The thing about coaching changes is that bumps in the road are going to be an expected part of the process.
No one—at least the people I talk to—expected to hit this many major potholes on the way to what was largely an under-performing season in 2017. Plenty of starters and key contributors returned from the AAC championship team and Matt Rhule did not leave the cupboard bare for first-year coach Geoff Collins. Talent-wise, this was a team that should not have lost to UConn and Army. You may say that is crying over spilled milk but leaving that milk there without cleaning it up could make next season more sour tasting that it should.
Part of the process is asking hard questions and answering them honestly. So far, no member of the Temple football media (to our knowledge) has asked any of these five questions of Collins and getting these answers by Cherry and White Day would be nice:
5) What happened to the fullback position at Temple?
Matt Rhule said he had an Epiphany after his second season that the way to create explosive plays in the passing game was not by spreading the field with receivers but by establishing the run behind a blocking fullback and then using play action to get receivers open. That plan worked for two 10-win seasons and Collins seemed on board with it as late as the season-ticket holder party in August. What happened? Will Nitro be used as a fullback this year or is the fullback position done at Temple? (And don’t say the fullback isn’t used in college football anymore. Just because other teams don’t use the triple option, that doesn’t mean that Navy will stop using it. The fullback fits the Temple TUFF football philosophy as the triple-option is to Navy. Run the ball, play great defense and special teams and hit explosive plays in the play-action game is what got Temple consecutive double-digit win seasons)
4) What happened to Jared Folks?
How does a guy start in the AAC championship game for a great team one year and become a non-factor for a mediocre team the next? Inquiring minds need to know.
3) How could it have taken them seven games to figure one quarterback was better than the other?
Despite saying for nine months leading up to the opener that all four quarterbacks were “equal” Collins rolled out an under-performing quarterback for seven games before an injury allowed Frank Nutile to play. Fans immediately saw that he was the far superior quarterback in the Army game. How could a highly paid coaching staff miss that?
2) What did Collins mean by his “square peg, round hole” comment?
Before the bowl game, Collins said that the offense didn’t come around because “I think we were trying to fit a square peg into a round hole on offense.” What were they trying to do that was wrong and what fixes did they apply to make it work?
1) How could they have screwed up the kicking situation?
All over college football, you could see kickers on Power 5 teams miss chip-shot field goals but Temple had two kickers, Austin Jones, and Aaron Boumerhi, who were elite. That was an asset they should have extended by playing the healthy one and redshirting the other. Instead the Owls tried to use two kickers from the jump. The Owls could have used Boomer for the extra year. Now Jones is gone and odds are the next one probably won’t be as good as Brandon McManus, Jones or Boomer. Great kickers are hard to find as Rhule found out in his first year on the job.
Wednesday: The Coaching Shuffle
Friday: Killing Two Birds With One Stone
Monday: Strange Hashtags