Forty-six yards passing doesn’t cut it

Subliminal message No. 1 for AG

UNIVERSITY PARK _ I had three overriding thoughts after this long day and a three-hour tease they called a game today:
1) Forty-six yards through the air ain’t cutting it. I don’t know if it’s Matt Rhule’s fault or Al Golden’s fault or Chester Stewart’s fault, but 46 yards through the air ain’t cutting it and it’s got to be fixed. After the Navy game last year, I mused out loud if Al Golden had the err, intestinal fortitude, to make a quarterback change. It turned out he did and I applauded him for it. How many coaches have the stones to remove a quarterback who has won six straight games for underperforming?  It turned out Al Golden did. Vaughn Charlton’s numbers against Navy last year were 5 for 17, 36 yards, two INTs. Chester Stewart’s numbers against Penn State on Saturday mirrored those, except he threw one more INT. I’m sure Chester is a nice kid, just like Vaughn is but now, like then, I think it’s time for a quarterback change. If Mike Gerardi or Chris Coyer can’t get me 200 yards in the air against Army, we’ve got to rethink our quarterback recruiting. But I think either one of them gets two bills against Army. Chester Stewart is a one bill quarterback, if that. You just can’t win over the long haul in major college football these days without a viable passing attack and Temple did not display a viable passing attack in any of the first four games.

Subliminal message No. 2 for AG.

2) Temple is just not any better than an above-average team without The Franchise in there. When TF (or BP) is in there, Owls are a great team. Without him, Owls struggle and I mean struggle to win the MAC (and probably fall short). Keep our fingers crossed that BP returns next week or the week after. Matt Brown is a great third-down back, but he’s not a feature back. It’s no coincidence that, with St. Bernard/The Franchise/Bernie’s MAC Show in there, Temple had a lead. When he left, it all went to the crapper. That’s pretty much the way the season has played out so far.
3) Unless a miracle happens, the best-case-scenario for Temple fans is two straight trips to Detroit, one for the MAC title and one for the bowl sponsored by a Pizza company. I only have one word for that. Ugh. I will make one but not both trips. I just have to figure out which one. Probably the MAC title tilt, since I want to see the Owls prance around Ford Field with the MAC trophy secured. I’m sure the walk from the parking lot to the indoor stadium will be too cold for at least one Temple fan to make either trip.

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10 thoughts on “Forty-six yards passing doesn’t cut it

  1. Some thoughts from the breakfast room at the Best Western in State College.1. You're right. No passing game presently, and without Pierce, it's all to easy to defense Temple.2. My sense is that Golden wants to leave Temple ASAP, and the only way he takes a big step up is by beating the Penn States of the world. That said, he may willing to take risks, e.g., change quarterbacks, that other coaches in his circumstance might not. 3. But one can still savor for a moment yesterday's game. The quietude that descended at times over the sea of blue and white at Beaver Stadium, as the crazies processed the possibility that Penn State might lose to Temple and what that means for their future. 4. More to the point, the Temple defense played its heart out leaving the Penn State fans befuddled at times. A really nice feeling for those few Temple fans in the stands. Indeed, walking College Avenue looking for dinner after the game, you could sense that the Penn State fans knew that they barely escaped yesterday. Chins up Temple fans!

  2. Thanks, Brian. Well-said and positive comments.

  3. Brian,1) Spot on2) I disagree that Golden needs to beat the Penn States to move on. I think beating the UConn and winning more than 18 games over two season will get him an offer somewhere3/4) You guys played a hell of a game, this is a time to keep your Chins up. You guys went toe to toe with a football powerhouse and were it not for Injury you may have beaten them.Mike – On your 'worst case/best case' Keep in mind the MAC bowls are not dealt out by rank but by preference of the bowls/teams.Buffalo Went to Toronto because it was the best bowl for them. CMU went to the GMAC bowl because they did not want back to back Detroit bowls.So Assuming their are a couple of vacant bowl our there I would not be surprised to see Temple end up elsewhere.

  4. Excellent article by Daivid Jones of the Patriot-News linked below.EXCERPT: "…Here was his star running back Bernard Pierce, collector of 1,361 yards and 16 touchdowns last year really in just 10 games as a mere freshman, being helped off the field, putting no weight on his right leg. And still out there looking at third-and-7 from his own 10, was his quarterback, a junior in age only, a guy he clearly could not, and did not, trust.On the very next play, Chester Stewart validated that appraisal. He faded, looked, looked, scrambled woodenly under pressure, waving the ball around as bodies churned about him, then abruptly tried to shovel it to his unsuspecting back-up tailback Matt Brown. Fortunately, for Temple, the ball fell to the turf with defenders swarming about and the play ended with the 104,840 in Beaver Stadium howling their approval, smelling blood."Note:Al Golden has been a great football coach but his recruitment and choice of starting QBs has been horrendous. When reading article, be aware that Temple was the first choice of 1st team All-State QB and Big-33 roster member James Capello of Lebanon H.S. (Class of 2009) Capello received a full scholarship from IOWA STATE, after receiving word that he was not "good enough" for Temple. This is a FACT. I know LHS Head Coach Yonchiuk personally.Article link:http://blog.pennlive.com/davidjones/2010/09/penn_state_had_a_qb_temple_had.html

