“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