Fizzy’s Corner: Nova Game

fizz

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

Offense

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:

 

  1.  Going for one more first down which would have enabled to use the remainder of the clock before kicking a field goal.

 

  1.  Keep going for a touchdown until you’re stopped.

 

OFFENSIVE GRADE – F

Defense

 

The defense mostly stopped their running game, and mostly did not stop their passing game because:

 

  1.  They did not blitz enough

 

  1.  They stayed in the same basic defense the whole game, which enabled Villanova to make half-time adjustments to their passing routes, which were not countered.  

 

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

 

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When Sixteen Is Anything But Sweet

Sixteen is usually a pretty sweet number, an indication that growing up is just around the corner, a time to get a driver’s permit or time for a great birthday party.

In football, the number 16 is anything but sweet because that’s the number, despite all of the offensive weapons Temple football has, that Logan Marchi has put up in each of the last two weeks as Temple’s quarterback.

It’s the quarterback’s job to turn the scoreboard into an adding machine and 16 points in each of the last two games does not cut it now and will not cut it going forward.

mattryan

Matt Rhule with Anthony Russo.

The audition is over. Logan Marchi is just OK in my opinion with a limited ceiling and we have seen that ceiling. It’s a 16-point ceiling with 48-point talent around him. It’s not getting any higher nor is he getting any taller.

It’s time for Anthony Russo to take over.

Russo, in my mind, is the perfect quarterback for this offense and he’s got a high ceiling.

He’s tall enough to see the field and has a big enough arm to make all of the throws.

marchi

Our post-game ND analysis called for a quick QB change should the Owls struggle to put points on the board against Nova. Freaking Lehigh put 35 points up on Nova. It’s the quarterback’s job to put points on the scoreboard.

One play stood out in the fourth quarter of Saturday’s 16-13 win over Villanova with the Owls having a third-and-four. Logan Marchi stepped into the pocket and threw a pass that may or may not have been complete but we will never know because the pass was blocked at the line of scrimmage.

lesmiles

Les Miles with Anthony Russo.

That’s going to happen when you have a small guy with an average arm.

The Owls have NFL-quality wide receivers in Adonis Jennings, Ventell Bryant, Keith Kirkwood and  Isaiah Wright. They need someone who has a big arm, is tall and can make all of the throws.

Russo is that guy.

On the day Anthony Russo committed to Temple, he received a visit in the cafeteria at Archbishop Wood from then LSU head coach Les Miles. All Russo had to do was make an official visit to LSU and he would have a scholarship. Anthony, being a man of his word, said that he had given it to then head coach Matt Rhule. He previously de-committed from another Power 5 school, Rutgers, to play in his hometown. Coaches like Miles don’t hop on their private jet from Baton Rouge to fly to Warminster without wanting to close the deal. Miles, Matt Rhule and Rutgers all saw big-time in Russo. For some reason, maybe it’s because he’s Matt’s recruit, Collins does not want to give Russo a fair shot. At least that’s my opinion. I saw Russo play many times in big games. He’s fearless and he’s a winner.

Russo is a big-time quarterback, a state champion who tossed 35 touchdown passes in his senior year of high school. The Owls need a guy who can throw touchdown passes, and not just move the offense to get field goals.

They need to go to No. 15 to get over that 16-point ceiling they seem to be stuck on this season.

Or they can score 16 points against UMass and hope the defense delivers again.

To me, that’s a pretty sour option when they have a sweet arm on the bench.

The Owls should be turning these scoreboards into adding machines with that talent and 16 points in each of the first two games is squandering their weapons. The Owls have nothing to lose by giving a proven winner a shot.

Monday: Fizzy’s Corner

Tuesday: What Happened to Mayhem?

Thursday: UMass Preview

 

MH55’s Message To Coach Collins

Coach Collins, this IS Nova after all

 

Upon arrival in town you did the perfunctory visits to our known cheesesteak venues, the Rocky steps, Indy Hall and all the rest. We welcome you to Philly. Now, don’t forget, you are part of the subset Temple Family. I respect Nova’s FB Program and accomplishments and I will be satisfied with a win. I wont judge your ability or the team’s skill set by a margin of victory. However, should the opportunity arise, please know Villanova has actively hindered Temple’s Athletic opportunities and have always relished opportunities to derail our goals.
Feel free to turn our superior athletes loose

 

Go Owls
MH55

Go Owls

bickering

Throwback Thursday: Half-Full Or Half-Empty?

