The Real Reason for the Loss

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If you want to read a feel-good piece about what a great season this was and how we should all be happy about winning 10 games, please head somewhere else.

There is plenty of singing Kumbaya on social media and elsewhere. If you want to read the brutal truth, please proceed.

The brutal truth is that Tuesday night’s embarrassing loss to a MAC team—and it was an embarrassing loss—was not Matt Rhule’s fault, P.J. Walker’s fault or any of the kids’ faults. The fault squarely rests with the Temple administration, which should have never accepted this invitation in the first place.

Of course, we’ve been beating this drum since we heard the announcement (see yesterday’s post and two other posts linked below). My whole post yesterday was that Temple was walking into an ambush and, unfortunately, I was right.

There was no way Temple could match the emotional pitch Toledo was going to have coming into this one. No matter how much Temple could pretend Toledo was Auburn pretending is one thing and reality is another. Auburn is Auburn and Toledo is Toledo and never the twain shall meet, despite 6-6 and 9-2. Toledo had a coaching staff anxious to prove to its administration it made the right call. Temple’s coaching staff needed to prove nothing to its administration.

To Toledo’s players, Temple was Auburn and a step up. To Temple’s players, Toledo was just another MAC school, a directional equivalent of Western Michigan or Central Michigan or Northern Illinois. No matter how much you pretend, those facts cannot be changed.

That’s why Temple should have accepted the invitation that was on the table for Birmingham. There is no doubt on my mind that the Owls would have finished the season by beating Auburn in Birmingham. As you’ve read in this space the past week, there was plenty of doubt in my mind that they could beat Toledo.

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It wasn’t because Toledo was better, it wasn’t, but it was because of all the intangible edges Toledo had going into the game that was outlined in Tuesday’s post. Maybe next year, the Owls will do some homework on an opponent—if they earn the right to pick one—and do a little less snorkeling, beach volleyball or bowling. Invest that time in other pursuits, like better play calls in third-down situations.

A lot of Temple fans dropped a lot of coin going to Florida for this one. We hope that the good time they had made it all worthwhile. For me, I would have gone down there for one thing and one thing only—a win.

This should have been treated more like a business trip and less like a reward and, for that, you can lay all of the blame on Neil Theobald and Pat Kraft.

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25 thoughts on “The Real Reason for the Loss

  1. I agree agreeing to this game was a no win scenario for the Owls but once accepted the team needs to be ready and they weren’t. After benefitting from a very favorable schedule in the first seven games, which included an epic win over PSU, they finished 3-4. Two of those losses came against teams with superior talent (ND and Houston) and two came in cases where temple was out-coached, including today’s loss to a team with no coach.

    I’m in agreement this has been a very good season for the Owls but it certainly never reached its full potential. I’m certainly glad I can carp about Temple winning ten games as underachieving but I certainly wish other fans had the same standards. I was very disappointed by the offenses execution today, especially the line, but once again Satterfield didn’t seem to have a clue on how to get PJW space to work. I’m hoping we’re able to improve the offense from a place of trying to run out the clock starting in the first quarter to one where we recruit and develop big time players.

    I’m also hopeful we can replace some of the big losses on the defensive side of the ball and increase the team speed.

    • team speed was a real problem at Houston and last night. Freddy Booth-Lloyd will do a good job replacing Ioannidis; Nick Sharga will do a good job replacing Tyler (he won’t be Tyler, but he’ll be close enough) and Kareem Ali will finally give the team an injection of big-time speed replacing Tavon at one of the corners. When it became apparent we weren’t going NY6, the goal should have been Birmingham. Toledo was a no-win situation and it was a game we could not afford to lose from a perception standpoint.

      • I agree 100%. The main focus should have been on getting that record-breaking 11th win. If there was an opportunity to meet an “easier” opponent (in all aspects), Owls should have taken it. No one would have cared or remembered who we played to get to 11, the record would still be in the books. As is , the season ended on a sour note which fan and foe will remember. The Grinch definitely stole Christmas! 🐸

      • I don’t think Auburn would have been easier, but the focus in Birmingham would have been on taking care of business and not the beach. Also, the downside of losing to Auburn would have been like falling off a curb; the downside of losing to Toledo will be like going down a mine shaft. We have not even heard from vultures like Mike Missanelli, David Murphy and Mike Sielski yet, but we will and they will never let us forget this. Lose to Auburn and no big deal.

