The Fallacy of the Fall

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We don’t mention it in the story below, but it’s comforting to know that Temple returns an outstanding trio of holder Tom Bradway, kicker Austin Jones and punter Alex Starzyk (not pictured).

There are certain assumptions in life which are given, like water is wet and a fire is hot, and then there are others that just make you laugh.

One of those latter ones is making the rounds on just about every future opponent message board and some ex-rivals ones, like the know-it-alls at Rutgers. The prevailing one over there is that the Owls will fall off the grid next year because “they lose so many seniors.”

Connecticut v Temple

Colin Thompson: Back

I call it the Fallacy of the Fall. There will be no fall, but there will be a lot of know-it-alls with egg on their faces, maybe as early as Temple’s second-straight win over Penn State.

Father forgive them because they know not they do, say or write. While it is true Temple loses a lot of valuable seniors, what is also true that Temple head coach Matt Rhule has done a sensational job assembling a line of succession that probably averts any kind of drop off. Due to a weaker schedule (no Notre Dame), the Owls just might have a chance for a better record. USF might be better and Houston will be good again, but the Owls do not play Houston in the regular season, have a decent chance to beat USF (the game is at the Linc) a better chance to win the others. After the Houston game 10 days ago, Rhule said: “I hope this game is at our place next year.” It was not an empty wish.

Once again, on defense, they could be just as good if not better.

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Owls return Jahad Thomas, who could be up for national awards.

While the Owls lose an All-American in linebacker Tyler Matakevich, they gain someone who can make enough plays from the linebacker position, Nick Sharga, to contend for all-conference honors. They have a number of linemen returning who made outstanding plays all season, like Averee Robinson, Haason Reddick, Jacob Martin, Michael Dogbe, Freddy Booth-Lloyd, Praise Martin-Oguike and Sharif Finch. That’s some good quality and quantity right there and defensive coordinator Phil Snow would be wise to at least think about a 5-2 with that personnel (both Robinson and Booth-Lloyd can play nose guard).

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P.J. Walker: Back

Linebackers returning who got plenty of playing time in addition to Sharga include Avery Williams (who made the play to beat Tulane at the end of the 2014 season), Stephaun Marshall and Jared Alwan. The depth is so good at LB and DL, the Owls might want to consider keeping Sharga at fullback. Or even go to a 5-2. When three of your projected linebackers already wear single digits (Sharga, Williams and Marshall) you know you’ve got tough guys at a tough guy position.

Where the Owls lose corner Tavon Young, they gain one in Kareem Ali Jr., who might even have a higher upside. Holding down the other spot will be Sean Chandler, who was the only player in the nation to return two interceptions for touchdowns. Artrel Foster and Nate Hairston are back to provide depth if not steal a job or two. Nate L. Smith, Jyquis Thomas and Delvon Randall are seasoned safeties.

Connecticut v Temple

Jacob Martin: Back.

The Owls will be just fine on defense and, on offense, every skill player of note returns with the exception of Robby Anderson, Brendan Shippen and John Christopher. Anderson made a number of big plays, while the two Christopher will be most remembered for are the throwback pass to P.J. Walker against PSU and the catch to set up the field goal at UMass. Shippen’s biggest play was the touchdown catch against Notre Dame. Still, there is reason to believe that Ventell Bryant, Sam Benjamin, Brodrik Yancy and Adonis Jennings will be able to more than replace the production. Rhule has already stated that Yancy is the closest player to a clone of Christopher that he has.  Cortrelle Simpson gives them a chance to do what they have not done in two years—stretch the field with long bombs, opening up a lot of underneath stuff. Speaking of underneath stuff, both tight ends, Colin Thompson and Kip Patton, return.

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Sharif Finch: All he does is make big plays and he is back.

There are a lot of guys who have not been mentioned, due to injuries and redshirts, but who can force their way into the picture with good springs.

Of course, P.J.  Walker, potential Heisman Trophy candidate Jahad Thomas and the running backs are back and Brendan McGowan should do an admirable job replacing Kyle Friend. In addition, tackle Eric Lofton and guard Shahbaz Ahmed are leaving but the Owls should find capable replacements in Jaelin Robinson and Jovahn Fair.

Speaking of fair, it might be fair to make USF the AAC East favorite next season but to think the Owls do not have a chance to beat Penn State again or have a better record than a year ago is a big mistake. They have a chance to be better. It is up to them to make the most of it and make the know-it-alls look like the no-nothings again.

Get your season tickets and a 12-game supply of popcorn now, because it’s going to be a show.

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25 thoughts on “The Fallacy of the Fall

  1. Will Anthony Davis be returning to the defensive backfield mix next season as well? Wasn’t he rehabbing from a knee injury this season?

    • He’s one of the many injuries and red shirts I did not mention. Played a lot in the 37-7 win at Vandy, and really well. We haven’t seen him in a real game since. Great talent and I like his height at that position.

  2. great assessment Mike, we need to develop depth at DT.., who will play behind FLB and AR? the DBs and LBs are good and we have tremendous depth at those positions…, John Christopher could be better in New England than he was in college. hope they draft him, if not he should just show up and play.., this extra month of football should go a long way in developing the 2s and 3s.., something we haven’t had in a long time

    • John Christopher will be the second coming of Danny Amendola. If he goes to New England, he will latch on in the NFL. If he goes to the Eagles, his future is shaky at best. Time and place is everything in the NFL. The extra month is really 17 extra days. We might have had an extra month if we didn’t throw a bomb on 3d and 3 at the H38 with 7:18 left and the corner 10 yards off Robby, down 24-13. Great season, though, and I’m proud of the kids and we went from D to A, not D to C.

