Words of Wisdom

If you do not have time to watch, just advance to the 28-minute mark for some words of wisdom.

Part of the King James Bible, loosely defined, is credited for the phrase “out of the mouths of babes come words of wisdom.”
That phrase rang true for me while watching the latest version of Matt Rhule Weekly on Temple TV above.
Two young men—not exactly babes, but at least young–who work for the TV station, Zack Gelb and Chase Senior, showed an understanding of the Temple personnel that coaches twice their age who are 18 for 77 in third-down situations and 3 for 23 in their last 26 do not seem to understand.

People wonder why Temple is 18 for 77
and 3 for 23 on third down and the answer
is pretty obvious to everyone but the guys
presiding over the 18 for 77 and 3 for 23

“They have to show more commitment to the running game, particularly in the red zone,” Gelb said.
“Once Temple gets into the red zone, they get a little too cute with the play-calling,” Senior said. “Yesterday, you said you’d love to see Kenny Harper and Colin Thompson in the I formation and just pound the rock in the end zone. How about an I formation with Colin Thompson and Kenny Harper where Thompson runs it out into the flat and P.J. Walker can just dump it to him?”

Or why not Jahad Thomas behind Kenny Harper AND Colin Thompson?

People wonder why Temple is 18 for 77 and 3 for 23 on third down and the answer is pretty obvious to everyone but the guys presiding over the 18 for 77 and 3 for 23.

The solution is right in front of their eyes, heck even on their own Temple TV station, but they could be too stubborn to implement it. Good job by Gelb and Senior breaking it down this week.


32 thoughts on “Words of Wisdom

  1. Opinion of Temple’s season so far from an unbiased perspective.


    “Rhule did a phenomenal job fixing every major problem from last year. But there are some road blocks. The Owls need to play better from behind, and that starts with the run defense and ends with PJ Walker’s pass accuracy. Still, the future remains brighter than it’s been in years for Temple.”

    (for those who don’t have time to read the entire article)

  2. I don’t understand how you can keep attacking the running scheme??? The only problem with the running game is that Rhule doesn’t call enough running plays, nothing wrong with the scheme itself. As I said in a previous post (which you randomly deleted), Rhule only calling three running plays (only one to Thomas) is inexcusable. The solution is simple…call more runs. The offense should be 55/45 running until PJ gets back to playing like PJ.

    Thomas 6.7 YPC
    Gilmore 5.1 YPC

    Please explain how that warrants using 2-back sets? We just need more volume.

    • simple. two-back sets create a numbers problem for the defense. jahad following both harper and colin and the OL is an extra blocker in front of him than just colin and the OL. don’t care much about the volume. Just want kenny and colin in front of jahad creating those holes.

      • Don’t care about volume? So your okay with only 3 runs in a half? You earlier complained that Rhule was the opposite of Daz and now you don’t care about running volume. Make up your mind. When your top backs average 6.7 & 5.1 YPC you clearly don’t need to change the scheme, just the volume.

      • You’ll have more than 3 runs a half when the coaching staff gives Kenny a chance to show how well he can block in front of Jahad. Until then, the run just won’t work.

      • Just won’t work? Thomas and Gilmore average over 5 YPC…pretty sure that is considered working.

  3. Matt Sell: Two back set also helps blocking for PJ. Your article points out his lackluster pass performance, which is not entirely due to blocking but certainly isn’t helping. Would like to see stats on his hold time as well as completes/incompletes under pressure. A much needed stat for the two back debate.

    That being said I’ve never heard anyone say that a particular offensive scheme works 100% of the time. At all serious levels of play offensives switch up formations and sets. Adding in a two back set to drive a ball deep is hardly an offensive statement and shouldn’t be a real point of contention. Formations aren’t black and white, all or nothing. They can obviously be interchanged and goes back to my whole in game adjustment discussion from other threads.

    Finally, the author of your bio has probably watched less football than my pinky toe. Not knocking his work as a sports writer (or aspiration), but as a recent undergrad from Pitt that “grew up in the area” I would hardly call him a “voice of reason” on college football. Take it at face value.

    I’ll leave this with a quote from your article: “Here’s what we know about the 2014 Temple Owls: Nothing. Okay, that’s not entirely accurate. I just wanted to be dramatic. We do know a little, but we don’t really know that much.”

    He said we really don’t know that much. Half the guys on this blog including yourself probably know more than him. He admits it.

    • Just wanted to give an outside opinion of someone who follows the entire AAC. Virtually all publications and other teams fans have positive opinions of Rhule and where Temple is heading.

      As far a 2-backs sets….for this offense and group of player I just don’t see it. Why use a fullback with an athletic QB who needs space? I would rather have an extra WR or TE to give PJ an extra outlet on the run…esp considering we have been EXTREMELY successful running the ball already, just lack the volume. The offense need balance…not Kenny Harper at FB.

