With apologies to Bill Cosby, the proof about anyone is in the pudding and we’re not talking Jello here.
Not what they say, but what they do, and, for that, any Temple fan has got to love new offensive coordinator Dave Patenaude.
The first words out of Patenaude’s mouth in the above interview with the always prepared Morgyn Seigfried were this: “Well, right out of the gate, we’re going right back to the things that have been great here, Temple TUFF, being physical, coming down hill, running the ball, play-action.”
That’s the “what they say” part; we’ll get to the “what they do part” a little later.
If those were the first words out of his mouth in an interview with me, my next two words would have been: “You’re hired.”
According to no less an authority than departed head coach Matt Rhule, the Owls have an NFL fullback, Nick Sharga, and, as long as they have him, they might as well use his unique talents to open up the run game for both the tailbacks and, maybe at least 3-4 times a game, for himself. Establishing the run brings the linebackers and the safeties up closer to the line of scrimmage and makes them suckers for the play-action pass. New quarterback Anthony Russo is going to need that extra second or two play action gives him next year because main quarterback protection, left tackle Dion Dawkins, is off to some lucky team as an NFL first-rounder. Deftly fake it into the belly of, say, Ryquell Armstead, after Armstead rips open a patented (or, in this case, Patenauded) 20-yard run, and Russo will have Temple receivers running so free through the secondary he will not know which one to pick out.
You don’t fix what isn’t broken and, to his credit, Patenaude recognizes that the system Matt Rhule has run from an offensive perspective was never broken. Two tight ends, a fullback, smash-mouth football, play-action, is ingrained in the Temple TUFF mentality and sets the Owls apart from every other team in the AAC. It also helps them eat clock and keep the defense fresh and, if you check the scores the last two years you have noticed that Temple is the only team that plays defense on a consistent basis in the AAC.
The real tasty part of the Patenaude Pudding, though, is the results. At Coastal Carolina, the Grenadier offense under him had virtually the same number of yards and touchdowns running as it did passing. When an offense does that, it is like a shell game where the defense doesn’t know what shell the ball is under or who to tackle.
That’s the best kind of desert and it will be served to Temple fans this fall in tasty helpings. If it works, get ready for some delicious offensive numbers this fall.
Thursday: Eye Of The Needle
Saturday: Fly On The Wall