You’ve got to wonder
if the Temple
kicking itself now
knowing that there
was a guy out there
who knows how to win
here, Al Golden,
and they passed on
him to roll the dice
on an unproven coordinator
Editor’s Note: Now that Mack Brown says Temple has ditched the spread and gone back to the “Temple TUFF” offense it was known for the last two years, Dave “Fizzy” Weinraub has some nice things to say about Dave Patenaude. No nicknames for Patenaude quite yet, though.
By Dave (Fizzy) Weinraub
Can you believe it? For the first time, a bootleg at the goal line for a TD, and Frankie could have stopped off for a hot dog. Then, some razzle – dazzle, where Frankie pitched to Wright, who then threw (finally) back to Frankie for a two point conversion. There were even play-action passes on first down, (instead of drop-backs) and after turnovers, and even the second jet sweep of the year.
Don’t get me wrong, there were still up-the-guts at the wrong time, especially at first and goal, where we were still not efficient. It’s on first down, at first and goal when you have to show imagination. But all-in-all, a remarkable turn around from the junior high offense we’ve been running all year. There was so much improvement, I’m forced to upgrade the name of the offense from “Broad Street,” to the Ridge Avenue Offense. Where Broad Street runs straight, Ridge Avenue twists and turns and curls. Has Dave Patenaude seen the light?
However, I’m still pissed. If we’d been running this type of offense all year, we certainly would have at least two more wins. Also, Frank Nutile has been simply terrific. His only two interceptions were passes that bounced off the receivers hands. When given time, his passing has been phenomenal. So my question is, why wasn’t he the starter from the beginning of the season?
The defense which had been mostly exceptional against the run, was only okay. It allowed some sustained running plays for a time, but then righted itself. It’s still the pass defense, especially against the two-minute offense that’s been terrible all year. I just don’t understand why we can’t do the same thing the Eagles do in that situation. They rush four and play a five across zone at about 12 yards, with a deep safety on each side. Then the defenders can see the QB and the ball, instead of running with their backs turned. Even the announcer Friday night said, “no one knows where the ball is.” We’ve given up an awful lot of TD’s in the right corner of the end-zone all year, and that’s because number ten (Jones), can’t see the ball. To stop Central Florida, we have to defend the pass.
Wednesday: Geoff Collins Unplugged
Friday: Our Annual Tribute to the Seniors
Sunday: UCF Game Analysis
Just when you thought a beautiful Saturday would be the antidote for the anger Temple fans justifiably felt after watching Temple lose two games it should not have the last two weeks, we offer you just two games you might have watched yesterday:
Missouri at UConn
Houston at South Florida
The loser in one of those games and the winner in another should have been games in the W column for Temple, but were not due to a long litany of bad coaching decisions in both games.
Just think about it: With USF’s loss to Houston, and Owls wins against two of the above teams, the Owls would be in the hunt to defend their title down the stretch.
That’s all we ever asked and it was never too much.
Now it won’t, thanks to a very poor choice of a coach and his choice of a coaching staff who combined to make the most dazzlingly poor decisions at the worst possible times against Houston and UConn.
We won’t get into those here, but just tell you that Temple had a first-and-goal at the 7 against Houston (and did not do the Temple thing of running the ball) and played a mistake-prone quarterback against UConn when it was apparent to all that the better choice all along was the guy who started at Army.
When the story of this Temple season is written, the author should have been John Greenleaf Whittier, who said:
“For all the words of tongue and pen, the saddest are these: It might have been.”
After all of these games, Temple head coach Geoff Collins talks about the mistakes and says: “These will be corrected.” (Hey, what, exactly, was the eight months of practice before Notre Dame for? Shouldn’t that have been enough time to clean all that up?)
Interesting that some of the same mistakes made in the first game against Notre Dame and the second against Villanova have never been corrected.
However, the Owls go from game to game and the head coach promises to make corrections that never come.