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Temple won this before 6,734 fans at Veterans Stadium.

When the fans pour a few pre-game brewskis at the first home tailgate of the year, roughly 50 percent of them will be seeing that cup as half-full and the other group has half-empty.

That’s the short view coming after a shocking, at least to me, 49-16, loss to Notre Dame in the opener.

Ordinarily, Temple losing 49-16 to Notre Dame is not shocking but count me with the half-empty group after the opening week of the season. The logic is indisputable: Notre Dame was coming off a 4-8 season and Temple was coming off a 10-4 season. During that season, Notre Dame had lost to a Navy team that Temple clocked, 34-10. Notre Dame, last we checked, did not get a significant influx of transfers in from Alabama or Ohio State. Temple, last we checked, had plenty of guys who were significant players on their championship team returning.

Temple SHOULD have given Notre Dame a much better game. Maybe not my prediction of 17-13, but, say, 28-16. Forty-nine to 16 was unacceptable and has shaken a lot of fans’ confidence in this new coaching staff. Not the players, because guys like Ryquell Armstead and Adonis Jennings and Nick Sharga were as key to the success of last year’s Owls as any of the NFL departed stars on offense and guys like Michael Dogbe, Delvon Randall and Sean Chandler were just as important on defense as anyone not named Haason Reddick.

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Not impressed with Project Mayhem’s debut Saturday. Hopefully, the sequel is better.

The coaches changed, mostly, for both teams one group of coaches over-performed and the other under-performed. That’s why a number of fans see what has happened so far as alarming, appalling and shocking. Perhaps just as appalling to me was the fact that Collins, in his AAC media day interview, went down a list of defensive players and every single name (at least a half-dozen players, maybe more) were players who he said “played well” or “played at a high level.”

I immediately went to the toilet and puked. (Just kidding, but no one plays well on defense giving up 49 points. Three points, yes. Six points, yes. Forty-freaking-nine points, no.)

Hopefully, like another SEC coordinator Temple hired, Steve Addazio, Collins understands our intense hatred of Villanova and coaches accordingly on Saturday. Daz “got” the rivalry and he produced 42-7 and 41-10 wins over that team. That’s what I’m hoping for Collins to produce on Saturday for this Temple fan base so bitterly disappointed by the first week.

That’s the short view, though.

Long view, over several decades, is how far Temple football has come.

One of the greatest Temple fans, Ted DeLapp, posted this remarkable headline from the 1975 Temple-Villanova game, a 41-3 win before 6,734 fans at Veterans Stadium.

That was not a misprint.

Six-thousand, seven hundred and thirty-four. Archbishop Ryan and Father Judge drew 11,000 fans to their game that same year. North Catholic and Frankford drew roughly the same amount.

One fan commented that it “was pouring rain that day” but DeLapp looked up the NWS forecast data from that day in Philadelphia and said only 0.03 inches of rain that day fell at the airport, which is only a couple of miles from the Vet. Amazing how people’s memories fail them.

On Saturday, upwards of 32,000 (or thereabouts) will see Temple host Villanova. The Wildcats are a top 10 FCS program and the Owls, while not the Top 25 program new coach Geoff Collins claims they are in the FBS, certainly flirted with the Top 25 in the last two seasons before being stood up in the last two bowl games.

Short view, for Temple at least, glass is half-empty.

Long view, half-full, especially considering that thousands of more people are both interested and invested in Temple football than 40 or so years ago.

Saturday around 6:30 p.m. or so if what’s in that cup taste like sewer water, it’s going to be a long season. Collins gets a Mulligan on the first week, but there will be no Mulligans going forward.

Sunday: Game Analysis

Deep Six Above The Line

 

Zach Gelb goes on an epic and spot-on “above the line” rant. 

Usually, when you change something that has been considered, for want of a better phrase, “the standard” you have to have a pretty good reason.

 

Geoff Collins, the new Temple coach, is the only coach in the country to deep six the depth chart for a more vague rating of players called “above the line.” As it is, Temple is the only school not offering a depth chart for the press or television.

His logic is faulty. At least at Temple.

That logic has always been flawed at Temple.

“When players see themselves listed as a number two they play like a number two,” Collins said.

That might make sense in the SEC, but it has never made sense at Temple.

Look at the number of guys who weren’t even second on the depth chart who worked their way up and made huge impacts at Temple.

