Houston: Does This Staff Have The Wright Stuff?

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.


“Operator? Please get me Waco, Texas; a listing for Glenn Thomas or Matt Rhule. Thanks.”

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


43 thoughts on “Houston: Does This Staff Have The Wright Stuff?

  1. -While I agree that Wright is a star player, it was a shame he had the one drop against USF which would have been for a BIG gain.

    -The coaching staff is not (that) stupid. They realize their job security is based on the # of wins and if Russo was that good, then they would have played him. It says something when Logan was our backup to Walker even when Rhule was here. Looks like Russo is another Ruff. I will give Russo 1 more year to change that, but after speaking with people with access to practices, they said Russo has not amazed them.

    – The O-Line is a joke and coach Wisehan needs to get his shit together, or Ed Oliver is going to have his Thanksgiving dinner a bit early.

    • Do not agree that Russo is another Ruff. Russo played in one of the best leagues in America and Ruff was in the worst league in America. His 4* status was bogus. Russo, who withstood the scrutiny of Elite 11 camp, was not. This staff IS that stupid. Any group who can coach Temple talent down to Villanova talent (which lost to Albany) is really, really, really bad. What, exactly, did Patenaude do at Coastal? How many offenses did Taver Johnson stop at Purdue? Nothing and zero. What was Ed Foley’s record as a HC at Fordham (7-15)? What were the guys just before him (Clawson) and after him (Moorhead)? Winners. This staff blows. Even Daz (Scot Loffler, OC) hired the QB coach of a national champion (Florida) and the co-DC of the same NC team (Heater). I cannot trust this staff to judge any talent.

    • That drop was Jennings’ not Wright. Wright had zero drops. Jennings also had a fumble.

      • Wright didn’t Actually ‘drop’ the ball, he failed to catch a cathcable pass.

        Jennings’ fumble was a huge rookie mistake, except he’s not a rookie.

        Bryant gave up and stopped running his routes.

        Basically the WRs gave up on their QB. Also looks like Geoff’s bestie, Rhule, let him in on a secret and that’s why the staff was targeting Juco QB Dave Pindell this off season.

      • Pindell sucks too. UConn cannot beat anyone other than Holy Cross, which lost to Dartmouth.

  2. I have to agree with Mike here. If this staff cannot make a simple talent evaluation of a kid like Wright, how can you expect them to make a fair evaluation of any other kid, including Russo? I’ll take Trent Dilfer’s word on Russo over Patenaude’s 99x out of 100x.

    • The Wright thing is a no-brainer in my opinion. Dumb, dumb, dumb to give him the ball just 4x in the last two games. I have a feeling there’s going to be a lot of booing in the stands on Saturday if the offense struggles this week and it won’t be directed at the kids.

  3. We have a head coach who says his first priority is to “love” his players instead of coaching them, teaching them, and winning football games. I think that says it all.

  4. How about a creative play that Coach Hardin would have liked. A bubble screen to Wright where he immediately passes downfield to a wide open wide receiver or tight end.

    • I’ve been told the kid has a big-time arm. We haven’t seen it yet in a game. About freaking time. Wouldn’t recommend the TE, though, since every time we targeted one it seems there’s a drop. Al Golden couldn’t recruit quarterbacks, but he could damn sure recruit tight ends (Alex Jackson and Evan Rodriguez and Steve Manieri come to mind)

      • That must why he is a TE coach for the Lions. I’m surprised he hasn’t returned to the CFB ranks, he can’t be making that much?

  5. Mike, it’s great that you are so optimistic and helpful. I, on the other hand, am a skeptic who believes that if these coaches used Wright they’d have him running dives on either side of the center without a fullback lead. That’s how little confidence I have in the staff, which is getting worse as the season progresses.

    • It took two years of screaming from the top of my lungs for Rhule to ditch the spread, go fullback, play-action. Hopefully, it won’t take Collins more than two weeks to get Collins to figure out that a little swing pass to Isaiah Wright out of the backfield can open things up for the rest of the offense–particularly an offense that has pass protection issues. Also, can it really hurt to use Russo for a couple of series? Only a couple. Six turnovers and four yards and a minus 2.5 passer rating is a pretty low bar. Russo just steps on the field and he’s got a better passer rating than the other three guys.

