Shocked and Amazed (in a good way)

Sometimes you are shocked and appalled.

Others you are shocked and amazed.

Count a significant—maybe a majority—of the Temple football fanbase into that latter category today after a 35-14 win at Maryland. For the first two games, shocked and appalled would have been the more apt adjectives.

Raising my hand here because this is the team I thought I would see from the jump but due to so many head-scratching decisions of the coaching, err, brain trust we have not.

Until Saturday.


The tight end position made a spectacular reappearance into the Temple offense as the Owls used Kenny Yeboah and Chris Myarick not only to catch key passes in the game but to essentially play the role of a fullback leading the way for Ryquell Armstead.

Anyone who has followed Temple football since Armstead arrived knows he is as good a back as any in the league while following a lead block. He does not do well when lined up in an otherwise empty backfield where the bad guys can send a blitzing linebacker at him.  The coaching staff did not give him a lead block until Saturday and they gave him several as the tight end lined up as an H-Back on Armstead carries and was put in motion with Armstead following the motion.

Why that wasn’t there from the jump is a mystery to me.

Better late than never.

It might also be helpful to use a blocking fullback in addition to the H-Back block, but maybe that’s asking for too much. Maybe Ed Foley and Adam DiMichele can talk OC Dave Patenaude and HC Geoff Collins into that.


Maryland site had the score right but the teams wrong

Love to see it in action on Thursday night (7:30 p.m., ESPN) against a Tulsa team that got hammered by Arkansas State last night. If it works, keep it in the offense going forward.

Anthony Russo, an Elite 11 quarterback, looked like the guy Trent Dilfer said he would be years ago.

He probably did enough to earn the job under center against Tulsa and, should he improve, keep it going forward.

Hopefully, an ancillary benefit from yesterday’s Owl win will be getting the Prodigal Son fans to return.

Some undoubtedly will be back for the Tulsa game. If the Owls can build a winning streak, more will come back and maybe, just maybe, this season will be the one we expected at the beginning.

My game watch plans were an absolute nightmare as the North Bowl location where the Temple Engineering grads had a party did not get the Big 10 Network on their TVs and instead pumped an internet feed onto a faraway screen behind the bowling alley with no sound. At halftime, it was onto Chickie and Pete’s in South Philly where the game was on two large screens in (empty) private rooms with no sound. I was the only Temple fan in there. They might as well made it a padded room because I was going nuts.

A very nice young lady ducked her head into the room when she saw me being there to cheer alone for the Owls.

“My son plays for Temple.”


“No. 40.”

“Yes,” I said. “Todd Jones, St. Joe’s Prep.”

She seemed shocked that I knew him.

“My mother passed this morning so I could not go to the game.”

“I’m sorry to hear that. My condolences.”

The first to congratulate Freddie Johnson in the end zone on his fake touchdown catch from Toddy Centeio?

Todd Jones.

I hope that made his mom proud on an otherwise sad day.

Monday: Fizz Breaks Down Maryland

Tuesday: What We’ve Learned So Far
Thursday: Tulsa Preview
Friday: Game Analysis


27 thoughts on “Shocked and Amazed (in a good way)

  1. I’ll raise my hand as well….after what I saw the first 2 weeks I am shocked and amazed at the performance and outcome of this game. True story…..i have a great friend down near Maryland and he texted me “Temple/Maryland this week, your choice of restaurant” for our dinner bets between various regional sporting events. I replied. “McDonald’s dollar menu, Temple looks terrible” Great job by the Owls, however, the question remains….where was this the past 2 weeks?

  2. Just repeating my reply to the prior TFF article:

    “I would’ve loved to be a fly on the wall when the game planning took place. I wonder if CC had to strong arm the OC into changing for this game. Anyway, looking forward to the comments and analysis of the regular contributors to this blog.”

    Adding to that, I can’t believe CC kept this revamped Offense under wraps until the Maryland game nor that Foley or DiMichelle could have that much sway with Patenaude. I’m guessing Collins got to a point similar to what Rhule experienced when he stopped being talked into the spread offense. And this week CC took charge of the offense.

  3. I remember you arguing, for it seems years, that Russo was the quarterback we were waiting for at Temple. I think you were right all along. It may be that he needed time to develop into a college level player, but I think we saw yesterday what you were talking about. I loved how he could stretch the field with his deep throws.

    • Telegraphic Tony’s performance was good, but I think that the running game and blown coverages helped Russo’s performance.

      • Why do you call him telegraphic Tony? I thought he did a spectacular job looking off receivers, particularly on the fake out to Ventell that allowed Kenny to get 20 yards open.

  4. Went to the game yesterday, compared to the team we saw at the linc, this team looked different…more relaxed and more focused. Nutile had his left knee wrapped and thought we may see more of R and C in QB. Russo did well especially the way he responded to his pick 6. The OLine seemed to play a lot better this game. We were particularly impressed with the D, no points surrendered, guys flying around the field making plays, and a pick six by Bradley to cap it off. Here is to hoping the mayhem has arrived.

