Dare to Be Great

Paul Palmer makes a good point at the 30-minute time stamp about a commitment to the running game.

Sitting at 3-1 with the toughest eight-game stretch of the season ahead, there are three ways Temple football can go right now in my mind: 3-5, 4-4 or 5-3.

Or the Owls can dare to be great and do something like 6-2 … or better.

I chose daring to be great, but that’s easy for me because I’m a fan. Whether or not the players—and the coaches—make that choice will start to be determined on Saturday.

Palmer: "In my humble opinion, they need to make more of a commitment to the running game." Paul runs behind John Rienstra and fullback Shelley Poole here. Guys like Jahad Thomas and Jamie Gilmore would be much more effective running behind a fullback like Kenny Harper.

Palmer: “In my humble opinion, we haven’t committed enough to the running game.” Paul runs behind John Rienstra and fullback Shelley Poole here.

To me, there is nothing wrong with the defense. Sean Chandler and Tavon Young are huge upgrades at cornerbacks and, if the newly-constructed defensive line continues to get pressure, the Owls’ safeties are going to continue to pick the ball off.

Offense is where the fixes need to be made. If the Owls stay with their one-back and empty-back sets, they could struggle to six wins and that would be enough for a bowl but if they can go to two backs, put Kenny Harper at blocking fullback and someone like Jahad Thomas at tailback, they can establish a viable running game—a part of their arsenal they do not have now. Once a viable running game is established, the passing windows for players like Jalen Fitzpatrick,  John Christopher, Romond Deloatch and Khalif Herbin are open wide for P.J. Walker on play-action passes. All four of those receivers are capable of making explosive plays downfield in the passing game, but not if the passing windows continue to be slammed shut by the lack of a viable running game. Run the ball and you force the safeties closer to the line and then can drop the ball in the passing game over their

rankheads via play-action passes.

Explosive plays in the running and passing game is what is going to take for this team to be great. Hopefully, the coaches have the courage to make that tweak. Otherwise, we’re looking at 6-6.

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16 thoughts on “Dare to Be Great

  1. Mike, give it up it ain’t happening. I sent the following question to ask the coach and received the following response:
    Q: Do you foresee running a two-back set using Kenny Harper as a blocking back? – John Belli

    A: We don’t run out of two-back sets very often but it is in our playbook. Kenny is a great blocker and has lined up there at times.

    Clearly, it’s going to remain in the playbook.

  2. Temple runs a spread offense. By switching to a two back set, you are asking them to change what they do. Not going to happen, it’s the o line that is failing in the run game. Rhule knows this, not sure what this coach has to do to win the respect of some folks. He upgraded the secondary, the kicking game and has made the defense an aggressive ball hawking group. We are 3-1and probably going to go 4-1 after this weekend. Please try and enjoy the ride while it lasts cause it never does. As for 6-6, I will take it with a team with only 5 seniors.

    • it can be so much better than 6-6 with a viable run game and the only way to get a viable run game is with 2-back sets. offense is not working this way. he’s not infallible. not going to enjoy 6-6 when this team can go 8-4 with explosive plays in the run game. it’s not all the offensive line’s fault. the scheme is faulty.

    • Same problem Eagles have, it’s the line and the solution is not adding a fullback in a spread offense. I don’t want to see PJ in a pound and ground offense. This is the perfect offense for him we just need better play by the o-line and for a RB to step up.

      • Not asking for a “pound and ground” offense … just an offense that establishes the run and opens up the play-action passing game. A good offense should be like a shell game. The defense doesn’t know who is going to get it. Throw Kenny Harper in there as a lead blocker (like Wyatt Benson was for BP and Matty) and watch those holes open up for Jahad. Then, with the LBs, and safeties bunched close to the line of scrimmage, fake the ball into Jahad’s belly, pull it out and you’ll find Temple receivers running so open through the secondary P.J. won’t know which one to throw to … not the line’s fault at all. Right now, P.J. has no windows to throw into.

