Dark Side Is a Matter of Perception

cookies

Did the Purple People Eaters ever give up 52 points in a single game?

How about the Monsters of the Midway?

Or The Steel Curtain, Killer B’s, Orange Crush or Fearsome Foursome?

No, no, no, and no.

Yet Temple’s not-so-famous “Darkside Defense” has now given up 52 points and 45 points in two separate games.

It’s getting pretty close to infamous.

Time to hand in that nickname badge at the door unless the team does something spectacular to earn Temple head coach Geoff Collins’ given nickname for his defense, like shutting out a high-powered  Houston squad on Saturday night (7 p.m., CBS Sports Network).

It used to be back in the not-so-olden days that you had to do something to get a unit nickname, like, you know, earn it. The 2011 Temple defense that posted consecutive shutouts under DC Chuck Heater probably deserved a nickname. Based on the body of work so far, this one does not. You can make all of the nice graphics about defensive statistics, but the one that should count the most is points allowed and, in two important games, this defense has come up short.

darkside

Now Collins hands out nicknames like candy and The Dark Side is appropriate only if you were a Temple fan watching the gloom and doom of UCF scoring 24 second-half points on it.

The Owls, who by and large had been a sure-tackling team this season, got no pressure on the quarterback and gave a clinic on bad arm tackling in the second half that should be put on a DVD and sent to every high school coach in America to show kids how not to tackle.

Make no mistake, there is plenty of talent on this defense but there are no sadder words than what might have been. Could you imagine a Temple front four of Karamo Dioubate (6-3, 295) and Quincy Roche (6-4, 235)  at the ends and Freddy Booth-Lloyd (6-1, 330), Dan Archibong (6-6, 285) and Michael Dogbe (6-3, 280) clogging up the middle? Imagine is something you’d have to do because the Owls have rotated in two smaller ends and played High School All-American DE Dioubate out of position as a DT. As a result, they get pushed around too much in the middle and are vulnerable on edge rushes.

It would seem to me that keeping the “good guys” in the game should be a priority going forward. I’d rather have a “gassed” Dioubate, Roche, FBL, Archibong and Dogbe in there than some of the “fresh” other guys, so maybe that’s something the rookie defensive coordinator Andrew Thacker has to take a look at.

Rotation is supposed to be to keep the guys fresh but when the above playmakers are in the game, the Owls are a pretty good defense. They get into trouble when the smaller starters are in to get more easily blocked or the less talented backups. It all starts up front.

That’s part of the reason the points continue to pile up. Another could be a departure from fundamentals.

After a similar poor-tackling game against Pitt in his rookie year, Bruce Arians called a 6 a.m. practice where everyone put on full pads and hit for three hours. “Rookie coaching mistake,” Arians said of the Pitt game. “I let up on them because we had some injuries and we were not nearly physical enough. We hit in practice for enough hours until I was satisfied with their tackling. We really got after it and that was our most physical practice of the season. The kids got the message. People who played us the rest of that year had a lot of bruises and bumps and injuries in the training room the next day.”

Collins loves this team to death, but maybe some tough Arians’ love is in order now.

There is enough quality on this defense to finish out the season strong, but probably not enough quantity. The Owls should ride the quality as long as they can.

Until then, let the nicknames be earned, not given.

Friday: The Houston Side

Sunday: Game Analysis

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Now for the Bright Side

Maybe it was being spoiled by the two years BGC (Before Geoff Collins).

Maybe it was the six weeks spent in the Top 25 one year, followed by seven weeks in the Top 25 the next.

As I saw it then, Matt Rhule set up GC pretty well for the next two years. The talent level was going to be Top 25 caliber for awhile and the momentum seemed to be there to keep the ball rolling.


The major difference
between the coaching
transitions at UCF and
Temple was that Josh
Heupel did not change
a thing about the
offensive identity
of his team, while
Collins allowed Patenaude
to completely gut an
offensive identity that
worked just as well
for Temple

In the prism I look through, every year Temple should do exactly what those 2015 and 2016 Temple teams did (either compete in or win the AAC championship game). Temple is the only school in its conference playing football in the exact geographic center of 46 percent of the nation’s population and should, in my mind, be able to recruit enough great football players to dominate a league of teams from places like Hartford, Greenville, Tampa, New Orleans, Orlando and Dallas on that fact alone.

