Long Day, Short Week

Love the acceleration of Ryquell Armstead on that last score.

If a team could feel a tinge of sadness coming off a 45-20 win, there is no blaming the Temple Owls after that score was completed at the end of a long day on Saturday afternoon.

Just before the game, it was learned that star safety and kick returner Sean Chandler could be lost for the season with a knee injury sustained in practice and that backup defensive linemen Julian Taylor and Sharif Finch are definitely done for the season.

Fortunately, Matt Rhule called this version of the Owls the “deepest and most talented team I’ve ever coached”  (even after the Army debacle) and we will learn shortly if that is true because Saturday’s long day will be followed by a short week.

natel

Nate L. Smith

There are signs, though, that Rhule could be onto something here because Chandler was replaced by a player we feel has been underappreciated in his four years at Temple, safety Nate L. Smith. All Smith did was pick up an interception and add seven tackles. If Smith is indeed The Guy in the middle of the field, nothing he did on Saturday indicates there will be a significant drop off in play.

Smith is one of those guys who all he does is make plays and that has held true for the few times he has gotten into games over the last four years.

The same could be said of Finch, with his five blocked kicks and his spectacular near-pick 6 of Christian Hackenberg last year. Still, for all of the Finch plays, he was a backup to both Praise Martin-0quike and Haason Reddick at defensive end this year.

So the bad news might not be so bad and the good news is that the Owls’ offense is now showing signs of being the dominant unit. Phillip Walker is going to have to stop throwing interceptions, because SMU’s pick 6 was the only thing keeping this from being a 45-13 final.

There is much talk on social media about the poor crowd, but we told you here in writing what was going to happen in this post entitled “Unintended Consequences” after the Army loss. It was plain to see then and there is no surprise it is happening now. There is going to be no crowd redemption this season and that is the fault of the coaches who had eight months to prepare for that triple option. The Owls had a legitimate crowd of 34,005 on opening night and pretty much said goodbye to that kind of crowd with that loss. When Buffalo gets the job done that Temple should have, it gives those casual/fringe/lazy/softcore fans pause. We hardcores, the 20,000, will always be here. To use a double Biblical analogy, it’s the Prodigal Son fans who are the Doubting Thomases (not Glenn or Jahad).  They need to be wooed by early wins. That’s the way it’s always been at Temple and that’s the way it always will be.

For now, though, the emphasis will be on getting the most out of this season and, despite the injuries, there is some promise for better times ahead. Memphis, the Thursday night opponent, will be a sterner test than SMU, so we should know more in five nights.

Monday: The Best Images From Saturday

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39 thoughts on “Long Day, Short Week

  1. Why are the end zone seats blocked off above the first ten rows? Those low seats are lousy for seeing anything. Great, looks good on TV to not see empty seats on PAT’s and FG’s.

  2. I’m hard pressed to be excited after today’s game. Walker continues to regress from last year as was evidenced by the picks he threw and the huge loss he took on the sack nest midfield.

    I’m not sure based in the game day performance how coach Rhuke legitimately sees this as the most talented tea in his tenure. I hope I’m wrong but I see Thursday’s game as being a very long night for the owls.

    • He believes that this team is the most talented based on their strength and speed. It is one of the fastest if not the fastest Owls team ever. . That however is not sufficient alone as Tyler showed his four years at TU given that he was not fast or big. The team is making progress. If the interception had occurred a couple of weeks ago, I think the team would not have recovered like they did today by totally dominating the rest of the game.

    • I tend to agree with your points regarding Walker. I think he could be helped somewhat with an offensive scheme where he is throwing more out of roll outs, where he has been most effective this year and incorporating more passes like screens, wheel routes, etc to the backs.

      As for Thursday’s game I think it is going to be a close game. In 3 years in the AAC, Memphis, even when ranked with Lynch, has never “dominated” Temple. I agree this Temple team isn’t as good as last years but I don’t think Memphis is either. Outside of Ole Miss tonight, which last score I saw was beating Memphis by 20, they have played a light weight first 3 games

      • the 77-3 win over Bowling Green would give me pause except that this is not your typical BGSU team. BGSU beat North Dakota (a team Stony Brook beat), 27-26. Kansas (43-7) looks like a good win, but Kansas is to the Big 12 what Rutgers is to the Big 10. I think the top half of the AAC is better than the bottom half of both P5 leagues. The question becomes is Temple in the top half? We’ll find out in five nights. Look at ECU. It already beat a P5 team, as did UConn. Yet ECU loses today to what was an 0-12 AAC team last year. Even the bottom half of the AAC is beating P5 teams.