For the purposes of space here, we will just take five.

Haason Reddick was a walk-on who didn’t even earn a scholarship at Temple until his senior year, a fact that his father is still unhappy about. All he did was become a first-round draft pick in the NFL.

Matt Brown, who was a walk-on slot receiver from Peddie School (N.J.), became one of the greatest running backs in Temple history. His dynamic kickoff returns caused then head coach Al Golden to move him to running back, where he was even more explosive than wide receiver. He was part of Golden’s great “Bernie and the Bug” duo that took Temple from a 20-game losing streak two bowl games.

Mike Curcio, a walk-on linebacker for the 1979 team, became one of the greatest linebackers in Temple history and went on to a career in the NFL.

Nick Sharga, currently in Collins’ own words the “best fullback in the country” was also a walk-on, as was current scholarship kicker Aaron Boumerhi.

We haven’t even touched the surface of second-team Temple guys who eventually became first-teamers and went onto great college careers, but that list is a much longer one than that of the walk-ons, who’ve we’ve only scratched the surface so far. At Temple, guys who are on the second team work that much harder to make the first team and do not play like second teamers.

To me, the Collins’ logic is flawed and that’s one reason why this “above the line” depth chart is an idea that deserves to be crumpled up and thrown in the circular file.

Or at least come up with a reason that makes a modicum of sense.

Thursday: Throwback Thursday

 

Adventures in woulda, coulda, shoulda land

Editor’s Note: The following is an analysis of the game from Fizzy Weinraub, a former player in the pre-coach Hardin days. In the above video, he is fighting with his fellow Owls in a game against Gettysburg (hey, you play who was on the schedule). Literally, fighting in the final frame of this film.

 

weinraub

You want swag? Fizzy oozes swag.

                   By Dave (Fizzy) Weinraub

Defensively, we were not ready for prime time.  Notre Dame pretty much did what they wanted, although they got more than a little help from their friends.  Let me back-track.

Two weeks ago at the mostly closed scrimmage we had at Franklin Field, I had a chance to spend some time with Dr. Pat Kraft, our AD.  Our conversation meandered about as I couldn’t resist the opportunity to tell some wonderful Temple football stories.  Then Pat brought up the elephants in the room whenever you play Notre Dame. They are the officials, and how they had made some tenuous calls even when the game was here in 2015.  We talked about the mystique that seemed to envelop the officials, especially in South Bend.

Don’t get me wrong.  We lost yesterday because we couldn’t stop them, along with some questionable offensive strategies, which I’ll get too shortly.  However, I saw three Notre Dame running touchdowns during which holding, shoulda, woulda, coulda been called.  In addition, there was the very questionable roughing the passer called in our red zone after we had stopped them, and last but not least, the no-call when our receiver was clearly interfered with in the end zone.  If you don’t believe me, come on over as I have it on tape.  (If you come over, bring a bottle of Jack.)

Sometimes I wonder if all the offensive coordinators in college football get together over the winter and decide which plays they’re going to run.  It’s like channel surfing and seeing the same Tom and Jerry cartoon on every channel.  

Consider this, we’re behind by one, two, and then three touchdowns and mostly running the ball on first and second down.  Yes, we were trying to establish the run and not altogether doing a bad job of it. But, you have to adapt to the situation. And if you’re using the ground game to eat the clock, then you should have stayed home.

Believe it or not, there was an outside chance of winning yesterday’s game.  Notre Dame’s pass defense is only mediocre. Watch and see how they get beat in weeks to come, and I’m sure scouts will see what I saw.  We shoulda thrown caution to the winds, opened up the offense and thrown the hell out of the ball.

One last comment.  If I’m running the ball effectively, and want to go for the home run, I’m gonna do it from play action on an obvious running down.  Why would you just drop back?    

But there’s good news.  We’ve got as much talent, or more, than anyone we’ll play for the next eleven games.  Properly orchestrated, I look forward to being in the conference championship game once more.

Tomorrow: Above The Line

Thursday: Throwback Day    

Below The Line: Collins, Johnson

Here’s the good news coming out of Notre Dame’s 49-16 win over Temple on Saturday.

Geoff Collins is not going anywhere.


You can talk about SWAG all
you want and play the guitar
in practice, bring the kids
from the band and play drums
on the E-O field, but you clock
in for three hours every Saturday
and your job performance is determined
on that day only. You can talk about
how hard you work and how tough you
are and how much Mayhem you’ll bring,
but the scoreboard on Saturday
is the final arbiter.