  2. Auburn was the right call. Give the kids bragging rights to play for. I heard plenty of Toledo fans in the stadium saying “we’re beating Temple”, and Mile your point burned in my head, “yeah, and if we were beating Toledo would we be this happy, or would it have been expected. An old MAC opponent and nothing more”.

    This bowl did nothing to advance the program and likely won’t do much to hurt it. Beating Auburn is name recognition.

    • P.S. Something about this Matt Rhule quote bugs me: “I’m not going to shake my head at winning 10 games…We had a great year.” Coach had a similar comment after losing the AAC Championship game. It’s almost like once the Owls reached 10 wins, it was a “great” season, even if we lost last 2 games. Sorry, but without either the AAC Championship or a Bowl win, I believe this was a good or very good year NOT A GREAT YEAR. I would like to see a little more fire and hunger from our Head Coach. Did his mentality and attitude permeate the team psyche?

  3. Mike, agree with your points plus I’m sure they are crowing on the MAC boards about “Temple never beating a MAC team with a winning record”. Was also getting into some interesting discussion on the Temple fan facebook page last night with the same “greatest season ever” attitude. This was a very good season but for me 1979 was still the best season in “modern” Temple football history. Next season will really start to show if e are in fact moving forward, With the schedule in place 8 wins (barring a rash of injuries) should be the “floor”. As disappointed as I am in the last 2 games this season did set the foundation which needs to be built upon with some 8 plus win seasons and bowl appearances. If Temple does get a choice of AAC bowls in 2016 it can only be one of the following:

    1. Birmingham – SEC
    2. St. Petersburg – listed as an ACC opponent for 2016
    3. Ft. Worth – BIG 12

    Don’t want to hear how everyone will love going to the Bahamas or Miami just to face another MAC team.

    Positives for this season that made it memorable:
    1. Finally beat PSU
    2. Beat a ranked team for the second year in a row
    3. Took that next step that the team could never seem to do in the MAC, win games they needed to win at the end of the season to get to the championship
    4. While it was a terrible game, the players returning next season got bowl experience.
    5. Did exceed expectations with regards to the number of wins I thought they would have at the start of the season.
    6. Big time atmosphere and exposure from the ND game and Gameday. I take this one with a little grain of salt, from a fan perspective it was great, from a program perspective I think signing day will give an indication of how valuable or not it was.

    Even with the number of players we are losing on defense, I’m still more concerned with offense for 2016. I really think that Rhule needs to look at making a change at OC. I know people on certain boards will point out that the team scored the most points ever and ppg did go up by 7 ppg over the previous 3 years, but with that being said Temple was still the 9th ranked scoring offense in the AAC. In fact in most offense categories Temple was in the bottom half of the conference. I don’t know if you heard anything in relation to the rumor posted on the Scout board about Satterfield taking an FCS head coaching job but I do hope it’s true.

    As for the defense, I think the backfield will b fine, some drop off at LB and I actually think the D-line has the potential to be better. Between FBL and Dogbe, better both at tackle and end and if Martin-Oguke is healthy from spring practice on and can return to his 2014 form think you are looking at a pretty good defensive line.

  4. This does feel embarrassing. I smelled a lousy coaching job, either with the same old schemes and/or not getting the players psyched enough. The ending to this season was quite disappointing – and I mean the last 4-5 games. As far as recruiting better players, just how many 4 star guys did Toledo have on their team? Those kids were ready to play and did you see those behemoths on their lines? I think the Temple players played hard but they looked tired and nothing worked very well on either side of the ball. It looked all too familiar. PJ was not throwing the ball very well, the D never got to their QB and Temple’s receivers hardly got wide open like Toledo’s receivers did – all night long. My worst feeling though is looking ahead to next year. I can only hope Rhule’s nice new contract pays off and that we’re not headed downward again. This is like a wet blanket and don’t even try to say this is the best season ever – one of best, yes, but the ’79 (?) 10-2 season ending with a win over a Pac10 team and finishing # 17 is the best. Period. Crap…….

