Editor’s Note: Dave “Fizzy” Weinraub (pictured), a former Temple player and later a coach, educator, and writer, provides his expert perspective in this space every week.
By Dave “Fizzy” Weinraub
Outlined against a blue-gray October sky, the Four Horsemen of Temple University rode again. In dramatic lore they are known as Famine, Pestilence, Destruction and Death. These are only aliases. Their real names are Armstead, Wright, Gardner, and Russo. They formed the crest of the Broad Street cyclone before which another fighting Navy football team was swept over the precipice as spectators peered down on the bewildering panorama spread on the green plain below.
Wait, there’s something wrong. The master horseman wasn’t there. Armstead was on the sideline watching the drama unfold as he was too injured to play. Why? Well because Coach Collins allowed him to continue to play in a blowout the week before, even after an injury in the fourth quarter. To make matters worse, the coach refuses to address either the injury or his mistake. Yesterday when asked, he shrugged and said, “We’ll keep getting better.”
It’s the measure of a man who admits his mistakes and apologizes. Coach Collins needs to come out front.
Now, on to the game with Navy. For those who think I’m beating a dead horse, let’s look at the first two offensive series yesterday. Do you think we really wouldn’t have scored with a first and goal on the half-yard line if Ryquell was playing? Do you think we’d have fumbled the ball right back again on the second series if the master horseman was riding? That’s a possible fourteen points and could have put the game away, right away. As we get ready to play three top 25 teams, we need our best running back to be healthy.
To borrow a word from Grantland Rice above, there were some bewildering offensive play calls as usual. Play fakes on third and long, two up-the-guts after a first down incompletion (borrowed from Andy Reid), a punt on fourth and one from on the Navy side of the field, throwing from an empty backfield on second and short, and the fade that was intercepted in the end-zone with two minutes to play.
On the other hand, the draw play for a touchdown was a terrific call, and we continue to see Russo roll out and run a few keepers. I’d really like to see him run some RPO’s.
It’s very tough to evaluate the defense when it’s playing against the triple option, as there are many theories out there. Wayne Hardin once told me his theory was to over-shift the defensive line to the strong side. Some coaches will assign one linebacker to tackle the fullback, one to hit the QB, and one for the pitch. As Navy doesn’t throw well, man-to-man pass coverage should suffice. I’m thankful we got ahead just in time to force them to do that.
A win is a win. However, in Woulda, Coulda, Shoulda Land, we are now 6 – 1.
Tomorrow: 5 Takeaways From the Game
Thursday: A Special Homecoming
Saturday: How good is Vegas?
Sunday: Game Analysis