Temple: Worst-coached team in college football


With the possible exception of Willie Taggart’s Florida State football team, it’s hard to come up with a convincing argument that Temple is not the worst-coached team in college football after two games.

No matter how hard
you work Sundays
through Fridays,
you are judged what
you do on Saturdays
and this Temple coaching
staff is a complete and
utter failure on the
most important day
of the week

We’ll go with Temple only because Taggart coached his way into two Power 5 jobs and he’s proven himself as a head coach in other places.

There is no offer on the horizon for Geoff Collins’ staff this year and maybe not for several.

Not only did the Owls lose to a FCS crosstown rival, Villanova, they had to beat in order to retain any football street cred in Philadelphia, Collins and his staff botched a simple game plan that was handed to them on a silver platter.

Playing a Buffalo team that gave up 199 yards to FCS Delaware State and was ranked No. 95 in the nation in rushing defense this year (and No. 96 last year), the Owls refused to go with the one offense—tailback behind a fullback—that would have kept the ball away from the two NFL players the Bulls had, Tyree Jackson and Anthony Johnson.

Playing a Buffalo team
that gave up 199 yards
on the ground
to FCS Delaware State
and was ranked No. 95
in the nation in rushing
defense this year
(and No. 96 last year),
the Owls refused to go
with the one offense—tailback
behind a fullback—that would
have kept the ball away
from the two NFL
players the Bulls had

Collins and offensive coordinator Dave Patenaude had just two jobs—score points and run the ball effectively enough to have six-, seven- and eight-minute drives and chew up the clock.

The Owls scored enough to win but they did not provide their defense with the requisite help needed by keeping the ball away from the Buffalo offense.

Temple had consecutive 10-win seasons by playing an every-down fullback but, on Saturday, did not have fullback Rob Ritrovato on the field to lead the way for Ryquell Armstead even once. With Ritrovato—an outstanding blocker in his own right—Armstead would have had essentially another offensive lineman in front of him and probably a lot more than the 107 yards he had on the ground. More importantly, had Armstead been able to put 200 yards on the board, Jackson and Johnson would have had far fewer possessions and Temple would have been able to come away with a much-needed win. Ritrovato was on the field to gain a short-yardage first down on a running play, but Wayne Hardin (Henry Hynoski, Kevin Grady and Mark Bright), Bruce Arians (Shelley Poole), Al Golden (Wyatt Benson) and Matt Rhule (Nick Sharga) would have been able to tell Collins a fullback can and should play a more vital role.

They either don’t care to use a fullback or don’t know how. Either way, it’s a bad look and not a Temple one.

Collins and Patenaude seem oblivious to that simple concept given an ill-conceived game plan that stopped the clock far too many times on incomplete passes and gave Buffalo far too many needless possessions.

Coaching is all about tailoring your schemes to the strengths of your players and attacking the weaknesses of your opponent. Temple’s coaches have failed miserably in those two most important areas in consecutive weeks. No matter how hard you work Sundays through Fridays, you are judged what you do on Saturdays and this Temple coaching staff is a complete and utter failure on the most important day of the week.

Unless something drastic changes, Temple is looking at a maybe two-win season coming off 27 wins in the past three years after losing two games in which it was a solid favorite. In one game, the Owls watched Villanova do the same damn things it did last year and showed zero adjustments. In another, the Owls stubbornly refused (or did not know how) to use a fullback leading a tailback to chew up clock and keep the ball away from a dangerous offense.

That’s about as bad a job as can be possibly done.

In fact, we’ve scoured the 127 FBS teams and haven’t found a worse coaching job after two games. The scary thing is that nobody will do a damn thing about it. That might not be Temple TUFF, but that’s tough for Temple players and fans who deserve better.

At least Taggart won his nightmare game last night. Temple fans have lived through a pair of nightmares and there’s a lot more tossing and turning ahead.

Tuesday: Fizzy Checks In With Buffalo Thoughts

Thursday: How Did We Go From AAC Champs To AAC Chumps in 2 years?

