Below The Line: Collins, Johnson

Here’s the good news coming out of Notre Dame’s 49-16 win over Temple on Saturday.

Geoff Collins is not going anywhere.

You can talk about SWAG all
you want and play the guitar
in practice, bring the kids
from the band and play drums
on the E-O field, but you clock
in for three hours every Saturday
and your job performance is determined
on that day only. You can talk about
how hard you work and how tough you
are and how much Mayhem you’ll bring,
but the scoreboard on Saturday
is the final arbiter.

Here’s the bad news.

Temple might not want him nor would it matter if they don’t.

Ask anyone who follows Temple football or basketball. They can get just enough scratch together to hire a coach, but they certainly do not have the money to eat these big contracts. So expect Cheesesteaks with the coach for a lot of Fridays going forward.

I did not expect Temple to win this game against Notre Dame, but I certainly expected the Owls to give a better effort, especially on defense. In my preseason prediction, I had the Owls losing this game, 17-13, not 49-16.

My reasoning was this team has a lot of good defensive linemen and an excellent secondary. I thought those were more than enough to offset a group of athletic, but inexperienced linebackers.

Here are five other things we learned:


This Looks Like Steve Addazio 2.0 (so far)

Collins, like Daz, a coordinator from Florida, has done a lot of very Daz-like things so far and one was burning Aaron Boumerhi’s redshirt on the opening kickoff. Again, anyone following Temple football knows the Owls had a very good kicker, Brandon McManus, followed by a very bad kicker in Jim Cooper Jr. Getting another Aaron Boumerhi or Austin Jones is not a slam dunk and it would have been nice to have Boomer for the 2020 season. That is out the window. Also have to wonder on the hire of Taver Johnson as defensive coordinator. These players are too good to give up 49 points and 422 yards rushing to anyone. Johnson has never been a DC at the FBS level. Would have liked for him to have a track record somewhere else first. At least, Daz was smart enough to hire Chuck Heater and make him “head coach of the defense.”  Temple had back-to-back shutouts under Heater in 2011. It hasn’t accomplished that since. If this bleeding continues, Collins should have Heater on speed dial. If not, give up his job as coach of the fullbacks and become head coach and DC.


Marchi, Marchi, Marchi

I thought he did OK but what happened to this talk about all four quarterbacks playing? Did he do “OK enough” to not see another quarterback? No. They must not be enamored with Frankie Juice, either, to leave Logan in the game for four quarters. I think Marchi deserves the start against Villanova, but it’s the quarterback’s job to put points on the board in bunches so any series without points against that squad should mean the other guys get a chance and fast.  Anthony Russo is not a great practice quarterback, ala Vaughn Charlton, but he’s certainly a proven big-game quarterback in his high school past and he’s closer to Adam DiMichele in ability than Charlton. The other three guys are not. He deserves a chance to play in a real game if the Owls struggle to move the ball again.

Do the talking on the field

Any chance the Owls had of Notre Dame taking them lightly went out the window when two of those rookies, who shall remain nameless here, basically said the Owls were going to “kick Notre Dame’s ass.” That works only if you back it up. Collins should zip all pie holes going forward.

Temple summer practice, football,

What Could Have Been

Temple dropped two sure interceptions for touchdowns and, on the Mike Jones’ interception return, he EASILY could have scored had he waited for Sean Chandler to block the remaining fat and slow Notre Dame offensive lineman. Instead, he took a route to the sideline. All he had to do was cut it inside, where Chandler was setting up to block, and he would have had six. Also, Jacob Martin was held on one of Notre Dame’s touchdowns and the AAC refs did not catch it. Closer, but the way this defense was playing, it would have made the score window dressing. Say, 49-34, instead of 49-16.

Below The Line

You can talk about SWAG all you want and play the guitar in practice, bring the kids from the band and play drums on the E-O field, but you clock in for three hours every Saturday and your job performance is determined on that day only. You can talk about how hard you work and how tough you are and how much Mayhem you’ll bring, but the scoreboard on Saturday is the final arbiter. The offense scoring 16 points was not unexpected (we had them scoring 13 in a 17-13 loss). The defense failed to meet even minimum expectations and, for that, both Collins and Johnson fall below the line this week. Here’s the bottom line with this below the line grade. With a much worse group of players, Matt Rhule and Phil Snow went into Notre Dame and gave up just 28 points in a 2-10 year. Good coaches get the most out of their talent and Rhule and Snow did that day, but Collins and Johnson did not on this one.

Unfortunately, on this depth chart, there is no one above them. Right now, just a big blank space above a Cherry and White line.

Monday: A Former Temple Player’s Take on The Game

Tuesday: Above The Line

Thursday: Throwback Thursday


31 thoughts on “Below The Line: Collins, Johnson

  1. 606 yards are the most allowed by a Temple team since the 2-win 2013 season. Owls allowed 453 rushing yards in its final four games last season. N.D. rushed for 422. Three N.D. players rushed for over 100 yards. Ugly and embarrassing performances by Collins and Johnson, indeed!