  5. Jon agree with the size of Toledo, that’s why I said looking at the roster I think our defense will actually be bigger next season, and the drop off from the past 2 seasons may not be as bad as people think. If Rhule is as good a recruiter as advertised it shouldn’t be.
    I think a bigger problem with our receivers was that they had very little if any yards after catch, so maybe the OC needed to call for say a 6 yards pass pattern when it was 3rd and 5 and not a 3 yard pattern.
    With regards to your comment about recruiting, not so much talking about number of stars but rather the 2016 will be pretty much all Rhule recruited players starting so I think that will beone indication of where this program is heading. Agree with you about the ’79 season and had an interesting discussion on the Fan Facebook page comparing this years team to the 2011 team. I would rank the seasons as ’79 the best, with ’15 and ’11 a close 2nd and 3rd. I guess what is considered heading downward is relative, as I said in my previous post need to string together several 8+ victory seasons to follow this one up.

  6. was with an ESPN Temple alum, a 90 year old doctor and avid fan, and others last night…, the Temple offense needs plenty of work., opposing teams have figured it out – put 8 in the box, stop the run and you’ll beat Temple.., PJ is a good game manager with a lead, but is not the QB who can play from behind…,

    I still think going to Boca was the right call, the alumni base in south florida is tremendous and they make contributions to the program…, again i don’t think Rhule had the team prepared.., Toledo is a run first team, but came out and established the pass with a few well designed plays, then stuffed the ball down our throats in the 4th qtr…., and our Red Zone offense could use some imagination….,

    Theobald told a few alums the university will roll-out a strategic communications plan next month in support of efforts to build a new stadium.., also found out Temple did take some community leaders to see the Tulane stadium in New Orleans…, and the Eagles doubled down after Temple met with the incoming mayor, now they have 100% of all concessions and parking, and they increased the cost for replacement sod and field paint…, don’t think I’ll ever be able to root for the Eagles again…,

    • KJ, from what I’ve researched online the FAU stadium looks to be a better model to look at versus what Tulane built. Have never been to either but while Yuhlman looks like it was built in about the same space Temple has available FAU just looked nicer on TV. What were your impressions of the place?

      • Have not been to Tulane, but went to Houston and FAU last night.., personal opinion but I like FAU better than Houston, although Houston is really loud for 40k seats.., FAU has real seats, Houston has the benches without backs..,

        you could easily grow the capacity at FAU by closing by the two side sections of the scoreboard end zone and building more seats/capacity

        Houston does have a really neat section on their home side that has a patio type seating arrangement.,

        FAU has five levels of suites which Temple could charge premium prices.., both places have adjacent parking garages, but from what i could tell most people parked at other the lots on campus and walked the few blocks to the game…,

        all in all, the FAU stadium has more character and feels nicer, better game experience.., Houston is just a new cement bowl that brings the noise

  7. Very disappointed in the loss yesterday. kinda put a sour ending on a good season. surprised the team came out so flat yesterday. seemed like they celebrated getting 2 a bowl a lil too much and didn’t focus on the game enough. here were some of my thoughts on the game

    the offensive line got pushed around.
    Temple couldn’t get it’s running game going bcuz of this.
    the defense all of a sudden couldn’t tackle anyone
    losing Alex Wells hurt bcuz he’s a good tackler. the safety Hayes is trash.
    losing Tavon Young hurt.

    all in all, i think Rhule has the program headed in the right direction. needs some fine tuning for next season.

    improve the OL.
    Ventell can replace Anderson but the Adonis Jennings guy hasn’t shown anything.
    increase the safeties speed.
    PJ has too get better. what happened to the freshman PJ Walker?

  8. trashing the kids, but not the coaches. Have you ever criticized Rhule or do you enjoy seeing pass patterns of 4 yards being called on 3d and 7 all the time? Satterfield catches a lot of flak elsewhere, but that is ultimately the responsibility of the CEO and Rhule is the football CEO. Temple has a done a terrible job of calling patterns that dictate running to the sticks, turning and catching the ball. that’s the coaches’, not the kids’ fault.