Saturday: Maryland Preview

Sunday: Game Analysis


44 thoughts on “Temple: Worst-coached team in college football

  1. What I can’t believe is I actually saw a couple of posts by apologists over on the Temple football FB page saying things like “it takes time to put in your system” and “Collins is 7-8 with a bowl win while Rhule was 3-11 in his first year and 2 games”. In Rhule’s case conveniently don’t mention the team was improving rather than regressing as it appears in Collins case. Then again these are a lot of the same people who used the excuse that last year was a rebuilding year for his mediocre performance. I didn’t think I would re-live the days of being pounded 76-0 but I fear that could be a poosibility against teams like UCF and Houston. Oh well, have Star Wars night next home game, what’s after that the return of the post game concerts!!’

  2. I don’t think it can be overstated how bad this is. There is over a decade of progress at risk here. Whatever momentum existed after last year’s bowl win and the offseason hype has evaporated.

    The offensive strategy is a disaster. They have put Nutile in the same situation that doomed Marchi. How can you not rush for over 200 yards against Buffalo? Where is the FB blocking for the run and opening up play action?

    I thought Collins underachieved last year despite the bowl win. I thought he had inherited a 9 win team. I expected 7 wins this year. I have doubts they can get to 7 or even win an out-of-conference game at this point.

  3. So far this year it looks like the most productive offensive play Temple utilizes is the blocked kick….

  4. With any luck, CC manages to get to 6 wins, accepts the fact that it’s not working out at TU for him and realizes it’s time to get out of Dodge if a P5 DC Job is available to him. (I don’t know where the 6 wins come from.)

    • We’re doomed. Temple is unique because it doesn’t eat contracts. In fact, I think many members of the BOT probably think we spend too much money on athletics as it is. These first two games are not helpful in many regards and that was is right near the top.

  5. Mike, while he may be the worst coach in college football, no coach is as woke when it comes to fashion. He may be last in the country when it comes to coaching, it’s fashion he’s number one. GQ and Esquire will soon be calling because of how chic the clown looked on the sidelines. No socks and clam diggers will be what every coach will be wearing soon and then who’ll be laughing. Not GQ Ge-off. Shoot, maybe he can even get GQ to change their name to Ge-off Quarterly. Back to the game. The rushing was atrocious and would have been worse if Armstead not made a play. Two drops didn’t help and the penalties were bad. That being said, the kids played as well as they could given the scheme. They still haven’t been coached how to stop the crossing pattern, which I said last week they would see a lot of. Mike, I haven’t trusted this guy since he lied to you and me at last year’s ticket party about how Sharga wasn’t going to leave the field. I am starting to believe that this could be an 0-12 season. East Carolina beat NC yesterday and TU plays at Uconn. I am truly devastated and if it weren’t for my tailgate brothers I wouldn’t be going to any more games.

    • Me, too. Love my tailgate brothers and the new friends I make every year at the tailgates. Hate losing and the whole schtick this guy brought to town. Stop the stick and start to win. As Ray Haynes (former great Owl OL) said, “I’m tired of the sizzle. I want the steak.” Sizzle being money downs and swag, steak meaning wins. The steak is the only important thing. We got steak using an every-down fullback in back-to-back 10-win seasons. That these Stevie Wonder head coaches can’t see that or refuse to accept that is letting the kids down. When you let the kids down, you distribute a poison that affects the whole organization. Expect a lot more arm tackles and less Temple TUFF as the reason progresses.

      • I talk to you yesterday at the game I don’t know what that guy was talking about six wins this team is pitiful if you watch the scores from last night they’re lucky to win one game

  6. Temple Soft, OL and DL are being pushed around, no pressure on the opposing QB, no game day scheming or adjustments during the game….coaching staff is in over their head. Stop the “Money Down” hype and swag and play hard nose football. The players and the fans deserve much more.

  7. Agree that the OL and DL are not ATL. Hennessey made one nice block. Owls need to run the ball up the gut, eat clock, and let the DB’s win the game for them.

    • Ritrovato is not just a good blocker he’s a great blocker. Having him in the game is like having an extra offensive lineman. You think Rock Armstead would benefit from having an extra OL guy out there? I would say so.