      • Any time Walker drops straight back to pass, it’s a crapshoot. If he gets great protection, like the Ventell Bryant touchdown pass, it’s good results. If the protection breaks down, he runs backward 30 yards. I can’t believe the number of fat linemen who are able to chase him down. He’s a very accurate passer when he’s on the run and sees the field better. I’d roll him right 90 percent of the time. At least.

  3. We can make all the excuses in the world.., at some point in time you really are what your record says you are.., Walker is in the bottom 25% of a 12 team conference in QB rankings (and we have played the powerhouse schools like Army, Stony Brook, Charlotte, and SMU)..,

    if he is the best QB on the team then we are in real trouble going forward…, what is the expectation next year, bottom 25% or lower play from the QB position? Hello everyone, we open at Notre Dame next year.., unbelievable the other QBs did not play in the 4th qtr yesterday

    • I’m in the camp you burn Anthony Russo’s redshirt to get him ready by playing him in the fourth quarter of blowouts (err, yesterday) and giving him at least one series in the first half. I don’t want him getting Jim Cooper Jr. Syndrome and get his confidence destroyed by giving the unenviable job of opening his career at Notre Dame. If Matt Rhule is the God of recruiting a lot of his Zombie Stepfords say he is, he should be able to get the next Anthony Russo next year or the year after. I don’t see Marchi or Nutile being on the Russo level.

      • Beginning to wonder about the recruiting prowess. Not saying Rhule isn’t a good recruiter but is he as great as the folks who were so adamant that he was the ONLY person for the HC job when Daz left kept saying? For me the expectations for this team are maybe not at Houston’s level certainly on par with Memphis. 10 win season in 2014 followed by a 9 win season and 3-1 so far this season, beating the teams they should have. Sorry but even with the starters gone from last season there are enough returning starters and experience that this shouldn’t be considered a rebuilding year, at least if Rhule truly is that “god of recruiting”

      • Mike,

        The more I read comments and posts about PJ, the more I realize how little anyone truly understands what it takes to play the QB position effectively at this level. The biggest missing piece to the offense currently resides in Tennessee; Satt is missed more than you can imagine.

        This is said with no disrespect meant to any current staff members, but he clearly “MANAGED” the game better most of the time than people clearly gave him credit for. Since HS PJ has been a quarterback who happens to be a good athlete. HE IS NOT a run first QB, nor has he ever been even going back to his Elizabeth days. Opposing coaches have had four years of film on him to realize he will only take off out of the pocket when forced. He does not have the same wiggle factor as the Houston QB or the Louisville QB.
        When PJ runs it, defenses will rally to him and give up 5 to 10 yards tops; an explosive run for PJ is 15 yards, not 50 yards.

        That being said, Satt played to PJ’s strength most of the time. He ran a ton of play action out of multiple personnel groupings and multiple formations. That created simpler 1 to 2 man reads. When Satt got out of rhythm, he had Glenn Thomas to lean on and give outstanding input to help him get back on “script” or create an “explosive.” Unfortunately Thomas does not have someone of the same mindset to help him through the rough patches. Thomas and Satt had similar offensive philosophies although they may have approached it differently at times. Thomas does not have a guy to lean on with similar philosophies who can help him when things are not going well. Georgie D. is an option guy to the core of his DNA in spite of all the different offenses he has coached in.

        JT should be used in the same capacity as the McCaffrey kid is being used out in Stanford. JT needs WAY more touches than he is getting which will take the load off PJ and allow the staff to create some easy “pitch and catch” 1 man read throws for PJ. They need to “manufacture the first 10-12 “gimme” throws per game for PJ to get in rythym and go from there.

        Regarding the backups, it is asinine to think Russo should sniff the field this year. He looks like a deer in the headlights, especially in the early part of the year when he threw 7 on 7. Think how ridiculous that thought process is, the staff has not “manufactured” the “gimme” throws for PJ, so instead put in a true freshman puppy who struggles in practice? To say he is a different level than Nutile or Marchi is ridiculous until the staff gives those guys a fair shot to go out and make some throws in quality time of a game, not mop-up work. Both of them clearly separated themselves from Russo during camp and throughout the season practice sessions. You need to see those guys in action when the bullets are real; It is hard to tell in mop-up time, plus they have not been given great stuff to call. At least last year, Nutile did look sharp a few times with some intermediate routes. There is no reason against SMU why those guys should not have played the entire second half and see what they could do in a better competitive situation with plays at the top of the script, not the end of game offense.

