Temple: Not bad, but Not Good

How did the Owls allow this to happen and not be able to do it themselves, with a more athletic tight end like Romond DeLoatch? Good question.

As you can see in the comments in one of the posts below, I was having a little back and forth with a well-known TV news anchor who also happens to be a fellow Temple grad.
We both interpreted Matt Rhule’s “I won’t coach tight” comment the same way:  That Rhule would use everything in his bag of tricks to beat Notre Dame on Saturday.
I didn’t see a bag of tricks.
I didn’t even see a trick.
TO ME, if you have a former quarterback on your team who was good enough to be a bowl game MVP at the position playing H back now, you’ve got to use his unique talent to try at least how many halfback passes or flea flickers?
I’d say three.

Ryan Alderman caught everything thrown his way ... unfortunately, the same cannot be said for all other TU receivers Saturday.

Ryan Alderman caught everything thrown his way … unfortunately, the same cannot be said for all other TU receivers Saturday.

Otherwise, you are letting Brian Kelly off the hook.

Who knows if Chris Coyer could have thrown one, two or three touchdown passes off pitch outs or quick outs behind the line of scrimmage from Connor Reilly? I would have liked to have seen him try, at least I know that. I wish I could give all of our receivers Ryan Alderman’s hands and Khalif Herbin’s speed and Deon Miller’s size, too.

AT least three trick plays early of some kind would have shown Notre Dame you came to win, not just play. How many trick plays did Toledo hit on to beat Temple in 2011? If you guessed three, you’d be correct.

If you have a wide receiver who was the starting QUARTERBACK in the BIG 33 game, you’d try at least how many throwback passes?
I’d say one, maybe two, but I’ll settle for one. Notre Dame has a lot of great athletes, but it also has an over pursuing defense and the way to score against those kinds of defenses is to catch the pursuit going the other way.

WE all have to realize who Temple played on Saturday, but that’s also why the game plan thinking should have been outside the box. This team that Temple played might be good enough to beat Michigan next week, a team that hung 59 points on Central Michigan today.
Still, you play the game to win as Herman Edwards says, not to keep it close. I guess if you are a gambler who bet on Temple you are more than satisfied with a 28-6 loss. Closer-than-expected losses do nothing for me. Nothing.

I'd rather have no first downs and win.

I’d rather have no first downs and win.

As far as Connor Reilly goes, I liked what I saw as far as poise, but not points.  To me,  the most impressive stat a quarterback can produce, other than wins, is touchdown passes. I want to see a lot of touchdown passes from Connor Reilly going forward. Don’t care that much about yards between the 20s. If the Notre Dame quarterback can do it, so should the Temple quarterback.
On defense, kudos to Phil Snow for keeping Notre Dame to under 38 points _ that was Snow’s average yield per game for two of the last three years as defensive coordinator at Eastern Michigan. If Snow was brought here to clean up Temple’s penchant for giving up the big  play, he failed three times on Saturday.  THAT just can’t happen against Houston. It just can’t. How the heck was a 275-pound tight end able to outrun faster Temple safeties and cornerbacks for a touchdown?
While Temple covered the spread, I’m not a happy Owl camper (I never bet on a Temple game and I never will because covering these large point spreads bring me no satisfaction). This was a big chance for a marquee win on a national stage and I would have just like to see the Owls pull out all the stops.
That they didn’t pull out any stop was confusing, perplexing and bewildering.
There are 11 more games left and many stops left to be pulled. I don’t want to have to pull them, but when you have to pull them, they need to be pulled.
TODAY, above all days, they needed to be pulled.



37 thoughts on “Temple: Not bad, but Not Good

  1. any update on injuries? we can’t play man defense, nor should we even try until we have a reliable pass rush and faster corners. the O line played well against one of the top defensive fronts in the country. CR has poise and can throw the football. absolutely terrible first quarter and give the Temple team credit for not letting it get real ugly…., what happened to Cooper? the white helmets are too ‘soft’ for a tough guy team….., is Miller ever going to play at WR? this team should beat Houston and go undefeated in September

  2. Our pass rush was atrocious. Non-existent. If AROB was here, he would have had a couple. No Arobs in sight yet. No update on injuries until the team comes back.

