Amnesia is a terrible thing to have once, let alone twice in the same week.
Evidently, though, that is just what happened to Temple head football coach Matt Rhule after the glorious 20-10 win over East Carolina, fueled by this promise:
“Last week, we were a little bit shell-shocked on the plane coming home from the loss to Central Florida. As a staff, we made a decision … so, this week we wanted to get back to who and what Temple is: play good defense and special teams and run the football.”
Rhule remembered the good defense part. He forgot the run-the-football part and the special teams part.
Since Matt cannot control what a punter does or does not do, let’s just concentrate on what he can control—the run-the-football part.
Just to be sure I wasn’t seeing things, I got up early this morning to chart all of the Temple offensive plays. Temple ran 71 offensive plays and lined up in three wide receivers on 68 of those. Temple ran the ball 32 times and passed it 39 times. By any definition, that doesn’t jive with “play good defense and special teams and run the football.”
Against East Carolina, Temple ran 56 offensive plays, lined up in three wides 22 times and ran the ball on 37 of those offensive plays. Of the 37 running plays, Temple lined up with a fullback, Marc Tyson, 20 times. Both Temple offensive touchdowns were a result of a Marc Tyson block off a two-back formation. Tyson, like so many uniquely talented Temple players the last two seasons, joined federal witness protection last night.
You can blame the loss on the drops all you want, but that’s something the coaching staff cannot control. The coaching staff CAN control the commitment to the running game. Not only did the Owls coaching staff forget about it in game-planning this week, it forgot to stick to the running game after Kenny Harper ripped off a 75-yard touchdown run.
Amnesia twice in one week.
Before the game, we wrote this:
“If you decide to pray for anything, please pray that the Owls don’t fall back into their three-wides, no-blocking-back for P.J. Walker approach they had against Houston and UCF. In that scheme, Walker had no time–none–to throw and receivers could get zero separation. So happy to see the Owls get away from that last Saturday.”
Well, with the help of some selective amnesia, they got back to it Friday night and, not surprisingly, they lost. Hopefully, on the bus ride home from LFF, Matt Rhule remembers what he said on the plane ride home from UCF–and, this time, never forgets.