      • How do you know Russo struggled in practice? Do you see the practices? If you slam the kids on here, you should at least have the guts to put your real name on here. I know a couple of things about Anthony: I saw him play in high school and saw Nutile (not Marchi) play in high school and he was 10x a better player at just a high a level as Frank was. I don’t think he’s forgotten how to play football. Without actually seeing that 7-on-7 drill you allegedly saw, I will take the word of one who actually did see him in a 7-7:

      • Mike,

        Of all the points I made in my post about creating things for PJ, using JT how Stanford uses McCaffrey, missing Satt’s game management of PJ, etc…etc…etc…, you focus on the comment about the fourth string QB??

        I do not have a horse in this race, but it sure seems like you do. My comments were far from “ripping” the kid. Posters are all over PJ (bottom tier QB, need a change, cannot get it done, etc….), how come you don’t tell them to back off him?

        You take shots at PJ also (“so many fat DL chasing him down, him in the pocket is a crapshoot, etc….), yet my comment is “ripping” Russo?? You should defend PJ like you are defending the fourth string QB. PJ had a great year last year, take away 10 throws he wishes he could get back and he played better than 90% of the starting college QB’s.

        You obviously have an agenda when it comes to him, why else would you disparage the other QB’s? You said he is 10x better than Nutile. Nutile beat out Marchi last year for the backup, and this year they have split time almost evenly with Marchi entering the game first. Based on your comments, if Russo is 10x better than Nutile, than he must also be 10x better than Marchi since they split reps/time in mop-up work.

        If that is the case, then why is he still fourth string when according to you he is that superior to the other 2 QB’s? I understand early in camp he had to acclimate to the speed of the game, the sophistication of a college defense, the nuances of the offense, etc….but we are pushing toward the mid-season mark and he should be well beyond the other 2 QB’s if he is as talented as you say.

        Are you trying to say that Rhule and the offensive coaches have a kid in Russo who is superior to the other 2 backup QB’s but they refuse to play him in the backup role to gain valuable experience heading into next season? You believe he is grading out higher on practice tape than Marchi and Nutile but Rhule will not elevate him to the No. 2 on the depth chart? Why would the staff self sabotage like that? So many young QB’s play early nowadays, why are they keeping him from getting priceless playing time now so he is ready from Day 1 of camp next year to lead the team? Based on how superior you feel he is to the other 2 backups,it is perplexing to say the least that the staff would do that.

      • saying that fat guys are chasing down P.J. is not ripping the kid, just stating a fact. It was there in a game for all 22K people to see, not once, but in multiple games. Guys he used to slip past with ease are catching up to him. As for Russo, it’s obvious that the staff is trying to preserve the redshirt. I stand by my comments that Russo is the better quarterback and I will guarantee you he starts the first game next year. Guarantee. It wasn’t even close in high school. The most touchdown passes FN threw in high school was 18 in one season. Russo threw 35. Russo was an Elite 11. Nutile was probably not an Elite 111. None of us saw this alleged 7-7 you supposedly saw. To say he was a deer in the headlights is your opinion. That’s ripping the kid. Has Nutile suddenly become Johnny Unitas and Russo fallen to Christian Ponder? I doubt it. I’ll take Trent Dilfer’s opinion.

      • It is hard to believe that preserving a redshirt year is more important than getting a player valuable game time. You keep going back to Nutile, however Marchi is the first guy in the game for mop-up work. Rhule speaks highly of Marchi, however you are guaranteeing Russo is the starter for Game 1 next year. You discredit Marchi when you make that statement. Russo is going to just jump past him on the depth chart??

        If that is the case then he should be playing now because getting him experience will make the transition smoother for next year. There are no guarantees in this game.

    • hey everybody its the “glass is half empty KJ” again? did u pick us to lose this SMU game also?

    • You are correct. Walker has a strong arm but can be extremely casual in his approach at times. He is too confident in his arm strength does not try to fake the defensive backs out. As the competition gets tougher there could be some severe embarrassment to come.

  4. expectations should be bowl 7 of 10 years, championship one of five years, bowl wins multiple years. Not too much to ask.

  5. Mike, the SMU game was up down, up down for sure. Nice running by #25 RA, but what gives with #5 JT. As for the QB Issue question, I think # 8 PJW has had his day in court and the verdict is he is well beyond his prime. I saw a in his game, a big lack of ‘field awareness’ which is beyond belief for a 3 year senior. The long ball happened only a few times, and often into close coverage, who is at fault here.
    What can be done to help ? I don’t see too much game play calling to differ with in order to protect his lack of judgement in both passing vision and dropping back. Boy was it ugly to see him drop back, back, back and rarely make a completion on the rambling scrambles.
    This looks like a 6 win season if QB #8 stays on his current path straight towards terrible-town. Our QB here is more and more like the ghost of QB’s past ( hint – think C Stewart ) and where did we get with him…….
    We still have better football than 10 years ago, so that is a joy unto its-self.