Mix in the fact that Temple is a great university–one-sixth of the nation’s professionals are educated here–in the only World Class City (as named by the International Heritage Foundation) in any college football league, either P5 or G5. Stir another tidbit,  that most “regular” students in all surveys prefer a city environment for college to a rural one for their college experience, and Temple is in a most attractive position for recruiting.

Temple should dominate this league.

Something happened in between and, in my mind, it was abandoning the offensive scheme that these players were recruited to excel under (three-down fullback, two tight ends, establish the run and use play-action fakes for explosive plays in the downfield passing game).

birmingham

Birmingham still remains in play as a possible bowl destination for the Owls

It won’t dominate the league this year because its much-ballyhooed defense on Thursday night couldn’t tackle a drunk fat guy stumbling out of a bar at 2 a.m. It won’t because its offense could score only six in the second half after scoring 34 in the first half and the OC seemed more satisfied with the first half than disappointed with the second one (see video at the top of this post and thanks to Bob for supplying it). It would seem to me that scoring more than six points in the second half against the 91st-ranked rushing defense in the nation should not be all that hard, especially with backs like Ryquell Armstead, Jager Gardner, and Tyliek Raynor. Give those guys a caravan of blockers in the form of H-backs, fullbacks and tight ends in motion and it’s a pretty good bet that the Owls don’t have the red zone problems they suffered from in the second half.

Now you say it’s still mathematically possible for the Owls to win the league but too many difficult things need to happen. First, the Owls have to run the table. That’s the minimum. Second, either Navy, Cincy, and/or USF would have to beat UCF.  Central Florida would have to lose twice. (I could see Cincy beating UCF but not USF or Navy.) Cincy could run the table and have the same loss in the AAC East that Temple has and Temple would be playing in the title game, but that’s not happening.

So what is the bright spot?

sharga

The bright spot is simply this: Even IF the Owls had won the AAC, there is probably no way they would represent the G5 in an NY6 bowl and, if you win the league, you should probably go to an NY6. The Owls forfeited that slot with two brutal opening losses where they were outcoached by a team that started 0-4 in an FCS league. Nobody is going to pick a G5 team with an FCS loss for any New Year’s Six bowls.

So what could happen?

A strong argument could be made that Temple could even lose to Houston and win the next two and still be in the same kind of bowl game with a 7-5 record that it would be with an 8-4 one. Hell, Temple could have probably won the league and not received a better bowl with a 9-3 record that it could with a 7-5 one.

That’s the bright side. The league would probably allow the Owls to pick from the either the Military Bowl (where they could play a beatable ACC team like Syracuse or Virginia Tech) or the Birmingham Bowl (where it could play a 6-6 SEC team) and that would probably be the best bowl matchup for Temple since UCLA in 2009.

And probably a lot warmer in Birmingham than Annapolis.

Next year, we can all get back to looking into that tunnel and demanding that the Owls take their first games as seriously as they are taking the last few and play in the same championship games they did in consecutive years before the current staff got here. The major difference between the coaching transitions at UCF and Temple was that Josh Heupel did not change a thing about the offensive identity of his team, while Collins allowed Patenaude to completely gut an offensive identity that worked just as well for Temple.

That’s the Top 25 baton the Matt Rhule staff handed off to the Geoff Collins’ one and, so far, it’s been dropped twice.

How many times do we have to say “maybe next year” for a return to the Top 25?

Wednesday: The Dark Side

Friday: The Houston Side

Sunday: Game Analysis 

Shallow Owl

shallowowl

Ninety percent of Temple fans see the bloated Gweneth Paltrow when they look at Dave Patenaude; Geoff Collins evidently sees the slimmed-down version

“Anybody who can line up with two tight ends and a fullback and run the ball, I think that’s really awesome.”

_ Dave Patenaude, Jan. 15, 2017, the day he was hired as OC

They like to talk about measurables–height, weight, speed, vertical jump, strength–when the focus is on the athlete.