  3. So Mike — yes, I too enjoyed our chat earlier. My takeaway here? I’m mostly encouraged! New coach, new QB, new systems….against last year’s #1 — a respectable showing, IMHO. Lots to work on: woeful secondary performance, weak pass rush, no placekicking game (oh Brandon, how we miss thee…), and forgettable game by J. Fitzpatrick. But sweet PLUSES: BIG kudos to Connor Reilly and the O line! Wow. One of the biggest, baddest defensive fronts in America…..and Connor has beaucoup time to throw? Great. And he zings some nice throws. Lots to look forward to there. Signs of promises from Zaire and Jamie at tailback. Not enough Coyer, though! You’re right — where were the gadget plays involving Coyer, or anyone for that matter? Overall, I’m OK with it. Assuming ND is as good as advertised — assuming — TU fans should feel OK with this. That’s my take.

  4. Good take, rob, but I am a little tired of other teams (Ohio, Northern Illinois, etc., etc.) getting their big wins while we squander opportunities against Penn state the last two years and now Notre dame this year. we had a bazooka in our arsenal in Coyer and we used pop guns. coyer is a kid who should be able to run for 100, pass for 100 and catch for 100 any given game. If he’s going to be used like this, he’s not going to be able to do one of those three.

  5. I respect Satterfield for not using the gimick plays. They can easy cause an INT or fumble. Satterfield went in with a game plan and stuck with it; for awhile there CR was methodically picking apart the ND defense, and our O-line was giving great protection. Didn’t they only give up 1 sack all game?? PS Kyle friend was easily the games MVP, and Fitzpatrick may not have even caught the pitchout for a fleaflicker/reverse throwback! He couldn’t catch a cold. Fitzpatrick should be thanking Cooper’s misses for bailing him out and taking all the negative comments!
    Lastly I hope our DB recruits all watched this game and saw how they could start from day 1 next season! Nicholson/Dravon Henry are dumb if they don’t want to come here and start from day 1

  6. I don’t think that’s Satterfield’s call; it’s rhule’s call. If toledo took that approach (worried about an INt or a fumble), it would have never scored three touchdowns on an over pursuing defense. when you come up against a more talented team, like ND is, you don’t play them straight up. You do, if you want to “just” keep it close. You take chances if you want to win. I want to win.

  7. and, if Jalen can’t catch passes, then maybe it’s alderman’s turn to take his place or Herbin’s. Next guy in …

  8. All in all, not the complete embarrassment that it could have been after the first 2 drives. How is there nobody deep down the middle of the field right before half time? Connor Reilly made a couple of nice throws, but has a lot of work to do. He needs to learn how to throw with touch. Not enough arc on his deep ball. And the kicking game is a joke. If things fall right 7-5 is possible, but need to improve on a lot. I love Rhule and I love the direction this program is going.

  9. Lots of things to be encouraged about:
    CR’s poise, zaire’s explosiveness, OL
    Lots of things to be disappointed in:
    placekicking, pass rush, secondary,
    Adam DiMichele also had poise, but he also threw gobs of touchdown passes. I’ll take the gobs over the poise if I had to chose between the two.

  10. I didn’t go in today thinking we were gonna win. I don’t think it would have done anything for us, even if we did win. We put up triple digit offensive yards and the NBC analysts were basically ragging on ND for not pitching a 50-0 shutout. That’s all that would have happened if Temple won; it would have been written off as a fluke.

    Also, why the free pass for Fitzpatrick and Cooper in the post? If anyone cost the team a shot at the marquee victory, it’d be those two. Fitzpatrick had dropped passes, botched punt return, so on, and so forth. Several drives died because of him. Cooper? Cost us 7 points straight up, and forced us into a TD or nothing situation for every down afterward. Also, on a lot of these ND scoring touchdowns, our DBs were just straight, outclassed. There was no strategy to it; they were just faster and stronger.

