No Fullback, No Problem

The good news from practice on Monday was that it was the best of the season. The bad news is that the coaches do not seem to know that both Kareem Ali and Nate L. Smith can return punts.

No fullback, no problem, but there’s a caveat to that.

Temple head coach Matt Rhule announced that he was not sure if there would be a fullback position, but that there would be two backs much of the time. With the kind of competition that currently is underway with the backs now, getting on the field will require the ability to be able to block and that’s why having no fullback is not that big a deal this year.

As many as seven running backs will by vying for playing time and, as athletic as they are and as smart as they are, surely they have to know that blocking and picking up protections will be a big part of whether or not they get on the field. Already, the Owls are ahead of that aspect of the game because nobody picked up protections for quarterback P.J. Walker a season ago and that was the chief reason he suffered a sophomore slump.

The running back who does pick up protections and serves as an effective lead blocker for the tailback should improve the overall offensive production of the team.

The most important commitment to the run is the two-back scheme that Rhule and OC Marcus Satterfield promised to employ and whether you call that back a fullback or just a good blocking tailback is immaterial.

Let’s hope Matt and Sat keep that promise.

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16 thoughts on “No Fullback, No Problem

    • That seems like just about enough time for the BOT to decide whether the team is worth keeping or not. It is win (be competitive in the AAC) now or no more football.

      • That is exactly right. I thought this was true about last season, but this extension is a stay of execution from the BOT. Win now, or there is no stadium in the spring. It’s time for big-time winning (and we’re just not talking 1 more win than last year). Put up or shut up for the coaches. Interesting that Rhule’s contract is through 2020 and that’s when the second one-year lease ends.

  1. the jet pack just turned into a lead lined straight jacket

  2. I don’t want to admit it but everything points toward a do or die situation doesn’t it? it simply costs a lot to field a 1-A program, Temple has lousy attendance and fundraising, the students don’t seem to care and the Linc is expensive (even with what seems like a decent deal). if you will really draw 30-40K a game, I guess you can at least pay off stadium costs. They should have kept old Temple stadium (even though it’s not on campus) added seats and renovated it for far less than a whole new stadium – they used to fill it up regardless of location. I’d hate to see them drop football all together, but financially it may be the smart thing for the university. Dropping down a division wouldn’t be very satisfying.

  3. On the surface seems like a good deal and if the deal isn’t done yet for an on campus stadium the best move the administration could make. I agree buys time for the BOT to determine where this program is heading. Without an oc stadium that would be ready for the 2018 season, this is the only course of action that makes sense. Regardless of how you feel about playing in a pro stadium, I have to believe that playing in one where you have your own locker room and with this “partnership” mentioned in the article, more TU signage and messaging is a whole lot better for recruiting than “showing off” FF.

    Mike on your point about the stay of execution, I agree, 2015 is absolutely critical for the future. No more, “6-6 with this tough schedule still shows progress”, etc.

  4. One other thought. If these coaches don’t cut it the uni always has the option of trying a new coaching staff to keep the program afloat.

    • I think the BOT, particularly Chairman and Cosby attorney Patrick O’Connor, is taking the view … “we tried all these new coaches, if Rhule doesn’t get it done, let’s just make the E-O the new soccer, lacrosse and field hockey place.” Get ‘er done, Matt. Two backs, establish the run, hit ’em with play action. Draw the safeties and the LBs to the line of scrimmage, fake the ball into the belly of the RB, and find Temple WRs running free all over the place. It ain’t rocket science.

  5. Have been saying that this season is the most critical one in TU football history for almost a year and have gotten a lot of grief for it both here to some degree and on Philly.com almost universally. Happy to see that others finally recognize the situation for what it is and hope the Owls meet the challenge by going at least 8-4.

    • 8 and 4 losing to Penn State and Notre Dame might not cut it. Will that draw fans?

      • 8-4 and winning a bowl game (9-4) would just barely be enough. Barely. The really good news is that I cannot possibly for the life of me after CLOSELY watching both Robby Anderson in 2013 and the PSU defensive backfield a year ago see them being able to cover him. I could be wrong. Heck, they will know that at the end of the first quarter and roll the coverage to him, enabling Sam Benjamin, John Christopher and Adonis Jennings to make explosive plays downfield in the passing game. That’s how I see this play out and my sunglasses are green, not cherry. If you would have asked me this before Robby, I would have said I could not see a scenario where Temple wins this game. His dynamic changes everything. Of course, with Temple’s luck, he’s carted off the field after the first punt return. In that case, as they say about Obama, thanks, Rhule.

  6. Mike — I think we’ll learn an awful lot on 9/5. I can’t wait. I’ll be there with a little group of folks who go back to the 70s with TU (my wife and I and her sister & husband all met in the Diamond Marching Band). Maybe I’ll run into you there — finally! Rob Vaughn

    • absolutely … rob … just tell me where the band alumni will set up and I will seek you out. You r the Jim Gardner of the LV; unfortunately, the JG of the Philly loves PSU. I will try to seek you out again. You must look for the only guy wearing a TU jersey that says Papreps on the back. Between us, we will find one another.

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