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.
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
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