Breaking Bad: Temple’s season

Matt Rhule has plenty of company in his misery. Four other new coaches have experienced similar "success" and click over the photo to read about them.

Matt Rhule has plenty of company in his misery. Four other new coaches have experienced similar “success” and click over the photo to read about them.

Like 10.5 million of my fellow countrymen, I watched the final episode of Breaking Bad on Sunday night.
If you a fan of great writing, as I am, there was no more well-written show than Breaking Bad.
A compelling story has a beginning, middle and end all neatly tied together.
That’s why I loved Breaking Bad.
I think the Temple season is very much like the show.
In the beginning, while I had my doubts about the lead character, we’ll call him Matt Rhule because that’s his name, I fell for the “we’re not a 4-7 team” comment, thinking that was pretty much Rhule guaranteeing without saying that this 2013 team would do better than 4-7.


Not asking here for a return to Dazball,
but a more balanced offensive scheme
appears to be in order.
Use the run to set up the play-action
pass, not keep attempting 50-yard bombs
that are overthrown by 10 yards
all of the time. Use Chris Coyer
coming around the end and give him
a run-pass option as part of the team’s
regular Tennessee-Chattanooga offense.
Every football organization in America,
except maybe this braintrust at 10th
and Diamond, knows the Wildcat
offense never works anymore.

I didn’t think last year’s team was a 4-7 team, either, and I felt since most of that team was back 4-7 was an unacceptable benchmark for this one.
Let’s face it, this team won’t get four wins. Wins over Idaho and Fordham were a must to get to a bowl game and those bowl prospects now are about as dead as Walter White.
The Temple team that scored 62 points on Army doesn’t exist anymore. Yes, the same guys who opened those interstate-highway-wide holes for Montel Harris to run through still exist on this team, but this coaching staff would rather throw 50-yard bombs to slow edge receivers than commit to a more balanced approach.
Not asking here for a return to Dazball, but a more balanced offensive scheme appears to be in order.

Ft. Knox checking in ... which reminds us, if you  like this blog, send a gold bar or even a small contribution via the pay pal link on the sidebar. Thanks.

Ft. Knox checking in … which reminds us, if you like this blog, send a gold bar or even a small contribution via the pay pal link on the sidebar. Thanks.

Use the run to set up the play-action pass, not keep attempting 50-yard bombs that are overthrown by 10 yards all of the time. Use Chris Coyer coming around the end and give him a run-pass option as part of the team’s regular Tennessee-Chattanooga offense. Every football organization in America, except maybe the braintrust at 10th and Diamond, knows the Wildcat offense never works anymore.
Do that, and you get better protection for your quarterbacks to hit those kind of throws.
The offense is at least fixable.
The defense is a disaster, but I expected that from a coordinator who gave up 44 points a game two years ago and 38 points a game last year. The definition of insanity is hiring a DC who gave up that many points in his last job and expecting him to do a better job in his next one.
We are now entering the middle of this story and, if the first few chapters are any indication, it’s not going to be a good end.
While the season is Breaking Bad, the story unfolding in it is nowhere near as compelling.

Related:

http://templefootballforever.blogspot.com/2013/01/meet-your-new-likely-coordinators.html

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40 thoughts on “Breaking Bad: Temple’s season

  1. Mike I sure the “Cult of Rhule” will be all over you on this one. As has been said here Rhule is going nowhere, I would hope if the team is like this next year the admin would do something not holding my breath. I think the offense is fixable this year and in the off season Rhule needs to be the HC and not a buddy and objectively evaluate Satterfield. If it is determined a change is needed is there anyone on the current staff to promote or who might be available candidates. For the defense, there should be no hesitation to let Snow go, take the pain for this year and start fresh. I’ve given my opinion on who to hire, I’d be reaching out to Tom Bradley. In addition to his coaching, I think we will need his recruiting expertise in the state as well. Even with Rhule seeming to have a good handle on that part of his job with Penn State getting scholarships back early recruiting is going to get that much tougher. While Rhule is probably secure in his job for the next several years I real feel what he does at the end of this season will be make or break as far as success or continuing football failure

  2. There no way even a Cult follower can defend Fordham and Idaho. Those teams don’t belong on the same field with Temple. The Fordham score with this same talent and Mario Cristobal (for example) is 51-14, Temple; The Idaho score with this same talent and Mario Cristobal is 36-6, Temple. Those two game results were directly related to major coaching errors _ not running the ball down Fordham’s throat (ala Daz to Army) and too many 50-yard bombs to slowfooted WRs (Idaho) instead of a more balanced offense designed to move the sticks and keep the clock running and score points. Rookie coaching mistakes that Cristobal would not have made.