Accurately assessing those measurables, and weighing it against the intangibles, often determines the success of an organization.

There are measurables that determine the success of coaches, too, and the No. 1 thing is wins versus losses, but other factors can be weighed.

That’s why Geoff Collins’ love affair with his offensive coordinator, Dave Patenaude, is perplexing. It reminds me of the movie “Shallow Hal” when the lead character sees the bloated version of Gweneth Paltrow as beautiful and everybody else has a different view. When we (well, at least 90 percent of Temple fans) see Patenaude we see a guy who has all kinds of neat weapons and shoots them like a blind guy. He’s certainly not a trained Marine marksman with the, err, AR-15. You want measurables? Here are some facts on Patenaude, ranking his offense against the other 130 FBS offenses:

Total–92d

Rushing–104th

3d down conversion–59th

4th down conversion–63d

Time of possession–108th

Want more measurables?

Against Villanova, Patenaude put up nine offensive points while coaches in the same position with less talent (Stony Brook, 29; Towson, 45 and even Maine, 13) put up more against that same defense.

davefacts

Pretty grim, huh?

Those figures are remarkably consistent with last year’s ones as none of the Owls’ offensive stats above were in the top 50 in the nation. At the end of last year, Collins announced a staff shake-up where he named Ed Foley the head coach in charge of the offense but kept Patenaude in the OC role. It’s been quite apparent that Foley’s position is just lip service with Patenaude holding the keys to this Ferrari. He’s crashed it into the wall for the second-straight year.

We’ve seen the same failings this year as last with the offense and Collins is just as responsible as Patenaude if not more so. Last year, Collins called Nick Sharga “the best fullback in the country” but our charting of plays had Sharga playing an average of 4.7 plays per game as a fullback. Shouldn’t “the best fullback in the country” be in there, if not for every down, at least for 20 offensive plays?

rocknitro

(Before you say he was injured, he was healthy enough to lead the nation in special teams’ tackles so he was healthy enough to play offense as well.)

The team’s current fullback, Rob Ritrovato, is largely limited to the same special teams’ role and he has punched the ball out for Temple recoveries twice in it. You’d love to see a blocker like that lead the way for tailbacks like Ryquell Armstead and Jager Gardner, but Patenaude stubbornly won’t show that look and Collins evidently is fine with that. It’s a good look because both players benefited from it in a 10-win season.

So we’ve reached this point. An offensive coordinator who wants to change everything that worked in two 10-win seasons for everything that does not work the last two. There is no hatred here for the man himself; there is much hatred here for his stubborn refusal to use a system that is best suited for the personnel under his command. He completely overhauled an offensive concept that worked beautifully for two seasons for one that has been an utter failure for the last two. This guy is the most ill-suited coach for Temple, assistant or head, we’ve seen since Jerry Berndt tried to jump here from the Ivies after ruining things for those other Owls, Rice.

The defense has done the job this year. The skills of the players on offense are at least as good as the defense, maybe better.

The lack of production on one side of the ball can only be attributed to a scheme that does not work and needs to be changed. Run an elite tailback behind a great fullback, establish the run, and hit explosive downfield plays in the passing game by using play-action fakes.  I see that. You see that (at least 90 percent of you) but, unless Collins sees it, the full potential of this program will never be realized.

Next Thursday would be a perfect place to implement that kind of game plan.

Don’t hold your breath.

Saturday: Around The AAC

Monday: The Fans

 

 

 

 

A Very Special Temple Homecoming

This is Temple TUFF offensive football. Owls need to get back to it.

Since Temple football emerged from the dark ages around the year 2009, there have been some pretty good Homecomings.

cincy

Maybe the top one in my memory–and perhaps the best including the crowds of 70K for Notre Dame and Penn State games at Lincoln Financial Field that season–was the 35,711 fans who showed up for a 48-14 win over Tulane in 2015.

That’s because literally no one came from Tulane and the lower bowl of a 70K-seat stadium was filled entirely with Cherry and White fans. Thirty-five thousand and seven hundred eleven exceeds the capacity of many of the AAC stadiums so it was a tremendous crowd. Plus, it was 4,000 more people than attended the previous game, a 30-16 win over Central Florida at LFF on the preceding Saturday night (a much more attractive time for a home game).