Here’s the bad news.

Temple might not want him nor would it matter if they don’t.

Ask anyone who follows Temple football or basketball. They can get just enough scratch together to hire a coach, but they certainly do not have the money to eat these big contracts. So expect Cheesesteaks with the coach for a lot of Fridays going forward.

I did not expect Temple to win this game against Notre Dame, but I certainly expected the Owls to give a better effort, especially on defense. In my preseason prediction, I had the Owls losing this game, 17-13, not 49-16.

My reasoning was this team has a lot of good defensive linemen and an excellent secondary. I thought those were more than enough to offset a group of athletic, but inexperienced linebackers.

Here are five other things we learned:

toldyou

This Looks Like Steve Addazio 2.0 (so far)

Collins, like Daz, a coordinator from Florida, has done a lot of very Daz-like things so far and one was burning Aaron Boumerhi’s redshirt on the opening kickoff. Again, anyone following Temple football knows the Owls had a very good kicker, Brandon McManus, followed by a very bad kicker in Jim Cooper Jr. Getting another Aaron Boumerhi or Austin Jones is not a slam dunk and it would have been nice to have Boomer for the 2020 season. That is out the window. Also have to wonder on the hire of Taver Johnson as defensive coordinator. These players are too good to give up 49 points and 422 yards rushing to anyone. Johnson has never been a DC at the FBS level. Would have liked for him to have a track record somewhere else first. At least, Daz was smart enough to hire Chuck Heater and make him “head coach of the defense.”  Temple had back-to-back shutouts under Heater in 2011. It hasn’t accomplished that since. If this bleeding continues, Collins should have Heater on speed dial. If not, give up his job as coach of the fullbacks and become head coach and DC.

marchi

Marchi, Marchi, Marchi

I thought he did OK but what happened to this talk about all four quarterbacks playing? Did he do “OK enough” to not see another quarterback? No. They must not be enamored with Frankie Juice, either, to leave Logan in the game for four quarters. I think Marchi deserves the start against Villanova, but it’s the quarterback’s job to put points on the board in bunches so any series without points against that squad should mean the other guys get a chance and fast.  Anthony Russo is not a great practice quarterback, ala Vaughn Charlton, but he’s certainly a proven big-game quarterback in his high school past and he’s closer to Adam DiMichele in ability than Charlton. The other three guys are not. He deserves a chance to play in a real game if the Owls struggle to move the ball again.

Do the talking on the field

Any chance the Owls had of Notre Dame taking them lightly went out the window when two of those rookies, who shall remain nameless here, basically said the Owls were going to “kick Notre Dame’s ass.” That works only if you back it up. Collins should zip all pie holes going forward.

Temple summer practice, football,

What Could Have Been

Temple dropped two sure interceptions for touchdowns and, on the Mike Jones’ interception return, he EASILY could have scored had he waited for Sean Chandler to block the remaining fat and slow Notre Dame offensive lineman. Instead, he took a route to the sideline. All he had to do was cut it inside, where Chandler was setting up to block, and he would have had six. Also, Jacob Martin was held on one of Notre Dame’s touchdowns and the AAC refs did not catch it. Closer, but the way this defense was playing, it would have made the score window dressing. Say, 49-34, instead of 49-16.

Below The Line

You can talk about SWAG all you want and play the guitar in practice, bring the kids from the band and play drums on the E-O field, but you clock in for three hours every Saturday and your job performance is determined on that day only. You can talk about how hard you work and how tough you are and how much Mayhem you’ll bring, but the scoreboard on Saturday is the final arbiter. The offense scoring 16 points was not unexpected (we had them scoring 13 in a 17-13 loss). The defense failed to meet even minimum expectations and, for that, both Collins and Johnson fall below the line this week. Here’s the bottom line with this below the line grade. With a much worse group of players, Matt Rhule and Phil Snow went into Notre Dame and gave up just 28 points in a 2-10 year. Good coaches get the most out of their talent and Rhule and Snow did that day, but Collins and Johnson did not on this one.

Unfortunately, on this depth chart, there is no one above them. Right now, just a big blank space above a Cherry and White line.

Monday: A Former Temple Player’s Take on The Game

Tuesday: Above The Line

Thursday: Throwback Thursday