Survive And Advance

NCAA Football: Wake Forest at Boston College

A year ago,  Jordan Gowins (34) was running the ball for Steve Addazio at BC. Saturday, he will be running against TU. Gregory J. Fisher-USA TODAY Sports

One of my good friends is a great FCS official, warned me in the early part of the summer: “Mike, watch out for Stony Brook. Chuck Priore has a pretty good head on his shoulders.”

Consider myself warned.

In many respects, Priore’s career mirrors that of Matt Rhule in that both have one win over Army (SB’s was 23-3, 2012) and both have had one 10-win season. The difference, other than the obvious FBS and FCS designations, is that Priore literally brought the Seawolves up from the very bottom of college football. Starting as the team’s head coach in 2006, Priore had only 20 scholarships to offer and now has 63—that is quite a bit fewer than what Temple has, which offers 25 every season.

The thought process among many Temple fans is that the Owls are going to smoke Stony Brook. That might happen, it might not. My thought process is a little different. Remember, Stony Brook opened with a 16-9 win over a North Dakota team that beat FBS member Wyoming on the road last season.

For Temple, it’s got to be survive and advance because a loss means this season is done. There is no reasonable person who believes that Temple can open with losses to Army and Stony Brook and win the AAC. As Spock would say, it’s just not logical.

Priore has a good
offensive mind and
probably will try the
counters, deep throws
to stretch the field,
reverses and traps
the Owls eschewed
against Army in one
of the most boring
offensive game plans
I have ever seen in my
40 years as a Temple fan

I was against scheduling this game because, if you win it, it’s “meh.” If you lose it, you will hear Temple sucks for the entire next week and have no acceptable comeback. For me, Temple should always avoid the “too much to lose” games. That’s the athletic director’s job, though. The coach’s job is to win it and that is that is why Matt Rhule is making $1.5 million. He’s got to get the job done.

Stony Brook not only beat No. 19 North Dakota last week, it beat No. 13 New Hampshire last season. It is used to beating good football teams. The Seawolves have nine FBS transfers, so at least nine players have played significant time against opponents on a par with Temple. They have an All-American offensive tackle in Timon Parris (6-5, 310), who lines up on the left side. The two guards are P5 transfers, Mason Zimmerman (Maryland) and Jonathan Haynes (West Virginia). Running back Jordan Gowins (Boston College) is a talent.

Priore has a Philadelphia connection, having served as the offensive line coach and offensive coordinator at the University of Pennsylvania from 1992 to 1999. During Priore’s time at Penn, the Quakers compiled an impressive record of 52-27, including three Ivy League titles and a 24-game winning streak. In 1998, the Penn offense set a school record for points in a season with 297.

He is the older brother of the current Penn coach, Ray Priore.

Despite scoring only a special team’s touchdown last week, Priore has a good offensive mind and probably will try the counters, deep throws to stretch the field, reverses and traps the Owls eschewed against Army in one of the most boring offensive game plans I have ever seen in my 40 years as a Temple fan.

Hopefully, the snooze fest ends for the Owl fans this week in a 49-10 type win, but I will sign for a 16-9 Temple win right now because the alternative is too horrid to even think about and the coach on the other side of the field has a head on his shoulders he uses for more than a hat rack.


Saturday (posted by 10:30 p.m.): Game Analysis

Monday: Penn State Week

Wednesday: Rolling Pocket

Friday: Penn State Preview


11 thoughts on “Survive And Advance

  1. You hit it right on the head. Right now this is the most important game we have. Win, and the team can salvage the season, lose and we return to the Bottom 10 and destroy much of the interest by casual fans. Remember when we were in the Bottom 10 so regularly the writers thought of charging us rent.

    • I like how Matt talked about “learning experience” against Army. You would have thought that the “learning experience” that was the Navy game two years ago would have taught us how to approach the Army triple option. Instead, Army coach Jeff Monken was surprised that we played the triple option the same way we did when we allowed 31 points to Navy two years ago. The saddest thing is that he talks about learning experiences for the kids and seldom addresses the more needed learning experiences for the coaches. We had 9 months to prepare for this game and we game plan like we had two days, both on offense and defense.

  2. Although the season has barely commenced, there are ominous signs that the team will take several giant steps backward this season. Unless it goes 9-2 the rest of the way, this year, with a team we’ve been told is the most talent laden ever, will be a failure. And because of the changing landscape of college football TU may be destined for mediocrity for a long time. A loss to Stony Brook regardless of how good they are, and they are a good team, will make TU a laughing stock and bring out the haters en masse because most fans have never heard of them and think they are the proverbial Little Sisters of the Poor. Hope the team and coaches realize how important this game is. As Yogi Berra said, “It gets late early here.”