    I didn’t think it was such a terrible game. Would the win have been nice? Yeah. But we got to see a lot, and the fact is…a lot of these big plays cost us, but again…there were 2 tds in the first two drives, and then nothing for almost 2 quarters. This isn’t the kind of domination that that Rutgers, Louisville and Cincinnati laid down on the ‘genius’ Chuck Heater last year, and it wasn’t the same bull-headed offense that Addazio put up. We saw passes, scrambles, runs, all mixed up. I’m feeling good going forward..there are only…maybe 2 or 3 guaranteed losses on the schedule. Season could still be a good one. I’m willing to wait and see.

    • The dbs must play zone. They simply aree unable to play man to man. It could have been worse. Luckily, the ND QB was a bit shaky at times.

  11. I try not to criticize the INDIVIDUAL kids, just things like coaching schemes and units like the dl .and dbs … OL WAS GREAT … wr (except for alderman) were not. cooper’s dad was not a great placekicker, but a good one. I refuse to believe because son of cooper had a bad game he’s not going to be at least as good as his dad. will he ever be McManus or bitterlich or Mike-Mayer or Poklemba? don’t know. I’m not encouraged by the red zone offense, either. I thought it would have been little more imaginative. I thought we’d see wayne Hardin-type plays out there at least. None of wayne’s staples (wraparound draw, throwback pass, flea-flicker). got to do those type of things against better personnel.

  12. I believe there is one player whom has not been mentioned on this blog that I feel has played himself out of possibly joining the NFL – Anthony Robey. This is a defensive back that was described in the preseason as a potential NFL prospect. Unfortunately for him, I believe his performance today may have cost him that view. I really do not know if the defenses scheme was to keep all the defensive backs from Temple 10 to 12 yards off the ball, But Robeys effort along with the other defensive backs was a disgrace to watch as an alum. Cooper and Fitzpatrick both had shameful efforts today as well but Temples defensive backs were an embarrassment.

    • That was the worst game I’ve ever seen Anthony play. I don’t know what happened. That’s not the Anthony Robey I’ve seen for the last three years. He’s just got to stick his man a lot better than that. Nick Visco made 96 percent of his extra points in high school and he got to kick a lot of them. That’s the highest-percentage EVER for a Pennsylvania kicker with that many attempts. Don’t know why he’s the LONG FG specialist when he has that kind of history kicking PATs.

  13. Based on today’s games, all of a sudden 6 wins and bowl eligibility doesn’t look that tough:

    – Fordham is Fordham (I-AA squad and not even a good one)
    – Idaho, one of the worst programs in FBS, gets demolished by North Texas
    – we’ve had Army’s number for years and they don’t look any better
    – UConn gets beat soundly by Towson (there’s a coach that might not make it through the season)
    – Memphis is Memphis (9 total wins in last 4 seasons as a C-USA squad)

    So with all that, Temple just has to get 1 more win out of these 3 decent possibilities – Houston, SMU, or UCF (or perhaps steal one from one of the AAC favorites – Louisville, Cincy, or Rutgers).

    • The formula remains the same to get to 7-5: sweep the terrible four (Idaho, Memphis, army, fordham) and win close ones against Uconn, Houston and Rutgers – yes, Rutgers. Beating RU would erase a lot of my disappointment about giving up three easy and I mean easy touchdowns to ND. That should have never happened. Houston is the most important game of the year and I’m not just saying that because it’s the next one.

      • After this past weeks games I think the formula you lay out for getting to 7-5 is very achievable. Given that we are 9-4 overall against Uconn (should be 10-3) and their loss to Towson not sure if that one still falls in the “close ones” category. I’m looking at a potential sweep of Idaho, Army, Fordham, Memphis and Uconn, close wins against Houston, SMU and Rutgers to maybe even get to 8-4. Wish we still had USF on the schedule this year rather than UCF

  14. @Nick. To say a win over notre dame on national tv wouldn’t do anything for the program is a ridiculous statement. I imagine your still smarting from the loss and not rationally thinking about things, but on to the game…

    The good: CR played a very good game, especially for a kid with zero experience. He moved the team well, limited his big mistakes to almost none and showed tremendous poise under one of the most glaring lights in sports. You can’t fault him for fitzpatricks stone hands or the woes in the kicking game. The OL also played an exceptional game against top-tier talent as the owls racked up some nice yardage and chewed up some clock.

