The Concept of a Letdown

There should be no such thing as a letdown in college football, but we all know it exists.

There should be no such thing as a letdown in college football, but we all know it exists.

One of the things I’ll never understand about college football is the concept of a letdown. A typical college player works like a madman for 353 days a year to perform 12 days a year and you would think the goal would be for optimum output just for those 12 days. In the other 353 days of the year, it’s OK to have a letdown.

The dozen game days are no time for a so-called letdown.

It should not be possible to have a letdown in college football. In baseball, basketball, with the preponderance of travel and sheer volumes of games, a “letdown” is understandable.

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Even though a letdown makes no sense given the minimum opportunities to demonstrate skills honed the other 353 days, letdowns inexplicably exist. History tells us that. A Temple team coming off a 38-7 high with a win at Maryland in 2011 followed that up with a 36-13 loss at home to Toledo the next week.  Very few people thought Toledo had more talent than Maryland. That was the same Maryland team that beat the real Miami, 32-24, in the previous week.

You could look at it two ways in that both Maryland had a letdown against Temple and Temple had a letdown against Toledo, but those were just two instances of what could be called letdowns and proof that they do exist.

Last year,  despite saying all of the right things, there can be no doubt Temple had a letdown against Navy. While Navy was good and ran a complicated style of offense,  Temple had much more talent. Before the game, coach Wayne Hardin took time to explain to me the simple way to beat a triple option team was to blitz a linebacker or a safety from the quarterback’s blind side because the Navy offense was designed to leave that side unprotected on pitches to one side. He said that more often than not the unprotected blitzer would be able to disrupt a pitch before it could be made.

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Temple never got the memo and never blitzed to Keenan Reynolds’ blind side even once. After a dominating 37-7 win over Vanderbilt, an embarrassing loss to Navy followed.

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You could call that a letdown, too.  No one can predict what is going to happen tomorrow night, but the facts as we know them are Temple is coming off what had to be both a physically and emotionally draining 27-10 win over Penn State. The ingredients for a so-called letdown are there.  The Owls are saying all of the right things about avoiding a letdown against Cincinnati tomorrow night but the Owls said the same things after Vanderbilt a year ago (see the above headline).

Hopefully, deeds will prove stronger than words this time.

Tomorrow: Cincinnati’s Defense

Sunday: Game Analysis

Monday: Photo Essay

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11 thoughts on “The Concept of a Letdown

  1. Cincy will be wearing all white uniforms.., hopefully Temple will wear the same uniforms they wore last Saturday.., karma

    • the difference this year is that as putrid as our offense was last year we will field more than a respectable offense tomorrow night. I hope our boys understand this game is more important than Penn State. I think they are mature enough to get it. We will have to see. (BTW, I loved our unis last week. I would not be disappointed if we wear them every week. Keep the unis, keep the beard, and I will keep wearing what I wore last week.)

  2. Understood. People with drive and the taste of success usually want more and go for it even harder especially with the prospect of greater success in front of them. Let’s hope THAT is what will happen Saturday night. Go Owls.

    • Great comments last week about the maturity of the Owls, particularly on defense. Perhaps that will carry the day (err, night) and reverse the recent trends of big win, big loss.

  3. does anyone recall the last year in which a freshman has not made the starting lineup? one of two things, either the recruiting efforts have not kept pace with the progress of the program, or the program is at a very high level…,

    • I want my freshmen redshirted if at all possible. That said, I really thought the only freshman who had a chance to break the starting lineup was DT Greg Webb and he’s academically ineligible. Kareem Ali had a chance but they would have to move Tavon Young from corner to safety and they were not comfortable doing that. I see Webb taking Matt I’s spot and Kareem taking Tavon’s spot next year. If Nick Sharga is as good as his LB film seems to suggest, he will take Tyler’s spot. Those are three pretty good replacements.

      • great assessment,… what if we recruited the next freshman class to replace Tyler, Matt I, Young and Anderson? the last five years we have recruited to replace the current class and not to redshirt…, that is the next step in the evolution of Temple Football

    • Hey KJ, great prediction u had for the Penn St game. Man u were way off!

  4. While I have been critical of “Matt” in gameday coaching (and praised him for adopting the core principles of this blog that we saw in the opener–emphasis on run game, 135 yards by Jahad. … check … play action passing 15-20 … check .. rush the quarterback .. 10 sacks … check), one thing he always seemed to have a handle on is recruiting planning. AG told me it was his goal to recruit an entire team … 22 starters, 3 specialists … every year and that’s the plan Rhule is adopting. If we are seeing the evolution of “Matt” into a good gameday coach, we have a bright future. We’ll see Saturday because Tuberville is terrific making in-game adjustments.

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