… and now for a word from Fizz …

streaking

... Dave “Fizzy” Weinraub’s views here could be considered contrary or constructive criticism … I will let you decide in the comments below ...

By: Dave (Fizzy) Weinraub

Two shutouts in a row, a five game winning streak, more talent than almost everyone we play, bowl game and conference championship possibilities, that’s not too shabby, right?  The program is in great shape, so what’s to bitch about?

I’ll tell you what; it’s the play-calling in the first half.

Most every week before the game, Coach Rhule announces our game plan to the world.  The plan is usually the same, we’re going to run the football and keep the other team’s offense off the field.  (Even if we are going to do that, I sure as hell wouldn’t tell everyone else.)  Of course, the opposing coaches then design their first and second down defenses to stop the run.  Tulane certainly did that.  Led by number 77 (Smart), Tulane gapped and run-blitzed the stuffing out of the Owls, and rendered our run game mostly ineffective in the first half.  It ended at 10 – 0, and woulda, coulda, shoulda, been at least 24 – 0.

greatness

Until nearly the end of the first half we ran the ball on practically every first down, and usually on second down too.  This puts tremendous pressure on Phillip Walker and our receivers, as they always seemed to be facing third and long.  Of course, the defense then dials up some blitzes to put the heat on.

Walker and the receivers, especially Ventell Bryant, were phenomenal.  Walker’s passes were mostly crisp and accurate, and our receivers seem to be gaining more confidence in each game.  With Tulane playing man-to-man, it was obvious from the get-go, they couldn’t cover our guys.

Well, what was obvious to me, wasn’t obvious to Glenn Thomas and Matt Rhule.  Sure, it ended up as a romp, but we didn’t know that in the first half.  Twice, on first and twenty, we ran the ball on both first and second downs.  At first and goal, three times, we ran the ball on first and second downs.  When we lined up in I formation, I thought for sure they were going to run the play-action to our outstanding Nick Sharga in the flat. No dice!  Speaking of play-action against a man-to-man pass coverage, OMG, how successful would that have been on first down?

All of the above may not seem important after a blow-out, but it is.  In the three losses this year, all woulda, coulda, shouldas, it seems our coaches stubbornly stuck to the game plan until it was too late.  More imaginative and flexible play calls, might have staved off those losses.  But now, if we’re to win a championship and a bowl game against very good teams, we’re not going to have the luxury of out-manning our opponents in the second half.  We have to be nimble and strike quickly.  If we waste opportunities against good teams, we will lose.

In closing, I’d like to congratulate Phil Snow on putting together an exceptional defense.  However, a word of caution.  We couldn’t  stop Army’s triple-option, and Navy runs it better.  If we get to play Navy, I’d like to suggest he get together with Wayne Hardin.  At our tailgate after a loss to Navy years ago, Coach Hardin, drew up his plan on how to stop it.  If we can’t, we’d better score a lot of points.

Tomorrow: The Seniors

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16 thoughts on “… and now for a word from Fizz …

  1. Vs Tulane I saw J T, Nbr 5 run into the hole multi times for a max of +4 to – 3 yards for most of the first half. Doesn’t J Thomas get a severe headache from this banging ? Is this as stubborn as Daz was, from the coaches ?
    Weather next Saturday night for the E Carolina game determines if we are there live .
    Why the hell Saturday 8 PM ? This will kill Temples’ image on TV again, especially on the Thanksgiving class recess; no band, few students, cold and dark, lots of empty seats is what I fear.