  5. I don't think there is an easy answer here. For one thing, you're making an evaluation after losing to Penn State, at Penn State. That's the best defense and the most difficult adversity the Owls will face this season, and quite possibly in the post-season, too. If you step back and look at how Stewart has performed as a starter this season, he led Temple to the Villanova win already and he's been at the helm when they beat the defending MAC champions. Asking to make a change under these circumstances is foolish. Secondly, how could you even begin to estimate that Coyer or Girardi would be an improvement? Third, Temple is a running team, and that's not going to change signifcantly whether Pierce is in the game or not. This is the identity Al Golden has instilled in this team. That's not suddenly going to change on a whim. You have to keep in mind that this is college football and it's all about the PROGRAM, not one or two players. The way, in fact the ONLY way to achieve sustained success at Temple is by building a program, which means you don't tinker with QBs just because "46 yards isn't going to cut it." If you want Temple to take the NEXT step forward, which would be a top 25 ranking and being able to actually go into a place like Penn State and win, then sure, the Owls will have to recruit better QBs. But, geez, how about having a little patience and appreciation for the miracle that is in process? (3) on your list is pretty sad if you can't even enjoy the possibility of a bowl game and a MAC championship, especially considering this program was GARBAGE for decades before Al Golden arrived. I suggest you enjoy winning while it lasts, because there's no guarantee Al Golden is going to stay over the long haul and who is to say that this isn't as good as it is going to get for Temple? Have you ever considered THAT possiblity? Maybe this will go back to being a losing team, and then you can get all the musical chair QBs you want.

  6. BTW, I overheard some folks talking at a State College bar last night about how they think Golden will be Paterno's successor but, to seal the deal, Temple needs to beat Penn State. Not certain I agree, but interesting chatter.

  7. Mike – I enjoyed reading your blog this week. Great stuff. I've watched every Temple game this season, and it is pretty clear Chester Stewart is at best an average QB. I do not know much about the rest of your personnel, so I will take your word for it that it may be time for a qb change. He day a rough day at Penn State against a pair ofa corners that I believe will go down as two of the best at PSU in recent memory (Lynn/Morris).I do agree with Jacob though regarding your third point. Al Golden, his staff, and these players have turned Temple from the joke of college football to the favorite to win the MAC. I'm not sure how you could be upset about the Little Caesars Bowl (I believe that is what you are talking about) being the best case possible. Wasn't that the best case at the beginning of the season? You needed OT to beat Villanova and CMU. Were you expected a BCS invite? I know I sound like a jerk, but I'm not trying to be one. Temple football is on the right path, and I think sooner than later you will be knocking off top 25 teams and heading to better bowls. Don't you think there should be little more patience? Anyway gl the rest of the season. I hope Pierce is OK. I may avoid calling him the Franchise though with all of the NCAA investigations down south.

  8. Thanks, Matt, Jacob, Tim, et al. …First off, Jacob:About Chester Stewart: I was talking about his four-game body of work, not just the Penn State game. Against Villanova, he had a terrific game-winning drive and a great long TD pass to Michael Campbell. Those were two of Temple's 28 drives that game. Where was he on the other 26? Disappeared.Against CMU, he was worse.Against UConn, it took a defensive strip and a 49-yard punt return to win that one.Chester?Pretty much disappeared for that game, too.Matt,As far as the bowl game, yeah, if Temple got anything out of CS, it would have beaten Penn State and possibly gone 12-0. Little Caesars would not have been in the picture. I don't see how you can keep a 12-0 Temple team out of a BCS bowl, especially with PSU and UConn on the sked.

  9. People, tell me if I'm wrong, but I really doubt AG wants to leave TU ASAP. The man has turned down jobs in the SEC (Tennessee, "the other TU", the PAC-10 (UCLA), and the Big East (Cincinnati), and he JUST agreed to a 5 year contract. And Mike, it pains me to say it, but I absolutely agree with both your assessment of Temple's recruitment of QBs and Stewart's performance (if he had just managed the game and didnt make horrible, QB 101 decisions that led to INTs we still may of won it)Lastly, I know it was just a knee jerk reaction, but as I was sitting alone, the only cherry in that sea of white and blue, I couldnt help thinking that, like you said Mike, without BP all we are is what we were before (sans a greatly improved D), that all AG has done was improve our defense and have a star RB fall into his hands.

  10. He'll leave for PSU and, maybe, Maryland. I don't see any other potential openings he's interested in…as far as Chester's performance, just saw the replay on the B10 network and those were the three absolutely worst reads of defenses on throws I've ever seen in one game.Hopefully, Rhule and Golden looked at it, too.

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