The Point of No Return


Temple stacked the box and made Navy pass. It should follow the same blueprint against Army

A college football game runs about three hours in real time, maybe three hours and 15 minutes.

Fast forward to today
and Rhule’s successor,
Geoff Collins, has
reached the point
of no return this
season. Lose, and
the Owls can kiss
any outside hope
of a bowl goodbye

When Temple visits Army at high noon on CBS Sports Network (94 on Verizon Fios, 221 on Direct TV and 734 on Xfinity Comcast), fans should be able to find out whether Temple will win or lose within about the first five minutes.

If the Owls come out in their usual 4-3-4 defense with the A gaps uncovered and no nose guard, Temple fans should probably find something better to do than torture themselves for the next three hours.

In fact, Army is hoping for that to happen because they run their fullback through the A gaps—the spot to the left or right of the center—to set up everything else.

Most teams fall for it and that’s why an undermanned Army can beat these more talented teams who recruit players with NFL aspirations.

A 5-2 defense, though, with the A gaps plugged is Kryptonite for even the best triple-option offenses.

There are some teams that go out of their way and change their defenses up to stop the triple option, though. Three years ago, Duke plugged the A gaps but going to a 5-2 and using two tackles and came away with a 34-3 win over Army. Last year, North Texas did the same in a 31-19 win at West Point.

A year ago, then Temple head coach Matt Rhule—given nine months to prepare for the Army triple-option—said he wouldn’t do anything out of the ordinary that he “we don’t worry about the other team does. We do what we do and concentrate on that process.”

That kind of stubborness led to a 28-13 loss against Army before 34,005 fans at Lincoln Financial Field and many of those same fans did not come back for the rest of the season.

Months later, both Rhule and defensive coordinator Phil Snow were able to turn that season-opener into a learning experience that resulted in a 34-10 win over Navy. Snow put Averee Robinson and Freddy Booth-Lloyd over the Navy center and started Michael Dogbe and Greg Webb alongside those guys as the starting tackles. Without a hole to run the fullback through, the triple option was plugged up and the Owls had maybe the most important win of their history. The Owls sold out and swarmed to the ball and that’s just the approach they should use these next two weeks. Eight in the box and let Sean Chandler, Artrel Foster and Mike Jones deal with any passes these teams attempt. Football is not rocket science.

Fast forward to today and Rhule’s successor, Geoff Collins, has reached the point of no return this season. Win, and there’s a chance to salvage something. Lose, and the Owls can kiss any outside hope of a bowl goodbye and they are staring at a three-or-four win season.

Let’s hope he studied film of the two service academy games the Owls played a year ago and applies the Kryptonite that keeps hope alive for the Owls and their fans.

Either way, the outcome could be decided in the first five minutes.

Tomorrow: Game Analysis



10 thoughts on “The Point of No Return

  1. this teams ability to snatch defeat from the claws of victory is incredible. Almost impressive

  2. Pathetic!!!!!’ Why do you play so soft on that last drive in regulation and let Army tie the game by passing. Granted back coverage on the TD but I find nothing to make me even remotely optimistic that this staff can do the job. Looking more and more like Berndt, Dickerson, Wallace level. I think even Addazio and his staff were better than these clowns

  3. Can we please quit pretending that #10 is an elite cornerback? He is average at best. You cant get beat by an Army receiver in that spit. Awful!

    • Agreed! How the hell was #10 supposed to be drafted??? Coming back was a huge mistake for him, he has ZERO chance to get drafted after the season he’s having. He’s too short and too slow. Also, why do we keep letting him return kicks and punts? We have better options for sure. Wright, Chandler, Hood, the list could go on.

  4. It is amazing how many people have regressed from last year, including the Kicker! How is that possible? The kicker?

  5. Absolutely speechless and dumbfounded after the “Nightmare At West Point”…

  6. Will be interested to read Mike’s post game tomorrow and Fizzy’s corner but after the last 2 games not much to say other than looks like a bad hire. My hope is that by year 3 of the Collins regime the admin will either be in a position of being able to either buy out the remaining 2 years of his contract, ala UCONN with Bob Diaco or if somehow he has the program back to winning Collins will at least stay the full 5 years,so the admin has the time to find a good replacement.

  7. That was a painful ending. Let us face the facts. The team just is not good this year. The truth hurts.

    • The coaches are worse. You don’t go shotgun on first-and-goal at the 1 when you can run 7 behind four. That was the ballgame right there, coming up without points.

      • Mike, the worse part is these kind of calls, going into that soft prevent on Army’s last drive, etc. just seem to be increasing with we this staff as the season goes on not getting better. At this point I would rather have Addazio and his 2011 staff with this team. Collins better be one helluva recruiter because what I’ve seen so far this season seems to be the only way he will win

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