  3. not so sure about our defense…, Navy was the only good offensive team we have played and they hammered us. Just reason for concern regarding our offense..,,hard to fathom the difference between the output from the last four games last season vs the first four games of this season.., could the absence of Robey be that great? my biggest concern is the line of scrimmage, we are not a physical team on the line of scrimmage from either side of the ball. the O-line can pass block but can’t push anyone off the ball.. same on defense, we can rush the passer but can’t stop the run….? it appears we just don’t have mean, nasty, physical players at the point of attack…, UCF, ECU, and PSU will all Rush for over 175 yes per game…,

    • Vandy returned 5 OL starters from a 9-4 sec team last year and we dominated the point of attack against them, both running and passing. coach hardin told me we played the navy triple option all wrong, that it is based on outnumbering you like a basketball fastbreak with 3 on 2s and 2 on 1s. he said he would have sent the safety from the blindside to make it a 3-on-3, 2-2, 1-1 and that would have nullified Navy’s advantage. that’s exactly what air force did. guy is 83 and he still has it. sharp as a tack. wish our 40- and 50-something coaches were as sharp.

  4. The theme of Rhule;s comments were that he expects the best from each of his players. By implication, he expects the same from himself and without a viable running game plan, he’s doing a disservice to his team and the fans. The fact is that Kenny Harper is not an every down back. He could be an every other down blocking back who could also be a viable receiver. Other backs have shown that they are faster and shiftier and thus, it makes no sense not to run a two back set, which if even mildly successful would enable the pass game both directly and in play action. And no JT Badley, can’t enjoy the ride when it’s clear that the Owls could be better with minor tweaks.

    • “enjoy the ride” is such a defeatist and apologetic attitude. we have the talent already in place to run a 2-back set. great coaches devise their scheme around the talent they have, then recruit to fit the scheme. they don’t put the scheme in place with ill-fitting parts, then force it down the throats of their players.

      • Love some of the Monday morning Quarterbacks on this board they complain when we lose and now they complain when we win. The two back set has gone the way of the leather head gear. I’ll be there Saturday with my defeatist attitude rooting for coach Rhule and the lads. I think some folks here never liked the hiring of Rhule, they wanted someone else to be the head coach. Get over it guys Rhule is the head coach and doing an ok job this year.

      • It’s that same loser philadelphia mentality, like how we view ourselves compared to New York.

        It has to be eliminated somehow.

  5. Running out of two back sets, other than situationally, would be foolish. Our O-Line is better suited to pass block, PJ needs space to operate, and our WRs aren’t suited for run blocking. Could it be slightly beneficial to the running game…probably, but it would gimp the offense as a whole. We struggled mightily running against UConn, but they actually have a legit defense…which looks a lot worse due to their putrid offense. But our top 2 RBs have been good the majority of the year, they just don’t have the volume yet.

    Gilmore 5.0 YPC
    Thomas 4.2 YPC
    Hood 5.6 YPC (might get more PT as the season goes on)

    Those #s are not really something to complain about, espcially to the level you guys (Mike & John) do. Rhule has altered the offense to fit our current personal, fairly obvious with the offense primarily using a low risk short passing scheme with Anderson or a healthy PJ…play calling was vastly different last year. I expect things will open up when PJ is fully healthy or Thompson/freshman WR emerges.

  6. all of us are fans with opinions, some opinions are informed by facts and some opinions are misinformed by the same facts…, the common bond is our passion and love for Temple Football – GO OWLS, BEAT TULSA

    if they don’t, we’ll all jump on Rhule and Snow Saturday night and keep our feet on their throats until the next win 🙂

    • amen … a lot of us have seen a guy do an exceptional job as Temple head coach. An “ok job” is just not good enough. I want an exceptional job. we have the personnel for two-back sets, yet we’re forcing the running game into a numbers’ mismatch/standoff at the point of attack. putting a blocking fullback in there to both open up the run AND the passing game turns the numbers to our advantage. there’s a reason why we’re ranked No. 97 in the nation in total offense and it’s not the kids.

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