Shallow Owl


Ninety percent of Temple fans see the bloated Gweneth Paltrow when they look at Dave Patenaude; Geoff Collins evidently sees the slimmed-down version

“Anybody who can line up with two tight ends and a fullback and run the ball, I think that’s really awesome.”

_ Dave Patenaude, Jan. 15, 2017, the day he was hired as OC

They like to talk about measurables–height, weight, speed, vertical jump, strength–when the focus is on the athlete.

Accurately assessing those measurables, and weighing it against the intangibles, often determines the success of an organization.

There are measurables that determine the success of coaches, too, and the No. 1 thing is wins versus losses, but other factors can be weighed.

That’s why Geoff Collins’ love affair with his offensive coordinator, Dave Patenaude, is perplexing. It reminds me of the movie “Shallow Hal” when the lead character sees the bloated version of Gweneth Paltrow as beautiful and everybody else has a different view. When we (well, at least 90 percent of Temple fans) see Patenaude we see a guy who has all kinds of neat weapons and shoots them like a blind guy. He’s certainly not a trained Marine marksman with the, err, AR-15. You want measurables? Here are some facts on Patenaude, ranking his offense against the other 130 FBS offenses:



3d down conversion–59th

4th down conversion–63d

Time of possession–108th

Want more measurables?

Against Villanova, Patenaude put up nine offensive points while coaches in the same position with less talent (Stony Brook, 29; Towson, 45 and even Maine, 13) put up more against that same defense.


Pretty grim, huh?

Those figures are remarkably consistent with last year’s ones as none of the Owls’ offensive stats above were in the top 50 in the nation. At the end of last year, Collins announced a staff shake-up where he named Ed Foley the head coach in charge of the offense but kept Patenaude in the OC role. It’s been quite apparent that Foley’s position is just lip service with Patenaude holding the keys to this Ferrari. He’s crashed it into the wall for the second-straight year.

We’ve seen the same failings this year as last with the offense and Collins is just as responsible as Patenaude if not more so. Last year, Collins called Nick Sharga “the best fullback in the country” but our charting of plays had Sharga playing an average of 4.7 plays per game as a fullback. Shouldn’t “the best fullback in the country” be in there, if not for every down, at least for 20 offensive plays?


(Before you say he was injured, he was healthy enough to lead the nation in special teams’ tackles so he was healthy enough to play offense as well.)

The team’s current fullback, Rob Ritrovato, is largely limited to the same special teams’ role and he has punched the ball out for Temple recoveries twice in it. You’d love to see a blocker like that lead the way for tailbacks like Ryquell Armstead and Jager Gardner, but Patenaude stubbornly won’t show that look and Collins evidently is fine with that. It’s a good look because both players benefited from it in a 10-win season.

So we’ve reached this point. An offensive coordinator who wants to change everything that worked in two 10-win seasons for everything that does not work the last two. There is no hatred here for the man himself; there is much hatred here for his stubborn refusal to use a system that is best suited for the personnel under his command. He completely overhauled an offensive concept that worked beautifully for two seasons for one that has been an utter failure for the last two. This guy is the most ill-suited coach for Temple, assistant or head, we’ve seen since Jerry Berndt tried to jump here from the Ivies after ruining things for those other Owls, Rice.

The defense has done the job this year. The skills of the players on offense are at least as good as the defense, maybe better.

The lack of production on one side of the ball can only be attributed to a scheme that does not work and needs to be changed. Run an elite tailback behind a great fullback, establish the run, and hit explosive downfield plays in the passing game by using play-action fakes.  I see that. You see that (at least 90 percent of you) but, unless Collins sees it, the full potential of this program will never be realized.

Next Thursday would be a perfect place to implement that kind of game plan.

Don’t hold your breath.

Saturday: Around The AAC

Monday: The Fans






13 thoughts on “Shallow Owl

  1. The key…does Pat Kraft see and agree with your observations. Is Coach Collins content with the Owls Offensive showing….certainly his background has affected Thacker and the improvement in the defense. CC relies on the OC because the offense is not his strength and he lacks offensive vision. Maryland was the blueprint offensively and defensively. From that game going forward the defense has continued to improve while the offense is a roller coaster ride from game to game relying on individual talent rather than an offensive scheme that fits the personnel on the field.