    The bad: last years secondary was one of the worst in the country and this years may be only marginally better. The only reason they weren’t completely torched was because Rees missed several wide open throws and ND had the game under control from the outset. Simply put, we don’t have the athletes back there to compete with those in the top-tier programs. The performance of the kicking game speaks for itself.

    Overall: meh. I don’t think ND considered this game much more than a scrimmage that was under control from the outset. I thought our kids played well but we clearly don’t have the depth of talent to compete seriously with the nations top teams. This will become evident when we lose games we ‘should win’ due to giving up big plays to teams of comparable talent. I expect many have similar conversations about ‘if our corners didn’t get beat’ or we didn’t miss that kick. All the same, a very nice debut for coach, QB and the OL.

    • Agree with your analysis. My big concern on defense is are there any other options at CB. The D seemed to be playing a lot of man coverage so maybe we need to go to more zone coverage and give the CBs more safety help along with putting in more blitz packages. With the teams remaining on the schedule we are going to be facing strong passing games from Houston, UCF, Louisville and based on Thursday’s game Rutgers.

      • good point about Ucf …. If george O’leary didn’t fudge his resume, he’d probably be the Nd coach now … he’s that good a coach. Ucf does what temple should do to these lesser teams … dominate them. against better personnel like Nd, we play with so little confidence sometimes and yesterday (particularly in the kicking game and secondary) we played with zero confidence. that’s not how you win. You’ve got to show up, throw a few halfback passes and fake punts (like villanova does) to put these defenders on their heels. we let Nd did in and you can’t do that.

  15. good analysis. loved the use of the word “meh” … to me, the key going in was to significantly change the national perception of temple. I don’t think 28-6 significantly changes the national perception and I would have liked to seen Notre Dame earn all of those easy touchdowns. As danny pommels (having trouble with caps key) said on Comcast Sports Net this morning, “way … too … easy” . way … too … easy … is right.

  16. also, ariel, your comment is in the “about” section … don’t know if you meant to leave it here but send any photos to: templefootballforever@gmail.com … thanks, I was looking for Mike’s Place on the internet and the photos were just of a band in front of a stage so I ran a photo of the newly refurbished MItten Hall (TPAC now) instead.

  17. Mike – I want to thank you for bearing the torch for temple football in such an insightful and passionate manner. I agree with your emphasis on the importance of this week’s game. The owls need to show we’re not the same old program by bouncing back and addressing some of the opportunities from last week’s game. We can improve the kicking game in a week if Cooper is able to get his head in the game.

    The athlete issue that plagues our secondary isn’t going away this season and this is where the coaches need to earn their keep. It’s not our kids fault they’re a step slower or a few inches shorter than the bcs guys they’re playing against so our coaches need to mix it up. If the owls have a shot at a bowl game it’s going to take some imaginative schemes on both sides of the ball and a much better kicking game.

    We also need to see if the d-line can get penetration and wreak some havoc on lesser opponents. You can’t draw a conclusion on their potential based on one game in the most inhospitable of stadiums. However, you should be able to get a pretty good read based on a home game against a more evenly matched opponent coming off a loss. If the line gets pressure the d backfield looks much better.

    Peace and keep up the feat work.

    • thanks, dayowl, when Arob Jr. (averee robinson) had 3 sacks against our offensive line in the c and w game (an OL that Nix could do nothing against) and sean daniels was tough enough to get NO. 1, we showed no toughness in putting rees down. that was absolutely the key to the game. we needed six, seven, eight sacks and we got one. we’ve got to rachet up the pass rush.

  18. “Can’t wait”, remember that quote from a NY Jet several years ago? that is the attitude we must adopt this week going into the Houston game…, same old Temple, or new day Owls? So what if our defense is not going to be great.., we can and will score more points this year than we have in the last three.., Cooper must show up…, great comments by Dayowl87!!!