Missouri, a team that lost, 35-3, to Purdue (which lost to lowly Rutgers), took UConn to the woodshed. UConn has the worst pass defense in college football and Temple has among the best receivers, but the Owls were so stubborn in their desire to have a “running quarterback” that they gave up whatever advantage in the passing game they had by not giving the two better “passing quarterbacks” on the above-the-line chart a shot.
Houston, a team that the Owls should have beat, got the job done that the Owls did not at USF.
The solution is nowhere in sight as the powers-that-be at Temple don’t eat contracts nor do they have the appetite to dine at that expensive restaurant. In a perfect world, they would tell Al Golden to get the binder and the staff ready now so we can get back to the Temple football brand he created.
Temple athletics lives in another world, unfortunately.
Temple will have to face Navy, UCF, Cincinnati and Tulsa and the only realistic win right now is Cincy and it has nowhere near as much to do with talent as it does with coaching. Recruits will see that and it could have a effect that would cause this whole thing to spiral downward.
If that doesn’t hiss you off, it should.
John Greenleaf Whittier would be turning over in his grave.
Tuesday: Losing Is An Attitude
Thursday: Navy Preview
Friday: Game Analysis
Monday: The Kelly Solution
The next time anyone tells you that a first-year coach cannot succeed with “other people’s players” and “it’s only his first year” offer them the example of UMass head coach Mark Whipple. (Steve Addazio’s debut also gave Temple its first bowl win in over 30 years with Al Golden talent, but that’s a story for another day.)
In 1998, with “other people’s players” Whipple, who came over from Brown University, won a national championship at UMass. It was a FCS (then Division IAA) championship, but it was a championship nonetheless. That endeared him so much with the UMass faithful that they have given him two stints as a head coach, including the current one taking him to Lincoln Financial Field (7 p.m.) for a Friday night date against the Temple Owls.
Mr. Whipple is on the hot seat now, not necessarily for his coaching deficiencies but more due to the fact that it is impossible for an Independent not named Notre Dame to compete in the world of FBS football now. That doesn’t mean Temple should relax on Friday night because this is a guy who has always been good with his X’s and O’s going up against a rookie staff.
On December 19, 1998, Whipple’s Minutemen beat the then No. 1 FCS team in the country, Georgia Southern, 55-43, on ESPN for the national title.
That makes Whipple part of a very small club, a guy who is still coaching who has won a national title,so beware of opposing head coaches smart enough to win it all.
Mr. Whipple probably has watched enough film to figure out that the Temple linebackers are the “Charmin soft” underbelly of an otherwise pretty stout defense so expect a lot of passes to the tight end and crossing routes underneath designed to confuse that young group.
It’s up to Temple DC Taver Johnson to anticipate that mode of attack and be prepared for it, but based on the first two games, there is no evidence that he’s up to that task. That’s where Geoff Collins, who is qualified in that area, has to step in and become interim DC, at least on a defacto basis, until the problems on that side of the ball get cleaned up.
On the other side of the ball, Mr. Whipple is smart enough to know that Temple’s supposedly innovative new offensive coordinator, Dave Patenaude, has run essentially only four plays and they are these (not necessarily in order): 1) Sideline passes to wide receivers; 2) Fullback dive to Nick Sharga; 3) A wide toss to Ryquell Armstead; 4) An occasional pass to the tight end, which is always dropped.
So much for innovation.
No reverses, no shovel passes, no halfback passes, and, in the last game, two touches for perhaps the most dynamic player this team has on offense (Isaiah Wright). Only two touches for Wright is coaching malfeasance at best and borderline criminal at worst.
Surely, Mr. Whipple has seen that and will react accordingly to stop those four plays. How much Temple improvises and adjusts on both offense and defense could very well be the difference between an embarrassing defeat and a blowout win.
If the former happens, Temple’s going to need a shipment of Charmin because this season will be headed for the toilet.