  2. Aside from Army the defense has been awesome, and the stats prove it. It is built to dominate the conference and shut down the spread offense..,

    we MUST stay out of the 4-3 against Navy.., move to a six man front on 1st downs with Webb, Dogbe, Robinson, Booth-Lloyd playing the four down

  3. Wow, the team dominates the game on both sides of the ball and “Fizzy” complains about play calling in the first half. The last three games the owls have outscored their opponents by a score of 83 to13, none were great opponents I will agree, Introspection is great, we didn’t do this, we should have done that. As a former player “Fizzy” seems to forget that the other team has a game plan, players and coaches that are trying to win too. Their plan was to stop the run and like we have done with other opponents, we Exploited their sell out by making key throws and eventually wore them down. I think Glenn Thomas and the team continues to do good work. Tulane has a nice defense and I was expecting them to hang around like they have against other teams all year but unfortunately when you are on the field for 40 minutes of a 60 minute contest the cracks are going to show. Maybe I am a homer but going 18-7 in the last two years tells me the coaching staff and the players have done many things right. Are they perfect, no, you can always improve and there’s still a chance the team can stub their toe getting to the finish line but I like what I see. Temple has balance on both sides of the ball and you win being a balanced football team.

    • I have to agree with you Badley. People shouldn’t worry about style points. Everyone should also remember earlier in the season why the Owls’ offense tried to be more pass-heavy and was not as effective as they were when they switched to a run-heavy attack.

      My one complaint about the play-calling on Saturday was Temple tried A LOT of low-percentage, deep passes in the 1st half. I would have tried more play-action passes to get Tulane away from focusing so much on the run and also would have thrown more higher percentage, intermediate length passes to try to control the ball better. That’s water under the bridge though; the Owls won by 31 points and that’s the important thing.

    • In the past Daz never learned the lesson that if you “always” run the ball on first and second down, the other team is going to stack the box against you. That leaves one with third and long. I hope Coach Thomas does not repeat Daz’s stubbornness. Our receivers made some great catches on third and long to keep our drives going in the first half. We can’t always count on that. Mike has often repeated Coach Hardin’s philosophy, when the other team expects you to pass, you run and visa versa. A few passing plays in those first two downs is another way of loosening up the defense. Make them pay for stacking the box.

  4. 730 kickoff simply disastrous for attendance. Now maybe if the Iron Bowl is decided by half time….

    • Unfortunately, Temple faced the EXACT SAME THING last year when they played Connecticut on Thanksgiving weekend. Hopefully this Saturday’s attendance tops the announced 28,236 for last year’s game against the Huskies.

  5. Badley, I think all Fizzy is getting at is that there are things that this program can improve to truly go to another level. For instance, if they come out against Navy without a different D plan this time, Navy will run all over them – it’s been proven over and over again against triple option teams and Temple’s D, Army included. It’s very possible Temple could be just a 1-loss or even undeafeated team right now. I mean you’re right, things are so much improved – but it could easily have been even better. That’s all… Every season under Rhule very possibly could have, and yes should have, been better than they were. That concept shows how far Temple has come. But I also agree that it’s still a nice ride so far. Go Owls

    • it is not how far we have come, it is now how far we can go.., do we have championship expectations?

      best thing for us is Navy views their game against Army more important than the AAC championship game.., we MUST finish the deal by studying the Air Force game film and stay out of the 4-3 on first down…, but it still begs the question.., can we score enough points?

      as great as our defense has been all year Navy’s triple option will score early and often., do we have the ability on offense to change script, take what their defense gives us, avoid costly turnovers/penalties, and outscore them?

      • Memphis, SFU and even ECU for a while had no problem scoring against Navy. TU should have no problem either if TU liberally uses play action, screens,, and Thomas in the slot. This is not a game to take your time scoring. Before a team knows it, there’s two minutes left. Ask ND.

  6. John is it a mocking kind of thing when you keep calling USF, SFU?

    • Yeah, when I see SFU, I’m thinking St. Francis University (who ironically is playing Villanova in the first round of the FCS playoffs this coming weekend).

    • Jensen…. sad how the college football world has degenerated into the P5 world eating the G5’s world’s young. Natural selection, indeed. Wish they would make a rule (no pun intended) that a coach would have to sit out a year before transferring from 1 FBS school to another, like the kids have to do.

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