Not thrilled about the players talking about those other games as not counting.
Our only post-debate reference of the evening refers to the Donald Trump statement about Hillary Clinton’s “empty words” and “sound bites.”
By no means are we taking sides in this particularly onerous election, but the phrases reminded me of Temple football’s AAC opener on Saturday afternoon (noon) against visiting SMU.
That’s because if the words “Temple TUFF” are something other than empty words or sound bites, we should be able to discern that by 3:04 p.m. tomorrow. For the past 365 days, we’ve seen videos of Owls in the weight room, Owls doing sprints on the snow in February, even Owls toasting marshmallows in the Poconos.
All of this physical and mental bonding was supposed to make the Owls “Temple TUFF” which is to imply that the Owls are tougher than their AAC foes and that, by taking things into the fourth quarter, that toughness is the difference between victory and defeat.
The Owls are a little less than two-touchdown favorites and should take care of business in workmanlike fashion on Saturday. We also thought that on opening night and we were, if not shocked, surprised that things went the other way.
As I see it, this team is tough enough but doesn’t play smart enough. When you lose the cerebral game, that usually falls back onto the coaches. In my mind, this team should have beaten Army and Penn State and because of a flawed game plan (Army) and some undisciplined play (Penn State), they have two losses.
The trouble aspect is that players have been quoted as saying that those games are practice games or, as one player said, tune-up games, and did not count. In college football, where you have only 12 games to show people how good you are, every game counts. It took the Owls four games to figure out that Romond Deloatch is their best rush end, but that’s something that should have been figured out by Cherry and White Day, not as the result of a sack in the fourth game of the season. Hopefully, the coaches have figured out that Nick Sharga and Brian Carter would be more helpful as full-time defensive players than part-time offenders. Maybe that will take until the sixth game of the season but, geez, we hope not.
While it would be nice to see TEMPLE SMART for a change, a heavy dose of TEMPLE TUFF should be able to get this job done.
Otherwise, Temple TUFF is nothing more than a couple of empty words or a nice soundbite.
Tomorrow Night: Game Analysis