Saturday: Game Analysis
Editor’s Note: Occasionally, we give a former Owl player, Fizzy Weinraub, a chance to give his analysis. Fizzy and I have been spoiled by watching coach Hardin, but that does not keep us from hoping that some of Hardin’s innovation and at least a sliver of his genius can be absorbed by this new coaching staff. Here is Fizzy’s take on the Nova game.
By Dave “Fizzy” Weinraub
What did I ever do to piss-off the football gods? Will I never see an outstanding offensive coordinator at Temple, or just year-after-year be forced to watch the same unimaginative baby pap of play calling.
No deception – Horrible goal line calls – No roll outs – No QB runs – No reverses – No bootlegs – No screens – No shovel passes – No fakes and passes to the FB – No play-action – No throwbacks to the QB
All this offense does is hand-off straight ahead, and drop straight back to throw.
At the end of this horrendous game, Why would you voluntarily stop your offense, leave time on the clock, and force a 50-yard field goal instead of:
OFFENSIVE GRADE – F
The defense mostly stopped their running game, and mostly did not stop their passing game because:
One possible solution would have been to go into a tight prevent and play zone to stop the crossing patterns underneath which absolutely killed us. There’s no way, playing man-to-man, a deep defensive back can close the gap and cover a receiver running short, across the field. Also, I’m so tired of watching our defensive backs trail the receivers down-field and have no idea of where the ball is.
DEFENSIVE GRADE – D
This coaching staff has to stop playing not to lose, and start playing to win, or we will get killed by the good teams in our conference.
Tuesday: What Happened To Mayhem?
Thursday: UMass Preview
In a large way, Kee-Ayre Griffin started this football turnaround at Temple University.
“Thanks, Mike. It’s not over yet. We’re waiting on a guy from St. Peter’s who might be the best of the class. It’s between us, Maryland and Boston College. Wish us luck.
Any Temple football fan since the days of the MAC knows that planning ahead can be a tricky thing.
You set aside the day for the home games and hope you can get to at least some of the nearby games.
You very rarely know more than a few weeks, sometimes a few days, what the exact kickoff times will be.
Such is life in the television-dominated world of college football these days.
Something different happened this season, though.
Temple fans now know the kickoff times and the days for many of the games and that can be a good thing.
Of course, the most important game time is the one on Sept. 2 at Notre Dame, perhaps the highest-profile remaining game on the TU sked until 2024. That game will start at 3:30 on NBC and probably be on in every bar and tavern in the country.
Three-thirty is perhaps the best time for a home Temple game and the Owls lucked out by hosting Villanova on 3:30 on Sept. 9. That game will not be on over-the-air television in Philadelphia, which is probably a good thing because that means there will be more fannies in the seats than usual. If the Owls don’t get at least 35,000 for this one it will be a major disappointment considering they drew 34,000 for the home opener against Army last year.
On Sept. 15, the Owls host UMass on ESPNU at 7 p.m. The less said about that game the better.
On September 21, the Owls travel to hot Tampa for a 7:30 (or 8) ESPN game. Probably best for them that game is not being played in the daytime.
Another time etched in zone is the revenge match against Army, high noon, on Oct. 21. That game will be on CBS Sports Network. Owls also host Navy in another revenge match (for them) on Nov. 2 on ESPN. That is either a 7:30 or 8 p.m. start.
The final known starting time is the Nov. 10 game at Cincinnati, 7 p.m., on ESPN2.
Still unknown are the times of games against Houston, East Carolina, UConn, UCF and Tulsa but winning the AAC championship certainly seems to have put the Owls in a position where a lot of their game times are already known.
You could not say the same thing this time last year.
Sept 2 @Notre Dame 3:30 NBC
Sept 9 Villanova 3:30 ESPN3
Sept 15 Umass 7:00 ESPNU
Sept 21 @USF 7:30/8 ESPN
Oct 21 @Army 12:00 CBSSN
Nov 2 Navy 7:30/8 ESPN
Nov 10 @Cincinnati 7:00 ESPN2
Houston @East Carolina Uconn UCF @ Tulsa TBD
Wednesday: Sweet Home Recruiting