Twice as good as 1-11

Gotta wonder where this use of Chris Coyer was 10 other games (he missed one due to injury) because I think he could have won the Paul Hornung Award and the Owls would have been much more successful if he was targeted as little as five times a game.

Every so often, message board reading is about as good a way to check out the pulse of the Temple fan base as there is.

It used to be the post-game tailgates but, after an 0-6 start to the season, most of those familiar faces were gone.

So the message boards it is.

Some of the stuff is pretty well-written, like a post this morning from someone who calls himself “Owlfather.”

Now I don’t know if he’s a father, but I assume he’s an Owl and he pretty much put both this season and next in a nutshell by saying Temple has “crossed the Rubicon” with Matt Rhule and, if the team finished 1-11, he’s going to be in a Catch-22 situation because  he’s going to have a hard time holding together what was once the No. 30-ranked recruiting class in the country. (Now, depending on which recruiting service you subscribe to, it’s no higher than the mid-60s.) Catch-22 is a dilemma or difficult circumstance from which there is no escape because of mutually conflicting or dependent conditions, which is what Matt Rhule faces after going 2-10. Failure on the field could lead to failure in recruiting (teams recruiting against Temple will love to point out the Owls were 2-10) and failure in recruiting could lead to further failure on the field–a classic Catch-22 situation.

Props to that guy for bringing up both Catch-22, required summer reading my junior year of high school, and Crossing the Rubicon to put this season in perspective.

Those who don’t learn from history are doomed to repeat it, today’s 41-21 win at Memphis notwithstanding. (For those wanting to see a complete replay of the game, click here and follow down the list to the Temple game.)

I love historical analogies and “crossing the Rubicon” means there is no going back with Matt Rhule.  It refers to Caesar in 49 B.C. faced with two choices:  To cross the Rubicon, confront Pompey (not Keith) and begin a bloody civil war to become a ruler of Rome or retreat, thus obeying the Roman Senate. He chose to cross the Rubicon.  The expression, crossing the Rubicon means that there is no going back, once a line or a point in time, however you’d like to interpret it, is crossed.

Same thing with Matt Rhule and Temple football.  It has been my position all along that Temple will not fire him BUT that he’s got to do a better job next year than he did this. So I don’t think the 2-10 final record as opposed to 1-11 changed that dynamic considerably. Had Temple beaten the teams it was supposed to beat going into the season (Army, Memphis, Idaho,  Fordham and UConn) and stolen the Rutgers’ game, it would have been making plans to attend the nicest bowl game the school has ever been picked as a participant. I also think that if you score 49 points in any game, you should have the defensive integrity to win it (SMU).

That’s got to happen next year and that’s why Rhule is going to have to look inward and ask himself if the soon-to-be 58-year-old Phil Snow is the right guy to stop today’s sophisticated pistol and spread offenses. I don’t think he is, but that’s a conclusion Rhule will have to come to on his own. Could he get Chuck Heater back? Heater had Temple’s defense ranked No. 3 in points allowed in 2011 and followed that this year by having Marshall ranked No. 23. Marshall, Marshall, Marshall. Or maybe Nick Rapone from the Arizona Cardinals? Would DC be a “promotion” from NFL DB coach? I think so, because Snow himself went from Detroit Lions’ DB coach (of an 0-16 team) to DC at Eastern Michigan and Rapone has Philadelphia roots. Speaking of Eastern Michigan, that school fired Ron English as its head coach and English was a very good DC at Michigan  before he got the EMU job. Maybe he’s available. So there are better DCs than Phil Snow out there and let’s go get one.

Winning today made the offseason much more palatable but there is much more work to do and we’ll have a clue whether it gets done first by the staff decisions Rhule makes in the next few weeks and second by National LOI day if he’s able to hold the class together.

Fourth and inches? Since Rutgers, it’s been P.J. Walker behind Kyle Friend for three first downs in three attempts, something we were yelling for him to do at RU so maybe he’s either heard or learned  at least something.

Great job by Morry Kamara. Thanks, Morry. P.J. Walker and Robby Anderson are stone-cold studs. Maybe next year is Temple’s turn to beat Penn State on a Hail Mary.