    • Right now I think the worst this team would be is 2-2 maybe even 3-1 if we still had Heater and Loufler ( think I may have the spelling wrong) as DC and OC with Rhule as HC. I think if there are no changes on the staff for next year, especially getting rid of Snow, that will be a good indication of how much or little Rhule is under to produce. What is the story on Cristobal?

    • If the major reason Ruhle was hired was because the players and their parents wanted him, the administration should have no hesitation to fire him or demand that he hire BCS type coordinators, especially given the money recently spent on football related amenities and the fact that Bradshaw is no longer AD. All I can say is that there will be less than 5000 people on hand at home games as the season progresses unless a miracle happens. Forget about the students coming. They’ve already checked out. TU football is is again in deep doo doo without a rescue in sight.

      • interesting comment Rhule made yesterday about Paul Pasqualoni: “His firing was too soon. It’s bad for the profession.” Err, he was given three years. At least Pasqualoni had the good sense to hire qualified coordinators in George DeLeone (offense) and Don Brown (defense). Brown is now with Daz at DC. These two guys Rhule has now are clowns and that might be an overly kind word to use.

    • Regarding not running the ball down Fordham’s throat…..did you know that a St. Francis U. running back ruahed for 293 yds. on Sat. and the team, one of the worst in all of college football, rushed for over 300 yds. against the mighty Fordham defense. Our huge off. line could’t block freakin Fordham! And we have a former New New York Giant offensive line coach running the show!!

      • It’s a sad day when the St. Francis coaches can devise a better offensive game plan than the Temple coaches and I come from a day when the Temple coaches outsmarted everybody on their schedule and made the other coaches look like complete fools. Sad day indeed. Our line could block Fordham, especially on running downs. We averaged nearly 6 yards a pop against Fordham. Why we would stupidly throw a pass when that was clear is beyond me.

  3. Cristobal was here and interviewed and among the final five. They felt Mario was a Florida guy and eliminated him, leaving three guys with Temple connections: Rhule, Mark D’Onofrio and Todd Bowles. To me, of those four, Cristobal was the best candidate because he had an inferior school to Temple in two great bowl games in back-to-back years and coached his team to a win over Louisville 2 years ago and lost to Louisville 28-21 last year (we got blown out, like 47-17). To me, FIU talent was no better than Temple’s last year and the fact that Cristobal (now out of a job) got fired after one 3-9 season (after 2 straight bowl wins) was like Al Golden getting fired if he was the one (not Daz) going 4-7 last year. As we all know, Golden did enough to have a job for life at TU if he wanted it. Rhule has done nothing. Winning, to me, is everything.

  4. I think it’s time to consider sacrificing the live owl that has been brought to our games to appease the football gods. This is the first time I can remember there being a live mascot. It’s clear that the owl is a jinx and must be offered to the gods to appease them if TU is to ever win another football game. LOL.

  5. Hilarious, John. A light note in an otherwise dark season.

  6. Agree with the thoughts that the offense is fixable. The o-line is pretty good; the QB needs plays that showcase his strengths, for example the TD pass to Alderman on the slant; the RBs are solid, and ZW has a ton of potential; Hairston and Reynolds and Coyer need more touches. Defense? Disaster last year, disaster this year. Bright spot? We were perfect in field goal attempts this past week.

    • The worst part is the defense really doesn’t seem to be improving. We aren’t going to get all world guys who are going to fix that instantly. The defense will be bad for a couple years at this rate.

      • CS at this point I would be happy with what I’ll call situational improvement on defense, but on order to do that you need something this team doesn’t have a DC who knows what he is doing. Ok so what do I mean by situational improvement, basically key adjustments during games when they can make a difference. For example the Fordham game, their passing game was more of a timing approach with the QB basically throwing to a spot. By the 4th qtr especially after taking the lead if you could pick that up in the stands so should Snow. How can you disrupt that, maybe have the corners play up and jam the receivers to throw off timing or maybe blitz from a couple of places. After all what’s the risk give up a first down or big play, that’s already happening!!! Houston, almost every time they were in 3rd and long, slant to # 3. How about replacing a safety to cover the middle zone or maybe play a monster to shadow the QB. Unfortunately it seems the team hardly ever varies from the no pressure, big cushion cover defense

  7. I had confidence in Nick Visco all along. Too bad the coaching staff didn’t. The kid had nerves of steel at Archbishop Wood. Temple fans will love him.

  8. Chuck Noll was 1-13 in his first year as head coach of the Steelers. Bill Belichick 5-11 with the Patriots. Nick Saban 7-6 with Alabama. The three men now have more rings than Tiffany’s.

    • Trouble is Bellichek was a total bust as a HC in Cleveland, so does that mean we have to wait for Rhule 2nd HC job to see if he is good or not

    • Well pro ball is different because you just have more control of who is on your team provided the owner will spend the dough. Comparing Temple to Alabama is crazy because unfortunately there are few great young players who grew up wanting to play for Temple. The only way Temple is going to win (and maybe start getting kids to want to play for Temple) is by finding unknown smart coaches.

