I thought “Matt” gave way too much credit to UMass in this presser.
Probably the biggest cleanup in Philadelphia history came over the weekend, when an army of people knocked down barricades and grandstands and swept away a whole bunch of garbage from the Pope’s visit.
The second biggest cleanup, hopefully, was occurring at roughly the same time on Sunday night and Monday afternoon when the Temple Owls had to address some major issues leading up to Friday’s 7 p.m. at Charlotte (CBS Sports Network).
Here are five things that needed to be addressed:
- The Run Game
The Owls took the nation’s third-leading rusher, Jahad Thomas, into the game against UMass and came out with a 67-yard rushing effort against a defense that gave up 390 yards to Colorado and 457 yards to Notre Dame. Colorado is a mediocre team, as proven by its loss to Hawaii. It looked like the Owls overreacted to the Minutemen’s stunts and abandoned the run game too early. That cannot happen going forward. If the run game isn’t working inside, the coaches have to take the run game outside.
- Killer Instinct
When it was 14-0, Temple, got to find a way to make it 21-0 against these inferior teams like UMass. If Temple TUFF really means anything, you have to put more helmets on their helmets and knock them back off the ball. If that means putting Nick Sharga in at fullback running lead interference for the tailbacks, so be it. Head coach Matt Rhule said “it’s going to be 17-17” but against teams like UMass and Charlotte, it should never be 17-17. Temple has much, much too much talent to b be playing the likes of UMass 17-all at half. Newsflash: UMass is not going to win the MAC in this century or maybe even the next one.
The Owls have to find a way to limit their turnovers in the passing game and one of the ways to do that is to cut the number of throws from 48 against UMass to the more manageable 15-for-20 P.J. Walker had against Penn State. To do that, they have to establish the run first, then throw off play-action. That brings the LBs and safeties close to the line of scrimmage and more susceptible to the play-fake.
- Big Plays on Defense
The Owls gave up big plays on defense because they could not get to the quarterback against UMass. Getting to the quarterback is the key to limiting the big plays. They do not have to sack every quarterback 10 times like Penn State, but at least get in the QB’s face so he does not get a good look downfield.
- Negative Plays on Offense
The Owls lead the country with 15 negative plays on offense. One way to negate that is to take more shots down field—again off play fakes to the running backs. Robby Anderson was extremely effective making those kind of explosive downfield plays in the passing game and it is high time that he returns to that role. The best way to get Robby involved is to fake it into the belly of Jahad, pull the damn ball out and find Robby streaking down the left sideline.