      • Harper would provide balance, helping establish the run by blocking for Thomas and setting the defense up for play-action fakes. right now, no one is respecting the run because Thomas doesn’t have enough blockers. Give him another weapon in one of the best blockers on the team in front of him. Also P.J. is taking a lot of hits back there. Having Harper pick off the blitzing LB or SS gives P.J. another second to look down the field. This is the perfect group of players for a 2-back system. Once Harper graduates, it might not be.

      • Playcalling is what balances an offense…not Harper as a FB. The only reason opposing defenses don’t “respect” the run is because we simply don’t do it enough. The running game is already extremely effective and this present roster isn’t condusive towards power running, which is what 2-back sets are predicated on.

  4. it is some sort of an indictment of the offense when two kids barely out of high school can see that it is not as effective as it can be. Again, the coaches, as was the case last year with its misuse of Coyer, are not correctly utilizing the talent that they have. In three of our wins the defense was responsible for many of our scores. Unless changes are made I’m afraid the only bowling that will be done will take place with a 16 pound ball and ten pins.

    • Yet another Coyer comment…let it go already.

      • Why? we would not have won the Memphis game without coyer. they could have used him the same way the previous 11 games but “discovered” him too late. I hope they don’t make the same mistake with a few key players on the team right now.

      • Please Mike…he was unconvered on both plays, all he did was run straight haha. If that was DeLoatch instead it would have been the same result, two TDs.

      • They would not have won the Memphis game without Coyer? While he was a contributing factor, he only had 3 catches for 129 yds., 120 of those yards came on 2 catches. In fact, 2 of his catches came on the same drive. Yes, he had a 75 yd TD catch and run, but take away his 3 catches and Temple still put up 27 points, including 7 off a blocked punt. How about Anderson and his 3 TDs in that game. Maybe they don’t win without those too.

  5. Just watched the entire show and these two kids demonstrate perspicacity beyond their years. It’s as if they’ve been channeling many of the contributors to this post. Hopefully, the message that TU has to run the ball reaches the coaches.

    • It’s not just has to, it’s how. Harper (who might not play, I hear) is 220 and Thompson is bigger and stronger. I watched Kenny against Rutgers lead a sweep for Montel, knocked the RU guy at the point of attack on his face, kept going, knocked another RU guy 7 yards down the field. Multiple pancakes on the same play. This is what he can do for Jahad. How our coaches don’t understand this is crazy. Rhule wasn’t around in 2012 (I saw him at the Army game, though) but he should know that having Harper in there ahead of Jahad is like having another pulling guard. Instead, we run this crappy spread and nobody is open because we don’t establish the run first.

      • Mike, don’t think it is the spread offense itself but what seems to be the limited version Temple runs that is what is bogging down the offense. To Matt’s point an effective run game can be generated out of the spread,plus it is designed to set up the run from the pass but to do that I think you need to use all of the pass patterns from the formations. Seems the Temple offense base formations are Trips right or left and Doubles. Out of these the primary routes seem to be various screens and some 5 step drop patterns. Very little quick passing game using hitch and slant routes.
        Don’t seem to use or use very little if any Stack and King/Queen formations, with either an H-back or FB as you second back. These formations make it easier to run a power series (close to the goal line say), and can really open things up even more for a good rb with counters and toss plays.
        The big question I have is how do the coaches view Walker, is he considered a good running qb, if so then why isn’t the Spread Option, which is the base running play for this offense, being used more. See more of PJ running counters, power runs, etc. If not, then keep using the screen series to keep pressure off, give Thomas more carries with counters, tosses and traps. Maybe go to a 2 back set outside of short yardage and incorporate wedge series runs with direct snaps to the H-back and FB. To some of your points about Herbin, use him more running the Jet sweep. For the passing game start incorporating hitch routes and slants in a quick game with that and the screen series being the bulk of the passing plays.
        Again, don’t think it’s the spread offense but rather how it is being implemented or more accurately what is part of the Spread Offense both from a player package, formation and play calling stand point, that just doesn;t seem to be in Temple’s interpretation of running it.

  6. It’s obvious most of us fans are anxious to just see some success. We saw what sure seemed like an unnecessarily poor year last year and now we’re witnessing another year that is uncertain as to whether the Owls get those 6 wins and go bowling or fall short, with a roster of players that certainly seems capable of the former. The frustration about schemes and all that stuff is sure understandable. I’m a long time fan (45 seasons or so) and I’m tired of repeatedly poor (often horrible) seasons with a few (very few) good seasons sprinkled in. So this is like work situations when you have a boss who refuses to listen to and do things in a way that would help. Only at work you’re there all day, every day. Football (sports) isn’t survival life, but it is something we love to follow and get behind and is therefore important to us. Personally? I don’t care how they succeed. I just want to see some extended, sustained successful seasons. I believe Temple is capable of that with the right decisions, so repeated poor decision making at ALL levels sure gets frustrating. Just clean up your act Temple and success, albeit moderate, can happen. After 45 years, is that asking too much?