That’s what being 6-0 and ranked nationally will do for you.

That is also the situation visiting Cincinnati (6-0, ranked No. 20 in the AP poll) finds itself in when it travels to Lincoln Financial Field (noon) on Saturday for Temple’s Homecoming game.

The numbers indicate that this should be a crowd that slightly exceeds the 30K mark, probably not quite up to the 32K mark for Temple’s home opener this season so it should be a special Homecoming. Every Homecoming is special because it attracts the same kind of softcore fan base that usually attends only Temple home openers. For the last eight Homecomings, for instance, the Homecoming Game drew an average of 7,654 more than the previous home game.

homecomingattendance

Figure in far right column represents an average of 7,654 more than the prior home game attendance in each of those years.

Will this be as special as Tulane?

Only if the Owls emerge with a win and the people in Vegas are counting on it. The line opened at 3.5 points on Monday and moved slightly up to four points on Tuesday and now back to 3.5 again Wednesday. Last week’s Temple line at Navy opened with the Owls as a 4.5-point favorite on a Monday and that moved to 5.5 on Wednesday before eventually settling on seven points by Saturday morning.

The Owls won, 24-17.

Uncanny.

If nothing changes, expect Temple to win, 24-20.

Still, the game is played on the field and not in Vegas and Cincinnati has a formidable 12th man.

Dave Patenaude.

elizabeth

Three years ago today when No. 4 was a full-time fullback leading the way for Ryquell Armstead (and Jahad Thomas, pictured) and play-action fakes to the tailbacks allowed Ventell Byrant and Isaiah Wright to run so free through the secondary P.J. Walker did not know which one to pick out.

The Temple offensive coordinator has somehow managed to turn a team with a pretty good line and dynamic players like quarterback Anthony Russo, fullback Rob Ritrovato, tailback Ryquell Armstead, and explosive downfield wide receivers like Ventell Bryant, Isaiah Wright and Branden Mack into the 89th-ranked total offense in the country.

That’s a pretty hard thing to do but when you have a great fullback you never use as a fullback and, by doing so (err, not doing so) you pretty much pull the lynch pin out of this grenade and blow the whole offense up. Run Rock behind Nitro, establish the run, set up the play-action pass and Bryant, Wright and Mack become 10x more effective than they are now.

Also, both Patenaude and head coach Geoff Collins have been quoted as saying the reason they don’t run the ball on first and goal is because of the defense the bad guys are in dictates the Temple play call. That’s ridiculous on face value. From the time Walter Camp invented football, it has been the offenses, not the defenses, who dictate the play call. Do you think Matt Rhule EVER cared what defense Cincy was in the video at the top of this post?


If Temple is truly calling
passing plays on first and
goal based on the alignment
of the defense
across the ball, then the
coaching here is worse than
any of us ever thought and,
for the last two years, many
of us think it is appallingly
bad. An offense with these
players should be ranked
in the top 10 in the country
in total offense, certainly
not ranked No. 89 as it is now

If Temple is truly calling passing plays on first and goal based on the alignment of the defense across the ball, then the coaching here is worse than any of us ever thought and, for the last two years, many of us think it is appallingly bad. An offense with these players should be ranked in the top 10 in the country in total offense, certainly not ranked No. 89 as it is now.

That’s an indictment on the brain trust.

Somewhere in Waco, both Glenn Thomas and Matt Rhule have to be shaking their heads because you know they are laughing at Patenaude’s play-calling and personnel groupings. Knowing how much they love these kids they recruited, there are probably a few tears being shed as well.

We will ever see the Temple football Owl fans have come to know and love? That is an every-down fullback (Nitro) leading the way for an elite tailback (Rock), setting up explosive downfield plays in the play-action passing game to receivers like Bryant, Wright and Mack? Probably not as long as Collins is the enabler to this spread crack addict named Patenaude.

As Temple fans, we can only hope the talent overcomes the coaching or these coaches take a good look at the video at the top of this post and the light bulb finally goes on in their collective heads.