    • I was so happy last year that Matt Rhule used the fullback, went to a heavy dose of play-action in the passing game, and scaled back on the multiple wide receiver sets that plagued the program the prior two seasons. It’s almost like he read this blog and applied the principles of tried and tested sound football philosophy. At the same time, I assumed he and Snow would have learned from the passive defense played against Navy two years ago that you cannot play that way against a triple option. I wrote before the season that a successful season would have been to beat all the teams we should beat and avoid losing to teams that we should not lose to and that, unfortunately, went out the window with the first game. Now we’re going to have to pick up that win somewhere along the line (Penn State or USF) and hold serve with the rest. That’s a tough way to play.

  3. I didn’t feel confident going into the Army game and now I feel the same with Stonybrook. Geez, when will Temple start to learn how to sustain success? If they lose this one, we’ll be faced with suffering through ANOTHER crap season. Forget those 11 win, bigger bowl game, top 25 expectations. Even if we win this one, it’s going to be a long season I fear. Makes me think last year was just a bunch of luck. But it’s all about the coaching this year.

    • I don’t feel confident on Saturday, either. Not because we don’t have tons more scholarship players than they do (we do), or because we recruit at a much higher level (we do) but because we don’t think on our feet very well as a staff and we have been exposed by the last three coaching staffs we have faced. Look at it is way. The only guy on our staff who has had any experience as a head college football coach is Ed Foley (Fordham) and between his stint there were the two most successful head coaches in Fordham history (Dave Clausen, Joe Moorhead). Foley was 7-15 as a head coach. Would feel a lot better if Matt had a Wayne Hardin-type on the staff, someone who (like Bryant Garvin said last week) could lean on to tell him he “should have played an 8 man front with 2 (4 technique) tackles. That changes the angles of the triple option. Throws the timing off. Can’t run inside the tackles on a 44 stack def.” That’s Football 101, as Bruce Arians used to say.

    • exactly why I was so upset last year.., once in a blue moon a college football team has a chance to win their conference championship, a bowl game, and finish in the Top 25 all in the same season..,

      we didn’t understand what was on the table last year.., we could have beat Houston, partied away the Boca Bowl, and missed the chance at Top 25..,

      this team does not have the mental and physical toughness to overcome getting out coached..,

      • Like someone said before, I have never heard this coaching staff say they were outcoached and let the players down. It’s always the players’ fault when the team loses. That shows a lack of accountability.

  4. reality of it all…,

    the more we think about it, did the Notre Dame game define Temple Football for this decade? Simultaneously, it showed us how far we have come and how far we must go to be relevant in college football.

    Was that game the pinnacle of this decade? Where were we then? we were ranked, had the city on the edge of excitement, and hosted the impassioned world of college football for one weekend. was that our 15 minutes of fame?

    what has happened since? including that game we are 3-5 in the last eight games, lost our chance at the P5 for the foreseeable future, fired our school president, and let the on-campus stadium die an uninspiring death…, then we lost our 2016 opener to a 2-10 team…,

    many will say Army is way better than last year but that assumes we didn’t keep pace on improving year over year.., are we not better than last year? three years of ‘the process” recruiting allowed Army to put better athletes on the field? I don’t think so, we got out-coached..

    the maturation of MR continues, and unfortunately college football may be evolving at a faster pace….,

    • Solid analysis, KJ. We shot our wad against ND and let that affect us since. One interesting sidelight is that before the season we were shown videos of guys in the weight room lifting like maniacs for 365 days before that and doing wind sprints in the snow and the message was that this is a team that will be strong for 12 games and four quarters. In reality, we hit a wall after ND. I’ve seen Temple teams in much better condition who finished seasons in much better shape. Army is who we thought they were, a 2-10 team that lost to Duke, 44-3, and allowed Tulane (a team we scored 49 points on) to score 38 points on them. Army is also the same team that beat Bucknell (yes, Bucknell), 21-14, last year. None of these facts give me a warm and fuzzy feeling about the current state of the program. Holding serve against SB and kicking the crap out of PSU would change my thinking. Nothing else.

  5. think UMass and UConn both will pull upsets, Temple will cover as the starters will play all the way until 5 minutes left in the game

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