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.
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.
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.”
“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?
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