On paper, not a good matchup for Owls

A plus from this film is that SMU does not appear to have a significant home field advantage.

Fortunately, they do not play football real football games on paper or Madden or Xbox because, if you input all of the relevant statistics into a computer, Saturday’s game (3 p.m., EST) at SMU does not favor Temple in any way.

The Owls have struggled against passing teams and the Mustangs are the No. 8 passing team in the nation. Heck, the Owls have struggled against passing teams for the last two years. These stats against just four foes illustrates that a lot better than mere words:

Team PC-PA-INT Yards Touchdowns
Notre Dame 17-27-0 355 3
Houston 29-48-0 305 0
Fordham 23-36-0 320 2
Cincinnati 31-37-0 270 2

Not good. Not good at all. Add to that Idaho, freaking Idaho I call them because I still cannot believe Temple lost to that team, had 301 yards against the Owls and it’s hard to imagine SMU not pushing 400 through the air on Saturday.

I think the Owls do have some talent on the back line of their secondary, particularly in players like Anthony Robey and Tavon Young and maybe Young’s interception last week was the start of something big.

Let’s hope so. SMU has a big-time quarterback in Garrett Gilbert, a 6-foot-4, 220-pound senior who has put up some amazing statistics: 208 completions in 329 attempts for 2,096 yards and 11 touchdowns so far this season. Worse yet, the Owls have shown an alarming tendency for giving up the “easy” patterns, the slant and the out. Brendan Kay used the out to complete 31 of 37 attempts. Two Houston quarterbacks went 29 for 48 with mostly slants over the middle.

Click on the fat Vandy guys for 5 upsets this week.

Click on the Vandy guys for 5 upsets this week.

SMU coach June Jones, an accomplished college football coach who knows what he’s doing, probably has figured that out by now.

What can Temple do, then?

I’ve always said there are three keys to winning in football, from the Pee-Wee Level to the NFL: 1) Limit turnovers; 2) Protect your quarterback; 3) Put the other quarterback on his ass.

Although all are important for Temple this Saturday, No. 3 should be the No. 1 priority this week if  the Owls are going to have any chance to win.  Guys like Matt Ioannidis, Shabaz Ahmed and Averee Robinson MUST put relentless pressure on Gilbert. It can’t be a part-time, some-time thing. It must be a full-time thing, both sacks and knockdowns. That’s a lot of pressure heaped upon very few young guys, but if they get to Gilbert early and often, they might be able to force fumbles and interceptions. Robinson had five sacks in the spring game. If he gets two or three in this one and Ahmed a pair and Ioannidis just one, the Owls win going away. Or any combination of five or more.  No sacks mean no win. The guys up front must give guys like Robey and Young a chance to intercept the ball by pressuring Gilbert into mistakes.

Those guys have shown signs of coming on and they must all have good games on Saturday if the Owls are going to come away with a win.  SMU is beatable. The Mustangs needed a last-second play to beat the lone FCS team on their schedule, Montana State, 31-30. Montana State is 5-2. The Owls failed to beat the lone FCS team on their schedule, losing on a last-second play to 8-0 Fordham.

Nothing on paper says the Owls will win, but this game will be played on the same sprint turf kind of surface the Owls practice on every day and,  if they are able to put Gilbert on it enough, they can put the pre-game paper in the shredder.

Tyler Matakevich is going to become the first player in the nation to hit 100 tackles this season.

Tyler Matakevich is going to become the first player in the nation to hit 100 tackles this season.

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14 thoughts on “On paper, not a good matchup for Owls

  1. What’s the deal wit Levi Brown? He was deactivated last week.

  2. I would like to see Snow come out with something like a 4-2-5 set as the base defense out of the box against SMU. Mix up the number of pass rushers 5 some plays, 6 others with 5 to 6 dropping back in coverage. Most likely this will make Temple vulnerable to the ground game but SMU is rushing for under 100 yards a game, so dare them to beat you on the ground. While SMU has a great passing game, for all of his numbers Gilbert has less touchdown passes than Bridgewater, Nova, O’Korn or Kay. Plus, the SMU defense is bad, so in addition to getting to Gilbert if the offense can get an early lead and run a ball control attack, I think TU has a chance

  3. Snow has to come up with something to get some pressure on the Gilbert early. Let’s face it our secondary is not going to be able to take care of this passing attack on their own. So how you change the on paper look is get the QB out of his rhythm. Too bad our pass rush has been almost as bad as our secondary, but at least you can try blitzing different defenders and hoping for something.