    • Let the defense of backs win the game form did you see the last touchdown

      • DB’s missed a lot of tackles on that play, but it was late in the 4Q and the receiver was a big TE. DB’s are not the problem.

      • DB’s were worn. Top three tacklers were DB’s. DB’s made 57% of tackles (36% of defensive players). Where were the DL and LB? Offense 3rd-down conversion and time of possession were poor. Defense was pooped. What Mike writes is right: Run the ball and eat the clock. Go deep if they load the box.

  8. How can the administration not see the ineptitude, that is as plain as can be? Collins is overwhelmed and is clearly not cut out for this job. That could also be said for his offensive coordinator and defensive coordinator, although we don’t really know how involved Collins is on the defensive side.
    If the offensive scheme stays the same, do you think Isiah Wright could be an option at QB with his versatility as opposed to Futile or even Russ being pocket passers, as we know the line is pourous?

    • Should at least get Wright into the game as a wildcat. Guy needs more touches and they don’t seem to have the football IQ needed to figure out to get it to him. It took Matt Rhule two years to come up with creative packages for Isaiah but it shouldn’t take Collins that long because Rhule already has supplied him with game tape.

  9. I was going to see he is Steve Adazio 2, but he is probably worse. Temple can’t afford to screw up coaching hires like this if they want to have a D1 football program.

  10. I had no intention of slandering Frank Futile or Russ in my previous reply. I have to remember my reading glasses in the future, although maybe Temple football will look better blurry. Did Coastal Carolina ever score points on the offensive side and did Florida ever stop anyone?

  11. Mayhem or just what May this Ham be.
    Mayhem ‘sure am be here’ now, only it’s damaging ourselves big time.
    The gun is pointed at our selves, like keystone cops.

    My ‘ lets wait and see’ phase is quickly coming to a conclusion and I think I’ll know what we have here.

    Mayhem ? No, but we’ll see soon what damage this current this Ham may do to TUFB , In his case possibly lots of do-do.

  12. This coaching staff is completely incompetent. The rest of our conference is beating up on P5 schools, and we are losing to FCS and MAC teams. At this point in the program, this is completely unacceptable. This clown Collins is on the verge of destroying 10 years worth of hard fought progress for the program.

    I can’t take any more slogans or swag. It’s obvious that none of it works anyway, not to mention the stupid Money Down signs. Can someone please tell them that they block the view for a good portion of season ticket holders? There are many plays that I can’t even see happen because the Money Down signs are obstructing my view. The only money down this season is my money down the toilet for season tickets. I feel bad for the people in the athletic department who are going to be making all of the phone calls next spring and summer asking people to re-up their season tickets.

    Did anyone else notice that there were multiple player arguments on the sidelines during the 4th quarter? (Also looked like one player was arguing with someone in the stands) I fear that a blowout loss to Maryland next week (which is almost a sure thing) may make this team implode.

    • This is what happens when you are a player under coaches like this….inside you know you can be better and the frustration boils over. You can’t take it to the coaches or you’ll be facing “attitude problem” accusations. So, you get in-fighting and erosion of the team mentality……not good at all.

  13. Collins brought to temple what I have come to loathe in my professional life; empty marketing. Hype is created organically, from winning as a team, from leadership, and fighting for every down.

    Begin Rant:
    The “money down” is a joke, and I even spent some time on one of our drives only watching Collins. That’s right, not the players or the opponents, just focused on Collins and his behavior during and after each play. We were headed for a clear 3&out, and Collins kept turning to the sidelines and lifting his arms up to hype up the team off the field. He looked at the money down sign holders and really emphasized how they need to be jumping. Not looking at the opponents formation, not checking to see that everyone on our side is lined up. Nope, it was about creating energy from a gassed out 3&20+ play. You can throw all the fake PFCU dollars around and call yourself Mayhem, I’d rather see him actually coach. Rhule used to flip out on refs for bad calls, and his energy helped feed the team. Watching Collins have the pulse of a bavarian pretzel isn’t going to work.

