Game Day: A Fork In The Road


The Mayhem  Express has reached a fork in a road and the map doesn’t indicate which road to take that might lead them to the Promised Land.

Go down the wrong one and this already long season could get a lot longer.

Make the right decision and the Owls could be on a journey that leads to that elusive bowl win that even their last two Top 25 teams could not get.

I must admit that the normal amount of confidence I had in the Owls getting this job done in Greenville, North Carolina (ESPNU, noon today), has been shaken.

Not by the players, but by the coaches.

The Owls have doubled-down on a quarterback who has thrown six interceptions in the last two games and an offense that is ill-suited to the personnel they have. The head coach who assured me personally that he would never take Nick Sharga out of the game looks the other way when his offensive coordinator pulls Sharga  out routinely for three wide receivers. Sharga has not played a single game that he was in for more than 15 offensive plays this year and that’s a disgraceful misuse of a wonderful blocking asset.


The defense has shown signs of life only recently after getting uncharacteristically and shockingly gouged on long running plays in the first four games.

The personnel on both offense and defense is fine, so the logical conclusion is the coaching is not up to last year’s standards.

Phil Snow’s defenses were not spectacular but were sound. Except for the opening-game debacle versus Army, when the scheme was wrong, each player was in the right spot to make a play most of the time. This year, they’ve been caught in wrong slants and coverages and the coaches said they were only “misfits” that would be cleaned up next game. Then the next game came and there were more misfits. Defensively, we will find out if the better performance versus Houston was an anomaly or a harbinger of things to come.

Am I the only one who did not hear the word “misfits” applied to a Temple defense in the last two years?

I don’t think so. When you don’t need excuses, you don’t need to come up with them.

If we don’t hear the word misfits in the post-game media session today, you can assume Temple has won what figures to be a low-scoring game.

Something like 16-13 because this OC is a very stubborn man who is never alarmed by scoring 16 or fewer points. That’s where I think this result will fall, something like 16-10, 16-13, 21-17. If Temple wins 41-10, then we are cooking with gas.

If not, we’re rubbing two sticks together and hoping to get a spark.

If we do hear the word misfit against an offense that can put points on the board, just assume the Owls have taken the wrong turm and are on the road to oblivion and that’s the kind of Mayhem none of us expected when the season started.

Tomorrow: Game Analysis


21 thoughts on “Game Day: A Fork In The Road

  1. I’ll say we win by double digits. If we lose, then I’m all aboard the ‘fire Patenaude’ Train.

    • Memphis just beat UCONN..,

      after five games two things are clear; Memphis would soundly beat Temple, and Temple would struggle to beat UCONN……,

      absent a change in coaching personnel or philosophy the apocalypse is now

  2. Uconn proved again tonight that they can hang for a half with anyone. If the Owls turn it into a low scoring game they risk being embarrassed next week.

  3. Not sure who I feel worse for: Russo or Sharga. Russo was probably promised the moon, but instead rides the bench as he watches interception after interception, turnover after turnover. And Shargo goes from being a consistent stand-out under one coach, to a literal stand-in with another. What a way to cap off this kid’s college fball career.

    And you know darn well that, should temple win (and let’s state the obvious: it’s pathetic if they don’t), we’re gonna get a big dose of “See! We told you Marchi was our man!” afterwards. Even if he puts out yet another sub-par performance.

    And there we fans will stay – on this godforsaken hamster wheel of a season.

    • Sharga should offer to play the guitar at halftime. He’d be on the field more than during the game.

      • first rule of thumb for a new coaching staff:
        assess what you have and play to win with your strengths

        this coaching staff does not know what they have and they have devised game plans for what they want vice what they have.., plain and simple

        caveat.., still not sure of what the new Temple wants to be on on offense? what is the desired identity on offense? if you don’t know where you are going any road will take your there

      • Look what Snyder does with that fullback at K state. He is a prominent cog in the offense just like Sharga should be and he isn’t as good as Sharga. I will never understand not putting your best players on the field as much as possible….doesnt make sense.
        Lead guitar for the Diamond band is a great idea John….Russo can throw the baton!


  5. Wow. After five games the Owls finally threw the ball up and allowed their athletic receiver to go for the ball. We’ve been screaming for plays like that all season. Marchi still too inconsistent.

  6. Temple desperately needed that 34-10 vs ECU. I am happy but putting things in perspective, here is scoring total for the following teams against the Pirates: VT 64, USF 61, UConn 38, James Madison 34. At least we managed to match JMU. Marchi threw another INT but looks like he’s the starter rest of the way. He has proven he can beat the ‘bad’ teams and hopefully there are enough ‘bad” teams left to become bowl eligible.

    • You are like Trump with his “facts”. You left out the fact that many of those aforementioned defenses gave up more points to ECU than our D did.

      • eaaaasssyyyy there….

      • Please never compare me to Trump. (Thank you.) I presented points scored to compare to our Offense. Furthermore, I bet those teams that outscored us against ECU also pulled their starting players (including D) after obtaining massive point totals. Finally, today’s points scored and allowed averages didn’t move much when considering all games played.

    • Stan, good thing is I think there might be, if the team plays like today think they can beat UCONN and Tulsa. So need to get one more win out of Army, Navy, Cincinnati and UCF. Too your point abut how much we scored today, true but the 10 point the defense gave up was also the low point total for ECUs offense this year.

  7. Give the coaches a B today for finally playing to some of the strengths of the offense. David Hood shows that he can play and he should be used more on swing plays. Marchi gets a B-, He made some nice throws but is still too inaccurate and still makes bad decisions. What is it with him and first and goal from inside the ten? Kirkwood’s catch on the sidelines is a top ten catch this season. The defense played well. Owls likely will win the next two which means that they would need one more to be bowl eligible.

    • John, if they win the next 2 UCONN and Army, then I think there is a shot for 7 wins, with a chance for a win against either Tulsa or Cincinnati or both. Don’t think this staff has it to coach what would mot likely be an upset victory against either Navy or UCF. Looking at the stats the Cincinnati game may come down to coaching as the teams are fairly close in most of the stats. Tulsa just seems to be showing the were overrated at the beginning of the season

      • I agree. Just hope that the coaches don’t regress and continue to realize that our receivers can match any other team’s receivers in terms of athleticism Have to take advantage of one on one match-ups and Marchi needs to learn to throw the ball away instead of taking bad sacks and making bad throws trying to make something happen. The only game I can see they will have a small chance of winning is UCF. If it’s cold and windy that day, I give the Owls a better chance of coming out on top. Owls can beat Navy if it employs the same d they did last December and plays with the same intensity they did in that game. TU’s d line can handle Navy and whether the Owls win will depend on using that d to plug the A gaps. The Army game will tell us a lot about whether the coaches can defense Navy.

  8. John, good thing about those 2 games is that it also helps having them back to back and a bye week between Army and Navy. Team will have more time than usual to practice defensing the triple option attack

  9. A moral victory for the players and fans. I’ll take it

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