Holding Serve

None of the Temple Owls were carrying tennis racquets on Saturday afternoon, but the result of the day was that they held serve nonetheless.

The Owls were supposed to win at home, and they did, 48-20. They held serve, but not much can be learned about a game like this. Before the game, we predicted 48-7. At least we got the 48 right.

The defense, though, is going to have to play better.

Charlotte was just another one of those games that new athletic director Pat Kraft likes to schedule and that former athletic director Bill Bradshaw would have avoided like the plague. Bradshaw liked the regional games against Power 5 teams, while Kraft likes the tune-ups against punching bags. Expect more of the Kraft-like games in the future (Bucknell, Villanova) mixed in with games Bradshaw scheduled (Rutgers, 2020 and 2021)  along with Kraft adding Boston College to the mix.


27,786 was a nice crowd considering the 1-2 record.

If the Owls are going to contend for the AAC title, the Owls will have to shore up the middle of their defensive line and generate a pass rush that has been late in arriving. There are signs that the pass rush is coming as four-star recruit Karamo Dioubate seems to get comfortable with the college game more every day. The Owls need to improve their rush defense and a possible fix would be moving former defensive tackle starter Brian Carter back to defense from the offensive side of the ball. Putting him in there as a tackle with fellow Harrisburg Area nose guard Averee Robinson could help shore up the run defense and help with a push up the middle that could collapse the pocket. Romond Deloatch, arguably the team’s best receiver, had the team’s only sack. He might be needed on defense when Ventell Bryant comes back from an injury. For that matter, so could starting fullback Nick Sharga. Those are decisions for the coaches to make, though. I think all three moves would help the defense establish some needed consistency and maybe defensive coordinator Phil Snow should lobby for those players.

On offense, Phillip Walker showed a nice touch on a pair of scoring tosses and Brodrick Yancy showed why head coach Matt Rhule compared him to former slot receiver  John Christopher in terms of toughness. Christopher was in the house on Saturday, getting an award for academic prowess.

The other takeaway is that Jahad Thomas is the team’s No. 1 offensive threat and maybe the best overall player on the team. Unlike the other backs, he has a knack for either making the first defender miss or shaking off the first defender and getting into space. He was missed in the Army game and could have been the difference-maker in that one. The Owls need to find creative ways to get the ball to him in space, and they may have hit on at least one with that long wheel route. Two years ago, Jamie Gilmore dropped a perfectly thrown wheel route in a 16-13 loss to Memphis; this time, Thomas did not.

Other than that, the learning process continues against SMU and the Owls will need to hold serve once again at high noon in a week.

Monday: 5 Things We’ve Learned So Far


19 thoughts on “Holding Serve

  1. Walker played better in 2nd quarter, but I was amazed how many bad decisions he made in the 1st quarter. None of them were interceptions, but he threw to the wrong receiver on several plays.

    I dont love the playcalling, but 8 has to throw to the right guys when they are wide open also.


    • USF got clobbered by a team that gave up 70 a week ago. Owls can beat everybody left on their schedule, and also lose to anybody (except SMU in my humble opinion). Sharga at the minimum needs to be moved to linebacker because we’re getting great play from two LBs (Williams, Marshall) and the third guy who shall remain nameless is missing tackles and too slow sideline to sideline. I think Rob can do a nice job at fullback and I like the way he blocks when he’s in there.

      • think the coaches will see the same, film is the truth….,

        Walker’s shoulder separation against PSU last year is a life-long injury., it will always be prone to pop out of joint and our offensive scheme will always be limited as a result..,

        they beat the crap out of each other last year.., both Temple and Notre Dame have not been the same since..,

        don’t understand K Lot and Club level.., more people sitting in Club level watching TV than in the seats.., and more people still partying in the parking lot, and who never made it to the seats.., i don’t get it..,

      • I love football, and not parking lots so I’m with you. If I can get into a football stadium, my day is made. Parking lots are for the couple of hours before the game. In somewhat related news, the average ticket for Eagles-Steelers tomorrow is $854 on Stub Hub. Doubt anyone who puts out that coin for a ducat will stay in a parking lot all day.

      • Mike, I think I might put UConn in the same category you have with SMU

  2. Damn shame that Buffalo can beat Army but we cant.

    • Yeah, must’ve played 8 in the box. Any good high school coaching staff would have done that against Army.

    • this is a rebuilding year, we are not that good., we let Charlotte gain over 400 yards.., SMU will give us all we can handle and we will lose if we don’t improve..,

      • U still wanna put in the rookie QB? Smh.

      • Dude you pull comments out of your rectum. The backups played much of the second half. You bitch when they win, bitch when they lose.

      • Clueless comment, backups played most of the 2nd half. You really should learn the game of football before making really dumb comments you make them week in and week out. Thats not saying this team doesn’t need to improve, it does. The interior lines on both sides of the ball need to get better.

  3. Yes, UConn is so slow it makes Temple look like it has SEC-type speed. Wish Syracuse and Boston College were in the conference.

  4. Sacred Heart … wait for it …… 38 …….. Stony Brook 10. I have no idea where Sacred Heart is.

  5. Mike, don’t you think your score prediction would have been right if MR hadn’t cleared the bench so early. It’s good for the second and third units to get experience and have some fun, but an even more dominant win would have “looked” better. The rest of this season? Week to week. Who knows with this coaching? The Owls could be at least 3-1 now, likey 4-0. That’s Temple football for ‘ya!

  6. Unless this team runs the table and/or wins its division, it cannot erase the Army loss, which lost to Buffalo, which lost to Albany. ALBANY FOR GOD’S SAKE The weakness of the run defense is confounding The loss of Matekevich and Ioannidis can’t explain it and either it’s a scheme problem or personnel issue. Either way, if it’s not corrected, the season’s a bust. I liked that Rhule is playing freshman. Hennesey and Dioubate showed that they belong. Add maturity, weight training, and experience to them and they’ll be stars. Any team that doesn’t rely on the run against the Owls is insane. Yesterday, didn’t understand why Charlotte threw a pass.

    • Bingo John, target hit.., we are losing the battle at the line of scrimmage.., we are last in the conference in rushing yards, and second to last in rush defense.., where is the big nasty beef?

      this is a major, not minor, rebuilding year reinforced by the number of freshmen we are playing..,

      we can win six games and go to a bowl starting 4 or more freshmen.., we won’t win more than seven games with the current lineup – START the freshmen, let them gain experience…,

      who is going to be the starting QB against ND in the 2017 season opener? Russo, so let’s play him now in 2016

      • While it’s tempting to bench Walker and start Russo, I would not do it because I’d rather have Russo for four full years. Also, unless Walker really stinks up the joint, Rhule will not bench him because I believe Rhule is a principled man who will not ruin Waker’s last season. Walker’s the QB unless he gets hurt. Walker, more or less, has been reliable and although his shoulder injury, either consciously or unconsciously, makes him reluctant to run, he still is producing. Every other position is open to the best player and that’s why freshman are playing.

  7. Mike, hope you don’t me mentioning another Temple blog site, but on Owlsdaily.com there is a pretty explanation of the rules for red shirting.

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