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.
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.
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.