Rocket scientists, they are not

How this guy didn't get the ball 25 times against that defense with a 28-7 lead, I'll never understand.

How this guy didn’t get the ball 25 times against that defense with a 28-7 lead, I’ll never understand.

Today was the first time I’ve ever NOT been excited to have a 28-7 lead late in the first half.

“You watch,” I said to the people I was watching the game with, “with the rocket scientists we have running this team, we’ll lose.”

I never hated being right so much before, either.

Given the gift of 28-7,
you pound and ground so much
you make Steve Addazio
look like Air Coryell

Football is not rocket science. You have a 28-7 lead, you run Kenny Harper inside behind a 305-pound (average) offensive line against a defense that had trouble stopping people all year. Just to mix things up, you run the “read option” and pitch the ball out to Zaire Williams, who rarely fails to get around the end or, if nothing is there, have your talented quarterback turn the ball up inside. If you HAVE to throw, allow P.J. Walker to drop deep, draw the rush to him, and dump off safe screen passes to Williams, who is unstoppable on that play.

You accomplish two things by that strategy: Move the ball, score points, and keep the ball away from an uber-talented quarterback, Garrett Gilbert. Score points, chew some clock. Given the gift of 28-7, you pound and ground so much you make Steve Addazio look like Air Coryell.

Click on Dave Clawson for a blueprint on how to build three winning programs.

Click on Dave Clawson for a blueprint on how to build three winning programs.

Score points, chew some clock, move the ball. Fortunate enough to get a 28-7 lead, that should have been the mantra. You might not get seven every time, but I saw no indication that the SMU defense was able to stop Williams the (too) few times he had the ball.

It should not take a rocket scientist to figure that out, but there is not an accomplished head coach on the staff among the rocket scientists running this program.

Heck, the only guy with head-coaching experience on the Temple staff, Ed Foley, was a failed head coach at Fordham. Dave Clawson was a much better coach there before him and Joe Moorhead a much better one after him (see inset story on Clawson).

I wish Clawson (my choice at the end of last season) would come here to fix things, but that’s water under the dam.


Matt Rhule’s not getting fired. Temple’s got no money. No money. Fans who want to fire coaches have to understand the financial reality involved in hiring one. That’s a big commitment. When you make a decision to hire a coach, you stick with him until the contract runs out because this is a state-related school and Bill Cosby doesn’t pick up the tab for head coaches anymore (like he did with Ron Dickerson).  Hopefully, it’s a year-to-year, but I doubt it.

Make that 9 carries a 25 and Temple wins going away.

Make that 9 carries a 25 and Temple wins going away.

The reality is that Temple has lost to two teams it should not have lost to (Fordham and Idaho), beat a team it was supposed to beat, Army, and had 59 points scored on it by a two-win team.

Unacceptable, even for a first-year head coach.

When are we going to beat someone we’re NOT supposed to beat?

I’m not holding my breath.

Phil Snow’s not getting fired, either. I think Matt Rhule is “too nice a guy” to make the hard decisions he has to make at the end of this season and that’s not a hard decision for us, but it is for him.

A lot of that has to do with lack of talent on defense and poorer coaching schemes (geez, if the guy is going to throw 600 yards on you, might help by sending the best tackler in the nation straight ahead on blitzes instead of having him cover Deion Sanders’ kid … just a thought). People who preach patience have got to know that this team returned eight starters on offense and nine on defense, won four games last year, and was expected at minimum … minimum … to either match or improve that.

It’s not going to happen and I don’t think it’s Steve Addazio’s fault. That’s a damn shame because as good as P.J. Walker is, I see his career developing along the same lines as Henry Burris’ career did under Ron Dickerson: Plenty of yards and TDs, but plenty of losses. A 1-11 record is going to lose a lot of recruits and Temple is going to get caught up in the same losing spin cycle Burris did under Dickerson and players like Dan Klecko and Walter Washington did with Bobby Wallace. It’s a vicious cycle and I see no way of avoiding it other than getting someone in here who knows what he’s doing and that, sadly, is above Temple’s pay scale given they already have to pay this guy.

More reality: Temple was outscored, 45-21, in the second half. In three other games (Houston, Notre Dame and Cincinnati), Temple had zero points in the second half. If you get the idea that not much work is getting done at halftime, you get the right idea.

Good work before halftime, though.

Too bad college football doesn’t have a 14-point Mercy Rule.



49 thoughts on “Rocket scientists, they are not

  1. “Too bad college football doesn’t have a 14-point Mercy Rhule.”
    FIXED! 😉

  2. A little levity. Wish these kids could enjoy a win. We had to throw the ball all over the lot with a 28-7 lead. Rhule calls it “being aggressive.” I call it being stupid.