      • Also Saban had already won an NCG

      • I wish there was a “like” button for the comment above the Saban comment.

      • Agree with what you say, basically thought the pro to college comparison is bogus as well. The thing with hiring smart unknown coaches,if they hire experienced successful coordinators, which I think can be found more so than experienced, successful head coaches who are available it can temper the learning curve. I’ll be conservative but with a better DC this team would probably be at least 2-2. In both the Houston and Fordham games the defense was being beat on the same plays as in the first and second quarters

  9. c’mon man!!! Let’s start an online petition to put an end to Temple football. how much more pain must we endure? this is the worst program in the NCAA. how many first clues do we need? coaches suck, team sucks, no student support, worst attendance in the league we play in, etc, etc!!!! and
    just when you think it can’t get any worse, we will lose to Louisville by over 60 points with less than 10k in the stands .., heck we will probably get shutout

  10. I haven’t been this depressed about Temple football since Bobby Wallace’s penultimate year. At least in BW’s last year, you knew he was on his way out and Temple would finally hire a good coach, which it did. If there’s one thing this new guy has proven it’s that he’s not even smart enough to realize the most basic things, like running the ball all day on a 247-pound average Fordham defensive line or just moving the sticks against Idaho instead of throwing long bombs all the time. That’s two wins left on the table at a time the BOT is starting to study the feasibility of new stadiums or new leases. Not good timing.

    • I’m writing this year off as learning I just hope Rhule has enough sense to get a new DC for next year at a minimum. My fear is that he is so secure in his job that he won’t feel any pressure to do anything. With regards to either a new lease or the potential for an on campus stadium, call me paranoid but as you said earlier a couple of bad and increases in the Libc lease will become too costly and an on campus facility will be deemed to expensive, letting TUFB die a “natural” death. I know Theobald talks about having top flight teams but he was also CFO at Indiana so I sure he can still be driven by the numbers. The worst part is I feel if changes are made in the staff, new DC, both the HC and OC learn from this the team can be successful next season. I mean including Temple half of the AAC football teams are on the ESPN Bottom 10 list or on the waiting list

  11. I thought those days were over. Really, with a good coach with HEAD coaching experience, we’d be 3-1 right now and none of the wins would have been close. Rhule is learning on the job and the Temple fans are the Guinea Pigs (really, include the Temple players and program itself). This did not need to happen.

  12. BOT will not renew the Linc lease and we don’t have the deep pockets alumni base to raise funds for an on campus stadium. TUFB is dying a slow but fairly predictable death. IMHO why wait? there is no upside to letting this play out all the way….., BTW…., clairvoyant? mea culpa

  13. If we don’t hear about a Linc renewal or stadium announcement within 2 years, Matt Rhule will be the last football coach at TU and I don’t mean that in a Joe Paterno kind of way. That’s why 3-1 would have jump-started all of that and 0-4 is bringing it to a screeching halt. We played ND in the first game, but there was no ND-level team in the next three. Should have won those games. Vince Lombardi was right. Winning isn’t everything. It’s the only thing. I have no doubt Matt WANTS TO win, he justs lacks the HOW TO win. I would feel sorry for him, but he felt he would be more comfortable hiring a friend who gave up 44 points a game than a professional colleague and great guy would would have given up probably 1/3 of those points per game and would have showed him how to win those three games.

  14. Have read a lot of man-love from this blogger about Mike MacIntyre and Mario Cristobal. Clearly these two men must have been immediate successes as head coaches at the BCS level. So I looked it up. MacIntyre was 1-12 in his debut HC season at San Jose State (2010). Cristobal was 1-11 at the helm for FIU in 2007, his rookie year.

    Since both men have become titans in the profession — at least to the point where our host on this blog has put his reputation on the line to endorse them as Temple candidates — isn’t it possible that Rhule could turnaround his slow start?

    Oh, that’s right, it’s not Matt’s fault. It’s because he is more concerned with having pizza parties with his coordinators than winning football games. Now that is a credible statement. I get it now.

