Third Time A Charm?

Scott Frost has taken an 0-12 team with none of his players and succeeded. 

Just one night this season, it would be a perfectly welcome change to win without having to make excuses.

The Owls have played on two prior nights and there has been no wins to show for it, but plenty of excuses. Somehow the kids got blamed for the Army loss, even though the defensive scheme to stop the triple option was horrific because there was none. The Owls played good defense for the first half at Memphis and good offense for the second half but forgot to put a complete game together.

Greatness might not quit, but it certainly has brain farts in one loss and incomplete halves in the other under the bright lights.

Now the Owls play a third night game tonight (7:30 kickoff) at UCF and maybe the third night is a charm. Temple started as a night school and played plenty of night games in its football history, dating back to the 1940s, so the tradition of playing well at night should be there. At one time in the late 1960s and early 1970s, almost all of the home games were at night and were televised live in Philadelphia (Al Meltzer play-by-play, Charlie Swift color).

Night has spooked this version of the Owls and there is no better time to turn that around than tonight because the Owls find themselves in the revolting position of going 10-4 in one season and being a 3.5-point underdog to a team that finished 0-12 the same year.  UCF was impressive with a 47-29 win at East Carolina and a 30-24 loss to Maryland. Temple lost to an Army team that gave Buffalo its only win in a 1-4 season. Any way you cut it, that’s pretty bad.

What has been the difference?

Connecticut v Temple

Owls can pretty much forget about doing this again without a win tonight.

Certainly, UCF players are pretty much the same guys who went 0-12 a year ago and Temple, despite four big losses to the NFL, has MOST of its players back, too. Four key players leaving for the pros should not bring this kind of swing in the fortunes of the two programs, but it has because former Oregon offensive coordinator (and Nebraska quarterback) Scott Frost has been a coaching upgrade and, quite frankly, the Temple coaches have not done a very good job this year.

They have a better-than-average rollout quarterback in P.J. Walker who they insist on jamming into the square peg of being a Tom Brady type. He fits more nicely into the Russell Wilson hole. When will the Temple coaches ever learn? It better be tonight or the excuses might be the sacks Walker took dropping back or the tipped ball by a charging 6-foot-5 lineman that turned into a game-changing interception. Rolling out P.J. gives him better sightlines and a better chance at success.

Give the kid a chance.

Please.

On defense, the Owls have had problems with the occasional run being bust for long touchdowns against them despite having two proven defensive run-stoppers, Nick Sharga and Brian Carter, playing basically non-essential roles on offense. Will we see either or both players where there is a greater need for their skill set?  It would be nice to see that type of personnel fix at least tried, but do not hold your breath.

Greatness might not quit, but it also should not be too stubborn to resist adjustments that need to be made.

Maybe tonight, but opportunities for hope are running out.

Picks this weekend:

TOLEDO giving the 31 over visiting Bowling Green (BGSU lost, 77-3, to Memphis; Toledo beat Maine, 45-3, and Maine took UConn into OT)

UMASS getting 14.5 over visiting Louisiana Tech (UMass lost to Florida by only 24-7 and Mississippi State, 42-35, two teams better than LT)

PITT giving the three at Virginia (which lost to Richmond, 37-20)

WESTERN KENTUCKY getting the 2.5 at MTSU

Tomorrow: Game Analysis

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68 thoughts on “Third Time A Charm?

  1. Mike, I hope third time is the charm tonight otherwise this team might be scrambling to finish 6-6, anything is possible but I don’t think we can finish worse than that!!!! Speaking of adjustments on defense, is Greg Webb still on the roster? If so is he injured, in the coached dog house or just not as good as thought?

    • I saw him play against Stony Brook and Charlotte, not at all against Memphis. Ninety-eight is Dogbe and 89 is Webb.Dogbe has played well against the pass, but has shown lapses against the run. Don’t know if Webb is the answer, but do know that No. 55 (former Big 33 defensive tackle Brian Carter) is. He and Matt Ioannidis were the two DT starters in the UCF game in 2014 and he played better than Matt in that game. It would not hurt to use him at DT again.

  2. The betting line’s moved to four. Not a good sign. Pravda better realize the the coaches aren’t all they should be. Saw two better coaches last night watching the Tulane-Memphis game. It’s just that our coaches don’t implement what is obvious to those on this site. I know that the players have to perform but it’s the responsibility of the coaches to put them in positions to succeed. Still can’t understand placing one of the linebacker four yards off the guard in the Army game and kicking right to the returners in the PSU and Memphis games. Unless they run the table this season will be two giant steps backward.

