Interesting that Daz takes credit for a practice facility that was largely built 10 years before he got here (16-minute timestamp).
Irony is one of the most misused words in the English language, but Saturday’s noon showdown in Chestnut Hill, Mass. between Temple and Boston College is dripping in this definition of it:
“a state of affairs or an event that seems deliberately contrary to what one expects and is often amusing as a result.”
In this case, the irony is not that the Owls will be facing a guy in Steve Addazio, who not only left Temple (after pledging eternal loyalty) for two years. That’s a coincidence, not ironic.
It will be simply this:
Boston College is running the same offense Temple should be running now, while Temple is fumbling and stumbling through the same offense Matt Rhule struggled with in his first two years before abandoning it for one that personified the core principles of Temple TUFF established by Wayne Hardin and Bruce Arians and followed through by Al Golden.
By “deliberately contrary to what one would expect” we’re talking about the offense Daz ran here his second year, which broken down into basics was: run, run, throw (sack), punt. During his first year at Temple, Scot Loeffler was in charge of the offense and it was based on the concepts that the Owls always won by: Establish the run behind two tight ends and a fullback, force the safeties and linebackers up to the line of scrimmage where they would be susceptible to play-action passes. Loeffler went onto Virginia Tech after his first year here and Daz went back to the habits he formed at Florida. Now that Loeffler is in charge, Daz has made him “head coach of the offense” and that’s why the BC offense is succeeding where Temple’s is failing.
In Boston, it is run the ball behind an elite tailback (A.J. Dillon) and use play action to make explosive downfield plays in the passing game. Know any other team that has an elite tailback with explosive downfield receivers? If it doesn’t piss you off that Ventell Bryant and Isaiah Wright aren’t getting any separation, it should. It is not the fault of the kids, either; same players got routinely wide open under Matt Rhule’s play-action-oriented scheme. Those guys can do so much damage in a pro set but Patenaude wants nothing to do with it. In any other job, that would be considered malfeasance.
We saw a glimpse of that offense for Temple in Maryland, when the Owls were disciplined enough to stay focused in an H-back blocking look for their own elite tailback, Ryquell Armstead, whose success in the run game set up some nice play-action looks in the passing game for unbeaten quarterback Anthony Russo. Success in the run game allowed Russo to fake an out beautifully to Bryant (who sold it with a great leap) and that drew two Maryland defensive backs to Bryant, allowing tight end Kenny Yeboah to run free.
Yeboah and Chris Myarick not only blocked well but caught key passes to keep the sticks moving. Temple really had not used its tight ends effectively in the Dave Patenaude Error until that afternoon.
Last week, against Tulsa, the Owls lapsed into the same unfocused look they showed in losses to Buffalo and Villanova. It was not a good look.
This is the same kind of crisis Rhule had after his second year at the helm. His talent dictated run/play action but his offensive coordinator at the time, Marcus Satterfield, was stubborn about running the spread look. Rhule had the cojones to demote Satterfield to wide receiver coach and hire a guy from the Atlanta Falcons, Glenn Thomas, who implemented a more pro-style look that coincided with the Temple TUFF brand.
So far, it looks like Temple head coach Geoff Collins is satisfied with handing the keys of his offense over to a drunk driver rather than someone with vision and sharp reflexes. Maybe that will change. Maybe it will be Saturday. We saw this movie before, though. All last year and three of the four games this year.
It’s like Waiting for Godot.
The essence of great coaching is to get the most out of the talent you have, not the talent you want. Establish the run behind a great tailback in Ryquell Armstead following a great blocking fullback in Rob Ritrovato and immensely talented receivers like Bryant, Wright and Branden Mack can get the kind of separation they need to cause serious damage.
Boston College runs the exact same offense Temple should be running with its personnel. That’s irony. The Temple challenge on this Saturday will rest in being smart enough to fight BC’s fire with some of the same fire of its own.
Friday: BC Preview