  4. When I had my 34-minute phone conversation with Matt Rhule in December, we talked about two things: Helmets and a 3-4 defense. I felt that the Temple personnel was suited better to a 3-4 since we had about 8 big-time BCS (not just FBS) level LBs and not enough FBS-level talent on the DL. He said he was amenable to that and said his goal was to get the best 22 guys on the field. For some reason, Snow must have talked him out of it. Maybe Snow wasn’t comfortable coaching 3-4 but I’ve always said you coach to the talent you have not how comfortable the assistants are with it. With a 3-4, we could come at the QB with a lot more (LB) speed than the kind of (DT/DE) speed with are now. As far as the helmets, he hasn’t shown me the look there I suggested, either (TEMPLE on one side, T on the other). I’m 0-2 in the suggestion department, 0-3 if you count Coyer throwing the ball on fakes.

  5. Unfortunately, the secondary couldn’t cover a floor if it were a throw rug. Having watched these Owls, I don’t know if they haven’t watched enough film to ascertain what routes the receivers are running, they’re too inexperienced, or they’re not being adequately coached. Any number of times, the d-backs have looked lost, turning this way and that in total confusion. Frankly, if they can’t operate in a zone, what do they have to lose if by playing more man to man using a nickle back to cover the tight-end? In addition, Snow has to better develop a blitz package that works. Can’t recall a sack off a blitz package this season.

  6. … and the biggest defensive play of last year was a combo Nate D. Smith/Tavon Young LB/FS blitz that knocked the crap out of an NFL quarterback, B.J. Daniels, and forced a fumble that the Owls recovered on the 5. That’s what I’m talkin’ about, Willis (I mean, Phil Snow).

  7. As far as Levi Brown, he only had 12 tackles, including three unassisted, one for a loss in six games. He might have been hurt all year. I’m going to give him the benefit of the doubt, but that’s not good production for someone with a single-digit number. So far, of the single-digit guys, only Ryan Alderman and John Christopher have played up to their potential IMHO.

    • Number eight is number one for solo tackles.

      • Good catch. I keep thinking Tyler is wearing last year’s number, 32. I know he’s wearing No. 8, but wish he would have stayed with 32. That will be his NFL number; that or his high school number (44). I stand corrected. guys with the single digits: Sean Daniels (1), Anthony Robey (2), Juice (3), Ryan (4), Blaze (6), John (7), Tyler (8) and Levi (9).

  8. 8 had a good game against Army, making some impact plays, and I think our defense absoutely needs that in order to win. Sometimes I feel like unfortunately he’s a little overrated due to the fact that he just doesn’t really disrupt many plays. Sure, he gets a ton of tackles, but most of these are mop-ups after first downs or good gains. Not sure if this is a product of the defense he is playing in, the schemes, or what have you. He certainly has heart and he’s a scrappy guy, and a good story, but I would like to see him be more of a disruptive force. If he can do that I think this defense will be much better and he’ll win me over. That’s a big “if” for a lot of guys on this defense, though.

  9. Tyler’s best play last year was that 2-yard tackle for a loss against the USF tailback that sealed the game. His INT this year sealed the Army win. Making most of his tackles downfield probably the result of Snow’s passive scheme. Would like to see him play closer to the line in order to knife through and make most of his tackles for losses.

  10. was in Hawaii for quite a few June Jones games there as head coach…., this is an offense unlike anything ever seen on the East coast. spells trouble for us…, success against this offense is by a fierce pass rush between the tackles which also happens to be the weakest area of our entire team

  11. We could have gone down the SMU (or Cincy or Western Kentucky) road and hired an accomplished head coach or an unproven assistant. I fear we made the wrong turn at that fork. Matt Rhule, prove me wrong around 6:30. Please.

  12. I was right. Again. I hate being right about this, though.

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