    • 10-4 last year. If we want to be better this year, there is zero wiggle room. I’m grasping at straws here, but Temple gave Penn State a much better game than Maryland did and UCF and Maryland went into overtime. Maybe Temple is better than Maryland, like it was in 2011. Also, SMU lost at Tulsa by three. Is Temple more like the team that played PSU and SMU than the one that played Army? Yes. Is it good enough to beat UCF there (where, unlike USF, there is a real home field advantage)? We will find out in a few hours.

  3. While I totally agree about this season being a huge step back if the team doesn’t go at least 5-1for the remaining games I’m also starting to look at last season like the 1993 Phillies. Really may not have been the start of anything for this program but rather having a core group of players all having great seasons and the breaks (UMass game for example) going our way. As for coaching, I’m more concerned with recruiting even more than what happens on game day. Rhule seems to be a good recruiter but certainly not at the level Pravda pitches, which won’t get him the level of player needed to overcome average to mediocre game day coaching. At least we don’t have to worry about any late season interviews this year

  4. Both of “youse” guys are right; I think Rhule lost of lot of that “hot new coach” shine with an inexplicable loss to Army, and the only way he gets it back is to run the table. Realistically, that’s not likely. 6-6, 7-5 is mediocre. 8-4 should be the minimum goal. Not great, but certainly a tick above mediocre.

    • 8-4 with hopefully a bowl win (over a second tier P5 preferred) ends up 9-4 for 2016. That is perceived a lot better after a10-4 year. Then during games in 2017 announcers can make the point if Temple as a team on the rise, 19 wins over the past 2 seasons, back-to-back bowl appearances,etc.

  5. By the way Tulane looked good last night on defense. D-back Nickerson is the real deal. If their offense gets better as the season progresses, they will not be an easy win unless it’s real cold. Those warm weather teams hate the cold.

    • I think Willie Fritz was a great selection as head coach, too. Did wonders at the school before Tulane in Georgia. Runs a version of the triple option, though not as pure as Army’s.

  6. Temple has some of the dumbest players. How do you hit the QB after he threw the ball? How is a freshman QB outplaying PJ? How can Phil Snow leave the only receiver they have in single coverage? Will he double cover him when he scores his third TD?

    • reality is we are not very good, the process is 21-24, our program and coach suck..,

    • We simply have a very bad team with Riddick as a NFL prospect. We are just horrible. A freshman quarterback with okay speed just ran a high school style option for a touchdown. I am going back to my belief that we simply should go down to 1-AA. FCS. This is just not going to work out.

      • It’s either stay where they are or drop the program. Where would they play at 1-AA? The cost of renting the Linc would be prohibitive.

      • Wow because a guy scored a td against us we are a 1aa team. The comments on this board never ceases to amaze me. Dumbest comment on this thread and there are some dumb comments.

  7. Who has the QB? Notre Dame all over again. Phil Snow is a joke and this team has no discipline.

  8. This is a 1-AA team my friends. Nothing is going well with this group. Keep in mind that this is after a winning season that should have given some inspiration. Sad but true.

  9. As I posted on FB, can someone remind me who the 0-12 team was last season and who is the senior QB!!!! I think it’s time to realize that last year was a total fluke and as KJ points out with Rhule’s record, he is at best a .500 coach. This looks like a program that the best they can hope for each year is 3rd or 4th place in the division and the occasional bowl against MAC, Sun Belt or CUSA. I don’t even think this is a team that you can expect to make even second tier bowls each year.
    I agree regarding the penalties, as much on the coaching staff as the players.

  10. can’t believe we have not changed QBs

  11. Right now I’m not sure if this team is even as good as the 2014 team. The o-line doesn’t look good at all, how bad will things be without Dawkins next season

  12. Can they play any dumber? How does a senior jump off-sides.

  13. TU gets the ball to start the second half. If they score they have a shot. SFU losing at half to UConn.

  14. Something drastic is needed. In the short run change the quarterback, in the longer run change the offensive coordinator or head coach? This is just embarrassing.