Saturday: How Good is Vegas?

Temple-Navy: Creating Separation

separation

That guy closest to the Temple fans was Colin Thompson, all alone on this throwback pass from P.J. Walker against USF.

If there was anything Temple could take from the first six games of the season is not to take anything for granted.

As the Villanova debacle gets farther back in the rear-view mirror, the more devastating that train wreck looks (and it looked pretty bad when it happened). Dave Patenaude, who probably should have been fired the next morning as Temple offensive coordinator for putting up only nine offensive points against that squad, is still around so anything can happen. Patenaude has to know offensive coordinators with far lesser talent than Temple (Towson and Stony Brook) put up 45 and 29 points, respectively, against what head coach Geoff Collins then called a “clever defensive scheme.”

thompson

This is what I call separation, the end result of the photo at the top of this post.

It’s only clever if you can’t figure it out.

Since then, like last year, Temple made a quarterback change and, like last year, Temple is a completely different team since.

Really, the Owls should be 4-0 since Anthony Russo took over for Frank Nutile but aren’t because two of their eight-deep receiver rotation had the dropsies against Boston College. One of the drops robbed Russo of a beautifully thrown 80-yard touchdown bomb; the other bounced off the chest and then the hands of an Owl and into the hands of an Eagle. The Owls were almost certainly headed for a touchdown on both drives and that was the ballgame.

On Saturday, Temple’s game at Navy (3:30 p.m., CBS Sports) should be all about creating separation–not only in the league race against a respective foe from another division but the kind of separation that gets Temple receivers out of that traffic in the middle of the field and into making game-changing plays.

annapolis

Definitely a Cherry sweatshirt day

There are four things that can happen when the ball is in the air and three of them are bad–a drop, an incompletion, and an interception–but there are methods that can optimize the chances for good and minimize the chances for ill. Creating separation–which the Owls really haven’t done for Russo so far–is a must going forward. Too many of Russo’s throws are designed to throw into coverage and an Owl receiver has to make a spectacular catch to wrestle the ball away from a defender.

That’s playing with fire and Patenaude must find ways to put that fire out.

There are at least five (of many) good ways to do that:

First, establish the run. With an elite tailback like Ryquell Armstead (assuming he’s healthy), the Owls should control clock and yardage with gouging runs against a Navy defense that has been close to porous.

Second, help the tailback accomplish that goal. For reasons known only to Patenaude, he has eschewed the lead fullback block that would make things soooooo much easier for Armstead. However, he did show the blocking H-back look using the tight ends as lead blockers against Maryland, so maybe he only uses it for games played in that state. We can only hope.

directions

Best way to go is 301 through a small part of Delaware and a larger part of Maryland

Third, play-action. With the run established, deftly fake the ball into the belly of Armstead (or Jager Gardner), bring the linebackers and safeties up to the line of scrimmage in run support, and make the easy pass over their heads into Owl receivers running so free through the secondary that Russo won’t know which one to pick out.

Fourth, the pump fake. We’re talking about the type of play that Kenny Yeboah ran free for a touchdown against the Terps here. Russo pump fakes a quick out to Ventell Bryant, who sells the play with a 37-inch vertical leap, and both the safety and the corner go for him leaving the tight end (safety responsibility) running free down the sideline for an easy six. The fact that we’ve seen only one of these plays this season is a real head-scratcher.

Fifth, the throwback pass (see above): P.J. Walker had a throwback pass to tight end Colin Thompson that created a whole lot of separation in a touchdown against South Florida. Walker rolled right and looked in the right corner of the end zone before finding Thompson (far left in the top photo and all alone in the middle photo) for a score.

Easy peasy stuff. If Patenaude can’t figure it out for himself, maybe he should place a call to the offensive brain trusts at Towson and Stony Brook. They can draw it up and send him a fax within seconds.

Saturday: Predictions

Sunday: Game Analysis

5 Questions Pravda would never ask

Effective July 1, 2014, softball was dropped as an intercollegiate sport at Temple.