  3. If I see one more DE run past the QB and give him a one handed pat on the shoulder pad im going to freak the F out. Every single team is being coached to just let our DEs run in a damn loop and meet behind the QB where they tend to run into eachother. The opposing lineman are just riding them out because they know it then allows the QB to step right or left and run. Its the same damn thing EVERY time. Who is coaching our DL, because they have NO technique whatsoever. Ill give the Offense, Rhule, and Satterfield a break this week, because 600 yards and 49 points is damn impressive for our 1-6 team.

  4. Snow should resign or be asked to resign. I’d be too embarrassed to show my face on campus next week…, he has to go now

  5. If Snow is still here next year then it really is deja vu time with this team, back to the 80s and 90s. I get that we need to be recruiting stid defensive players to get better but with a coach with Snow’s experience I would expect him to ba able to make some improvement with coaching and I don’t see that at all. Based on posters on a couple of other blogs it;s all lack of talent and not coaching at all on defense. If that’s the case, why do you even need an DC at all. Aside from the Army game where Snow came out with 8 men in the box, every other game has had the same scheme. 4 man rush, DE;s going wide with no push up the middle, linebackers dropping back in coverage, no run blitzes, d-backs playing so far off receivers that they are practically in the parking lot. Just some more on Snow;s years at EMU and I guess what we can expect next year ans on. Averaged only 13 sacks a season in 3 years at EMU and 5 interceptions a year. Plus a lot of the problems I see on defense look like coaching issues, poor tackling position, poor position in pass coverage, etc. So even if Temple recruits better talent, it will still be coached the same way and why would you expect the current freshman and sophomores who are currently starting to play better because they are juniors and seniors, doing things the same way as this year just a year older.

  6. Since leaving UCLA, Snow’s record as a defensive coach is well-known. He made the Detroit Lions 0-16, and gave up 44 points a game in 2010 with EMU and 38 points a game with EMU in 2012. The definition of insanity was to bring him here and NOT expect him to make Temple’s defense last in the country (which it was not a year ago). Too many coincidences there.

    • I’m wondering how Snow made the 2008 Detroit Lions 0-16 when he was only the linebackers coach?

      • when you are 0-16, you’ve done enough making even as a position coach. Look at his record everywhere else this century. No winning seasons. I guess bad talent follows him everywhere.

  7. What I find even more troubling with his defenses, especially at EMU is the low number of sacks and turnovers. It just seems that he plays a very soft, passive defense. Given the way the d has played so far this year what is the worst case scenario if Temple adopted a more aggressive, gambling defense, we lose today by 20 points rather than 10. Still a loss. I just get a feeling that Snow is here to collect a pay check knowing he is safe with his buddy Rhule as HC. What really ticks me off is that the AAC is not a really strong conference and we should be much more competitive. I hate to throw this out but it;s starting to look like the MAC all over in that we only beat the teams we are supposed to and unable to pull of that win against the top. I just hope the current recruiting class realizes that can play for this team right away and we don;t lose too many more.

  8. whats your email mike, i have a great video of PJ breaking #8 from SMU’s ankles today

  9. For what it’s worth, didn’t Temple have an all-rush TD drive after SMU closed to 28-21 in the 3rd? And didn’t it start its next drive on the ground too?

  10. Not with Zaire. 28-7 is when it should have started, not 28-14 and 28-21 … pitchouts to Zaire … they could not stop that play once.

    • Runs by Zaire of 8, 3 and 50 on first 3 plays after SMU TD to make it 28-21.

    • Zaire ran 9 times for 73 yards. Take away his 50-yd run and taht’s 8 times for 23 yards. That’s 2.8 ypg, so I think they stopped that play more than once.

      • I love when people say “take away this” and “take away that.” Take away nothing. They have NOT YET stopped the screen pass to him and that was my point. Anybody can play that “take away” game. Take away seven losses and Rhule is 1-0. Give the kid the rock. Bernard Pierce used to go 1, 2, 4 and then 70. Fortunately, Al Golden never said, “Geez, they stopped him three times, I don’t think I’ll give it to him the fourth.” Williams has that kind of explosiveness.

  11. Then why did they stop going to him? Got to take some time off the clock in both the first and second half. You are citing 28-21 … by then SMU had been emboldened. At 28-7, a strong COMMITMENT to the run game would have chewed some clock. Commitment means not just one or two series, but the whole half and four minutes. Then Gilbert has time for maybe four or five drives, instead of eight.

