5 Things to Get Excited/Worry About Tomorrow

Watching Temple head coach Matt Rhule address the media one final time before tomorrow’s 3:30 p.m. showdown with Penn State, people in the media had to be struck by one thing he said about being worried the “moment would be too big” for “the kids.” He said he did not think so but just by bringing it up, the thought must have entered his mind. Nowhere in that statement did Rhule express a concern that the moment might be too big for his coaching staff.

The butterflies will be there one way or another tomorrow (3:30) at Lincoln Financial Field and we are both excited and worried about these five things.

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  1. Offensive Coaching

Excited About:  Recognition. Both head coach Matt Rhule and OC Marcus Satterfield seemed to say the right things about the fiasco that was the 2014 Temple offense. Rhule said that he would go back to Temple’s offensive brand, which had been running the ball with a high skill level tailback behind a lead-blocking fullback.

Worried About: Backtracking: Nothing that happened the first two years has indicated Satterfield is comfortable calling that kind of offense. It’s not what he ran while winning all of those FCS National Championships at Tennessee-Chattanooga. (Oh wait. He didn’t win any.) Now they are talking about dropping the fullback concept and going back to being “more multiple.” More multiple was the reason they were 126th and last in FBS third-down efficiency.

  1. Defense

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Excited About: Experience. All 11 starters from the nation’s fourth-best scoring defense return and all 11 guys are flat-out ballers who do not back away from anyone.

Worried About: Lack of Praise. We’re not talking about endorsements from the media here, but a guy in No. 50, Praise Martin-Oguike,  who provided the the Owls with a pair dynamite playmakers at DE with Nate D. Smith. Praise might be out and Nate is tough as they come, but will PSU attack the soft underbelly of the Owls’ defense with sweeps to the other side? James Franklin does not get paid $4.4 million a year to overlook those types of things. Also worried about them not rushing Christian Hackenberg, but I do not think they are stupid enough to take that same passive approach two years in a row.

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  1. Running Game

Excited About: Jager Gardner and Ryquell Armstead. Those are two guys who give the Owls what they have not had since Bernard Pierce: A guy with the speed to take it to the house by merely turning the corner. Home run hitters is what they are.

Worried About: Caution. Jahad Thomas, the starter, does not seem to be a home run hitter but a guy who earned the job by having the fewest summer fumbles. Yet we’ve seen both Thomas (Houston game) and Zaire Williams (SMU) caught from behind and a premier Temple running back (Mike Busch, Tommy Sloan, Bobby Harris, Anthony Anderson, Zack Dixon, Kevin Duckett, Paul Palmer, Stacey Mack, Tanardo Sharps, Elmarko Jackson, Bernard Pierce, Matty Brown, and Montel Harris) simply does not get caught from behind. That is not what we do here at Temple. When we break into the open field, we turn it into six. Williams is now a LB. If Thomas breaks free, he must take it to the house to keep his job.

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  1. Tight Ends

Excited About: Colin Thompson. When was the last time Temple had a four-star recruit from the SEC (Florida) transfer here? Answer: Never. The guy has a four-star skill set: speed, size, blocking ability, great hands.

Worried About: Witness Protection. Evidently, no one told Rhule he was on the roster last year by the few times he was targeted. Why not use him the same way both Al Golden and Steve Addazio used Evan Rodriguez? Short little 5-yard waggle rollout passes to keep the rush off P.J. Walker, ala Chester Stewart at Maryland. Then toss an occasional jump pass in the back of the end zone, ala Stewart to Steve Manieri at the fake Miami a few years back. Both films are in the can at  the E-O. Rhule might be wise to dust them off one last time tonight.

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Even something this innocuous is an automatic 15-yard taunting penalty now.

  1. Robby Anderson

Excited About: Everything. This is a big time player who makes big-time plays against big-time teams. If, say, UCF was not a moment too big for him two years ago, Penn State will not be now. He’s got a 44-inch vertical leap, sub-4.5 speed, great hands and great moves in the open field.

Worried About: Rule changes. We’re not talking about Matt Rhule changes, but Anderson might not be aware of all the hand gestures that he made two years  ago after big catches—even innocent ones—are now automatic 15-yard penalties. He must be schooled to catch the ball, get to the end zone and simply give the ball back to Mr. Official without any histrionics. You would think Matt Rhule would have talked to him about this already, but one team in the TU-PSU game got a critical 15-yard penalty for a throat slash last year.

It was not Penn State.

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15 thoughts on “5 Things to Get Excited/Worry About Tomorrow

  1. Yes, the entire coaching staff has never won a game of this magnitude. I worry more about the coaches than the players being able to end the horrible losing streak dating back to 1941. Wayne Hardin never beat PSU, can Matt Thule??

    • I can see this game going either way but there is nothing in coach Rhule’s background to be so smug about worrying about the “kids” being up for it when his top offensive assistant is from Tenn-Chatt and not having the same worry about him. Let’s look at the 2 big wins: At Vandy, over an assistant coach who never took the head coaching reins before (Derek Mason) and against an ECU team that they basically had a hurricane rub the footballs with baby oil in order to win. I’m a lot more worried about the coaching staff than the kids. The kids will be fine. If we come out with 4 and 5 wides, I’ll know the game is over.

      • Is that the same footballs that the Temple played with also?

      • you figure it out. ECU scored 70 on a dry field against UNC. 70. Had nothing to do with Temple holding onto the ball and everything to do about a team being built for a fast track. Extremely fortuitous for the Owls that they got the worst possible field for the way the Pirates were built.

    • Apples and oranges with Hardin and now. Hardin went against perennial national championship teams. We’re going up against a 6-6 team that got thrashed 29-6 by a losing Northwestern squad. It’s time for both “Matt” and the kids to be big enough for this moment.

  2. Indeed, this entire season will be a “moment” for the Owls and Rhule/Coaching Staff. Like you, I am not worried about the talented players but the entire coaching staff needs to be BIG. If they blow this season, changes will need to be made.

    • Like Donald Trump with the threat of running as 3d-party candidate, Temple forfeited that, err, Trump card by giving the extension to Rhule in the offseason. Beat PSU, I would have given him an extension. To me, Temple should have made him earn it. 8-16 is not earning it.

  3. Same old questions we’ve all been worrying about – the coaching. Just hope the game won’t be the same old result against PSU. A win or even a close loss can signal the way to a nice season. A bad loss (like last year or worse) will put doubt into the kids and lots of questions for the season. One thought, at least Temple hasn’t been getting walloped 60 or 70 to 0 or 3 or 7 like in the past – in that regard there has been improvement. But its time to expect and see more now – the next step.

    • If we win and that’s a big if, it will represent the first win for “Matt” against an established head coach with a head coaching pedigree. Even the Ruffin guy from ECU could not be considered established. Nobody will be more happy for “Matt” than me. Helluva nice guy, probably the nicest guy who has ever been a Temple head coach. I worry the moment is too big for him. I hope not.

  4. SMU is 1000 times better. Giving Baylor all, it can stand.

  5. This is the best chance the Owls have to beat PSU in quite awhile. A top tier D1 defense is returning all of its starters, an NFL caliber receiver rejoins the team with a four star counterpart and tightene along with the best QB since ADM. it’s clearly your move coach Rhule.

  6. Looks bad so far. They are certainly physically stronger…

  7. Wow!! What a turnaround!! Our defensive line is playing way over their heads. We may have something here.

    • Actually they r not playing over there heads. This is the same thing they did last season. We knew the defense would be great this year!

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