  2. hard to win if you can’t stop the run…, ND is a powerful team this year; their OL manhandled our DL…, ND will beat some very good teams this year, they have four star talent at every position..,

    Taver Johnson is not Phil Snow..; we must run blitz more on 1st and 2nd down until we prove we can stop the run consistently..,

    extremely disappointed but not surprised.., let’s hope for another winning season followed by a bowl game..,

  3. Atleast we didn’t lose to Liberty like Matt Rhule did in his Baylor debut haha

  4. When you have two back to back 10 win seasons, a conference championship, beating Penn state along with many other accolades and STILL can’t hire a HC with experience it says something (looking at you BOT). Keep churning the coordinator pile and this is what will happen. Collins with that talented team should have done so much better. We’re hitting the reset button again.The recruiting was a bad omen and now I’m just putting my seat belt on.

    Yes, it’s only game one and Rhule had two pitiful seasons before gaining steam. Hopefully Mr. Mayhem can get some help (I miss Snow).

    • Ben is right. A coordinator is always a crapshoot. Turner Gill, who did great things at Buffalo, would have been much more of a certainty at a place like Temple than he was at a place like Kansas. Right now, Collins can turn into either Daz (failure) or Rhule when the lights went on in season three. Rhule found the way to win at Temple was pound the rock behind a fullback like Sharga. I knew when Sharga went out and the three wides came in we were in for trouble. They want the best of both worlds on offense and the Temple brand is pound and ground and then use play action for explosive plays in the passing game. More concerning, though, was the number of players out of position on defense. That’s on Johnson and, ultimately, Collins. Not the players. A little less guitar playing in practice and more nose to the grindstone this week I hope.

      • Facing ND with a new coaching staff was always going to be a disaster waiting to happen. The coaches more than the players had that deer in the headlights look about them including Collins.
        Now we get to see whether that Temple Tuff, single digit mentality applies to the coaching staff. Collectively they got punched in the nose, the question is how do they react. They, not the players, need to step up their game.

  5. Not going to go to Daz 2.0 just yet, Daz came across as a phony from Day 1, I could be wrong but Collins does seem more “genuine”, That being said to the point Ben S made and what you have been saying as well Mike, a coordinator, no matter how good, is still a “rookie” in charge on the sidelines that first game. Plus, a tough atmosphere on the road to get your baptism. I think the next 2 games will tell us a lot about this coach.

  6. After yesterday, assuming not too much can change its a Temple 5 win season.
    Only hope is all AAC teams are as slow and weak a TU.

  7. Anticipation, disappointment and (damnit anyway) embarrassment. I think ND is a very good team (Wimbush is awesome) but for Temple to allow so many long yardage plays to happen was close to ridiculous. This reminds me of the bad old days. I sure don’t want to walk out of the Nova game with another loss. kj, your pre-game assessment was right on, unfortunately, as were some of the ND talking heads. Still hoping for 6-7 wins and a bowl game. Collins looked embarrassed himself as well he should have. Gotta say the announcers were pretty nice to Temple during the game considering what was going on.

  8. The mass hysteria begins. Yep they got whipped bad but let’s see how things turn out the rest of the way before we fire the coach. There was a team last year that got clobbered by Michigan 49-10 in their fourth game and they won the big ten and went to the Rose Bowl. I thought the offense was able to move the ball well but the d was absolutely terrible. Time to move on and out a hurt on Nova.

    • We’re not firing the coach. This is Temple. Bobby Wallace got to stay here 8 years. The bean counters on this BOT do not eat contracts for no one, no how.

  9. Watching the game I thought I had been transported back in time to 2013, maybe even to the Chester Stewart days given the number of open guys Marchi missed. How could they play as badly as the 2013 team? Did TU even use linebackers because it looked at times they were playing with 8 guys on D. Where were the quick passes to the receivers and passes to the tight end off play action? As I said weeks ago why would they mess with the offense when it worked for two years with essentially the same players. Waiting for opening day is like waiting for Christmas. This year there was coal in the stocking. If anyone thinks Nova will be a cake walk think again. I watched the game on my computer and they have a very complex offense that likely will confuse this very confusable team. one more thing, I saw no special blitz packages or other innovative maneuvers on defense. Notre Dame’s blitzes seemed more innovative and they worked. TU very rarely pressured Wimbush and when they did they lost edge control. Very disappointing to say the least.

    • Saving grace (pun intended) is that Andy Talley is not coaching the game on Saturday. He would take Taver Johnson to school. Now we have two new head coaches facing one another, and Collins has the far better players. He better get the job done. I think Collins probably should consider taking over the defense this week, like Rhule did when he coached the linebackers after starting 0-6. A lot of fixing on defense needs to be done, coaching-wise, and Collins should be able to know how to do it.

  10. Logan Marchi wasn’t the problem yesterday. He didn’t turn the ball over and threw two td passes. He threw for 245 yards but his completion percent was only 54%. Need to improve on the 3rd down conversions, only 29% yesterday. D was horrific across the board, linebacker play non-existent. As for Villanova, a much different athlete than Notre Dame. They gave up 35 to that powerhouse Lehigh, I believe Lehigh had over 400 passing yard with a 67% completion rate. If Temple doesn’t clobber Villanova we are in deep trouble.