    • He’s way better than Chester Stewart, but I will now admit that I was wrong when I said he would be better than Adam DiMichele. I would rate P.J. ahead of Phillip, though. For Phil to reach P.J.’s freshman year level, he would have to throw 20 TDs with 8 picks. That means he needs to throw 14 more TDs against just one interception. Since the odds against that are off the charts, it appears he has regressed and not progressed in four years. Maybe Trent Dilfer is available to be Anthony Russo’s QB coach.

  6. Inconsistency is the name of the game with Walker, both in seeing the field and accuracy. Or is it concentration from one play to another. He did some very nice things yesterday, but then…well, you know. If the D continues it’s tough play and Walker limits the bad plays, especially interceptions, Memphis could be a good win. Otherwise……. This i

  7. Computer glitch… This is a key game for the season. Beat a good team, add a win and it’ll be a lot easier to get to 7-8 wins the rest of the way.

    • it is a very important game. They have to emulate last season and pressure the QB. If Walker can limit mistakes,and the Owls play with poise like they did in 2013, they will win the game.

      • We touted Russo as the next big thing, is he everything we thought he was? freshmen QBs are playing well at several P5 schools.., who is our starting QB against Notre Dame in 2017? I’ll bet you $1M it won’t be Walker..,

        if Russo is not better than Walker right now then this program is in serious trouble.., we must re-calibrate our expectations if we are content with our QB being in the lower 25% in a G5 conference.., Walker will remain in our hearts, he is a great man.., in our minds reason and reality must prevail for the good of the program

      • It won’t be Walker because he graduated already and his eligibility is up. It will be Russo because he’s about 2x as good as Logan and Frank right now. Get the kid ready this year so he’s up to speed.

  8. Nice win yesterday. We ran the ball effectively and the d looked better. Walker is thinking way too much, he needs to relax and play. Memphis can score points but defensively they are not very good. I’d go heavy ground and pound Thursday, chew up the clock and keep their offense on the sidelines.

  9. Casual Temple fans paid homage to the $25 million man on Saturday. I’m hopeful that someday good will conquer evil, and college-educated sports fans will realize that $upporting pro $port$ is a fool’s errand.

  10. Did KJ just say that he will bet that PJ Walker won’t be r QB next year? Sheesh! he does know that Walker is a senior right? what Temple fan doesn’t know that? I swear that KJ is a troll fan. His posts r getting more unhinged than Donald Trump.

    • KJ knows Walker is a senior. KJ’s point was that he would bet $1 million dollars that Walker will not start at Norte Dame next year because Walker is a senior and won’t be here next year. Therefore we should be giving someone else game day experience so we are ready for the Notre Dame game with an experienced quarterback.

      • So we have 7 games left in the regular season and folks are worried about the QB situation for the ND game in 2017. Hard to believe that this is a discussion at this point in time. Just stupefied by some of the posters on this site.

      • Yes, some posters are looking toward the future. When Temple has an insurmountable lead in the third or fourth quarter, should the coaches keep Walker in the game or put another quarterback in to gain some game experience?

      • How is looking into the future counterproductive? You can both play this season all out AND prepare for next season by getting the kid ready. When Steve Joachim won the Maxwell Award as college football player of the year at Temple, coach Wayne Hardin still used Marty Ginestra for a series or two each game. Has Phil’s play been so sensational that we cannot afford to take him out for a series or two every game? Hell no. Hardin did not go into the next season with an inexperienced quarterback, nor should Rhule. If anything is stupefying, it is some of Badleys posts.

  11. I realize SMU was missing their QB who gave the Owls a tough time last year and their O-line was missing starters. So beating them as they did is what a good team does. Win games you’re supposed to win and win them decisively, unlike last season’s UMass game.

    O-line coming around nicely, stable of backs with no drop-off in quality, receivers have been sifted to find the ones with hands, defense now believing in themselves, kickers have been consistent, special teams not making errors for the most part. Seeing some depth developing which will be invaluable down the stretch. Only QB play has been spotty. Is that play calling or execution?

    • the best players play, irregardless of what class there are in. you should play If you are injury free and better the man in back of you …..

      Walker ranks at the bottom of the conference,..is he the best QB on the team? If our best QB is a conference bottom dweller then what are the implications for next year? players add weight and strength during the off-season, you have accuracy and can see the field on day one

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