    • Great story, Mike. It’s hard for me to reconcile with the offensive talent on this squad why the overall offensive numbers are abysmal. Those facts you outlined are hard to dispute. I’ve got to think that Kraft understands this which begs the question: Is Collins letting his friendship with Patenaude retard the organization? Sure looks so. This is where Kraft must step in and make a decision for Collins, whether Geoff likes it or not.

    • you sound like Bill Bradshaw.., 100% on target reference Kraft and Collins. First, the buck stops with Kraft, at some point in time his title warrants intervention.

      Second, if CC can’t oversee the development of all three phases of the game then his ability as a HC is severely constrained.

      Third, USF did not enjoy success under Taggart until he fired both coordinators…, why are we stuck on stupid?

      Lastly, I feel sorry for the kids, they deserve better. We have equal levels of talent on both sides of the ball. Yet, one side achieves and the other side underwhelms, this is sad.

      Why would a top offensive HS player commit to Temple? Parents will ask penetrating questions..

  2. Mike, you are like a broken record but in a great and most appropriate way. When is someone going to get the balls to ask either Collins or Dave what is going on here? I want to see/hear a response to that rather than the softball questions about what the team had for breakfast that you get out of these weekly calls and press conferences. The conversation is simple…do what worked or you can pack up your stuff. Someone PLEASE ask the question though!

  3. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing again and again and expecting a different result. That definition fits Patenfraud but it also fits those on this site. We keep complaining about the same thing and expect it to change. It is not going to. We were given false hope after Maryland, but that hope was quickly extinguished. I have resigned myself to the fact that as long as Patenfraud is the OC, we will continue to suffer with single back backfields, crazy, stupid trick plays that backfire, a non-existent red zone offense, and the lack of consistent use of the tight-end on passing plays in the middle of the field. I think Russo compares to Eli Manning in a lot of ways and if you look at Eli’s stats, some of his best years were when he had Hynoski as his fullback. Russo could be even better than he has been with a fullback because the running game would improve drastically thereby improving the use of play action. Hope someone who can change what’s happening reads this post and effects change. Til that happens, I guess I will just have to continue to take my psych meds to keep the insanity under control.

    • John: I too have repeated myself in hope that someone in a position to do so will affect needed change should they read this blog. First, I no longer can keep my season ticket holder group together because of the frustration of watching bad losses. So after this year, 10 goes to 6 to 0 tickets from 3 seasons ago. So that point is an appeal to the AD. Second, I’m one of the people that hopes and expects that a successful TU HC gets hired away by a P5 school especially if he’s a young guy that was a coordinator at a P5 school. (I’ll take competency over complacency anytime.) Here I’m appealing to CC if he reads this blog. Coach Collins: You’re losing the chance for a big pay day. Ask yourself this, “Have I and my staff coached this team up to a better than expected record or down below where it could be record wise over the last 2 years?” If you can’t say you and your staff have coached it up, then you and your staff probably did the opposite. And the AD’s that might be looking to hire a HC over the next few years will probably look in another direction. Your loyalty to others while admirable just isn’t good for your career.

    • Russo’s throwing motion has slightly regressed. His delivery from July through mid-October is different from his delivery during the last game.

      He has gone back to the early Russo delivery motion which was flawed.., check the tapes., arm fatigue?

      • He looked fine on those last 2 touchdown passes; I hope he picks up where he left off a week from tonight

  4. Temple offense reminds me of ‘The Crying Game.” I have no clue if I’m going to see the Promised Land or a big boner in Orlando.

    • I do. Dude (Patenaude) is so stubborn to force a square peg into a round hole (trying to show he can win by passing to the sidelines and fade routes) the Owls are going to lose by double digits. The only question is small double-digits (10) or the same double-digits this fearless leader led us to against this same team a year ago (30).

  5. *that he led us to in the same game.

  6. Watching BC running the offense TU should be running with a qb that has half the passing ability of Russo. They are throttling Miami like TU was throttling BC for the first quarter and a half. I can understand why Geoprgia fired Richt. Despite having top ten recruiting classes, his team looks lost and clueless.

    • Ironic thing is (as I wrote BEFORE the BC game) is that if Temple ran the BC offense against BC, it would have won going away. Ryquell Armstead was unstoppable versus BC but dumbass refused to give it to him on 3d and 2. The BC players were probably praying, “Please God, don’t let them give it to No. 7” and God (or Dave Patenaude) answered their prayers. Since it’s a Jesuit school, they probably had a hotline to the Almighty.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s