    Ending Rant:
    Mike, as usual you summed it up well and the comments here all reflect the current situation. A friend of mine and I have been going to the games for years as season ticket holders. Yesterday he texted me he didn’t renew his season tickets this year and was buying one game at a time, and after yesterdays performance said he’s not going back. Will watch on TV, will follow the blogs, but is NOT attending. Rhule, if nothing else, proved that if you win they will come. The Championship year was a glimpse of what could be, and that if we coach and play right Temple IS a top 20 team. Not with Mayhem, not with Money Downs, not with sub 25k attendance, and certainly not with Patenaude.

  14. And, AND, the shooting yourself in the foot is upon us again. At the worst moments of the game. This comes from bad coaching also – a lack of discipline that the Sunday-thru-Friday practices should take care of.

    I’m hanging some hope on 2 things: the kids are playing hard despite the lousy schemes and that they actually COULD have won both these games (and this week they scored a lot of points at least). So, never-the-less now I’m back to watching the games while expecting to lose.

    Again, when does the administration step in and demand obvious needed changes to try to win? Or isn’t this something that happens? I mean some schools fire coaches during the season to try to shake things up. Why does Temple always give the coaches free rein to screw things up? Of course Rhule had 2 lousy seasons, albeit showing improvement, then 2 great years. So maybe the admin just lets guys fail hoping they’ll get better? Daz won a bowl game then had a losing season and got hired away. Maybe that will happen with Collins!

  15. At some point Pat Kraft needs to be blamed for this fiasco. He got lucky with Rhule and struck out completely with this huckster. He, like so many execs, confused enthusiasm with ability. He himself should have fired the coordinators after last season and dared Collins to quit. I know it’s a different sport, he also dropped the ball by hiring McKie to replace Dunphy. There should have been a national search. As I said many times before TU always did more with less and now they’re doing less with more when it comes to amenities and money spent on athletics .

    • If this continues, I don’t think Kraft will ever have a shot at another big-time P5 job again. Maybe that’s the only thing that will make him have a short leash with Collins. He might see his own career aspirations going up in flames if he sticks with Collins too long. I highly doubt that a horrible season is going to have Big 10 or ACC schools knocking down Kraft’s door and begging him to become their AD so that he can choose their next football coach.

    • Kraft is wearing the bullseye. Collins and staff is here because of Kraft.

      All loyalty is school first, and if you put Temple first then Collins and crew must go.

      If I were Collins I would quit now, sit out the rest of the year. Next year, get on Saban’s staff as an assistant to an assistant. He would be just as much, and both he and Temple would be much happier.

  16. Mike first things first.. good stuff in light of the misery we have witnessed on the field these past two weeks. Keep up the good work.

    Second. Power I… Power I is a formation with three running backs directly behind the QB… we dont want that. I think you are talking about an I-Formation offense. Which is a power offense. So a power, I-Formation… is what you mean (lower case p). No team can be successful running a “Power I offense.” Opponents would load the box with 8-9 guys… it would be bad/worse football.

    A pro-I with an emphasis on zone-blocking and isolating weak defenders.. counter-treys… fb traps.. strong play-action work off of successful run scheming.. this is what I assume youhave in mind. Pro-I or I-Formation will do.

    Third. Man, the defensive schemes we have seen demonstrate one of two things: the staff has no faith in the players/talent they have on the field… or the staff has no idea how to approach putting a defensive gameplan together.

    A successful defensive schemer tries to mirror what the offense does, and then systematically disrupt what the offense does well. Blitzing, stunts, robber coverage, disguising pre-snap coverages… We sit in our base defense too mich and play “battleship defense.” It’s bad football.

    The offense is anemic. Is Nutile hurt? He appears to to be short-arming his throws. Did he adjust his motion in the off-season? Armstead is being wasted.

    I have seen more inspired gameplanning from D-III coaches.

  17. Mike, have to say reading a good number of posts over on the FB page I appreciate things here even more. Your posts, Fizzys columns and posts from people like John Belli at least have a sense of sanity. I can’t take another season of the sentiment of “Collins needs his own recruits”, “it takes 3 years to build”, etc. too me, true if you keep hiring coaches who are using Temple as on the job training. At least there isn’t any OCS fantasy talk.