      • That’s what is so puzzling….can Russo really make anything worse? See what he can do…..it doesn’t make any sense other than it’s personal.

  6. Mike, Your analysis is dead on, as it has been over the years. It seems that during Rhule’s last two years, he would implement changes soon after you recommended them. Hence, I firmly believe the Matt, or someone from his staff started following you. Sadly, I do not think Collins, or his staff, have found your site yet….

    • If they have and are ignoring the suggestions posted here, they are even bigger fools than we now think they are.

      • Football is not rocket science. They should be able to see this for themselves. For years, Temple football was on auto pilot with coach Hardin who had this stuff all figured out. This is Football 101 and not Football 102. Unfortunately, this staff is remarkably under-qualified. It’s like the Military Bowl when the team was coached by largely grad assistants, except it was better coached in that game than it was in the first four. Houston, we have a problem.

    • I just don’t know how you can come to Temple and not think you will be a run heavy, smash mouth, in your face offense that will pound you til you put more in the box or are fooled every so often by some play action, counters or mis-direction. It defies logic….these are the type of kids that will go to North Philly. Sorry, but North Philly is not the place for fancy or finesse.
      On defense it has always been tough as nails dudes that want to attack. If you try to recruit or set up systems differently you will look silly.

  7. Just watched the Patenaude video above. He spends about 60 seconds of the minute talking about using Wright in the wildcat, even going into detail about teaching him four or five plays. Yet he hasn’t used Wright ONCE in the Wildcat. That caption is hilarious, by the way.

    • who cares what patenaude did at Coastal? i want to vomit every time he starts a sentence with, “what we did at Coastal…..,”

      is he really trying to bring Temple down to the Coastal level? makes me wonder

  8. Mike and Guys: what kind of deal does Collins have? My co-anchor Wendy Davis — also a TU alum and uber-fan — asked me if the school could cut him loose after one season if it ends very badly. I didn’t know the answer. Thanks.

    Sigh. Go Owls. Use Wright.

    • Just saw this, Rob. Sorry I did not get to it earlier. Collins’ contract is $2 million per year for 5 years. If the uni fired him tomorrow, they would have to pay him the full $10 million. That’s why the uni doesn’t fire anyone. However, the assistants are on year-to-year contract. Knew Wendy (followed her since her Channel 13 Blue Ridge Cable days) was a Temple grad but DID NOT know she even followed the football program. That’s good to know.

      • Thanks, Mike. Good to know. Sigh. At least there was some reason for optimism in that 2nd half. Houston is a decent team. As for Wendy… she tries to be as loyal to TU as she can be in a household of — dare I say it — Penn State alums and fans.

  9. Have these coaches lost their minds? I am watching the Miami game and they have a turnover chain….are you f’n kidding me? What the he’ll has happened to football?

  10. Does it bother anyone that Patenaude announces that Toddy will only have two sequences of plays (I think it was two) so when he gets in the South Florida game their defense, knowing the two sequences, can cover them and drop Toddy like a rock. Then Patenaude announces to the world that Wright has only five plays if he gets in the Wildcat. At least he didn’t tell the world what those five plays are. Wouldn’t it be better not to announce our plans to the world?

    • I don’t think this OC has any idea what he is doing or wants to do. As said before…..what is the identity, the style, the plan of the offense?
      He’s all over the place….that doesn’t work at this level!

  11. Broken record but coaching is awful. Marchi makes bad decisions constantly. He woukd have been benched for the season after that sack. But my biggest gripe this week? WR coach needs to be fired. What was Wright doing? He obviously doesnt know the rule that the clock stops with a first down. If you dont know the rules, the coach needs to be fired. Period!

    I dont mind losing. I mind not playing smart. To me, playing smart comes back to coaching. This is the worst coached team I can ever remember. And that is at all positions.

    • Unlike u, I saw some decent halftime adjustments that put us back in the game and in a position to win if only we had a functional QB, which we do not (none of our 4 QBs are ready to play).

      Let’s hope the OC can carry this momentum forward with the easiest stretch of our schedule coming up.