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40 thoughts on “Twice as good as 1-11

  1. you are what your record says you are, Rhule and Snow are what we know they are, why on earth should we expect a different outcome next year? the duck we are looking will not turn into an eagle no matter how much we hope and pray.., at some point reality must inform our thoughts

  2. Good win today, but it doesn’t erase the bitterness of 10 losses. There was a lot more talent on this team than two wins. A lot more. That’s all on the CEO, who is Matt Rhule. Fourth and inches call at Rutgers, not pounding the ball all day long against a Fordham team that had trouble stopping St. Freaking Francis of Freaking Loretto, a loss to Freaking Idaho, a joke of a drive at the end of the first half that should have been 28-0 against UConn … these are all coaching decisions. I have not been this disappointed in a Temple season since before Al Golden.

    • Temple ran the ball 10 more times against Fordham than St. Freaking Francis of Loretto (49 TU vs. 39 SFL), but gained LESS yards (303 SFL vs. 245 TU). It was TU’s most rushes of the season against any team. And for not being able to stop St. Freaking Francis of Loretto, Fordham still won the game by 18 points. Yes, we know, Temple should have won the game. But stop trying to say they didn’t win because they didn’t pound the ball against Fordham.

      • They didn’t run the ball the RIGHT way … which was pounding it down Fordham’s throat the way Daz pounded the rock down Army’s throat. No need to throw more than five passes against that team. There was NO WAY they would have stopped Temple. No way. And I’m not going to stop saying it. You Rhule Apologists are amazing in defending the indefensible. Temple should have beaten Fordham and the reason it did not was poor Temple coaching, period, end of story.

      • When did I EVER say Temple should NOT have won the Fordham game? But I don’t go around saying they didn’t run the ball. Oh wait they did run the ball. Then they didn’t run it the right way. MAYBE, if Temple’s defense, which has been terrible for two years now, hadn’t given up 30 points to an FCS team and their kicker could have made a 23-yd FG, it wouldn’t have mattered whether they ran the ball the right way?

  3. Temple better wake up for next season as their non-conference schedule is pretty stout. This season’s was Notre Dame and three dogs (Fordham, Idaho, Army) while next season’s will likely only have one dog (Del. St). At Vanderbilt (coming off consecutive 8-4 seasons), vs Navy (about to come off consecutive 8-4 seasons assuming they beat Army), and at Penn St is definitely a step up.

  4. … and they all have GREAT coaches, especially Navy (Ken Niumatalolo)

  5. Next year’s problems also include the kicking game. Yesterday TU tripled the number of field goals (one) it kicked in eleven games. There are numerous high schools that kicked more field goals. And they have to get a punter. A Paul Layton is not going to fall into their laps next season. On the bright side, the defensive secondary cannot be worse than it was this year. A lot of freshman played on the defense and all but Campinagro are back at linebacker. If they don’t lose all of the kids who have commited, they have a couple of highly ranked defensive linemen coming in next year. Finally with Rutgers going 1-5 (0-6 but for a foregone qb sneak) over their last six games, TU has less of hill to climb re recruits considering both schools even with RU going to the Big Ten.

    • John, agree with you that the secondary can’t get much worse than this year. Hopefully Ionnadis and Ahmed continue to improve on the D-line to give QB pressure up the middle and one of those recruits can step in right away. Pass defense is a lot easier when you can pressure the QB. In the secondary Young and Pretlow look like they will be good players and if Kirby and Smith can step up things could get better. That is my big concern with this defense, Phil Snow has a reputation as being a good teacher of d-backs yet watching throughout the season, you saw the same type of mistakes being made in game 10 as game 1, plus there didn’t seem to be any consistent level of improvement during the year. Just really have doubts as to whether can coach players up anymore like he did at ASU

  6. Hopefully any of the recruits who watched yesterdays game will feel that they are joining a team that, at once, has learned lessons and are jelling and that they can contribute to soon. Even the coaching decisions yesterday showed a maturity that has been elusive most of the season and maybe these new kids will see that too. Even the defense looked solid in all phases (even pass defense) but its only one good all-around defensive game this year and doesn’t excuse Snow for the defensive debacle that lost so many games this year. Rhule should get one more year but only if he makes the hard but necessary change at DC.

