First Scrimmage: ‘We’re Not Very Good’


Sometimes you have to read between the lines when you listen to some of these early football interviews.

The biggest takeaway from the first scrimmage interview with Temple head coach Matt Rhule—which Morgyn Siegfried does very well—is that “we’re not a very good football team right now.”

Taken on its face value, that’s not good.unfinished

Listen more, though, and Rhule will say that Jahad Thomas didn’t play and Jager Gardner was banged up, but Ryquell Armstead was healthy and making plays all over the place. Those three guys are the keys to making the run game work and it takes just one to make it work. If the run game works, then the rest of the offense works because P.J. Walker’s fakes into the belly of any running back make passing plays much more effective.


If the run game is working, then Walker’s fakes to, say, Jager Gardner, bring the linebackers and the safeties closer to the line of scrimmage and the seams in the passing game become that much more open for guys like Adonis Jennings, Ventell Bryant, Cortrelle Simpson, Romond Deloatch, Kip Patton and Colin Thompson. If Jahad is still banged up, more reason to split him out and make him an explosive stretch-the-field receiver where he will be less banged up. It’s not like the Owls are thin on game-breaking running backs.

Small gains in the run game lead to explosive plays in the passing game.

Then, listen to the defensive coaches interview and a whole different viewpoint emerges. “Our chemistry is ridiculous,” was one comment Jared Alwan made of the linebackers and he meant ridiculously good, not ridiculously bad.

The truth is somewhere in between “we’re not a very good football team right now” and “we’re going to be very good by April 16.”

And, hopefully, better by September. It’s all coachspeak right now until then. In my mind, this is a 10-11 win team and nothing anyone says other than an injury to Walker changes that paradigm.

Tuesday: Temple’s 99 percent

Thursday: 5 Questions That Need To Be Asked

9 thoughts on “First Scrimmage: ‘We’re Not Very Good’

  1. Sounds like good news to me, Mike.
    I think it’s just evidence that Coach Rhule is raising expectations. Last year we were contending for a league title and the major bowl berth which would’ve accompanied it. That’s the new “good” Temple football pursues.
    In the past, a good back and chemistry on defense would be a godsend, but now it’s not quite reaching the mark.
    He’s being nitpicky, which is important if you want to succeed. The devil’s in the details after all. If I hear doom and gloom from the coaches from here to September I’ll be more encouraged than concerned.

    • Good point. Would you rather hear him say, ‘we’re going to really kick some ass in 2016’ or ‘we’re not very good and we need to get better.’???? … probably that’s the psychology behind his current approach. I look at this whole thing and the players are there to score a whole lot of points on one side and keep a whole lot off the board on the other. It would be wonderful to get Karamo and Webb on the field in the fall. Hopefully, they are eligible.

  2. Using Jihad at slot back or H-back at times is a no-brainer. It will reek havoc on defenses because of his abilities because they will have to give him special consideration leaving others open. .

  3. If the team goes into the season thinking a 10-11 win season is in the bag, the intensity they had for the first 2/3 of last season may be lacking and lead to a so-so season. But that’s the coaches job to get the players geared up. I’m still concerned about what happened at the end of the season, especially that attitude during the lead up to the bowl. I have a feeling the PSU team is going to be a different story this year and a tough game. With all the accomplishments last year the ending to the season still stings a bit.

  4. 2016 starts with two should win games…, and Temple will need those two games to figure out the best 11 on each side of the ball…, PJ and the skill positions on offense will be better but may not be as productive until the OL solidifies.., that may not happen until after the PSU game

    the DL will be a work in progress all year.., the LBs and DBs will play well if the DEs can get to the QB…,

    the kick return game is an area of Needs Improvement…,

    Rhule will re-look the redshirting philosophy.., it will take longer than expected to find the redshirt freshmen who are mentally tough enough to run with the 1s and 2s….,

  5. I keep going back to the January 6 post on Rhulesrule. I think we have the players to be successful. It is all up to game day coaching.

    • Interesting that we have a “run-game coordinator” on offense and a “run-game coordinator” on defense. They used to call the latter a defensive line coach. I would change the name to “run-game disrupt” coordinator.

  6. The only thing that worries me about this year is the OL. but a good running game will help that.

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