Disconnect between vision and reality

Daz promises this will get fixed, but he doesn’t promise  it will get fixed by Saturday.

Bottom four teams in passing in FBS football.
Would more play-action passes on first down lift the Owls
out of that morass? Couldn’t hurt.

Watch Steve Addazio’s post-game press conferences the last four weeks and there appears to be, at least in my mind, a disconnect between vision and reality.
The reality is that Temple is a non-competitive football team right now as judged by the most objective meter: The scoreboard.
Addazio wasn’t positively giddy in the post-game, but his positive vision based on these abominably bad outcomes is kind of an odd take.
This team hasn’t been a good football team since after the UConn game and I think it’s gotten a lot worse.
So much worse that I’m very worried about it being able to beat an Army team that got blown out by Stony Brook.
That’s right. Stony Freaking Brook.
Army has gotten much better since Stony Brook, beating Boston College and blowing out a decent Air Force team.
Temple, on the other hand, looks lost out there and has nowhere near the swag it had against UConn and USF.

Temple fans have not had to endure a stretch like this since 2006.

Meanwhile, all over the country, teams with similar or worse talent than Temple are doing impressive things. Louisiana-Lafayette lost at Florida, 27-20, on a blocked punt with 36 seconds left. Ball State won at Toledo and also owns wins over Big East and Big 10 teams. Toledo beat the same Cincy team the Owls got blown out by on Saturday. Kent State beat Rutgers. Ohio beat Penn State.
If those teams can do great things, why can’t Temple even stay in a game anymore?
After four straight weeks of devastating losses, I don’t know if the Owls can get their swag back.
Young teams should be getting better, not worse, as the season rolls along but that hasn’t happened here.
I know Temple’s problems run much deeper than play-calling, but it appears to me that the Owls’ coaches have been their own worst enemies in the play-calling department. Better play-calling, at least in my view, would have put momentum-changing early points on the scoreboard Saturday and a lot of other Saturdays. That problem dwarfs any other one the Owls might have.
Here are the Owls’ first three plays against Cincy:

Run, Run, Run.
Yeah, I know it’s a broken record. It’s also a terribly unbalanced offense. No other BCS, FBS or FCS team operates an offense this way.
Even though I don’t think Chris Coyer was tackled by Munchie Legaux (he’s the Cincy backup quarterback), I’ve been writing all year until I’m blue in the face that this team is not equipped for that style of ball. I’ve been blue in the face and everywhere else for the last four weeks.

Here were my suggested first three plays against Cincy, published in a post last Monday:

TU25-Chris Coyer uses a play-action fake to Montel Harris to freeze the defense and rolls out and hits Ryan Alderman for a 6-yard gain near the sideline.
TU31-Coyer drops back to pass, then shovels it forward to Harris for an 8-yard gain.
TU39-Coyer runs right on a read option with Harris trailing. When the pitch guy goes for Harris, Coyer takes it upfield for +14, running out of bounds for ball security purposes.

First down has got to, at least SOMETIMES, be a play-action fake to Harris to freeze the defense and get a big gain in the passing game downfield. Then go back to the run. Instead,  Temple starts the game in this familiar pattern and it’s no surprise that it failed.

Here are Temple’s next three plays when it got the ball back:

Run, run, pass.
Talk about a buzzkill.
When you don’t throw the ball on first and second down, you get forced to throw it on third and then everybody in the stadium (and especially the defense) knows what you are going  to do. Is it any wonder Temple quarterbacks don’t get time to throw the ball?
Here were my suggested second three plays against Cincy:

TU25-Coyer drops back and hands off to Harris on the wraparound draw, good for +15
TU40-Coyer rolls out and finds Harris over the middle of the field, +10.
50-Coyer rolls out and DBs come up on run support so he floats the ball over DBs head to Fitzpatrick, who gains 20.

Run, Run, Run.Yeah, I know it’s a broken record. It’s also a terribly unbalanced offense. No other BCS, FBS or FCS team operates an offense this way

I think this package is a little more imaginative and a little harder to defend than Daz’s or Ryan Day’s (whoever was responsible). These are easy, confidence-building throws made away from a rush designed to get the QB in a rhythm.
But, as John Belushi might say, noooooooo, Temple’s got to stay in a stuck pattern of run, run, run or run, run, pass.
Meanwhile, after the game Addazio said he’s confident this thing will turn around.
The quickest way to do that is not to appeal to the players’ pride, but to be more creative in the offensive approach.
This team can only succeed if it spreads the ball around and makes teams defend the entire field.
That disconnect between vision and reality is almost as disturbing as the blowout losses have been but not nearly as hard to take as the unbelievably ill-conceived and stubborn play-calling week after week.


10 thoughts on “Disconnect between vision and reality

  1. I agree entirely on three critical areas of this piece; the owls (still) lack creativity in play calling, they don't have the personnel to compete at this level with a predictable offense (I'm not sure anybody does these days) and their coaching staff appears disconnected from reality. Which in the end all comes back to their coaching staff. Daz hasn't recruited the talent required to compete at the BCS level. I know it's early in his tenure and he's landed a few nice three-star kids but any top recruit watching this travesty of a season unfold will go running for PSU or Rutgers as fast as they can. This is a bad trend for developing team attitude and recruiting. The lack of creativity in play calling and schemes has been discussed on this blog ad nauseum. I will only add that Daz needs to try something different ASAP….and if you think army and Hawaii don't look at the owls as potential wins you're missing something. This young team is trending he wrong way, and I don't care if army lost to Stoney Brook (wherever that is..) the team I watched scare Rutgers today would handle the current version of the owls. I'm pretty much done with this season and honestly don't have much hope for next season either. This team is regressing, the coach fails to use his talent in optimal ways and he's in denial about how bad things are. Best wishes to you and the owls.

