What are you waiting for, the bowl game?
It might be a little harsh, but the term brain dead about a first-year coaching staff occurred to me more than a few times during the Notre Dame debacle, the USF debacle and similar near-debacles against UMass and Villanova.
Last year’s championship staff figured out, early on, that getting the ball in the hands of a talent like Isaiah Wright might be a pretty good idea.
Wright, playing part-time tailback, had 46 yards on seven carries in a 38-0 win over Stony Brook. Temple had nice tailback options in that game, including Jahad Thomas and Ryquell Armstead. Matt Rhule, a $7 million-per-year coach, chose Wright. Before you dismiss the Stony Brook program, it was in a tight game this year at South Florida in the fourth quarter.
Temple was not.
Rhule stated to the press that one of his priorities early in last season was getting the ball in the hands of the elusive Wright. They met across the long table in the coach’s office at the Edberg-Olson Complex and came to the conclusion they could use Wright as a wide receiver, a tailback and a Wildcat quarterback.
They only put the Wildcat package in BECAUSE they had him, not because they wanted to do it.
What did this new genius from Coastal Carolina do with Wright the last two games? Give him the ball four times in two games. For Louisville math majors, that’s two times in each game.
Ryquell Armstead is banged up and he looks slow behind an offensive line that returns three of its five starters. Those three starters blocked well all of last season, so it’s not on them. Having Wright in the backfield with his explosive first step and his multiple-cut abilities can only help whomever is the quarterback.
Getting the ball in his hands a lot more than two times might be the difference between victory or defeat on Saturday afternoon (noon start, be there or be square, that’s why we never give TV info for home games).
For the first four games, we’ve learned this staff is–to be overly kind–slow on the uptake. To me, you can maximize any slim chances you have against a 3-1 Houston team by the number of times you get the ball in the hands of your most explosive player on a team that, by the way, that has a number of explosive players still. His touches work at wide receiver, they work at running back and they work at Wildcat quarterback. He’s had only 10 so far and he’s produced 194 yards. Too few touches in my humble opinion. Give it to him double-digit times, and you open it up for guys like Armstead, Sharga, Keith Kirkwood, Adonis Jennings and Ventell Bryant.
Wright can THROW the ball on a dime from 70 yards and he can do a lot on CATCHING swing passes out of the backfield to beat a blitz or even a conventional rush. Geez, you would think this staff knows that by now. Certainly the other staff did.
If Wright gets the ball only two times again, we can officially declare this new staff brain dead and take them off life support. We will track each and every Wright touch against Houston and it will be the subject of our next Thursday post.
Geoff Collins, since you are the CEO of this organization, it’s ultimately your responsibility. This will not be on Dave Patenaude. You must tell him what to do and expect him to do it.
Sunday: Game Analysis
Tuesday: Fizzy’s Corner
Thursday: Tracking The Wright Touches