No worries, though, because it continues to be played on a club level at the school–namely, Saturdays, Mondays and Tuesdays–the days when head football coach Geoff Collins meets with the media. Saturdays after the game; Mondays at the AAC teleconference and Tuesdays at the weekly media luncheon.

pravda-bg

Those aren’t just softballs lobbed up at Collins (for an example, listen to the AAC teleconference above), those are high-arc jobs.

In a way, it’s understandable. Pravda would never ask Vladimir Putin why he killed so many journalists. That Pravda reporter would probably turn up missing the next week. Temple has a similar situation where other Temple employees pose as journalists and ask Collins questions and, while Collins wouldn’t kill them for asking these five questions, things could get a little uncomfortable around campus. Still, that should not stop someone like Marc Narducci or Shawn Pastor from asking so, as a public service, we provide these five questions in hopes of getting answers in the next few weeks if not days:

Question One

Q: Geoff, Temple won 20 games in two years largely using the fullback as a lead blocker for guys like Ryquell Armstead. Under you and Dave (Patenaude), the fullback is either not used at all as a blocker or at the most two or three times a game. What is the thought process behind that? What happened to the fullback at Temple and will the position here ever come back on a meaningful level?

Question Two

Q: Geoff, late in the game in BC territory and facing a situation where both ESPN announcers said was a two-down situation with only 2 yards to go (and practically everyone in the stadium thought would be a two-down situation), Temple decided to pass even though Armstead had four touchdowns and 171 yards and BC could not stop him. What was the thinking there or did Patenaude have one of his usual brain cramps and is there any way to get  a jug of Dasani water sent to the press box to avoid similar brain cramps in the future?

Question Three

Q: Geoff, using the tight ends in motion on almost every play as H-back blocks for Armstead seemed to work beautifully against Maryland, establishing the run and setting up play-action situations for Anthony Russo so he could have time to see the field and pick out wide receivers. Why haven’t we seen that look against anyone else?

Question Four

Q: Geoff, given Armstead’s history of injuries and value to the team as a tailback have you ever considered using Karamo Dioubate–the No. 11 DE recruit in the nation three years ago–outside as the situational pass-rusher instead?

Question Five

Q: Geoff, instead of having the guys who dropped passes all over the place against Tulsa–most notably Nos. 80 and 81–working on the jug guns afterward, did you consider benching them for BC so they wouldn’t get the same chance to drop passes all over the place in Boston? I mean, shouldn’t Ventell Bryant, Branden Mack, Sean Ryan and Isaiah Wright be able to handle all of those snaps?

I would love to be able to ask those questions but, during those teleconferences, a real job gets in the way. The one interaction I’ve had with Collins was to ask him to never take Nick Sharga off the field as a fullback and he said not to worry that Sharga would have even a more expanded role under him than he did under Matt Rhule.

Collins, of course, lied. There is a chance Geoff could lie again answering those questions but those are some fastballs that need to be swung at and, for some reason, no member of the fourth estate feels the need for speed.

Saturday: ECU Preview

Sunday: Game Analysis

Tuesday: Temple Football Forever and the National News

 

 

Where did we hear this tune before?

kraft

Listening to the post-game show at Boston College, I thought I could hear a familiar tune playing in the background when Temple head coach Geoff Collins was speaking.

“Really good game, really proud of how hard our guys fought,” Collins said. “That was a very physical game, and our guys were up to it.”

Wait.

Didn’t Temple LOSE by 10 points and not WIN by 10 points?

Collins has shown plenty in the way of schtick (money downs, swag, catchy nicknames, etc.) but very little in the way of substance (8-8 record) a not-so-sweet 16 games into his head coaching career.

wallace

The quote sounded familiar so I reached back into the archives of some roughly 10-point losses in losing seasons (if you haven’t checked, 2-3 so far is a losing season) and came up with these gems from guys who had more schtick than substance:

Oct. 17, 2004 (Philadelphia Inquirer): The Owls lost at Rutgers, 16-6, on the way to a 2-9 season. This is what Bobby Wallace said after that game. “We may have lost, but I didn’t see any quit in this team. I’m proud of them.”

