Fizzy’s Corner: Coaches (Not Players) Lack Talent

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.”

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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.

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It was nice while it lasted.

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.

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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.

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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

 

35 thoughts on “Fizzy’s Corner: Coaches (Not Players) Lack Talent

  1. I had the same exact reaction when I saw that article. It was moronic. So is the storyline of us being young. The linebackers are young, but I wouldnt consider any other position as being green. The coach has only taken responsibility for penalties and puts the rest of the blame on HIS players, the refs and bad luck. That schtick is tiring and he would certainly endear himself to fans if he just admitted he screwed up and was honest. He created expectations and didnt live up to them hence the blowback from fans.

  2. Saturday’s game was lost when they didn’t pound Armstead (who Army could not stop with Patton’s tank division) behind the best blocking fullback in the country late in the third quarter first and goal at the 1 and came away with zero points. Still, if you call those timeouts at the end of regulation (not overtime) and don’t dial up a pressure on the first and make sure your DBs interfere with anything in the end zone on the second, it’s dereliction of duty at the highest level and you are stealing money from Temple University.

  3. Army game is the frosting on a “disappointment cake.” I don’t wish this on the players as they deserve so much better, but might be best if Navy and UCF clobber them in such a way that the ineptness of the staff is there for all to see. Maybe then the more well off alums make calls and write checks to buy out the coach’s contract or at least force the AD to have the HC get a new OC.

    Hearing Scott Frost is going to be gone at the end of the season and go home to Nebraska, so the AAC grooming role continues. Mike has waxed poetic over the season about that trend and the way to combat it is going a different route with an older, experienced HC who is done moving and as long as he maintains competency, stays put. Houston Nutt fits this mold. A bit of a stretch is Bo Pellini, recruiting Temple-type players at Youngstown…already did the big school thing and not likely to bolt since he’s not one to schmooze the boosters like one has to do a the higher levels (just win, baby).

  4. I don’t know what was worse over on the FB page, reading that article that was linked there or the preening of the most vocal group of Collins apologists about how they could have written it, proves there point, etc. Have to say Mike has been giving them all they can handle over there.

    • Mike will soon be banned as I was.

      • Mike should drop some F-bombs in their on his way out. 🙂

      • I know if I keep replying to some of the post by Andy Simon and self proclaimed “big donor” Chris Squeri, 2 of the biggest “rebuilding, give it time, patience” folks. The FB page seems to becoming Pravada for those who don’t want to subscribe to OwlScoop

      • Mark L. and Chris S. are the two biggest Collins Apologists on that facebook page. They keep posting a three-year old story about Mike not liking Rhule but what they all failed to mention was this was BEFORE Rhule adopted all of his ideas (fullback, play-action, dump the spread, blocking back protection of P.J.) After Rhule implemented (stole?) all of those concepts in year three he was a back-to-back 10-win coach. Those apologists are either the epitome of hyprocisy or have selective amnesia.

  5. Watched two teams last night-Eastern Michigan and Oregon State-with loser tales that rival TU’s, Both teams led the whole game and lost essentially on the last plays of the games. Both teams made mistakes that losers make and there were dubious coaching decisions. At least we’re not alone in our misery.

  6. George I would throw Andy S. in with those 2 as the 3 Stooges of Collins apologists. Mark L. was the guy that John kicked out of that group and I thought I cam close with him as well. hey seem to forget that most of what Mike wrote and what a lot of folks here were saying 3 years ago as you point out was correct. This year it was new coach, new system so give it time. Next year it will be you have to give his recruits time to “mature”

    • They have no real defense for the bare-ass naked blunders Collins and his buddy Patenaude have made so they dish up an article in 2014 and try to draw the comparison between Rhule and Patenaude. A) Rhule in 2014 was not the Rhule in 2015 (he must have been reading TFF because he adopted everything we asked him to do word-for-word): B) Rhule never promised Mayhem; C) Rhule demoted Satterfield (does anyone think Collins will do the same with Patenaude and or Johnson)? D) Rhule understood Temple TUFF; this guy just makes a mockery out of it. I’m sure you guys can complete the alphabet because there’s a lot more to indicate this won’t end as well as the Rhule thing did.