  7. Just wanted to add that after watching the video, I think this kid throws better than Bridgewater. Once he learns touch, he’ll be unstoppable. Finally, Rhule has to adopt the KISS (keep it simple stupid) philosophy. It’s ok to win by running 50 times so long as you win. At its essence, football requires physically beating the guy in front of you and not outsmarting him. Smarts count, but when a team has a physical advantage and doesn’t take advantage of it, that’s not smart. It appears that Rhule is learning this lesson given his use yesterday of the QB sneak rather than a “smart” play to get less than a yard.

  8. By the way, Keshaudas Spence rushed for 194 yards and two touchdowns on 25 carries for Sacred Heart, yes Sacred Heart, against Fordham yesterday. That loss, I’d say hurt the most this season only because they’re 1aa.

  9. … and it hurts even more knowing that we could have run the ball all day long on them without even passing even 10 times. I really don’t think our coaches looked at Fordham film. If I had Williams and Harper running behind Friend, Pete White, Cody Booth and company against a high school-JV-sized DL, would have blown that team off the ball all day. To sacrifice a win to prove you are “Air Rhule” was cheating the kids.

  10. Passing the ball 26 times and rushing it 49 times makes you “Air Rhule”? Wouldn’t that need to be the other way around?

    • Five passes. That’s what Daz needed to put up 63 on Army. That’s also the formula to pound the crap out of Fordham. Still can’t believe we lost to a team Lafayette defeated.

      • Not to mention that Daz also needed a two-time All-ACC running back to have not only a career day, but one of the greatest performances ever by a TU running back. BTW, EVERYBODY has been pounding the crap out of Fordham on the ground this year. Yet there they are at 12-1 and in the 2nd round of the FCS tournament.

  11. I was puzzled to see the Owls win yesterday after the UConn mauling. It was Rubik’s cube rather than Rubicon. A recent Washington Post article said 30 of the top 100 high school recruits de-commit. Some re-commit to their original choice. Let’s see if Rhule can work some magic now that he has some time on his hands. I’m making my Christmas list. I want HS senior DBs who want to start to re-commit to the Temple turnaround. I want some big WRs who want to play catch with PJ Walker. I want another Tyler Matakevich and Kyle Friend. I want eyeballs to grow on the back of Anthony Robey’s helmet.

  12. I want two JUCO CBs who are Walter Washington-type All-Americans at their positions, that’s all. If Bobby Wallace could recruit WW, The Great Recruiter should be able to recruit two first-team All-American CBs.

    • Or a good CB and a DE, improve that pass rush and some of the DBs on the roster will look better. I’m sure that the “Cult of Rhule” will have some reasons why this is either not a good idea or impossible to do.

      • Already the MRAs are saying “it will be hard” to find a CB as good as Anthony Robey from the JUCOs and if Matt starts him it’s “because he has to.” Amazing. If he’s such a great recruiter, he should be able to find someone.

  13. Fordham was a tough loss, but the Idaho and UCONN losses were worse. Positives from the Memphis game were watching a young team fighting to the end and a coaching staff not only not allowing a 2nd half collapse but putting their foot on the opponent’s throat. We all know Rhule will be here next year and probably in 2015. I think he needs 6 wins minimum next year.

    • Vick, agree with your point about 6 wins next season. For me I think Idaho and Fordham were the worse loses. While Uconn was win less and the team blew a 21 point lead at least UConn and Temple are at more of a comparable level. Winning the Memphis game did show me something from both the players and coaches.

  14. Next years non-conference schedule is a lot tougher than this year, but the AAC conference won’t be as tough. There’s still a lot of questions about the coaching improvement, but Temple has good players and if they keep and get more solid recruits they should be in good shape. Assuming the game-day coaching improves, that is.

  15. Starting next year with Vandy, a team that’s won 8 games 2 seasons in a row while playing as part of the SEC, will show whether Tu has improved. That game can’ start worse than the ND game, which was 21-0 after four minutes. The fact that the ND score wasn’t worse stems more from ND taking its foot off the gas than anything TU did.