    • Snide remark on Coyer? Hardly. It was a dig at you. Meanwhile it is fair game for you to attack whomever you like? Try this out. Next time you interview Rhule or Snow, say to their face what you write here. Transcribe it and publish. Then you can call yourself a journalist.

      • If you don’t understand the difference between criticizing a paid professional (not attacking) and throwing kids names in there to attack me, then I suggest you find another site to follow. Rhule knows who I am. He has my phone number and my email. If he has a problem with me, he can call me. I don’t need to call myself a journalist. I have three APSE awards and a Keystone Award for journalism on my wall as proof. I was here long before Rhule (and Daz and Golden) and I will be here long after he’s gone. I feel sorry for the thousands of Temple fans, who like me, thought this corner was permanently turned when Golden left us a nice finished brick house. To see this team lose to a team Arkansas Freaking State beat 48-24 and North Freaking Texas beat 40-6 is unacceptable.

  12. The worst part of this loss is that they gave up another demoralizing touchdown right before the half. Subtract the Army game that’s like 10-12 games in a row that’s happened. If Snow’s around next year I’m not buying tickets. Gonna just protest in the parking lot. If the coaches don’t care why should us few fans. By the way, they finally used Fitzgerald to throw a pass and it went for a TD. Do the coaches get this blog on some kind of delay. Mike’s been calling for a play like that since last April. .

  13. If they use the other four plays, they’ll beat Rutgers. …. Coyer fullback pass, tackle eligible to Booth, fade to Miller, screen pass to Zaire. … Waiting until the eighth week before using any of those plays is puzzling. (We have seen the screen to Zaire, but maybe 2x the whole season … worked both times for big gains.)

  14. Buffalo is bowl eligible! this is all about results and holding those responsible people accountable for what they do and fail to do. Rhule and Snow have failed, so why shouldn’t we hold them accountable? AG inherited a program in far worse shape, got paid a lot less and achieved more. AG would have this team bowl eligible….,

    we have the worse defense in the nation; not the worse talent, but the worse on field results…., you hire a head coach in part because of his judgement. Head coaches dump coordinators all the time…, Rhule’s judgement comes into question with increased scrutiny each day Snow remains on the staff.

    has any heard of a guy named Paterno? a lack of judgment and unwillingness to fire a friend killed a man and dealt a major blow to a major program…..,

    what if AG had PJ? at some point in time you have to take responsibility for the people you hand pick to serve under you…., all great leaders surround themselves with talented people. what talent and skills does Snow have? what is on his resume? how in God’s name can you entrust your defense in the first and most important year of tenure to a guy like Snow? why should the University let Rhule make any more hiring decisions? I’m so disgusted and frustrated.

    5 will get you 10 Notre Dame backs of the series

    • I said when the day ND signed the series, we’d never see them in Philadelphia. That’s why BB should have insisted the FIRST game be played in Philly, then the final two at ND. Obviously, we would not have skipped out but they now have a lot of incentive to (ACC deal and get another home game in 2015). As far as Snow goes, there is ENOUGH talent on this team to “hold” SMU to 48 points, which is all we had to do. How is it that we don’t blitz that QB? Tyler would have smacked him around pretty good and could have picked the open gap in an empty backfield. We made him WAAAYY too comfortable. If he’s going to pass for 538, at least punch him in the mouth (figuratively). That’s all on Rhule, not Snow (because he made the hire).

      • the University must step up and take responsibility when ND officially backs out. that is going to be a huge revenue sucking chest wound which will have far greater implications beyond football. this is beyond
        Rhule…., this is about defining and achieving a vision for Temple Football. this is the heady stuff above the head coach, you hire a head coach for implementation…., it is painfully obvious the vision for Temple Football is undefined…., so we are stuck on stupid, throwing good money after bad
        can we start an open letter to the BOT on this blog?

  15. *has anyone heard

    • Don’t think an open letter would do any good since I’ve heard that they are committed to him through this year and at least next. If he finished 0-12 (this was before Army), I can’t see how they could have brought him back and expected to sell 100 season tickets, let alone 5,000. So I think they would have swallowed the three years of 850K (or 1.2 mil, if you believe The Army win probably brought him another year. Three more wins now will probably save Snow’s job. At 1-11, though, a coordinator sacrifice will have to be made to the BOT Gods.

