Part of Temple head coach Matt Rhule’s message to Justin Fuente that became clear after a 31-12 win over Memphis on Saturday is that the plays Fuente prepared for were not necessarily the ones the Owls would use. The Owls either scored or set up scores on plays that they had not used or did not execute earlier in the year. That’s a good thing, and shows that former Notre Dame defensive coordinator Bob Diaco has a lot of things to think about while preparing for Saturday’s game (7 p.m.) at Lincoln Financial Field.
- Return of the Tight End
The Owls have three special talents at the tight end position and they used them all against Memphis. Colin Thompson, a Florida transfer, caught a seam pass over the middle for 43 yards; Saladeem Major released from a two-second block and found himself wide open in the flat for another score and Kip Patton scored on the same tight end reverse play that would have been perfect for Chris Coyer in 2013. In fact, we called for that play a few times in this space and thought that Coyer’s ability as a passer on the same play would have resulted in a few touchdowns. Now, maybe Patton will get to throw a pass off the same play he scored.
- The Deloatch Effect
All Romond Deloatch does is, as Buddy Ryan once said of Cris Carter, is catch touchdowns. At the time, Ryan meant it as a backhanded compliment, thinking that Carter did not catch enough passes in the middle of the field. Yet, with big games coming up, Deloatch is going to be an effective red zone target, using his great hands and 6-4 frame. The attention that Robby Anderson gets on the other side of the field is going to make him particularly dangerous.
All Temple has to do to win the AAC attendance title is to draw more than Memphis does for its game against SMU. The Owls have the slimmest of leads, averaging 47,343 per game to Memphis’ 46,547. The Owls can still draw a few hundred less than Memphis and win the attendance title, but the fans should take a page from the team and #LeaveNoDoubt. If you are planning on watching this game on TV and live near Philadelphia, one word of advice: Don’t. The kids feed off the energy of a loud crowd and all hands should be on deck.
- Mass Substitutions
Defensive coordinator Phil Snow said one of the problems in giving up too many points to both SMU and said he ran in defensive players in waves. This is good for the Owls for a couple of reasons. One, it keeps the team fresh late in the season, and, two, many of these players are youngsters like redshirt freshman DT Freddy Booth-Lloyd who are getting valuable experience. Booth-Lloyd made the initial hit on Paxton Lynch’s failed QB sneak.
- Closing in on a record
With 462 career tackles, Tyler Matakevich is closing in on the remarkable school tackle record of 492 held by Steve Conjar (1979-1981). Matakevich can do it, but it becomes a lot more manageable task if he had three games, not two. To get that extra game, the Owls have to beat UConn. That’s why the fans adhering to the suggestion of No. 3 is so important.
Tomorrow: 60 Minutes