Back in the day, before the great Johnny Carson died in 2005, the former Tonight Show Host had a very funny bit introducing late night movies as a character named Art Fern with a pretty blonde sidekick.
Well into the skit, Carson would give directions to the auto dealership which sponsored the movies and include “Slawson Cutoff” and “Fork in the road” as the landmarks.
Well, in this Temple football season, we’ve reached a Fork in the Road for the Owls (Saturday, noon, Lincoln Financial Field).
Make the right turn, beat ECU, and the road could lead to the AAC championship game at Lincoln Financial Field in December or, at worst, a seven- or eight-win regular season. Lose to ECU, and there is a brick wall at the wrong turn and maybe another win or two. Owls need this one as a confidence-builder after offensive coordinator Dave Patenaude single-handedly blew a potential win at Boston College last week by not utilizing the unstoppable Ryquell Armstead, his best offensive weapon, on third-and-two.
Way to take the game out of the kids’ hands, Dave.
The fact that offensive
coordinators with lesser
talent at Towson and
Stony Brook got more
production out of their
kids against Villanova
than Patenaude did with
FAR better talent
is truly sickening
Makes one think about the way things would be with the current QB coach, Adam DiMichele, in charge. DiMichele–way more than Patenaude–understands that this group was recruited to run the ball behind an elite tailback following a great blocking fullback with two tight ends to establish the run game and set up play action.
Patenaude thinks he’s still back at Coastal Carolina where he wants to spread the field. That’s Coastal Carolina Soft, not Temple TUFF.
This game is far too important for Patenaude to be messing around with his pass-first, second and last system. Run the damn ball and pass only on play-action. Beat ECU and the Owls go 2-0 in the AAC and control their own fate.
That’s how important this game is.
Fans should not make the mistake that because the Owls won last year’s game, 34-10, the Owls will automatically win this one at home. Lincoln Financial Field has not been a home-field advantage for the Owls this season. Rather, a house of horrors, losing to an FCS team and a MAC team. That FCS team has subsequently lost to both Towson (45-38) and Stony Brook (29-27). That MAC team got destroyed by Army, 42-13.
Not a terrific endorsement for the Temple football coaching staff. Nice job by Patenaude putting up nine offensive points against Nova and 22 offensive points against the worst run defense in the FBS the last two seasons. The fact that offensive coordinators with lesser talent at Towson and Stony Brook got more production out of their kids against Villanova than Patenaude did with FAR better talent is truly sickening.
Now that staff is at a crossroads. ECU is a team with a Villanova moment of its own, losing to in-state FCS rival North Carolina AT&T in the opener. It also has a Power 5 moment, beating in-state rival North Carolina. The Tar Heels turned around and beat another Power 5 team, Pitt, which beat another Power 5 team, Georgia Tech.
ECU also beat Old Dominion, a team which beat Virginia Tech. This is a better squad than Villanova, Buffalo or Tulsa and the Owls better buckle their chinstraps and Collins better be prepared to overturn Patenaude’s play calls.
Temple’s Power 5 moment was a 35-14 win at Maryland, but the Owls staff did not take the day as a teaching moment because the H-back blocking look that opened running lanes for Ryquell Armstead and passing lanes for Anthony Russo has not been shown before or since.
That’s a good look for the Owls and the personnel groups they have on offense, but does this staff even realize it?
We should find out tomorrow at, say, 3:30 p.m. Based on the other two Saturdays at home, I’m more hopeful than optimistic.
Hopeful that Patenaude oversleeps and misses the team bus and Temple TUFF Adam DiMichele is forced to call the plays.
Otherwise, about 60,000 nails belonging to 20,000 people are in jeopardy of being bitten off.
Saturday: Our For Amusement Only Picks
Sunday: Game Analysis