward. “Even when it got to be 70-21, he was waving that towel higher than ever.”
- Lincoln Financial Field security will mistake Temple defensive coordinator Phil Snow for a homeless man and attempt to remove him from the sidelines before Temple coaches intervene. Meanwhile, the Temple coaches will miss an ECU touchdown.
• Temple will fair catch five punts and start all of its possessions from inside the 20 because Rhule forgets that Temple once had dynamic tackle-avoiding and ankle-breaking punt returners like Delano Green who made that an offensive play.
Yes, keep doing what you are doing. That sounds like a plan. Not a good one, but a plan nonetheless.