    • Rhule red-shirted 18 guys this year with an eye on building depth. I could see one of the current DEs (Praise) moving to the interior. Crossing my fingers Greg Webb can be academically eligible. He’s 6-1, 312 and projects as a major interior disruptor. If we don’ see him by the spring, we probably never will. Big-time programs find a way of keeping this type of kid eligible (tutors, course load, etc.).

  3. Christopher had a way of getting open and made lots of key receptions at key points in most games. Sure someone might step into that role but JC was a real asset.

  4. Odd question: Did anyone on here get notice on when to pick up the Bowl tickets at Liacouras ? I’ve emailed but am only being told “soon”. Well I fly out “soon” too.

  5. Can’t wait to see Patrick Anderson play next year.

  6. Temple plays seven home games next year, really significant considering how well the team plays at home, and much friendlier on the travel budget…, let’s hope the Eagles will stop charging Temple $50k just to paint the field.., the Eagles also take 90% of the parking and concession sales, how screwed up is that?

    • more screwed up: telling us it is impossible to paint the field the day before an Eagles home game and then doing a paint job DaVinci would be proud of for Army-Navy. I hate people who lie and the Eagles were caught in a bold-face one. Meanwhile, for us against Uconn, you can clearly see the crappy eagle superimposed under the beautiful T. No Eagle game the next day. If Temple paid $40K for that, Temple deserves its money back.

  7. From Pravda:
    “Don Bosco Prep offensive lineman Matt Hennessy committed to Temple tonight. The 6-foot-4, 277-pound Hennessy had offers from 19 schools, including Air Force, Army, Buffalo, Florida Atlantic and Old Dominion. He also had a slew of FCS offers, including Delaware, Villanova and Towson. Oh, and some schools named Harvard, Columbia, Dartmouth and Yale. So he’s a solid student.”

    delaware, villanova and towson … to quote Derrick Coleman, “whoopty, damn do.”
    Trust the process.
    To quote Ronald Reagan, “trust but verify.”

    • Tyler Matakevich 2 star recruit

      college offers – Temple & Akron

      Considered small & slow.

      Coach Rhule sees a “football player” after watching tape of Tyler. Convinces Addazio to offer him a scholarship.

      Develops into one of Temple’s greatest linebackers.

      #trusttheprocess

      • Hey, this current team won 10 games with primarily 2-3 star athletes. I’ll take a 10 win season every time! Those three 2-3 star athletes whipped up on Penn State and went toe to toe with ND. Somebody is doing something right.

  8. more from Pravda:

    When Matt Rhule was asked yesterday about the staff’s approach to recruiting and everything that has come with the team’s recent success, this was part of his answer.

    “Sometimes when you recruit four-star players, you get four-star problems. And sometimes when you recruit two- and three-star kids, you get award winners.”

    He went on to say that the staff would by no means shy away from recruiting highly-ranked players, but it was his way of saying that they’re still trusting what they see and looking for the same qualities they always have.”

    c’mon, you didn’t think Pravda would ever criticize Chairman Matt did you? When someone finds the first negative thing that site editor posts about the Czar, please post it here. It’s been nine years. Nothing but praise.

  9. “With four commitments in the last few days, Temple has moved up to No. 4 in the AAC recruiting rankings”

    Kyle Gauss – Owlscoop

    Now I don’t personally really put a whole lot of energy in “recruiting services ratings”, but i see that some folks on this site do so thought i might share this.

    • everything is relative, Temple would be #13 out of 14 teams in the ACC this year in recruiting, and is being out-recruited by UAB so far…,we ARE going after four stars with no success this year.., check out the link below and look at all the players we offered, we are not having any success at the high end, so by default we are picking and choosing at the low end of the market.., that is not a process or strategy, that is called survival

      http://espn.go.com/college-sports/football/recruiting/school/_/id/218/class/2016/page/offers

      • is UAB in our conference?

      • Perhaps if Temple was in a p-5 conference they would attract p-5 talent. You are comparing apples to oranges. Compare Temple to like foes ie how do they rank versus aac, not acc.

      • actually, Al Golden’s goal was to recruit half a class with P5 offers and half “trust the film” guys and he usually was able to do it with the power of his personality. If “Matt” is the great recruiter everyone says he is, go out and get half a class with P5 offers like Golden did.

  10. About the ticket sales problems and sales in general thru the bookstore.
    Sounds like things haven’t changed much. Years ago I went thru the ticket office at Temple a couple times, didn’t receive my ticket by game day. Once I had to go to the will call booth at Ohio U and they didn’t even have it there! Also recently I ordered a new T hat 2 weeks ago. Wanted to have it to visit my daughters family and watch the game there. Contacted them and it hasn’t even reached the bookstore where I guess items get shipped from – where it’s coming from is anybody’s guess. The point is that Temple seems to be pretty inefficient servicing fans. That’s not a good way to do business. It may be small stuff but if the school wants to build a fan base, these little things count too.

    • many more Temple people in Houston purchased their tickets either through Houston, ticketmaster, stub hub or other secondary market options. I think that will be the same story in Boca.

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