  5. As I said yesterday with some edits:
    Coaches finally used an H back as a blocker and discovered that they had tight-ends. It seemed that every time they ran with a single back going parallel to the the line of scrimmage they got stuffed. Patenfraud has to go. Run right at end with straight on blocking or don’t run at all. Russo ignored an early gaffe and showed his arm. I believe that the Nutile era is over and he’s now Wally Pipp unless Russo gets hurt or falls apart. I will be very upset Thursday if Russo doesn’t start. On D, they were always in the right position and Armstead was unblockable. He looked like Riddick at times on defense. Could it be possible that the coaches kept what they showed today under wraps for the first two games? If that’s the case that manifests an arrogance that cost TU two wins. Any way, they did a great job for this game and may have saved the season if not the program. As surprising a win as the Vtech win was a couple of decades ago given how crappy they have looked. Go Owls.

  6. The owls looked like a completely different team….its hard to wrap my head around how different a team can appear in one week. What clicked….on both sides of the ball? The marked improvement was quite noticeable….its as if a switch was flipped. Something internally went on that freed up these players and let them play confident and relaxed….not just gameplanning but mentally as well. There was focus, confidence and leadership exhibited that hasn’t been there.

  7. MIke: Was I seeing things? Didn’t Armstead play defense in the first half? Thought I saw him playing defense and rushing the passer.

  8. Position flexibility

  9. This proves it’s the coaching (as if we needed proof). After 2 pitiful performances, ironically we can’t see this wonderful turnaround on TV (don’t have any engineering grad students in my house, lol) – such a relief that the season may not be a total disaster. But only if they continue doing the right stuff. The D really shut them down and the apparent changes on O were total surprises. Keep this up and they SHOULD even the record against Tulsa. Go Owls.

  10. Begs the question: Who’s the starter on Thursday? I think fans are totally pumped for Thursday’s game now, feeling like new breath has been pumped into this team that we all thought had flatlined.

    I think it would be naive for us to assume it’s Russo. After watching the postgame press conferences, CC and Patenaude are both still singing Nutile’s praises. And if it’s just a “knee injury” that they questioned his ability up until an “hour before game time”, then surely it’ll be better by Thursday……

    • I think it will be Nutile for 2 reasons….1 – most coaches believe that you shouldn’t lose your position to injury. 2- Collins hasn’t come up with a catchy nickname for Russo yet….hes all about cool gimmicks. Any nickname suggestions out there that could get the kid above the line?

  11. At the end of Collins’ press conference someone asked him who was starting Thursday and he quickly ended the conference in a joking way. Russo better start. This is exactly what happened to Marchi last year. Collins was handed another gift by the injury bug. Hope he doesn’t reject it.

    • The difference between Collins and Rhule is that Collins is letting his OC set the narrative; Rhule had the balls to tell his offensive coordinator to fuck off. It is so obvious Patenaude wants to start juice it is not even funny. If Patenaude coached the Yankees in 1927 Lou Gehrig would never have seen the field. Man, Collins has to show that’s he’s the boss and I hope the extensive use of the H Back was a step in that direction. The next step is Collins naming the starting quarterback and not allowing Patenaude to do it. If Patenaude doesn’t like it, he can quit. I’m sure Adam DiMichele is more than ready to take the job and run with it (pun intended).

      • every HC has to have ‘his’ QB under center.., PJ was MR’s guy, no matter what.

        Nutile is CC’s guy, anointed nickname single digit, etc., etc…, he’ll get the start IMO

        Interesting because Russo outplayed Nutile in summer practices, and certainly looked better against Maryland than Nutile did in the first two games..,

        Russo would be a legit Sunday prospect with the right QB coach, like a Glenn Thomas…, that was MR’s intent before seeing the greener $$$ grass

      • I got ask you something Mike what are these coaches going to take responsibility for this team playing so poorly the first two games I’m getting sick and tired these guys being jerks

  12. Better coaching won the game. The fake punt surprised everyone in the house. HBack helped the run game that opened up the passing game and kept the defense off the field. Defensive mayhem finally showed up.

    Note: OL McHale was in a walking cast at games end.

    • Better coaching one game what are you talking about where was the coach and the first two games this team should be three and 0 what the hell are you talking about

  13. Since Dave Patenaude threw the kids under the bus after both games and took zero responsibility for his own coaching, I would say no. I think he still thinks he coached great putting up 17 big ones against a team that Towson scored 45 points against. Think about that for a second. Towson talent 28 more points on ‘Nova than Temple talent did. There’s not a single coach in America who would tell you Towson has more offensive talent than Temple does. Logic dictates it is not the kids but Patenaude has never been big on logic. I didn’t see Collins taking a whole lot of responsibility for poor coaching the first two games, either. Oh wait. He didn’t put up 17 big ones on ‘Nova. He put up seven small ones since Ed Foley’s special teams supplied 10 big ones.

    • You are right on everything you said there Mike these coaches are learning on the job and I hate to say it but I think they’re still learning but how about those nice looking uniforms on Saturday

  14. Watched Marchi on Saturday against Tennessee. Nothing’s changed there.

    Mike’s campaign to go to ground-oriented attack reminds me of the seasons when Kiffin was OC at Alabama. He’s keep calling the cute stuff until finally Saban stalked him on the sideline and (reading lips) commanded him to “run the damn ball.”

    Fan base loved it and shirts were printed with “RTDB” to echo the sentiment. Maybe a commando raid on the play cards held up and sub a couple with those letters on them.

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