      • Like I said before, TU got lucky with Rhule because he recognized his mistakes. Other than Al Golden, no TU coach following Hardin improved the team. In fact, the teams often got worse. Giving time to obvious incompetents only prolongs the agony. Also, despite the losses the team suffered under Rhule his first two years, the team always seemed to be moving forward, albeit slow at times and finally, when he junked the garbage he was running and adopted TU Tuff, the games he had lost suddenly turned into wins. Under Collins, until the Army game, the team was not getting better and the reason it looked better, especially on O was because he ran what worked last season. D was better because Sharga was playing until he called worst run prevent ever run in football and then on the goal line had single coverage.

      • Mike, not banned from FB but rather the “Rev.” Andy S. has relegated you and I’m assuming by association those of us who agree with a lot of what is posted here to , and I quote, “sleazy basement dwelling sheep”. Good old Andy is stepping in to defend those kids on the team without a voice LOL. Joined by another apologist Andy C. the legend in his own mind!!!

  7. We’re all tired of Temple not sustaining success when they do get things going. A large part of it is the apparent refusal of higher ups to sit on the HC and demand changes. Why? The regularly successful schools do it all the time, but Temple seems incapable of seeing the example and acting on it. Temple Tuff should start with the BOT, President, AD, big donors to make demands. The HC can’t be that powerful at Temple that he can’t be ordered to change things. Can he? Temple’s HC makes a nice living now-a-days but he still should have to answer to his bosses. Or are the higher ups too mealy-mouthed to step in even in the face of what obviously needs to be done? Or do they really just not care about having a sustainably successful football program?

    When they hand out these 5 year guaranteed contracts are there no stipulated expectations? But the coaches can demand extensions, higher salaries in the middle of their contracts, leave whenever they want but not be told what to do. And I don’t want to hear about letting them fail first before making corrections. At this salary there should be expectations of corrections immediately, not at season’s end or in 2-3 seasons from now. That’s BS.

    • Right on. Why are these contracts so one-sided? Why do schools cede so much control especially when they hire someone with no track record as a head coach? I can understand making concessions when hiring a known commodity with a proven track record but not in situations like that existing at TU.

  8. Fizzy, I am gosh darn curious what Kraft thinks of this current season. Now I know you wouldn’t tell us even if you did know. But if he too is blaming a “young team” or “loss of talent” I’m going to cement my current seat belt on the Collin’s train for the next decade.

    • I’ve talked to Pat, too. He’s a great listener but would make an even better poker player because he doesn’t share too many of his feelings. That’s why I was so pleased that Pat indicated to me he was very upset with Patenaude’s sideline antics at USF and agreed with me that it put the school in a very bad light. I’m pretty convinced he ordered Patenaude up to the booth after that, although Pat never went that far. Now if he would just order Patenaude on the next Palmetto Express to South Carolina we’d be in much better shape. Need to get an OC in there who understands our talent is best suited to establishing the run and throwing off deft play-action fakes.

  9. Watched Bergen Cath. v Don Bosco and they both have better OCs. So sad. Scott Loeffler at BC is making all the difference. BC up 14-0. Pass off jet sweep for 6.

    • The choice of staff that weren’t holdovers from Rhule was puzzling to me with Collins. I understand he had a prior relationship with Patenaude but given his prior coaching positions, thought he would have had a better network for potential assistants. Again for all the flack Addazio caught, not that a lot wasn’t warranted he brought in coordinators from a Top 25 program. With Collins we get FCS stars and position coaches from mediocre P5 programs

      • Carpetbaggers with no experience recruiting Northeast talent. Golden would have already had a recruiting network in place and probably hired an OC who knew Temple was built to run the ball and throw off play-action.

