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.
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
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.