      • Don’t have time tonight to post the stats of Snow’s most recent DC prowess that I posted on another board, I’ll get to it tomorrow. Bottom line there are some who are into the, give Snow 3 years to recruit the talent he needs but never give a good reason why. He had 3 years of recruiting at EMU and his defense was basically as bad when he left as when he got there. In fact i think in his first year at EMU he put together a defense that gave up more ppg then the year before he became part of the staff. In 2009 EMU D was giving up 38 ppg, Snow built that up so they were giving up 43 ppg in 2010. Why you would hire a DC from the doormat of the MAC West is a whole other question! His 2 years at Washington, 26 ppg first year, 30 ppg second year. That’s why I don’t get the give him time to recruit excuse, there doesn’t seem to be a track record this century that it helps him

  16. Modern offenses have passed Snow by a long time ago. 45 points in one half? That’s laughable if it wasn’t so sad. Same players (basically, don’t tell me Gildea, Carraway and Ahkeem have not been replaced by players at least as good this year) shut out UConn in the second half. Gildea was replaced by Abdul Smith and that’s a solid upgrade. How do we go from giving up 0 points in the second half to a Big East team one year to 45 points in the second half to a Conference USA team of a year ago? Phil Snow. Call me Nostradamus. The day I heard Rhule was hiring Snow I wrote this post:

    • Snow must go now, in mid-season.., Rhule must go if he is not bowl eligible by this time next year…., btw, who in their right mind would want the DC job under Rhule? if I were a stud DC, the last job I would take would be under Rhule at Temple…., probably helps in understanding how we wound up with Snow….., maybe he got the job because all the good candidates backed out…, beyond frustrated

  17. Next year shapes up as an 11K average per home game year with no changes at the top and I’m now not sure if that’s what the administration secretly wants.

  18. Have to warn you that there are a bunch of stats listed here but for me, they don’t give a warm a fuzzy regarding Phil Snow putting together a good defense, even with 3 years of recruiting.You can read how the Fremeau Efficiency Index for Defense is calculated at which seems to give a more balanced year to year comparison of teams and only looks at performance against FBS opponents. Important for looking at EMU’s 2011 numbers, Snow’s best, when they had 2 FCS schools on the schedule.

    Here is Snow’s performance in 3 years at EMU with stats for the year before he arrived as well. Apologies if the formatting of the table doesn’t hold.

    EMU 2009 2010 2011 2012
    (Pre Snow)
    Total Def Rank 103 111 51 188
    Yards/Game 427 458 377 489
    Scoring Def Rank 117 118 62 111
    PPG 38.2 43.9 27.6 38.2
    DEFI 116 120 82 91

    By comparison here are Temple’s numbers for 2012 which was a considerable drop off from the 2011 defense, but even with the drop off and playing a considerably tougher schedule then EMU still best’s Snow’s defense

    Total Defense Rank 93
    Yards/Game 444
    Scoring Defense 92
    PPG 33.3
    DEFI 88

    So I think with Phil Snow what you see right now is what you get.

  19. I agree. He’s never stopped a spread offense but he’s done very well against a triple-option (Army). Any offense that was around in 1986, he’s done reasonably well against. Any offense that was conceived this century, he’s been stumped.

    • What I don’t get is the attitude of that all we have to do is be patient and recruit, recruit, recruit and everything will be fine. My concern is, one what level of talent do we need to recruit for Phil Snow to be effective, working on the assumption that Rhule is a good recruiter, is he still going to be able to bring the caliber of players across the board on defense that Snow had available at Arizona State and UCLA, two how many recruiting classes to get to that level and last does that mean if 3 and 4 start talent is not filling every position on defense Snow can’t do anything. I just don;t get a sense that he is a “builder” when it comes to working with lesser talent and molding a unit from a mix of abilities. I’m starting to feel like I’m listening to Sgt O’Neill in Platoon when bringing up any issue with Snow, when he said “Excuses are like a**holes, everybody’s got one”. “Nobody can recruit defensive players at EMU”, “Snow really wasn’t able to do anything in 2 years at Washington, but…”

  20. those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it. the (many) on-field coaching mistakes of Rhule this year were made by Dickerson throughout his career. Dickerson was a GREAT recruiter, but after not performing, other schools recruiting against us started to steal Dickerson’s recruits with these three words: “Dude can’t coach.” And that’s exactly what is going to happen here. Break the spin cycle of losing and cut the losses.

  21. I am confused by the negativity towards the play calling. I understand they didn’t take time off the clock, but they scored 49 points. When you score 49 points, you SHOULD win the game EVERY TIME. The other thing that is driving me crazy is that Snow is so bad that he is taking the focus away from PJ Walker. He has played great! I love the future of this offense. PJ and Zaire are studs.

