Turning The Corner

Sometime this week, Phillies CEO Andy McPhail is going to sit down with manager Gabe Kapler at a dinner “so he can hear me drone on for two hours.”

McPhail’s complaint will be, he said, that the Phillies were “the most inconsistent team I’ve ever seen.”

If McPhail can spare three hours to walk across the street to see the hometown FBS college football team he might change his mind.

Lose embarrassingly to Villanova and Buffalo and beat Maryland, Tulsa and East Carolina. Suffer a self-inflicted wound at Boston College and lose that game.


Photo by Temple Hall of Famer Paul Palmer

The difference between the Owls and the Phillies, though, is that Temple seems to be trending upward while the Phillies trended downward. At least that’s the hope here.

In the first two games, quarterback play had been shaky. Since Anthony Russo took the helm, though, the ship is steering in the right direction and no icebergs appear to be in sight.

Before the season started, I wrote that this was a nine-win team. I did not know whether the nine would come in the regular season or as a result of a bowl game.

Either way, I’ll take it but the Owls would have to either run the table in the regular season or suffer just one loss in it and win a bowl game. A week ago, it was crazy to think that. It still might be but, if the Owls play the way they did in a 49-6 win over East Carolina, they have a puncher’s chance.

Plenty of things to clean up.

They are going to have to keep running back Ryquell Armstead healthy and a step in that direction would be taking him out of the pass-rushing rotation. Armstead sprained his ankle in the second half but should be OK.

Russo showed what his stats could be (21 for 25, 254 yards, four touchdowns) if his receivers would stop dropping the ball, but you would still like to see offensive coordinator Dave Patenaude design plays that would allow the Owl receivers to get separation. One way to do it would be play-action, but Temple doesn’t seem inclined to want to do that. Now, though, the windows are really tight and Russo has been able to thread the needle. That’s playing with fire, though, and there are all sorts of ways to get separation and give the quarterback a better downfield look. Another play that creates separation is the fake out to the wide receiver to draw two defenders and then find the tight end running free, which is what caused Kenny Yeboah to catch a long touchdown at Maryland.

That’s a game plan for another day, though.

This victory was especially sweet because it came against an East Carolina team that hammered North Carolina (41-19) and beat an Old Dominion team that topped Virginia Tech. The most impressive result for the Pirates (3-2), though, probably was a one-touchdown loss at unbeaten South Florida.

The Owls proved against Maryland and BC they have the physicality to play with anyone. On Saturday, they proved they can annihilate a good team.

It was a beautiful thing to watch and there is no better time than now to turn that corner and get this ship moving in the right direction. Next port of call is on the Chesapeake Bay in beautiful Annapolis on Saturday.

Monday: Fizzy’s Corner

Tuesday: Bigger Than Action News



16 thoughts on “Turning The Corner

  1. Mike

    Please allow me to be a “Debbi Downer” for a moment. I don’t get to many games, so possibly, my opinion doesn’t carry too much weight around here. But i left that game FAR from impressed with Anthony Russo,

    It looked kinda obvious to me that he locks in on his primary receiver and goes straight to him with the ball. I never saw him, even once, yesterday look off a defender and go another way. Luckily he never had to as the WR’s were wide-open every play.

    I was impressed more with his touch, but thought he lacked some zip on the ball yesterday, which from what I understood was his strength.

    That ECU team quit early on yesterday. The Owls won’t be as lucky next week or any others the rest of the year.

    By the way, what kind of moron is Collins?? Why would he have Armstead out there with a 42-6 lead? And compound the idiocy by sending him back out AFTER being helped off the field?!? Did anyone else also notice that he had Armstead out for Kick-off coverage?? WTF????

    • I’m very impressed with Russo not impressed with Collins and staff. Bad move having rock out there

    • I agree that they have to be more judicious with Armstead. i think he was put back in on offense because they wanted him to gain 100 yards to keep his streak of such games going. Take him off the kick-off team because on the kickoff he got the unsportsman penalty, he was targeted and was the victim of a cheap shot and was just reacting. The second guy always gets penalized.