  16. I fully agree that this season was a complete failure and of course the coaching staff needs to be the first thing held responsible, however going into this year I wasn’t sold on this team or the talent. This is a team that was carried by some very special players (Pierce, Wilkerson, Adrian Robinson, etc) and yet still couldn’t beat a MAC team with a winning record in all of its tenure. Yes, those teams deserved to win more (should have beaten Penn State at least once) but this year’s team is NOT those teams. If we couldn’t beat any MAC teams with winning records, how could you expect us to win in the new conference with guys like Pierce, Montell Harris, etc gone? Did everyone forget about how much we got blown out last year? And you can’t tell me that the games that we won in the last minutes because of luck, good fortune and poor coaching on the other side (USF, UCONN) were won because of coaching. I get that the Idaho and Fordham losses are inexcusable, but when we lost to Villanova a few years ago I didn’t hear anyone calling for Golden’s head.

    • Yes, Addazio never lost to Fordham and Idaho, but I will take the new offensive system over his any day. Addazio got a bogus bowl win against a historically bad rush defense yet he was never able to beat a good team. If Walker played for us against Fordham and Idaho, we don’t lose those games. Rhule and staff needs to be held responsible, but if a few plays go our way (just like if a few plays didn’t go our way last year) we would be singing a different song. I’m just as disappointed as the next guy but I’m also realistic

      • Owls13 some good points regarding Idaho and Fordham. I agree with you that the staff has to be held as responsible for the Idaho and Fordham losses, I would feel even worse if they occurred towards the end of the season rather than at the beginning. Next season, I’m hoping that some of these close loses can be turned into close wins, no blow outs and continue what started in the Memphis game of getting a lead and keeping it. Given Rhule’s approach this year of giving as many so many young players starting experience, coupled with young players who played a lot under Daz in 2012, there should be a core of experienced, maturing jrs in the starting line up on both sides of the ball next year. I agree with the previous posts regarding the 2014 ooc schedule being tougher than this year, I think the AAC schedule will not be as strong.

      • Walker did play against Fordham and was ineffective in his few series. Rhule burned the kids redshirt and frankly was fortunate he was able to step up the D-1 talent so quickly. Props to Rhile for landing this kid.

      • Daz recruited Walker, but Props to P.J. for staying with Temple when Rhule came on board and props to Rhule for closing the deal.

    • Ooooooo, better watch it Owl13, you are going to labeled a Matt Rhule Apologist for comments like that! However, I won’t be one of them because I happen to agree with you and have posted some of the same things myself.

  17. Refreshing to see some objective journalism rather than reactive responses. Everyone will say “great, another Rhule apologist” because they can’t get over the fact that we lost two games that we shouldn’t have lost and they choose to lay all of the blame in the most obvious place they can think of. EVERYONE knows that 2-10 with those two losses is a failure and NO ONE is saying that Rhule was wiothout crucial mistakes, but most people conveniently miss facts and swap logical arguments with overemotional (and repetitive) reactions because that’s what a lot of Philadelphia sports fans do.. when things are going well Temple football is the next Boise State or Alabama and when things are not going well people get nostalgic about teams that never accomplished anything

    • Well stated owls13. I completely agree with you.

    • Talk is cheap. Wake me up when we become the next Boise State. Long-suffering Temple fans have been promised that for five years and instead they get handoffs five yards in the backfield on fourth and 3 inches.

      • My point exactly. There were some people that were saying we had “one of the best programs in the country” and I was wondering how that notion entered anyone’s head. I’m speaking to the fair weather nature of some, at least in terms of their evaluation of the program (not their loyalty.) Building a nationally respected program takes time

  18. I’m probably a Matt Rhule Apologist, but I really hope Phil Snow finds some “personal reasons” for leaving the team like D-line coach Brandon Noble did today.

  19. Everything that could be said about the past season has been said in triplicate. It’s time to focus on next season which begins in only 279 days. PJ Walker is going to be a star. The kid wants it bad and it shows in his continued improvement as the season progressed. In addition, Jamie Gilmore showed Matt Brown-like quickness, which will be a welcome complement to the the pounding running style of Kenny Harper. Throw in a very adequate Zaire Williams, the offense should hum next year. The defense cannot get worse and given the number pf underclassmen who played this season will be vastly improved next season. Go Owls.

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