    • The negativity toward the play-calling is this: With a 28-7 lead against that defense (that can be scored upon either via long or short drives), you put together three 7-minute drives via primarily running plays to chew up clock and keep the ball away from Gilbert. Temple had a nine-minute drive for a touchdown in 2011. That’s what it COULD have had Saturday. This defense could not stop a steady diet of Zaire and Kenny and P.J. running the ball, so why not chew the clock up and play keep away from Gilbert. If that happens, Temple wins, 49-35, not loses, 59-49.

  22. My biggest concern right now is with the defense and the defensive coordinator. I mean there is nothing in Snow’s stints at Washington and EMU that indicate he can build a defense that is any better than before he joined a program. When you bring this up there seems to be a group that can only say, patience, long term project, recruiting, etc. will solve everything. They seem to take the attitude that anyone who questions any member of this staff is ignorant, stupid or unlike them just doesn’t get it. Aside from the performance on the field this year, all I have to look at regarding the coaches are the numbers from their prior positions. I just don’t get this almost irrational, emotional investment by some in Rhule and the entire coaching staff.

  23. It is irrational to put your belief behind a guy who epitomizes the term Peter Principle. He rose to his level of competence as an OC under Golden; even then, Daz didn’t hand him the keys to the offense and hired Scot Loeffler instead. That was a very telling demotion.

  24. since 1975 I have been in the stadium to watch every Temple running back who went to to play on Sundays. Zaire is not an NFL caliber back. speed and quickness average, doesn’t break tackles, and doesn’t have much in make you miss ability. not half the back of Palmer, Anderson or BP…, PJ Walker is our only skill player capable of playing on a BCS Top 20 team

    • The one thing I noticed during the Army game is that he runs very upright, so that may be effecting how quickly he hits the hole and accelerates. Plus he is a freshman, going forward his strength should improve allowing him to break tackles, get better acceleration.

  25. He has a nice knack of darting through the hole and many more positive qualities than negative ones. I was concerned that he was caught from behind on that long run. Bernard Pierce, the Pennsylvania state 100-meter dash champion as a high school senior, never got caught from behind. To me, stud tailbacks (Palmer, Pierce, McNair, Mike Bush, Paul Loughran, Kevin Duckett, Zach Dixon, Anthony Anderson, Elmarko Jackson, Stacey Mack) should NEVER be caught from behind. After watching his Timber Creek and Cherokee film, I can’t believe that’s his top speed.

    • I think Williams can be a great back but I am never a proponent of looking at high school film and judging how they are going to perform based on that. Division 1 college athletes look like gods in high school but how they translate to the next level is always uunknown. So many times you see recruiting databases with highlight reels, combine numbers and high school championship resumes and one would think most of these guys are the next Walter Payton. Look at the “All American” Jim Cooper Jr. I know he was a kicker and the circumstances are different, but nonetheless, it proves you can’t take stock in how someone did against high school competition. Also see guys like Jamie Gilmore, and Montrell Dobbs.

  26. Good point. I never got Williams’ 40 speed but Pierce’s 100-meter speed was off the charts, even for a track guy. At the NFL combine, Pierce ran a 4.54 and the fastest Dobbs was clocked turned out to be 4.49 …. very similar. Watch Dobbs go somewhere else and be a superstar. Heard he had trouble at Temple academically. Sad.

    • Mile, hasn’t Dobbs problems been academics all along? I believe he originally had committed to UConn, couldn’t qualify there, enrolled in Milford and then Temple where he had been struggling from day 1 on the academic side.

  27. Yes. Next stop a place like Kutztown and then he’ll probably be starting RB for the Steelers (like Isaac Redman). If Al Golden can keep these guys eligible (at both Miami and Temple), so should Matt Rhule. Hey, I had my share of courses (Norm Kaner’s Sports in America) where all we did was talk Temple sports. Gotta get more courses like that on the roster.

  28. Right now he is playing for another prep school program, the Southwest Connecticut Grizzlies.

  29. As much as this writer knows, he should be a D1 coach. I wonder why he is not. Probably because all he can do is spout off. Reminds me of a quote. ” Bull fight critics row on row crowd the enormous plazas full, but there is only one there who truly knows and he’s the one who fights the bull”.

    Rick Berrett

  30. By that warped logic, you could never criticize the President of the United States if you weren’t, in fact, a President of the United States before. Did you teach Matty Rhule Logic 101 at Penn State? (By the way, having closely watched Wayne Hardin for 13 years, I know what it takes to be a great head football coach and Matt Rhule, while a nice guy, just doesn’t have what it takes. I don’t need to see any more.)

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