      Patenaude used a tight end as a lead blocker on a couple of plays but not enough to satisfy me.

      Regarding Russo, he throws the ball hard on outs and short passes to the middle of the field. On the long passes, no need to do so because he wants the receiver to run to the ball and have an easy one to catch. The last one going to the side line was a thing of beauty. Finally, did anyone else get that “here we go again” feeling on TU’s first drive when Russo threw that interception after the receiver stopped running?

      • As far as Russo “looking off” wide receivers, it’s all part of the play call. If the play call calls for a quick off, say, of a secondary receiver to retarget the No. 1, he does that very well. Look at the play that scored a touchdown at Maryland, for example. He not only gave a great pump fake to Ventell Bryant but Bryant “sold” it with a leap and that allowed the tight end to run free for an easy six. Looking off is not part of the job description generally when you have 2.3 seconds to throw the ball. I’m sure when he gets the extra second he looks off receivers just fine.

      • I had a bad feeling when I saw the drab gray uniforms. So dreary they put ECU to sleep.

  2. Belli, I know I did! I reached for the clicker to turn off the game. Instead, I walked away for a few mins, assuming I’d see Nutile back in for the next go-round. But o’ man, Russo didn’t just ‘turn the corner’ – he did a few laps around the track! The whole team looked solid. Even Jones may have redeemed himself with that t-down catch! Great win!!

  3. From what I saw of the Navy-Air Force game, Temple has a great chance to win next weekend if they play the way they did yesterday. It’s hard to understand what happened to ECU’s D. Temple just had there way with them, everything was clicking – and not many penalties either! Also I was pretty impressed with Centeio – he has really good acceleration.

    • TU had such an easy time with the number one running defense in the AAC and 9th in the country before yesterday because the left side of TU’s offensive line dominated the guys in front of them. Those guys made the ECU linemen disappear. It was a thing of beauty.

  4. Great offensive day, but don’t forget the Defense. ECU has a decent offense and the Owl’s just shut them down. Solid defense from the DLine, LB’s and the Secondary. Kudos to the DC for not only having the right defensive scheme, but for motivating the D after a a tough loss to BC. If the D can play like this against ECU and Maryland than the Offense will be the beneficiary going forward.

    • Looked at the South Florida message board last night: “Temple is going to kill us!” was the primary reaction upon hearing the 49-6 score. USF edged out ECU, 20-13. Wish it worked that way (for Temple’s sake) but it does not. Every game is a different deal.

      • The best thing that can happen for TU against USF is that it’s cold and windy. Those Florida teams hate the cold. That game be the one that determines whether the Owls go bowling. I know they have UConn the next week, but that game should be a cakewalk. They are in the bottom ten.

  5. PS: Pathetic fan turnout; my bad on the penalties, 6 for 66 yards not good; the D was lock down, did a great job (no ECU TDs!); truly schizophrenic coaching – so good one week and back to the ugh the next and on and on. Some consistentency would be nice. Let’s hope the Navy game brings more of what we saw yesterday.

  6. Let’s hope the DC can adjust his schemes for the option. Maybe pull out last season’s Army film?

  7. we have the players and a winning game plane on the shelf to beat Navy. Somebody better whisper to CC.., check the film of the last TU vs Navy game AND make sure CC understands Navy is going to run the ball !!!!

    We can’t run this season’s offense and expect to beat Navy…, time of possession is the key…, we all should be highly pissed if TU comes out with anything other than the time tested TUFB winning formula on how to beat Navy

    Navy is the 2018 make or break game for one very important reason: has the coaching staff truly learned and developed as a staff, or will they be stubborn and stay stuck on stupid?

    History is important, and TUFB has good recent history vs Navy. Hit Navy in the mouth early and often PERIOD.

    Temple TUFF is the alpha and omega

    • You hope
      this coaching staff gets it right this is the same coaching staff for nine months did not know how to stop Villanova the powerhouse Villanova football team that lost to Maine on Saturday

  8. Check the Army game from last year for what NOT to do. Gawd, I hope they have memories.

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