On a Weekend without TU, Irish vs. UMass Will Have to Do

Umass at Notre Dame, NBC 10, Saturday, 3:30

Umass at Notre Dame, PHL 17, Saturday, 3:30

There’s a football coach named Kelly who is an innovator, known for his game day skills and has done spectacular jobs in more than one college football locale.

His first name is not Chip.

Here’s the third false
narrative floating around:
Umass might be better than
we thought and we should
have been prepared to be
in a game the entire day.
UMass stinks.
You can boldface that,
underline it, italicize it.

We will soon find out if Temple’s curious offensive game plan at Massachusetts on Saturday was the right approach because, right now, Brian Kelly is formulating his own game plan. Just a guess, but we’re figuring he will be borrowing a lot more from Colorado head coach Mike McIntryre—curiously enough, a former Temple assistant—than the current Temple brain trust.

Just another guess: Notre Dame will have a lot closer to the 390 rushing yards than the 67 Temple was able to put up against the Minutemen.

One of the false narratives floating around out there is that, because UMass was stacking eight in the box, Temple had no choice but to throw the ball and that was the reason the Owls were able to get 390 passing yards and also the reason they had no chance at 390 running yards. Well, does anyone really believe that UMass did not stack the box with eight once Colorado proved it could gouge the Minutemen? A careful review of the Colorado-UMass game tape showed that the Minutemen did the same thing to Colorado but the Buffaloes stuck with their plan of running the ball. McIntyre knew that running the ball accomplishes two things—scoring points and killing clock, keeping Blake Frohnapfel off the field.

Another false narrative floating around is that Temple eschewed the run because its offensive line isn’t as good as Colorado’s. Well, Colorado lost to Hawaii and the Temple offensive line was good enough to run on both Penn State and Cincinnati—far more formidable opponents than Hawaii. The Owls could have and should have bashed UMass, too. That game is over, but hopefully the commitment to the run the Owls showed in the first two games is not. In order to win out until ND, the Owls must go back to establishing the run.

Here’s the third false narrative floating around: Umass might be better than we thought and we should have been prepared to be in a game the entire day. UMass stinks. You can boldface that, underline it, italicize it. A mediocre Colorado team proved that two weeks ago and Notre Dame will prove it again on Saturday. Temple should have put this game away at 14-0 by going up 21-0.

One of the interesting story lines of Saturday’s game (3:30 p.m., NBC 10) will be how Kelly approaches this game plan. Does he throw the ball all over the lot or make a commitment to the run, no matter what Mark Whipple does? Without Temple football, it will be the next most compelling game to watch.

Heck, the Owls might find a few tricks they can use against Notre Dame that lead to some treats on Halloween.

Tomorrow: Five Other Bye Week Games

Thursday: Fifteen Perfect Plays


19 thoughts on “On a Weekend without TU, Irish vs. UMass Will Have to Do

  1. one way to beat eight/nine in the box is to run tosses and sweeps because such plays negate the half of the defense away from the play.

    • exactly. … we did not have to throw the ball for 391 yards just to prove that we are geniuses. the only way temple wins is to establish the run and throw off the fear of the run, faking it into the belly of the tailback. we saw the 8 in the box and said, ‘i guess no running today.’ brian kelly sees the 8 in the box and will chuckle and still run the ball down their throats.

  2. We all would have felt better with a couple TD win margin. But with interceptions, over thrown passes (some that would have been TDs) and the fumble that was turned into a UMass TD, it became a tight game. Why couldn’t Temple run the ball is the big question. Poor blocking? Bad play calling? Whatever. It could have been a much easier win.

    • poor play calling. after we opened up a hole big enough to drive a truck through on jahad’s td, we were stopped a couple of times and almost totally abandoned the run. to throw on second and three is borderline insanity when you have the nation’s 3d-leading rusher.

    • It takes commitment and confidence that despite the run not initially working it will eventually because the bigger offensive line will tire out the smaller d players. These coaches surrender way too soon. If after a quarter or quarter and a half it still isn’t working then abandon it but not as quickly as the Owls did. Like I said, tosses and sweeps likely would have worked. Getting Thomas to the edge and allowing him to use his shiftiness would be a plus. The only fly in the ointment may be that the wide receivers are poor blockers. If that’s the case, that could be why TU doesn’t run wide.