  7. JD, I’ve been saying that for weeks. It’s a spread lite. I watch other teams run innovative and imaginative plays from the same formations. The other night, UL-Lafayette ran the same offense and had hundreds of yards rushing because they used an H-back and a pistol formation and attacked the line of scrimmage directly instead of running parallel to it. They also used quick passes down the field instead of to the sidelines. They did throw quick outs but did not use them as a staple of the offense. They also ran a lot off-tackle, which the Owls hardly ever do. Finally, they used motion to create advantages for the offense. All pf these things are doable and I can’t figure out why they aren’t an integral part of the offense.

    • John, that’s the thing, just look up any of the spread offense coaching manuals, playbooks, videos, local high school games, etc and pretty much everything you mention is part and parcel of the spread offense. Even 2 back sets, which people don’t seem to realize. One part of the run game that Temple doesn’t seem to try and establish much at all is making opposing defenses account for Walker as a second RB. Great point about attacking the line of scrimmage directly, how many veers do you see this offense run either to an rb or Walker. Counters and traps which all can be run from a 1 back set? It seems more that Temple runs an offense out of a couple of spread offense formations and not a spread offense.

  8. Matt Rhule: “OK, wait a minute. This isn’t our brand. We’re not following our process.’ They have to recognize we can’t beat ourselves. It starts with me.”

    Does anyone know what the Temple brand is? And there is that ‘process’ thing again…, what about the ‘product’? But, give the man credit for accepting responsibility and being held accountable for what happens and what fails to happen.

    And for understanding his first responsibility is to teach the rules of the game and to eliminate turnovers.

    Temple WILL beat UCF if they accomplish three things:
    1. they don’t turn the ball over, zero turnovers
    2. have less than 35 yards in penalties
    3. make all FG attempts

  9. playing within the rules of the game is all about discipline and the coaching that teaches discipline. two star athletes can play within the rules of the game as well as four and five star recruits.., I just don’t get the triple digit penalty yardage.., fumbles and interceptions follow in the same note…, you fumble the football and get to sit out for the next few games…,

    • agree with that. covered high school football for many years and CB West (in the news tonight for an ignominious reason) always amazed me in that they’d get 10-15 yards or no penalties a game. asked Mike Pettine Sr. about that and he just said, “come to practice tomorrow.” I went for 3 straight days and saw the whole practice. somebody would flinch and Pettine would yell “run it again” and they’d run the same damn play 15 straight times until it was done right each time. cb west never went offsides, never false-started and never beat themselves. we seem to beat ourselves a lot. by November, the practices ran so long they were throwing passes almost in complete darkness. catching them, too.

  10. John, good site. Just showing how limited Temple’s use of the spread the first .pdf file at this link http://www2.usafootball.com/search/google?q=spread+offense

    The Spread Offense.

    You’ll have to cut and paste as can’t seem to add as a hyperlink. This document is a super basic overview of the spread offense and even only being 44 pages you can check off about half of the plays Temple never seems to use. In the passing game, do see (using the terminology of this document) Switches, All Stops and limited use of what is listed under Route Passes. In the running game, don;t see much of the Spread Option Run, Wing Option, Wing Counter Option or Jet Sweep. I think Matt makes some good points about not running enough to get defenses to respect the run and make play action effective. The bigger problem and why I am focusing on specific spread offense plays and formations is that the play calling seems to be limiting the offense as much as opposing defenses. It;s like Satterfield read the first couple of pages of one of these playbooks and fell in love with them. Maybe in FCS you can crank up good offensive production with a limited playbook, at this level you need to have everything available at your disposal that an offense philosophy provides.

  11. Watching UCONN giving ECU defense all it can handle by throwing deep sideline passes. While ECU will likely will correct this, let’s see if the Owls send guys long and throw underneath the corner backs next week..

  12. I really have some doubts, just don;t seem to tailor game plans based on an opponents weakness but rather the attitude seems to be “we have our process and we are sticking to it”. Maybe if Kirkwood has a good game this Saturday, with his size Temple can start attacking with those type of passes along with starting to use the middle of the field. That could open things up more for Fitzpatrick as well.

  13. Mike, your comment about “beating ourselves” is so right on. Actually Temple has a long and disgusting history if doing that – always at key points in a game, stopping momentum in its tracks and any chance of winning. I have to say tho, that while it is bothersome right now, it doesn’t seem as bad as it used to be but shouldn’t be as bad as it is either. That fumble into the end zone by PJ changed everything in that Houston game and it was unnecessary. If Rhule wants to be hardheaded, that’s something he should hard headed about – just like Pettine at CB West. (Incidently, he started coaching there a few years after I graduated from CB, no West then). The penalty thing is all about discipline and it sometimes needs to be hammered into the kids thru repetition – just like you said Pettine did. Not protecting the ball is also about discipline, but sometimes its a one-on-one thing where the strongest and more aggressive player wins out even if the ball carrier IS protecting the ball properly. But penalties are a different animal altogether. Temple will have to play a complete and more sound, mistake free game (maybe more than just 3 things kj?) but I too think beating UCF is possible.

  14. Temple WILL BEAT UCF if they don’t turn the ball over, make all their FGAs, and have less than 35 yards in penalties.

    UCF is not Alabama, Florida St, etc.

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