    • Certainly it’s possible for him to turn things around but there is a subtle but definite timing issue here with regards to a place to play and I don’t think Rhule has the 3 or 4 years that some are suggesting. President Theobald has said that there is an 18 month time frame regarding the Linc vs on campus stadium. Some of the figured that I’ve heard for how much the Eagles want to raise the lease by is 4x the current. I think Temple currently pays $1m to $1.5m per year. A 4 fold increase would basically take all of what we are now getting from the AAC, which is $6-7m. As kj points out Temple isn’t like even most of the schools in our conference with regards to big donors to fund an on campus facility, not to mention what the Philly politics will be to get something like that done. Regardless of how you feel about Rhule there is no way you can spin the hiring of Phil Snow as DC as anything but bad, especially when you could have kept Chuck Heater or hired a guy like Tom Bradley

    • Cristobal and MacIntyre didn’t have 1/10th of Matt’s current talent in their FIRST years (remember SJS almost dropped football the year before they hired MM). Please tell your buddy that Fordham’s DL averaged 247 across the front and his OL averaged 309 across the front and it would have been OK to throw just five passes in that game and get out of Dodge with a 62-32 win. Totally outsmarted himself in that game, which is not hard. Not referring to you, JD, in this comment. St. Francis. .. St. Freaking Francis of Freaking Loretto… had a RB run for 293 against that vaunted defense. That’s like DelVal having a RB get 293 against Fordham. Ugh. Hell, give Williams or Harper that many carries and they might have gotten 393 against Fordham. Nice job by Satterfield putting up the big three points by half against an Idaho team giving up over 40 points a game in each of the four prior games. Something is wrong and it’s not the players.

      • Mike I think you hit it with those last couple of points. While I think the offense on the whole looks better than the defense, there seems to be a real relutence to take what teams are giving you, obviously pounding the ball against Fordham the best example. It almost seems like Rhule’s focus is more on sticking with the system the entire season to I assume really establish it. And before some posters jump all over me I’m not saying he doesn’t want to win games. On defense, I just think you have a coordinator who doesn’t have it anymore and is proving Einsteins theory of insanity. Ok let’s go with the argument a lot of prople are putting out there, poor talent. My questions are is it a worse level of talent than Eastern Michigan? If you say it is then why would you expect Snow to do a better job here than at EMU. Otherwise, so far with basically the same talent that Heater had last year, the defense is on track to have a worse year statistically. One last point for as many people who lobbied for Rhule this year, weren’t there a large number of people who wee highly critical and negative about him during his tenure on AGs staff?

  15. Bottom line, he’s just not smart enough to be a major-college head coach. You have to have a minimal level of intelligence to hold this kind of job and not pounding Fordham with the run game and Idaho with a short passing attack that would have just moved the sticks tells you all you need to know about the intelligence of these game plans. Idaho and Fordham are unacceptable results. Unacceptable.

    • Mike before the Rhulebots are all over you, I’m assuming that you are referring to football intelligence? There does seem to be a lack of whatever you want to call it during games, intelligence, situation awareness,where the team doesn’t seem to do anything differently from the first half to the second. Now question for yourself and other posters here. You’re the Temple AD what is you course of action at the end of the season, after let’s say a 3-9 season, that includes a 2 game in conference win streak at the end. For me it’s a couple of things:

      1. Convey a feeling that there is some pressure on Rhule especially within a conference which I think will be now better then what the MAC was when we were a member. Let him know for example, that you thought Pasqualoni had more than enough time to do something at UConn

      2. Do as much as possible, obviously it has to be Rhule’s responsibility, to get a new defensive coordinator and examine whether or not a new offensive coordinator might be needed as well.

      The problem is the AD and admin can’t get into make these type of decisions directly and the only thing they can do directly is clean house, which in one respect I think would de-stabilize the program further. With what looks like a good 2014 recruiting class, the hope has to be that Rhule can also recruit himself out of this current situation. On another topic, Florida International has only been playing football since 2004.

      • yes, referring to football intelligence only during in-game situations and game planning plus halftime adjustments (which is really the only intelligence I’m interested in). I was spoiled by 13 years of Wayne Hardin, half spent in the press box hearing comments like “Hardin is outcoaching Joe Paterno again” or “Hardin is outcoaching Frank Burns again” or “Hardin is outcoaching Johnny Majors again.” I don’t expect to hear that ever about Matt Rhule, even if he schedules St. Freaking Francis of Freaking Loretto.

  16. very ironic, but more inevitable fate…, all we heard about was “we are going to run a NY Giants type offense”…where are the Giants and how is their offense now? talk about learning bad! we get what we deserve, and we are what our record says we are…., only reason I’m going Saturday is to watch one of the best teams in college football and see first-hand what a ‘program QB’ looks like up close.., not to mention a great coaching staff btw

    • Kj maybe Rhule thought Eli had some eligibility left and he would be running the offense after transferring…..LOL

  17. Halftime adjustments postscript: Temple scored zero points in the second half of both the Houston and Notre Dame games, the only decent teams on TU’s schedule so far.

    • Same with lack of adjustments on the defensive side of the ball. I don’t think the slant to #3 on Houston every got less than 10 yards throughout the entire game. Fordham, the bulk of their offense was timing routes yet nothing done to disrupt the either the timing of the receivers or the qb in the third and fourth quarters.

  18. True. That’s the Eastern Michigan defense. I think they call it the “Ole” Defense. This guy is making Chuck Heater look like Bud Carson.

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