The road to seven wins

Matt Rhule’s teleconference on Monday.

Before the season started, even Stevie Wonder could see how the 2013 season broke down for the Temple Owls.

There were five “probable” wins on the schedule in Fordham, Idaho, Army, Memphis and UConn and three “probable” losses on the schedule in Louisville, Cincinnati and Notre Dame.

Click on photo of George O'Leary for five possible college football upsets this week.

Click on photo of George O’Leary for five possible college football upsets this week.

The key to a winning season, then, comes down to holding serve in those five games and splitting two of the four remaining games: UCF, Rutgers, Houston and SMU.

Well, since Houston was a winnable game left on the table, the Owls have to win two of three. I think Rutgers is a very gettable game and maybe SMU. I don’t think the Owls beat UCF, even at home.

If they don’t utilize their offensive weapons better or fix the kicking game, it’s just not going to happen for Temple this season. I don’t see how when you have a Chris Coyer, a Zaire Williams, a Khalif Herbin and a Jalen Fitzpatrick, you can’t put those players in a better position to score than you have the first two games. (Although Herbin did not play the first two games.)

That has got to be fixed.


I haven’t seen very many good
offensive plays in the first two games.
Coyer running the ball off a pitchout
would be a good play.
Another is getting Coyer
a simple pitch out to throw
the ball downfield.
Heck, pitching the ball out
to Coyer 10 times a game
(five throws, five runs)
is a better play than any
10 I’ve seen so far this season.

Heck, even the probable wins might be in jeopardy if the Owls don’t start lighting up the scoreboard the way they are capable of going forward. This is a very good offensive line but some solid skill position people have been under-utilized so far.

The defense, which held Notre Dame to one touchdown in the second half, looks like it’s good enough to keep the Owls in the games against just about everyone left else on the schedule. Phil Snow has been a better defensive coordinator than I thought he would be.

So it’s mostly about fixing the offense now.

John Chaney became a Hall of Fame coach by consistently getting the ball  in the hands of his scorers. Matt Rhule is going to have to do a better job of getting the ball in the hands of his scorers.

You can talk all you want about the offensive coordinator, Marcus Satterfield, doing this but only Rhule knows what many of those guys have done in the past and he’s got to dictate the flow of the ball. When you have John Christopher throwing the ball, that’s a bad play and not just because it didn’t work but because Fitzpatrick and Coyer are better passers than Christopher is.

Islamabad checking in; uh-oh.

Islamabad checking in; uh-oh.

Satterfield might not know that, but Rhule certainly does.

I haven’t seen very many good offensive plays in the first two games. Coyer running the ball off a pitchout would be a good play. Another is getting Coyer a simple pitch out to throw the ball downfield.  Heck, pitching the ball out to Coyer 10 times a game (five throws, five runs) is a better play than any 10 I’ve seen so far this season. A reverse to Khalif Herbin probably will work, as well as a bubble screen with him behind a couple of blockers. A fade pass in the end zone to 6-6 wide receiver Deon Miller would be hard to stop. Getting the ball 20 times to a weapon like Zaire Williams behind this offensive line would also help put points on the board. None of those approaches have been used yet. Maybe they are saving all of that for the bowl game.

If so, there won’t be one.

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6 thoughts on “The road to seven wins

  1. Mike, well written and well thought out. I couldn’t agree more if I were writing it myself. The weapons are there, the line is respectable, the WRs are fast, the QBs can throw and there is moderate depth at the skilled positions. This looks like a great equations for lots of points but as we’ve seen, the red score offense has been anemic. I love how Temple has opened the field up. I love the balanced attack. That’s why we Temple faithful are confused and frustrated. These men are playing their hearts out, regardless of the scores. We’re just not crisp yet. Unfortunately, in a world that demands results now, those efforts are overlooked. I don’t feel we’ve had an acceptable 2 weeks in this season, but to play devils advocate, it wasn’t a lack of effort, it was simply execution in too many aspects of the game. I pray that Fordham is a game that helps iron out some wrinkles and provides confidence to his team. Fordham is 2-0, with a big win over Villanova last week. However, Temple is a major D1 program, and if it wants to head to greener pastures, you must beat the teams you’re suppose to beat. Fordham being one of those teams. I expect better execution this week, I expect them to have a purpose this week and I expect a win. That’s what they should expect as well. Get this ship straightened out and hit the gas!

  2. I expect to see more than a half-assed offensive approach this weekend. Sorry, but the offense against both ND and Houston was half-assed and had little to do with the players and a lot to do with the approach.

  3. Agreed the approach was bad, but the play on the offensive side of the ball was bad as well. I don’t love Connor Reilly’s decision making. He never throws the ball to the running back out of the backfield. And Jalen Fitzpatrick has been awful. Which leads me to my next point. Everybody is killing the kickers for missing kicks, but the rest of the special teams have been terrible also. Fitzpatrick never gets the ball out to the 20, much less into good field position. He is fumbling punts. His head is not in the game. But I think the most overlooked glaring weakness is our kickoffs. Layton can’t get the ball past the 5 yard line. He has been a solid punter, but field position on kickoffs has been terrible. Houston average start after a kickoff – 29 yard line – no kick got past the 6 yard line. Temple average start after Fitzpatrick return – 15 yard line. That is not insignificant!

  4. True. Layton has been a great punter, but I thought Cooper would have been able to give us some end zone kickoffs. Really miss Brandon McManus in all phases of the game. Really telling that we have to use a punter on kickoffs. Fitzpatrick, I think, is doing too much. Put Herbin back there on punts and kickoffs.

  5. To tell you the truth Im not so sure I want to waste Viscos redshirt. What if he misses 3 straight too! Then it will have all be for nothing. We need to just ride it out with Cooper like PSU did with Ficken. Ficken is among the best kickers in the BIG10 now after his disastrous 3 game start in 2012. This just proves how much we NEED a good kicker, so it should make us realize we need that extra year out of Visco!

  6. Visco won’t miss.

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