Even in a 5-6 season (so far), there are things to be thankful for and, for today, we will run down this small list.
For all the self-flagellations of Temple fans over poor attendance, Boston College—a Power 5 team playing in Boston against a New England rival—drew slightly over 20,000 fans in 37,000-seat Fenway Park in a 38-13 win over UConn on Saturday night. Temple, having a worse season than BC, drew an average of over 26,000 fans for a 5-6 team. Last year, for a 10-win team, the Owls averaged 27,229.
The fullback returned to the modern offense for the first time since the Wyatt Benson days of Al Golden and Sharga proved the position could be the key that starts an effective offense. Jahad Thomas and Ryquell Armstead followed Sharga through the hole a year ago. That accomplished two things: Shorten the game and keep the defense fresh while chewing up clock and make the play-action passing game much more effective by bringing the linebackers and the safeties up to the line of scrimmage to defend the run and then passing over their heads. Sharga was largely a forgotten man by this staff who only gave him lip service and not the minutes he earned. Hopefully, this style of Temple TUFF football doesn’t die with the departure of Sharga because Rob Ritrovato has shown he can be an effective replacement. If OC Dave Patenaude pushes back on truly embracing a style of offensive football that epitomizes TEMPLE TUFF, head coach Geoff Collins should push him out the door no later than January.
With the satellite tailgates and the main alumni tailgate, the pre-game party atmosphere at Temple was second to none. The two strongest satellite groups were Wayne Hardin’s guys, led by Steve Conjar, and the Bruce Arians’ group, led by Sheldon Morris. The alumni association did a bang-up job with the main tailgate and, for $25 bucks, could not beat the spread or the accompanying giveaways.
Frank Nutile, the backup who became the starter, provided some juice when he was forced into action as a starter against Army, a game that was lost due to no fault of his own. (Some incredibly poor coaching defensive adjustments in Army’s last series lost that one.) Juice was the reason for a 36-13 lead over a very good Navy team, not responsible for the Middies getting back into that one. Despite the four interceptions against UCF—when the Owls should have been running the ball deep in their own territory—Nutile is determined to have the seniors go out on a good note at Tulsa and we have no reason to doubt him. (Norm Van Brocklin had four interceptions in a 1960 game against the Cowboys but the Eagles won the NFL championship that year. It’s a bad day, not a career-killer.)
The Theory of False Equivalency
Albert Einstein did not come up with it, but it was on display for the last three months on the Temple Fan Facebook page. Most fans understood that there were many starting AAC championship-level players back (Sharga, Ryquell Armstead, Ventell Byrant, Keith Kirkwood, Isaiah Wright, Adonis Jennings, Jacob Martin, Freddy Booth-Lloyd, Michael Dogbe, Greg Webb, Karamo Dioubate, Julian Taylor, Artrel Foster, Champ Chandler and Delvon Randall, three of five starters on the offensive line, just to name a few) and this coaching staff underachieved with that level talent. Yet, there were a few—they know who their names are—who insisted “this was a whole new team with new coaches” and that Matt Rhule was 2-10 and Al Golden 1-11 in their first year so Collins should get a Mulligan for this year. False equivalency. Rhule had 4-7 MAC talent; Golden had 0-11 independent talent. Hell, even Steve Addazio had a 9-4 first year inheriting a whole new group of players but he was smart enough to stick with Golden’s winning formula.
Thursday: A Throwback Story I’ll Always Be Thankful for
Saturday: Tulsa Preview
Sunday: Game Analysis
Tuesday: Season Analysis
Thursday: Looking Ahead