  15. They have to play with more urgency unless they can go on a 15 minute drive.

  16. Gut check time and it looks like UCF is setting up for the run now

  17. They are taking too long to run plays.

  18. Why does he always throw into double coverage?
    Now they waste a timeout.

    • UCF was 0-12 last year and we were 10-4…, do they have better players, or do they have a better coaching staff? they definitely have a better QB

      • I’m thinking better coaching for sure. Rhule may be a good recruiter (I’m still not so sure about that), a good as Mike would say CEO and a great public face for the program and university but to me his game day coaching has not really improved much from 2013

  19. How about using the throwback pass to Thomas on a wheel route on 4th down instead of again throwing into double coverage.

  20. The coaches better be thinking about a two point play.
    Who’s calling these plays. What happened to play action?

  21. These announcers are perplexed and bewildered by Matt Ruhle. Little do they know how mediocre he is.

  22. Will not watch or attend another Temple game the rest of this year unless there is a change at QB.

  23. One pass to the tight end all night, no play action, one screen pass-it’s ridiculous.

  24. Around two hundred yards total offense in second half and only six points. The lack of speed showed itself when Jahad didn’t score. Other teams always score against the Owls when they break it like he did.

  25. I take everything back. GO OWLS. Don’t even kick the ball.

  26. A prevent defense prevents another team from winning.

  27. Ok, does this get the rest of the season going in the right direction

  28. Unbelievable, Walker saved all of his best passes for that last drive. Pay back for 2013 and makes Friday now huge. Still the last 6 minutes or so of that 4th quarter showed some real bone headed coaching by Rhule

    • Not attempting that field goal on 4th and long was inexcusable. Especially because that kid hit the net on both of his field goals.

      • Exactly, I have no clue what Rhule was thinking there. I realize the defense was playing well and you had a chance to get the ball back, but with the way Rhule wastes timeouts, try for the 3 when you can. As you said John the kicker seems to have the leg and in this game his 2 earlier FGs were pressure kicks

    • I credit Walker for composure on that last drive. However, I will certainly say that we did not deserve that win. Luckily, UCF is just not a strong team. There is a God. We were gifted with that win. We need to play a full game if we want to survive at the 1-A level. This was a 1-AA performance tonight.

      • Please, just stop with the IAA talk. We just beat a team with a REAL home field advantage who beat ECU on the road, 47-29. ECU beat NC State, which beat Notre Dame. Go on Notre Dame’s site and tell them they belong in IAA. You are being ridiculous.

      • You keep toping yourself with dumb comments.

  29. Hail #1 Ventell Bryant (best receiver on team last year including Robby Anderson)! Owls receivers are the strong point of this team (besides Jahad). Bryant, Yancy, Kirkwood, Ellick, Jennings, Deloatch. Deep at WR.

    These receivers should have been utilized on second downs in the second half. UCF was loading the box and play action would have been huge on alot of second downs.

    How did Army beat a team with that crew at receiver?

    • err, they only had 3 offensive possessions in the second half and two were tipped-ball interceptions (one which should have been caught by Yancy).

    • Inexplicably, the Owls didn’t throw a pass longer than 15 yards and the coaches insisted upon establishing the run in a game shortened by the inability of the defense to stop Army.

  30. I am a fan but I am interested in someone giving me an analysis that will make me believe that this team can win their division. I am not even talking the conference.

    • Really who cares what you believe. I love guys like you, never put on a pair of cleats. How’s the view from your sofa? Unreal the stupidity of some know it all who watch the game from thier living rooms and criticize guys and coaches playing the game. I

      • Thank you for the uncalled for insult but I have played before. Also ran track in college….You have underestimated me. That is okay though.

    • Very simply, they are more talented than every one of their remaining opponents except SFU. If they beat SFU they win the division if they take care of business. SFU could also lose to Navy Memphis, and Central Florida. One more thing-stop with the 1-AA nonsense. First of all, most 1-AA teams don’t draw more than 10, 000 people a game. Second, the Owls would have nowhere to play. Third, the Owls are currently a good, not great football team. They are right in the middle when ranked against other 1-A teams. And as last year showed, they are capable of greatness and can play with anyone.

    • I find it hard to believe you played any sport when you make comments about Temple being a 1aa program. A team that won 10 games last year, beat PSU and took ND to the wire and ranked in the top twenty five. Really dumb comment or maybe you are just trolling.

      • Agree. Only people over 105 years old want Temple playing 1aa. I will not support Temple playing 1aa or support it building a 35,000-seat stadium just to play in 1aa. I think 99 percent of my fellow fans feel that way.

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