  2. Great post and I agree with all of your points. Seems like this team hit its hit point on offense against USF and on defense against UConn and has been regressing ever since. I thought that 6 maybe 7 wins was possible this year, maybe not as optimistic as yourself but looking the schedule in the BE the games against USF, UConn, Pitt and Syracuse looked good. The blow out by Pitt was totally unacceptable. For the remaining games I thought we could steal one and at least be losing like 21-13. I know everyone on Owlscoop keeps bringing up the talent level, playing the mighty BE teams week in and week out well I'm sorry I don't buy that anymore, we moved from the top tier of the non BCS conferences to the bottom tier of the BCS and by 2014 we may be in a conference not much more well regarded for football as the MAC if some of the stories about the new BCS structure come true. And speaking of talent are you going to tell me that Matt McGloin is that much better a QB then Chris Coyer, talent wise, I think that’s a matter of coaching which I'm beginning to have my concerns about with this team. And with all that being said I think next season will be much better, or at least I expect it to be. More experience returning to the Owls and what I believe will be a weaker conference from top to bottom with the new team coming in. Aside from Boise and maybe UCF the rest of the new members are all at a similar or the same level as Temple.

  3. McGloin was terrible last year, great this year.Coyer was great last year, terrible this year.Difference?Jay Paterno and Bill O'Brien and, maybe, Ryan Day and Scot Loeffler.O'Brien is a great QB coach and Jay Paterno wasn't.Loeffler carried enough "street cred" to let Daz make him the "head coach of the offense."Loeffler realized that, even with a great back like Bernard Pierce, you have to establish a fear of Temple passing in order to optimize Pierce's effectiveness. To do that, you throw the ball on first down, not third.I don't think Day is the head coach of the offense this year.I think Daz is.I think we see a different Coyer this year under Loeffler.

  4. only a matter of time before Loeffler gets canned. Despite Auburn's pathetic offense this year, he would be better than Day.Am I missing something, but was Kevin Newsome's incomplete pass to Sam Benjamin at the end of the game one of the best passes thrown by a Temple QB this year. Benjamin should have quote that ball. Welcome to Temple Football.

  5. Newsome's pass WAS the best pass of the game. I was so disgusted, I was about to leave 5 minutes earlier than that. I'm glad I stayed.

  6. I'm having serious concerns about Daz's ability to assess talent and develop schemes to accommodate his team's skills. We're all familiar with the time it took to recognize last years QB situation and I think we may be seeing a rerun this season. Regardless of the reason CC isn't getting it done and the team is in reverse. Daz is running the same option program at temple he ran with Florida with very different personnel. Additionally, he doesn't seem to have the talent to burn in the read option next season as he loses his only two proven BCS skill players.The defense is an even worse train wreck. He's got some very talented young linebackers but their scheme only serves to expose their weaknesses. Nate D and Matekevich need to be developed this season into leaders for the future. I think one of the big issues with this years team is the lack of a leader on the field. Daz should take a shot and go with juice at QB and put Newsome in the defensive backfield. I feel like I'm watching a repeat every week of the same bad movie. At least change the actors…

  7. Let's see. We've lost 35-10, 37-17, 45-17 and 34-10.Can we honestly say that replacing a safety with Kevin Newsome is going to make the final three scores any worse?No.The upside of the move more than offsets any downside.

  8. The problem with Newsome at safety is that I don't think he has the same break-away speed he had in HS. His long run 2 weeks ago looked good but it was definitely not an electric run. What disgusts me the most is that Daz is bent on running the ball ever play, yet when we got within the 10 all they did was pass! Montell was moving the stick so im not sure why we settled for the 3. That was one of the worst 3 downs I saw

  9. Is Kevin faster than Justin?Also, felt that the SECOND play near the goal line should have been a run to Harris, the first should have been a play-action fake to Harris and a run/pass QB option.The whole play-calling on Saturday (and seemingly every Saturday) was a clusterbleep. Now I know why Boston College's offense did so poorly last year and Temple's did so well.

  10. TFF I liked the second down play call at the goal line. It was one of the only creative plays we have seen all year. You and I have begged all year for more play action to loosen up the running game. Raise your hand if you expected us to pass from the 3 yard line?… anyone?… Bueller? Neither did I nor did Cincinnati. That is why is was open. Coyer just overthrew that ball by a mile and it wasn't even close. I actually turned to my friend and exclaimed "Coyer couldn't hit the broad side of a barn." His whole career he has struggled with overthrows but he seems to be getting worse. We don't like the play because it didnt work and all year we have been told we are a pounding running team and we had the ball on the 3 yard line. If we scored there I think we all exclaim finally they used the run to set up the pass, and wouldn't you know it was an easy TD. I understand where you are coming from as i was frustrated as well. But it wasn't a bad play it was awfully executed. That one finally wasnt on the coaching staff. However, I would have thrown play action on first down instead. It would have been even more wide open

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