Thanks to some puzzling coaching decisions in all of the eight games so far, Temple fans can sing this song only a couple more weeks.
Editor’s Note: Dave “Fizzy” Weinraub brings the perspective of a former Temple player (and coach and educator) to this space occassionally. Marc Narducci’s story the other day moved him to pen and paper this week.
By Dave “Fizzy” Weinraub
I wasn’t planning on writing anything this week about the Temple football program because I couldn’t bear to think about it after the disgraceful Army game. Also, I thought that anyone who really understands football, already knew what the problem is. Even former Temple basketball star and procurer of Physiology finals (before they were given), JV John Koskinen, wrote about it. Teammate Dick Gable said, “The worst since Pete Stevens.”
But then, I read today’s Inquirer column by the well respected Marc Narducci. “The main reason [for Temple’s lousy season] is the talent level is below that of the last two years.”
OMG, did he really write that? Has he really watched a whole game from start to finish? It’s the worst analysis of a football program I’ve ever read.
Actually, the only reason for Temple’s lousy season is lousy coaching. We’ll have as much talent as probably nine out of our twelve opponents. Without any stretch of the imagination, Temple’s record should be six and two at this juncture. Coaching is responsible for the 3 & 5 record. Let’s review what, “the not ready for prime time” coaching staff has done.
Foremost, is the play calling by Dave Patenaude, and let’s not make this second-guessing.
I know it’s four, and possibly five times we’ve had first and goal without scoring a TD, and three times, we got no points at all. Those failures cost us at least two wins. Every time on first down, Dave calls a run up the gut against a gap defense, and sometimes he runs that play twice. He doesn’t understand that first down, on first and goal, is the only time you can really fool a defense. Also at the goal line, he makes no use of our wonderful fullback Sharga’s ability to catch a pass in the flat, from the “I” Formation.
Basically, Patenaude’s offense is straight, with little imagination. I was talking with AD Dr. Pat Kraft before the Connecticut game, and told him I called it the “Broad Street Offense” because it was just as straight as Broad Street. I said that Temple hadn’t run one reverse in six games, and guaranteed a thirty-yard gain if we did. Well, finally, in that seventh game of the season, Dependable Dave ran a reverse and it gained thirty-five yards. That was in the first half, and he never ran it again. Nor did he run it in the Army game.
I will mention one more time, the fourth and one for a touchdown call against Connecticut was the most bizarre I’ve ever seen. Dependable Dave put Wright in the “Wildcat,” and ran a slow developing fake sweep, and by the time Wright turned for the goal, he was overwhelmed by the gap defense.
The play calling in the Army game was something to behold. Dependable Dave shocked me to my toes by coming up the split “cheese-steak” formation, with Isaiah Wright at tailback. In the first-half, he called that formation about four or five times, and it was quite successful, with Wright almost busting off a long run for a TD. Dave did not run that formation again until once in the overtime.
Another issue throughout the season, has been Dave’s call’s after turnovers in great field position, and second or third and one, in four-down territory. These opportunities scream for play-action fakes, and deep throws or slant patterns. No way, Jose, it’s up the gut.
In summary, if we reviewed the game films with a panel of experienced football coaches to come up with a rating for the play-calling, I don’t think it would come to even a “D.”
Unfortunately, I must now discuss Head Coach, Geoff Collins’ decisions. It’s tough for us in the stands to determine what the head coach, and what the coordinators do, during the game. One thing’s for sure, the head coach is responsible for calling timeouts in crucial situations. Coach Collins did a terrible job at the end of the first half, and at the end of theConnecticut game. I also thought the two, back to back, timeouts during the overtime vs. Army were puzzling, as was the “discussion” and indecision on the field between Collins and one of the other coaches that lead to single coverage on the last play. Also, it’s the head coach who should have his eye on the clock when its ticking down before a field goal attempt. Don’t blame that on the holder.
So far, the only negative Coach Collins has taken responsibility for, is the unbelievable amount of penalties. And yes, that’s damn well his responsibility. But please, don’t blame everything on the kids, the execution, and dropped passes.
Many of us have stuck with and supported the program since we played, and that’s a hell of a long time. It pains us to see what’s happening this year, and we know it will affect recruiting. So Marc Narducci’s statement that it’s talent, is correct. But it’s the talent of the coaches, not the players.
Sunday: Analyzing The AAC