      • Momentum? They scored 13 points! 1st possession after half, they rant the ball great. Then OC ootsmarts himself. 3 straight incomplete passes. Drive over FG.

        Marchi throws into double coverage all of the time. He slid short of the first down. If no other QB is better than him, this team will finish 2-10. He might have the best arm, but the worst decision maker! You cant take a 20 yard sack in the red zone!

  12. It won’t surprise me if Centeio explores the possibility of transferring out of here. The more I watch this season the more it seems that Collin’s main goal is is to get his system in place for when his recruits start getting playing time. Not saying his is intentionally coaching to lose but rather maximizing the talent currently on this team isn’t his top priority. Really think he wants his time frame at Temple to be about the same as Rhules. Reason I think Todd might look at getting out of here is based on a post Mike placed on the Temple Fan FB regarding the QB commit from South Carolina, think he is the QB Collins is targeting to be a 4 year starting to coincide with his time here.
    As for the game, I thought the defense hung in there as best it could with the field position the offenses turn overs put them in. I hope the offense continues more with the how it played for a stretch in the 3rd and into the 4th quarter. As for Marchi, think it’s a case of what we saw the last 2 weeks is what we got, a bad to mediocre Qb

    • Marchi was BY FAR the worst of the four QBs on Cherry and White Day. Time to give Russo a shot. Everybody else got one. You never know. He might provide a spark. It’s a joke they allow a quarterback to get shut out in the first half, make one of the all-time worst qb plays in Temple history and, la-dee-dah, run the same guy back on the field again in the second half.

  13. Look at the replay on ESPN3. Three questionable calls decided the game: Mike Jones pick in the end zone was called interference, Kirkwoods catch at the 6 yard line ruled out of bounds, and the knee-jerk targeting call on Shaun Bradley resulted in 13-point lead for Houston. Temple won this game.

    • I agree, upon re-watching the game I didn’t know who was worse, the Refs or the Announcers, but I will settle on the Refs. That Kirkwood over-turn was the most idiotic thing ever, and yes, Mike Jones intercepted that. For the 1st time, we showed fight against a pretty decent team.

  14. Damn, I guess this means we won’t be facing Alabama in January. We were THIS close with all the play-action passing (thanks, Mike) last year. Time to send some Wayne Hardin-era newspaper clippings to the BOT.

  15. Have to ask this again,does any here know the “official” rules for determining how you can redshirt for a year in which you played. Here is all I could find on the NCAA.org site:

    “Redshirt: In Divisions I or II, redshirting refers to someone who is enrolled full-time at a school, but does not play for an entire academic year for the sole purpose of saving a season of competition. A redshirt does not play in any college games or scrimmage in a given sport for an entire academic year, even though that student is otherwise eligible. If you do not play in a sport the entire academic year, you have not used a season of competition. However, if you play in even one second of a game as a college student-athlete, you are not a redshirt. Redshirting does not exist in Division III because if you play or practice after your first opportunity to compete, you are charged with a season of participation.”

    I ask because there is several threads going on the Temple Fan FB where some people are saying Centeio is a redshirt this year with certainty yet never site any source. My reading of the above is that Centeioo is not a redshirt this year and his redshirt options would be medical redshirt option after this season or sitting out 2018 as a redshirt

    • He can redshirt normally… i’ve been telling u this for the past 2 weeks. Give it a rest.

      • Just asking a simple question that’s all, I don’t know the read shirt rules so it would seem simple enough to just give the facts rather than a conclusioary statement. But that seems to be all everyone who says he can red shirt normally says

  16. One of the wildcat plays, the line all pulled to the left and Wright ran straight ahead, into the embracing arms of the Houston line. Given that play and then his bizarre run after the catch at the end, I wonder about his football IQ.

    Despite that, I hope the team can build on the second half. ECU looks to be a winnable game.

    Maybe with the Eagles succeeding with running the ball between the tackles, enough video segments will be on TV to give the game planning staff a couple clues.

    Suggestion to them: If you move the ball 40 yards on the ground into the other team’s end of the field, keep moving it on the ground. Don’t suddenly feel obligated to “change up” and start throwing passes.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s