  19. If cooper doesn’t show up, visco will. don bitterlich played three years at temple and NEVER missed an attempt inside the 40. Not once and he never kicked a football before he got to temple. cooper’s dad missed a big fg against wva, then hit the game-winner the same game. You can’t be an all-american kicker and not bounce back. Kid kicked 38 fgs at Mainland. He’s going to get the stroke back. Heck, even tiger woods had a slump (but he’s no don bitterlich).

    • This game was a monumental stage for temple to potentially bring in better recruits. Unfortunately for Temple, one of their most talented recruits, safety DaeJuan Funderburk, has decommitted from Temple. If I can say anything to Funderburk, I would plead with him that after watching that game, Temple desperately needs someone of your talent to fill the void next season. Playing Notre Dame on a national stage like that is kind of a double edge sword. And this time I think it may have hurt Temple.

  20. I think there’s something particularly distasteful about schools continuing to recruit kids after they’ve already verbaled to another school. I don’t like when Temple does it and I don’t like when other schools do it. There should be an early signing period and the normal Feb. signing period. That way, schools are rewarded for doing early homework and legwork on recruits and no such thing as a soft verbal.

  21. The problem is that when you get in the red zone, you need running backs that keep the linebackers guessing. This creates space between the defensive backs and linebackers. The safe short passes can get you to the red zone but you have to mix it up when you get there.

  22. Only two things about your assessment I disagree with:

    – Six, Seven, or eight sacks would have been absolutely unreal against that front five of ND those kids are big strong and physical. Three would have been nice, and could have made a difference.

    – Second thing I disagree with is seriously think 3 trick plays against arguably the best coached team in the nation would work? These kids are too well coached by Coach Kelly and his staff. ND would have stayed home and covered the backside well on any play.

    The real issue was giving up those quick 14 pts, and failure to convert on any red zone ops in the first half. Would have been nice to see Rhule actually run his intended offense in that second half, but the clock was against him and running couldn’t be a first priority.

    Great blog though! I’ll have my tailgate for Houston set up at 9:15 to catch the fly-in. I am now a season ticket holder thanks to the 2 for $150 deal early in the summer, and I hope more people caught that special. I am quite optimistic we can have 30k for the first game, GO OWLS!

  23. Thanks, but I seriously do think AT LEAST two trick plays would have worked. 1) the quick toss to H-Back Coyer, who starts to the left like he’s running, then dumps the ball over the heads of the defenders; 2) throwback (behind line) to Fitzpatrick, a former All-State QB, who throws downfield for six. Not trying to do that is worse than trying. What harm would it have done? Heck, you don’t do things thinking they’d fail. Why try any play then? You have a unique H-back who can throw. Use all of his talents to make the D honest. Villanova would have never scored on that trick punt if it didn’t try. I love teams who at least try.

  24. sad, JLPG. Nobody’s word means anything anymore. If I committed to Temple or Harvard or anywhere else, I would definitely keep my word. Nothing would make me change it.

  25. Temple needs to build a stadium in North Philly someplace that is halfway decent. If does not have to be huge. Just really modern.

  26. Catch-22 here. In order to build the stadium, they must get 35K crowds. In order to get 35K crowds, they must build the stadium. We’re doing a lot of gambling on winning, which Temple must do. The BOT won’t build a stadium if they keep getting 22K at the Linc. Needs to be a dramatic uptick in the fannies in the seats.

    • Good point. However, I think that maybe a small stadium that holds about 20K that is similar to some of these MLS stadiums. Not big but modern seating and good vendors. An open end zone seating set up so that students who want to sort of “hang out” while watching will be encouraged to attend games just as a way to be outside hanging out with other students. The endzone would have regular seating but there would be some sort of gathering space in the middle that is open space. Temple can play most games there but then if there is a “marquee matchup” play it at Lincoln Financial.

  27. 20K won’t fly in any FBS conference not named the MAC. Minimum seating allowed would be 32-35K and that’s pushing it. Ideal would be the size of tne new Houston stadium (40K).

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