    • running a pro set, 2 TE offense is great when your OL can control the line of scrimmage. but what do you do if the OL can’t dominate the line of scrimmage?

      Temple basically runs the same offense as Michigan State and Stanford. Both of those teams have pure drop back passers who throw the ball down the field when the opposing defenses put 8 in the box – they make them pay for stuffing the box to stop the run.

      we are running an offense that does not take advantage of PJ’s abilities. The spread, with option reads would be better suited for the talent we put on the field. The Ohio State or Houston offense would be better for the talent we have on the roster now. I think PJ could be as good or better than the Houston QB in the same offense. Conversely, the Houston QB would be terrible in Temple’s pro set.

      We are lacking the two basic requirements for a pro set, a dominate/physical OL and an accurate pocket passer.

      Temple has the talent on offense, we just need to figure out how to maximize that talent.

      Rhule is blowing smoke., this team started at 7 – 0, and finished the last seven games at 3 – 4.., losing four of your last seven games is not good, i don’t care what league you are playing…, what are the reasons for the decline?

    • Rule and his staff certainly should get flack for the team coming out flat. however the OL getting push around is on the OL. they have to man up and win their assignments. the defense also not being able to all of a sudden tackle is on the defense. they have tackled well all season so don’t know why they couldn’t this game. the last Toledo TD run showed that the safety Hayes couldn’t tackle. Alex Wells would have made that tackle.

      i call it how i c it. i didn’t like the coaching gameplay but blocking and tackling is on the players on the field.

      • a lot of it had to do with a coaching staff–at least the remnants of it–who won three out of their last 4 bowl games vs. a neophyte (bowl-wise) staff that lost 3 of their last 4 games. Hopefully, there will be fewer trips to the bowling alley, beach and boating dock next time and more emphasis on blocking and tackling. I call it how i c it.

      • Mike agree with you. At this point I going to write this off as part of a learning process for the team and staff. Next season the “newness” will have worn off, pretty much the entire roster will have bowl experience and the staff can focus on football rather than fishing. If we face a MAC or CUSA team in a bowl in 2016 (I hope not) have to have a performance like Boise vs NIU or Ga Southern vs BGSU

      • With Toledo’s new HC hiding out in the booth (seriously you are the boss now act like it) we should have had a massive advantage in leadership (not to mention contact — demanding explanation, for example — with officials). It sure didn’t seem like it. That was an unnecessary and irritating loss.

      • very irritating

  9. Toledo looked bigger, stronger, faster, better coached, psyched up, and drew up a winning game plan. Temple was nicked up, got beat, and should be humbled. There’s one good thing that can some from this epic fail.

  10. Satterfield has to go. The only time a concerted effort to throw the ball down the field was in the 4th quarter. Sattefield has replaced the quickout with the underneath route. On top of that they somehow are tipping off their plays. It seemed that every time a screen was called their guys were there before our linemen were. I would hope that someone is doing reverse scouting on this staff looking for Tu’s tendencies. It just seemed that toward the end of the season opposing teams knew exactly what to do to beat us. On top of that, the goal line O became predictable. Five times in the last 2 games TU got inside the ten and had to settle for fg’s. That’s coaching although one has to wonder why PJ was throwing darts instead of lobs to DeLoatch.

    • John I agree with about Satterfield, people keep pointing out that Temple scored the most points ever in a season and averaged 30.8 ppg. Ok, but in the context of their competition still 9th out of 12 teams. Unless the defense can be maintained at the level it’s played the last 2 years to me the offense has got to step it up to stay in the upper echelon of the AAC.
      By the way with criticism of Satterfield on several boards I’m shocked it took until this morning for the editor of Pravda and his lemmings to start circling the wagons around Satterfield and “strike back” at anyone who dares suggests coaching had any part in the loss

  11. After watching the game it looked to me that Rhule, Snow & Sat. were badly out coached. No adjustments at all. No imagination on the offense. Toledo receivers had a 3yd. cushion on it’s receptions while Temple receivers had a defender right there. Looking at the Toledo players they just looked bigger, stronger & faster. Maybe that’s why it took 7 plays to score from the 2yd. line against N.D.

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