      • That was really surprising that we didn’t seem to try to get Thomas to the edge. He looked so good in earlier games when they went around the end and he got into the broken field where he could make people miss.

  3. christopher is a great blocker, so is thompson. line them up on the same side and run toss sweeps to that side. we were not temple tuff on saturday.

  4. I hope that ND crushes UMass. I want them overconfident when they come to town.

    • I bet there is a let down on the part of ND. They have Clemson there and USC at home before TU, as well as a Navy and a bye the the week prior to the TU game. Can’t bring it every week. They’ll likely be 6-1 when they play TU.

  5. although we have more depth this year than in the previous five seasons being at full strength means a lot to Temple Football. If Temple can remain injury free then the sky is the limit despite the Satterfield handicap.

    ND has a hard schedule and has already lost several starters, they will lose at least one more between now and ‘The Game’ at the Linc. If Temple can somehow be at full strength.., now doubt we’ll take ND to the fourth quarter

    • wow. … the evolution of kj. … from thinking we’d get blown out against psu to taking us into the fourth quarter against nd. i’ve seen 2 temple teams so far … the good one that played psu and cincy and the bad one that played umass. i believe in the good one and that’s why i believe we could be unbeaten going into nd if we really apply ourselves and stop being satisfied with winning close games against the likes of umass.

      • I think the good Temple team left the field in the second half against Cincinnati.

      • only because phil snow chose to play prevent defense. we are better off attacking, getting nate smith and tyler in the enemy backfield and finch some turnover opportunities. that’s us, not the us that allowed gunner and blake to throw the ball.

  6. Temple had a letdown. Every team has them. Even the pros. (Even the almighty Ohio State struggled at home ladt week.) It would be impossible not to for this team. Especially after finally beating psu, then cincy on the road. The whole nation talked about how Temple is the nation’s darling team. They laid an egg, players and coaches. But they still got the win. I am only going to be worried if they come out flat next week.

    Coming into this season, nobody in America thought they would be 3-0. I am pretty sure most people thought 1-2. Even at 1-2, people thought this was a 7 or 8 win team.

    • ‘most people’ were wrong. i had this as an 8-win team minimum due to the fact they had all 11 starters returning from a no. 4 scoring defense in the country, two dynamic new wide receivers and an upgraded running game. you do not have all of those elements and settle for 1 more win, which a 7-win team would have been. now, with ecu struggling with towson and ucf 0-3 with a loss to furman, temple looks like it can win at least 2 more games than 8. #leavenodoubt means no more letdowns. greatness is within this team’s grasp. i hope they go get it.

  7. Those winning plays were mostly the kids digging in. Coaching, once again, is the problem. They seem to have a tendency to change the schemes back to what hasn’t been working. Although I do think the coaches are good motivators, they’re just not very great on game days, except for the PSU game – that was a beautiful game from start to finish. The Charlotte game will tell a lot about where this team is.

    • Agreed. If we struggle at Charlotte after the Middle Tennessee State coaches put up 73 points on that team, it will say a whole lot about our coaches against even a staff like Middle Tennessee State. They gave us the game plan to put 73 up on Charlotte. Do we ignore it in favor of “the process” or do we learn something from that game plan and apply it? I hope the latter.

      • What I would like to see is a game plan that’s get a comfortable enough lead an control of the game so that some of the backups can get some solid playing time. Especially on defense with the number of seniors on this year’s unit. So if the score is 37 -7 Temple, in total control going into the 4th quarter, and more of the 2 deep are getting some playing time, I’m good with that

  8. going into umass, i really thought we’d be up something like 34-7 in the second half and give frank nutile (pronounced NEW TILE) some snaps where he could throw the ball in game situations and not just hand it off. we’re one more hit away to p.j.’s shoulder from that anyway. no reason we should not put charlotte away at halftime. i hope umass was a big wake-up call in that regard.

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