As a rule, I’m not a big proponent of so-called trick plays.
This year, though, with this Temple team, I will make an exception.
You have two guys on offense who have a history passing the ball and passing it exceptionally who now have other responsibilities, Chris Coyer and Jalen Fitzpatrick. Coyer was an MVP quarterback in a bowl game. Fitzpatrick was the starting quarterback for the Big 33 team against Ohio. Coyer is now the H-Back. Fitzpatrick is now the wide receiver.
I expected to see Coyer take a simple pitchout from Connor Reilly and at least TRY to throw the ball downfield against Notre Dame last week. I wouldn’t have been surprised if Jalen Fitzpatrick threw off a reverse like he did for a first down against Louisville last year.
My feeling is that you use the whole bag of tricks, if needed, and I thought that was needed against Notre Dame.
It might not be needed against Houston, but one or two trick (I prefer to call them extra imaginative) plays might result in the score that turns a one-score game into Temple’s favor.
Villanova would have scored one less touchdown against Boston College if it didn’t try this play:
I love this play. Fortunately, Andy Talley didn’t listen when someone told him it might not work.
Sadly, we did not see those plays last week against Notre Dame. Some people say that’s because Brian Kelly would have been ready for it. We don’t really know, though, because they weren’t tried. Temple moved the ball well between the 20s. Would they have scored on one of these plays? What would have been the harm in trying?
That’s sort of like Edison telling someone he wants to experiment with this thing called electricity. “You don’t want to do that because Brian Kelly’s gas lamp lights work just fine.” Edison: “Yeah, OK. That’s a bad idea. I’m sorry I thought of it. What was I thinking?”
Now because head coach Matt Rhule didn’t use any of these type plays against Notre Dame doesn’t mean that he won’t. Remember, except for one of these plays below, Matt was the offensive coordinator or quarterbacks coach for these plays:
THE JOEY JONES DOUBLE-REVERSE PASS: Unquestionably, the best spiral thrown during a season when Chester Stewart was the starting quarterback. Jones got the ball on a double-reverse at Army and found Michael Campbell in the end zone for a touchdown. Temple won the game, 42-35. Thank God Matt Rhule (or Al Golden) had the guts to call it. Joey Jones’ birthday is a week from today. When you wish him a happy one, thank him for that pass.
THE ADAM DIMICHELE FAKE KNEELDOWN: At Navy in 2008, Temple was running out the clock near midfield. After a couple of runs into the line, the clock wound down to 21 seconds. DiMichele walked to the line in victory formation, feigned a knee, and before his knee touched the ground, he lifted up and found Bruce Francis (now open by 30 yards) for a score. As we learned later, ADM told the line judge he was going to do it so there would not be a quick whistle. Smart quarterback, that ADM.
THE TIM BROWN FLEA-FLICKER: After Tim Brown established himself as Temple’s top offensive weapon against Bowling Green, the Falcons were keying on him. Offensive coordinator George DeLeone took advantage of that (Rhule was an assistant at the time) by calling a quick handoff to Brown, who then pitched the ball back to DiMichele, who found 4.3 sprinter Travis Sheldon all alone behind the defense for six. (This was also used twice in Bruce Arians’ last game as a Temple coach, as Mike Palys caught two flea-flickers for long touchowns in a 45-28 win over Boston College.)
THE JALEN FITZPATRICK THROWBACK: This is a play I called for in TFF on June 4, 2012. It wasn’t used until the Nov. 8 game at Louisville. Who knew Daz read TFF, but he used it exactly like I drew it up: Fitzpatrick got the ball on a reverse, ran to one side of the field. With the Louisville defense over pursuing to his side, Fitzpatrick threw a pass across the field to Coyer, who had to come back a yard for it but still gained 15 yards and a first down. Had Coyer been able to catch it in stride, it’s six points. Against a team like Louisville, you’ve got to get your six points anyway you can get them.
Tomorrow: Game Preview