    • If Kenny Y. catches a pass 99 of 100 college receivers routinely catch, Marchi has three touchdown passes. Defensive coaching was a bigger problem than the defensive players (and certainly Marchi) to me that’s a much larger red flag. Marchi was slightly better than I thought he would be, almost to the level P.J. might have played in this game. Almost.

      • Sorry mike I’ve got to disagree. Marchi was slightly better then I thought he would be too but that simply makes him serviceable. He was well below the standard set by PJW who had a much more accurate deep ball and stronger arm. Given yesterday was Marchi’s first game that’s completely to be expected.

        I had a bigger issue with the coach not auditioning the other QBs in a game that was out of hand long before the fourth quarter. He stated they were all ‘above the line’ (aphrase im already weary of hearing) so why not give them a shot? To everyone else’s point the defense was completely embarrassed out there which was a reflection on the coaches not the kids.

      • Defense was out of position all day. That’s an error of omission (coaching) not commission (playing). One thing about last year’s defense is guys like Dogbe, Webb, Martin, FBL and the secondary were always in the right spot and flowed to the ballcarrier on runs and broke up passes. Pretty much a lot of the same players were out of position yesterday. That stuff is taught in practice and it was taught wrong. They better clean that up against Villanova because FCS teams were beating FBS teams all over the place last week. I think Collins can do it, but he better step in and do it himself because if his job doesn’t depend on it (and at Temple you have a job for life), his career certainly does. Lose to Villanova after getting blown out by Notre Dame and you are on no P5 team’s short or long list of candidates this or next year.

  11. Find it interesting that Baylor’s defense was horrendous. As was the case with TU, it’s going to take the Baylor defenders time to learn Snow’s defense. Til then, watch the yardage and points mount up.

  12. There was an obvious hold on ND TD #2, so the game could have been closer :).
    It’s easier to rack up 600 yards if you’re not being called for holding. I’ll give Collins a pass this week because it was an impossible game to win. Owls must bounce back and play well against Nova.

  13. John, loved your line about waiting for opening day like waiting for X-mas but we ended up with coal in the stocking. That’s what I meant by saying anticipation and disappointment. I was really pumped for at least a close game and now feel like a pricked balloon. This was old-time blowout stuff. It’s so disappointing and now we have to hold our collective breathes to see what’s coming. Welcome back to typical Temple football just when I had gotten to expect a real chance in every game. Back to wait and see, no more expectations. And you’re right, they better not be looking past Nova. And in 3 games they’ll be experiencing more of the Wimbush thing against USF. As I’ve been saying, game-day coaching was the biggest question – and maybe preparation is too? There was some good stuff but too much inconsistency.

  14. Peter Liacouras and Wayne Hardin must be turning over in their graves, after yesterday’s debacle. Defense was a let down. 3 ND players with 100 yds rushing for the day. Offense wasn’t much better. How do you get down to the ND 10 yard line after a Mike Jones INT, loss yardage on a QB sack, and then come away with no points after a missed 36 yd field goal by Austin Jones. Back to typical Temple football. Hopefully it lasts for just a season.

    • Hopefully just for a week. Collins was the best DC in the SEC and the players he has now on defense are not bad. Hopefully, he can get in there and clean these misses up. I hope this is a product of an over-reliance on Johnson, whose Purdue linebackers were horrible.

      • What are the chances we will see a new QB against Nova or Umass?

      • If Marchi puts up only 16 points at halftime against Villanova, 100 percent. If he puts up 30 or so, he gets to keep his job for another week. I want my quarterbacks scoring touchdowns, not field goals.

  15. Officiating was bad. 2 missed holds on TD’s and the overturned fumble call, but that didnt change the outcome.

    Marchi played terribly in my opinion. He made the wrong decision on several read-options. He missed open receivers. Oh and my personal favorite of stepping out of bounds, 6 yards behind the line instead of the throwing it out of bounds and saving the yardage. That is an easy decision in high school. At D-1, that is inexcusable. Its basic and it cost the team 6 yards.

    Dont think he should start next week.

  16. What bothers me the most is that that was the softest I’ve ever seen a Temple D play. I’d wager that the ND scout team gave them a tougher look all week. It looked like they were blocking dummies, they just let the ND line get into their chest and shove them around. I’ve been reading about “mayhem” for months and that was the furthest from it! Please coach, design it, teach it, coach it and implement it in a game before you put it on a t-shirt and get us all expecting it.

  17. Another untypical thing on D was there were a lot of missed tackles – mayhem huh? The pushing in the face mask penalties, which are just unecessary, cost Temple two 15 yard penalties. There were a few crunching hits by Temple’s defenders which was good to see. Although we all have a wait-and-see approach, i agree it’s easy to get caught up in all the blustering and posturing, some of which is based on looking at CC’s impressive background – makes it believable. Now we’re back to wait-and-see. Just beat Nova! Then we’ll see.

    • One face mask penalty was the direct result of being held (Karamo had no other place to put his hands). They should have called the initial penalty first, not the second one.

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