Oct. 21, 1995: Owls lost, 32-22, at East Carolina. Ron Dickerson, their then coach, said this in Mike Kern’s Monday, Oct. 23 wrap in the Philadelphia Daily News: “I’m proud of the way our guys fought. We’ve got some things to clean up and we’re going to do it.” That was the seventh game of the season. Owls finished 1-10 that year.

dickerson

Sept. 2, 1989: Owls lost, 31-24, at Western Michigan (I was there). In my Doylestown Intelligencer story, I quoted then head coach Jerry Berndt: “That was a very physical game and my guys matched their toughness. We’re going to win a lot of games this year.” Owls went on to lose every other game until the season finale at home against Rutgers.

The point is that Collins might not be as bad as that Unholy Trinity of Temple head coaches, but he’s heavy on the schtick and way too light on the substance so far. Eight and eight is the very definition of mediocre. Those three guys had plenty of schticks and zero substance but Collins has a future and he better be satisfied with only winning going forward.

You want substance? How about instead of holding up “money down” signs this Saturday on third down just get off the field instead? Temple ranks an abysmal 118 out of 127 FBS teams in third-down defense making a mockery of the whole money down joke. Just drop it. The Temple way before Collins got here was just doing it, not talking about doing it. Let’s get back to that.

Being proud of the way the guys fight doesn’t do much for your legacy. Win and win a  lot more games than you lose. Everything else is just an excuse.

As Chris “Mad Dog” Russo used to say to co-partner Mike Francesa on the greatest sports talk show ever: “WIN THE GAME, MIKEY!!!!. WIN. THE. GAME!!!”

He’s got to up his game to avoid their same fate. I would have preferred to hear a pissed-off Larry Bowa version of Collins after a loss than a Gabe Kapler “everything is hunky dory” version that we heard on Saturday.

jerryberndt

Being “really proud” of “the way the guys fought” gets you nothing but 1-10, 1-10 and 2-9.

There better be plenty of some industrial strength cleaning up going on at the $17 million Edberg-Olson Complex and not just talking about it. Talking about cleaning things up five games in gets you more talking about cleaning things up eight games in and, before you know it, the season is over. How come this stuff wasn’t cleaned up by Sept. 1?

One of the most alarming things about the five-game season so far is the apparent regression of the rushing defense.

Last year, the Owls seemed to get a handle on the rushing game, holding the opponents without a 100-yard rusher in five of the last six games, including the bowl game. The only outlier was the UCF game but UCF was an outlier for just about everyone last year. In the other games, opponents found yards hard to come by especially up the middle. Since Temple was returning the entire middle of its starting defense—tackles Michael Dodge, Dan Archibong and Freddy Booth-Lloyd—the thought was that the interior would be impenetrable.

The fact that it has not been with essentially the same players has been disconcerting. It’s one thing to allow one 100-yard rusher, like they did against Villanova, Buffalo, and even Maryland. It’s quite another to allow two guys to get through that wall.

Against BC,  Dillon finished with 28 carries for 161 yards and Glines totaled 23 carries for 120 yards.

This has to get fixed but, five games in, you have to wonder if there are enough band-aids in the Edberg-Olson Complex to stop this bleeding. Five games in is almost half the season.

The Temple offensive problems have been well-documented here (search for the name “Patenaude” in the upper right-hand corner box), but the defense is not without blame. This is a defense that ignited hopes for the future by holding high-powered Florida International—a significantly better team than Villanova—to just three points in the bowl game.

A lot can change in one game, even if that one game is separated by nine months.

Zero and one has led to two and three and two and three is not Temple football by any stretch of the imagination. Temple fans have gotten used to winning with 27 wins over last three years going into this season and no amount of “really proud of how our guys fought” and “a very physical game, our guys were up to it” comments are going to placate them now.

The name of that tune is a song from a long, long time ago when they suffered through 20-straight losing seasons before Al Golden came to town.

What was the name of it?

Maybe something like Send in the Clowns.

Thursday: Five Questions You’ll Never Hear Pravda Ask

Saturday: ECU Preview

Sunday: Game Analysis

Tuesday: 5 Unsung Coaches in FBS