Sometimes you get the process, sometimes the process gets you.
Or, as in the case of Temple head coach Matt Rhule, looking over the shoulder of Middle Tennessee State coach Rick Stockstill while studying for his next test should reveal a more perfect process.
Hopefully, when breaking down Charlotte for next Friday’s road game, Rhule and his staff will take note of what Stockstill did in the first quarter of a 73-14 win over the 49ers. It was a gift-wrapped process that the Owls would do well to borrow for the nationally televised game (Friday, Oct. 2, 7:30, CBS Sports Network).
The Owls have shown stubbornness for sticking with their own process instead of using one that worked against their opponents previously. It was shown in the UMass when Colorado, despite facing eight in the box, ran at will on the Minutemen by taking the inside runs outside and it accounted for 390 yards of rushing and a comfortable 48-14 win.
After watching a replay of the game, we counted only 15 plays used by MTSU the entire game. Most of the 73 points the Blue Raiders scored were set up by 15 perfect plays, but we will concentrate on the first two scores in a 42-7 first quarter. Both were seam routes to the tight end, right over the middle, the same kind of play Chris Coyer scored on at Memphis in 2013. Those two TE plays basically broke the game open and had the 49ers’ heads spinning, allowing the other 13 to work on a semi-regular basis. The other 13 were mostly variations of crossing passes over the middle, deep wheel routes, tight end screens, and pitches to the tailback on the edge.
Jordan Parker, a tailback, attacked the soft middle of the Charlotte defense for 140 yards and three touchdowns on 14 carries. Parker also was effective on wheel routes out of the backfield—a play where the quarterback rolls to one side and hits the running back down the other.
The Owls have that wheel route in their playbook, as fans will remember P.J. Walker hit Jamie Gilmore in the hands with a perfect pass that would have been six against Memphis a year ago. They should dust it off for this game.
While UMass was susceptible to the run, Charlotte is the opposite—susceptible to the big play.
The beauty of those plays is the Owls have the athletes and the offense to execute them rather flawlessly. Kip Patton is a guy who has the body of a tight end and the speed of a wide receiver and, if the 49ers had a problem covering tight end Terry Pettis, they are going to have more than their hands full with Patton. Establish the run on the first couple of plays, put the ball in the belly of the tailback, pull it out and then find Patton free over the seam. The 49ers have trouble covering the middle of the field and that’s an area the Owls should exploit. Pettis scored on touchdown receptions of 75 and 76 yards. Pettis’ 75-yard touchdown catch was the first of three one-play drives, also proving that the 49ers are susceptible to big plays. The Owls have plenty of those in their arsenal, too, and crossing patterns over the middle to Robby Anderson and Adonis Jennings should be open all night. MTSU wide receiver Ed’Marques Batties, a player with a similar skill set to Anderson, finished five receptions for 120 yards and three touchdowns and most of those were the result of deep crossing patterns over the middle.
Whatever Stockstill did, Temple should do. You cannot argue with 73 points. When it is over, “Matt” can send Rick a thank-you card.
Tomorrow: AAC Football Night on ESPN
Saturday: College Football TV Guide
Sunday: Game Week Begins
Monday: Unpublished Temple Photos of Interest