New Slogan: Mayhem Is Here

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At this time a year ago, the slogan on the shirts at the Edberg-Olson Complex was “Mayhem is Coming.”

A year later on Cherry and White at a much better venue, The Temple Sports Complex, there were a few “Mayhem is Here” T-Shirts visible (although I could not find where to purchase one).

The change of slogans pretty much is an indication of how far we’ve come in expectations. I did not see much defensive Mayhem until the final game of the year, a 28-3 win over Florida International in the Gasparilla Bowl.

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Let’s hope that it becomes the norm, not the exception, this year.

That’s the biggest difference this year could make in that a proven SEC coordinator has finally put his defense in place with the kind of talent that can get to the quarterback and cause significant disruptions at the point of attack. That’s my definition of Mayhem: Hitting the quarterback so much he either fumbles the ball or forces interceptions.

The other pieces to this puzzle seem to be fitting quite well.

jimnutile

Frank Nutile’s game is very similar to Jim Plunkett’s

Quarterback

At this time last year the Owls had four quarterbacks. As they say, when you have two quarterbacks you have none and four just doubles that equation. Now the Owls have one of the very few returning bowl-winning quarterbacks in Jim Plunkett clone Frank Nutile and have seen significant improvement from backup Anthony Russo. Toddy Centeio is the special packages (wildcat) quarterback and Trad Beatty could be the quarterback two years down the road if he’s redshirted. This position was a question mark last year and is now an exclamation point. The receivers are in good hands (pun intended) with holdovers Ventell Bryant and Isaiah Wright and newcomers Jadan Blue and Sean Ryan, among others.

Offensive Line

Owls’ coach Chris Wisenhan said that the three interior linemen anchored by Dave Rimington candidate Matt Hennessey could be the best in his five years at Temple. That’s saying a lot since Kyle Friend was a pretty good center and represents a significant upgrade from this time a year ago.

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Running backs

Ryquell Armstead, who had 916 yards and 15 touchdowns two years ago, is back to full health after being banged up much of last year. He is being pushed by Jager Gardner, who was even worse banged up in that he had to take a redshirt year. Gardner, as a true freshman, set the Temple record for longest  run from scrimmage (a 94-yard touchdown against SMU). Considering that the Owls were down to using a fullback (Rob Ritrovato) at tailback due to injuries, the Owls are in a much-better spot.

Defensive Line

Another area of strength as Michael Dogbe earned a single digit and former Penn State commit Karamo Dioubate joins Dan Archibong and Temperor in Training Freddy Booth-Lloyd on a line that can cause Mayhem all by themselves. Dogbe, Dioubate and Archibong have position flexibility as tight ends but hopefully head coach Geoff Collins leaves those duties to Chris Myrick and Kenny Yoboah.

Linebackers

They looked young and lost last year but are the strength of the team led by Shaun Bradley and former St. Joseph’s Prep first-team All-Catholic Todd Jones.

All in all, what a difference a year makes with some additional help on the way in August.

Don’t order National Championship game tickets quite yet, but a Lincoln Financial Field AAC championship game is not out of the question.

10 thoughts on “New Slogan: Mayhem Is Here

  1. will Collins ever stand up and voice his extreme displeasure when the team does not meet his expectations? most great coaches get angry at poor performance and take extreme measures to remedy the situation.., he appears to be the epitome of a ‘players coach’…, can that coaching style win championships at a place like Temple Tuff..,

    guess we’ll just have to wait and see

    • Great point. I spent Friday night with a lot of the Bruce Arians guys and they all had legendary stories about how tough he was on them–one of them a Sunday morning full-contact 5 a.m. practice after one loss that pissed him off–but they all loved him. That led to two 6-win seasons against a Top 10 schedule with no facilities. I wonder what kind of stories these kids will be telling people about Collins when they are 50? I hope it’s not “we never won championships but boy that guy loved us.” Winning on Saturdays will determine his legacy.

    • From my experience of being with the team for extended periods throughout the year, I think Coach Collins knows how and when to be firm and how to rectify issues when necessary. I think he is conscious of identifying challenges with the team but not publicly painting the overall program or his team in a negative light.

  2. Mike, from your mouth the the football gods ears re the championship game. Success again depends on the coaches and whether Patenaude is kept in check with his love of the spread. Would like to see in the first two games a mixture of TU Tuff offense and a package with Centeio. It would really be tough to defend. Need different defensive personnel to defend them. Would like to see Centeio on the field with Nutile, which would put pressure on the D because Centieo ability to throw passes puts pressure on the D. Quick out lateral to him and a pass down the other sideline to a sprinting receiver breaking free. That’s a Philly cheese-steak “wit” play.

  3. Interesting that the Philly special was the first play of the Cherry and White game with a nice backdrop of the Philadelphia Skyline to frame the play.

  4. Good chance that Temple will finish at least 2nd in the AAC East. UCF still looks good, and they still have their starting QB from last year.

    As far as Collins , I’m OK with him being a player’s coach . As long as he finds the right balance between coaching and cuddling the players. Just as long as he doesn’t turn out like that lunatic Jim Harbaugh in Michigan !

  5. Just got back from Tallahassee where I went to the FSU Garnet & Gold spring game with my son-in-law. Their new coach, Willie Taggert, already has a love affair with the fans and students – 55K, 2/3 filled stadium! They had FUN at the game. Roaring music, players playing hard but also dancing out on the field – literally. It was a circus but everyone knows they’re heading for the top rung of college football again. Don’t expect Temple to get to those heights but Collins will hopefully be able to bring fun and winning to Owls football. Seems like he has the fun part down. Go Owls.

    • Personally I was a little shocked that Russo didn’t follow Marchi out the door, given Nutile’s success and knowing Beatty’s on his way in. And with pass completion stats of 2 for 11 in Cherry & White game, seems like his chances of action are all but gone. Add to that the lack of love shown toward him last year by Patenfraude. Not sure I’m buying that he’s the true back-up. What are your thoughts Mike? Should he have moved on with another team while he still had ‘young & fresh’ on his resume?

      • playing the cards you are dealt is not a Patenaude strength.., coupled with a distaste/ignorance for the Temple brand puts a harness on the offense.., Temple has 4 QBs capable of winning at the Div 1 level and Patenaude brings a Div 2 mentality…,

        what could he do? Name Nutile the number 1 QB, bring in Russo in games that are clearly won, make a Centeio package for every game (force the opposing D to prepare for everything), and red-shirt Beatty.., and most important, commit to running the football North and South between the tackles.., make them put 8 guys in the box..,

      • KJ, agree about downhill runs since you have great downhill running backs which will then set up homerun type of play action explosions. I hope he has some new stuff and tendency breakers heading into the fall. I know the spring game is not where you want to show any new stuff for opponents to start working on during the summer.

        However, with that being said, he does need to have some additional wrinkles installed so defenses are not locked in on strong tendencies from last year. If he just sticks to spread shame on him. He can keep all spread principals in play but line up in 3 WR/1 TE/ 1 RB or 2 WR/ 2 TE/ 1RB which forces a heavier box count and 1 on 1 deep ball threats.

        If he mixes those formations and puts the QB under center he can create great play action mismatches. It is hard to get great play action explosions when the fake occurs off of just a stab at a no real mesh point which means no LB reaction coming down hill. it is hard to imagine with Nutile entrenched as the guy and Russo as his backup that downhill play action would not become a bigger part of the offense.

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