  10. Thanks to Fizzy for an analysis of some of the play calling on critical downs and why they may have been better or worse; Appreciate the insight.
    We may be giving out our navy tixx because ‘casue I can’t bear the thought of driving home near midnight and being so angry, just ain’t safe, you know….,
    Guess it means I care just a bit too much.

  11. John, I really think your comment about getting lucky with Rhule provided a key insight. at least for me, with regards to this need to have patience with Collins crap on the FB fan page, the Scout page, Pravda, etc. I really believe these folks think this is the norm rather than the exception. New coach, “throw away” first year, maybe 6-6 next season, which I’ve already seen some on those sites already say they would be happy with next year, then 1 or 2 very good years before the cycle starts again. I think we’ve seen with Berndt, Dickerson and Wallace what the norm is more like when you hire a bad coach, which right now I think this staff is. Since I think we all know Temple isn’t going to fire a HC after a year I can only hope Kraft puts some pressure on Collins to bring in “real” coordinators next season and the university has the ability to at least cut the losses if this season is replicated for the next 2. Granted FSU is 2-5 this year but look at BC with an FBS level OC in Loeffler, put up 35 on Friday, 41 on UVA and 45 on Louisville, the best our “genius” OC can due is put up 34 on the worst defense (at the time) in FBS in the ECU game tied for the 2nd lowest amount scored on them all year and 24 against an equally bad defense in a loss to UCONN, at team that Holy Cross scored 20 on.

  12. Now conference’s big payday rests on UCF’s shoulders with USF losing to Houston of all teams. Love seeing PSU losing especially the way they did.

  13. I hate to point my finger at the coaches. Three fingers usually point back at me, and I knock over my beer and nachos all too often.

  14. Doesn’t help the Owls, but it was still awesome to see both USF and PSU lose in the span of about 5 minutes. That just made my night!

    • Had TU beat Houston and UConn as they should have, they would still be in the race for the east championship. Yea I know-woulda, coulda, shoulda

      • Come on John, need to have patience, rebuilding, and to paraphrase John Lennon, “all we are saying is give Collins a chance”, LOL. I totally get what you are saying.

  15. Bottom line: there’s simply NO excuse for having to start over every 2 to 3 years for retraining a newbie HC.

    • No reason for a 2016 championship team to start over. Unlike the 1970 Marshall U football season, the team’s plane did not crash.

  16. Very good points on the coaching. Defefensive calls have left me puzzled in the U Conn game and Army defeats. The Coaches seem overmatched and not prepared for the level of play in the conference. Very disappointed , Florida fires their coach when they lose 4 games. This program can’t afford to go backwards. We should have a winning record no doubt.

  17. But Mike, isn’t the D doing pretty well overall? I think calling for a prevent D at the very end of the Army game probably allowed that last second TD. But where was Collins when they did that? You know the big deal mayhem DC.
    All I can say is that, given the close loses that really could have been wins, this season is a huge disappointment – but do those close losses give any hope? According to the comments, apparently not. But let’s say he turns things around next year, that’s only a one tear dip, maybe not so bad for a Temple program. But that’s a BIG if. No one here thinks he’s capable of doing that. I guess the closeness of the games gives me some hope. The next 4 games will tell a lot.

  18. Amazing how at the beginning of the season we were all expecting for sure another bowl, questioning only how many games Temple would win – 6 (bare minimum), most thought at least 7, but we all anticipated maybe 8 or even 9 given a drop-off we all expected. Now we’re down to POSSIBLY winning 4 or 5. Boy, what a disappointment that never should have been.

    As I and others have stated, it comes down to no leadership or balls or a lack of giving a shit by the higher ups and why they refuse to step in and make some demands. Name another business that would allow failure to persist. I can’t think of any.

  19. PS: and you better a supervisor, CEO or owner would do SOMETHING!

  20. PS: and you better BELIEVE a supervisor, CEO or owner would do SOMETHING!

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