  18. stats don’t lie.

    119th in total offense:

    and at the bottom, or bottom half in every important stat.., worse yet we have lost the two of the four most winnable games! Don’t think we’ll be competitive against ECU..,

    The stats strongly support the “worst coached team in college football’ argument.

    Interesting that to see where BC and Maryland are in the stats, we are going to get hammered..,

    what a nightmare.., shame on us for drinking the summer and pre-season Kool-Aide…, It takes guts to pull Nutile, but look at his stats. How can anyone play any worse? Yes, the OC gets the vast majority of the blame, and out OL is soft, but Nutile has been giving the ball away.., he did it in pre-season practices, and we all wrongly shrugged it off.

    we are what are record and stats says we are, one of the worse teams in all of college football

  19. This is downright embarrassing….I played here and lived through this type of crap. The stuff that this school did while I was here as a student athlete (hired Jerry Berndt) absolutely disgusted me. If anyone wants the particulars let me know. It took me a long, long time to care again. The success of the last 10 or so years, this blog and other things (time heals wounds) has me interested again. I cannot believe what they are doing with this guy….I didn’t like him from the start and someone summed it up perfectly earlier….its empty. There is nothing there besides rhetoric….an act. It really hurts to see this….its been proven that TU can be successful. They just have this incredible knack to f it all up. I really appreciate everyone’s passion here…especially you Mike. It’s such a shame what they are doing.

  20. Mike, I can tell you hung with coach Hardin or covered his teams for a long time. You have nearly his football IQ. Coach Hardin was the smartest football man I ever know. Hell, Bill Belichick said coach Hardin was the smartest football man HE ever knew and BB might be the greatest NFL coach of all time. Keep keeping it real on this blog.

  21. Anyone else notice that Nutile doesn’t look like the QB he was at the end of last season? His mechanics, velocity and accuracy are off. Wonder if Patenfraud is to blame?

    • I think he must have tweaked his arm in a practice (not bad but not enough to tell anyone) and he’s saying he’s fine. There isn’t the same zip or release as we saw in 4 of the last 5 games last year.

  22. Third down defense is the worst problem on defense and offense. Bad penalties, No sacks on QB, DB’s missing tackles, dropped passes, OL spotty, pass interference, etc. Lots to work on. TU playing pre-seasonish.

  23. John, I would agree with your comments regarding Nutile this season versus last. A lot of his passes, especially the longer ones seem to be “lobbed” to the WRs. A lot of throws also seem behind receivers. Wouldn’t surprise me if Patenaude has something to do with it, his offensive scheme overall is just garbage

  24. I haven’t seen Temple play yet, but you might want to add Pat Narducci (Pitt) to your list of contenders for worst coaches. Even cost his team with a 15 yard penalty on himself. Complete meltdown on national TV.

  25. What cheapshittactics that G Collins PR group allows to deflect from sad loses and downward spiral.
    Cheap diversion, very cheap.
    I see the pattern where we highlight Temple Pros games as the top postings for TU FB and Twitter. Pay not attention to the losers behind that green curtain.

    If our current players don’t know they are in big trouble when it comes to their chance of being drafted or even post draft free-agent hopes.

    We are near free fall now, and if not remedied this year, I predict the ending of level 1 TU FB. We can’t afford to go to level 2 anymore, no stadium and it would be even less revenue from fans who WILL not go to those games let alone any AAC conf $$, if we get any now..

    Way to go, G Collins, way to go P.Kraft.
    We faithful fans saw the few good years since the NM Bowl in Albuquer, and
    Penn State and Navy wins.
    Maybe it’s as good as it gets, Right Jack N ?.

  26. Hi that Jack N would be Jack Nicholson of movie fame including ‘As good as it gets’. and No better. It’s a great movie about the real life vs dreams of wonderful.wonderful. TUFB with Collins ain’t wonderful and what we see is as good at it gets for now.

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