USF Kryptonite: It’s Not The Weather

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There might be something to that old adage that warm-weather teams can’t win football games in the North come November or later.

There isn’t enough data on South Florida’s football team to prove that hypothesis because the Bulls have played only two games north of the Mason-Dixon Line in November since 2010, one a win at UConn last year and the other a loss at Rutgers in 2011.

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There is more pertinent data that Temple can both take solace and base a game plan around and hopefully, the Owls’ brain trust is putting the finishing touches on that right now.

South Florida deserves a lot of respect coming into Lincoln Financial Field to face host Temple at high noon on Saturday.

The Bulls have a better overall record (7-3) than the Owls (6-4) and have one more Power 5 win than the Owls do (2-0 vs. 1-1) and did what they needed to do against their lone FCS opponent, a better team than Villanova: Blow them out.

That’s where the comparison should end, though, because the Bulls’ Kryptonite has led to their three consecutive losses and it’s a defensive line decimated by injuries and susceptible to the run.

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Temple has plenty of Kryptonite in the form of a dynamite young offensive line and a savvy senior running back named Ryquell Armstead, who Houston coach Major Applewhite called “the hardest running back in our league to stop.”

Houston beat USF, 57-36, and Temple scored 59 on Houston.

Any game plan Temple designs for USF has to heavily involve that young offensive line and that savvy running back attacking the Bulls’ weakness.

USF head coach Charlie Strong touched on the lack of size within his front seven on defense. Strong pointed to the lack of size as a reason why opposing offenses have been able to get such a big push on the Bulls defensive line.

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If the game were played today, Temple would have a big weather advantage

“When you get good on the defensive front, those guys are around 295-300 pounds,” Strong said. “Right now, those guys are 270-280. When you’re playing against a fifth-year senior and he’s 300-plus, they’re going to move you out of there. And that is what’s happening a lot of times on the runs. We get overpowered inside because you’re just not big enough.”

USF is going to bring the linebackers and safeties up to the line of scrimmage to cheat and try to help against Armstead. Even then, it might not be enough to stop the Owls but it does leave them vulnerable to the play-action passing game.

A few nice deft fakes by quarterback Anthony Russo into the belly of Armstead and then pulled out should be leaving Temple receivers running so free through the secondary that Russo will not know which guy to pick out.

That sounds like a plan. That sounds like the only plan.

Saturday:  Tribute to the Seniors

Sunday: Game Analysis

Tuesday: The Answer Right Under Our Noses

Thursday: The Most Arrogant Fan Base

Sunday (11/25):  Game Analysis

Tuesday: Playing AD

Thursday: An Argument That Can’t Be Won

15 thoughts on “USF Kryptonite: It’s Not The Weather

  1. Mike, Another power 5 victory was Houston 45 – Arizona 18

    Keep up the great writing and analysis

  2. If the coaches don’t continue to use a lead blocker be it a tight end or back, they should be fired. Last night I watched Frank Solich run Buffalo out of Ohio’s stadium using a lead blocker and play action. Jeff Monken at Army did the same thing to Buffalo. Both he and Solich coach circles around Collins and if the AD is smart, he declines to play either team in a bowl. Us fans will know during TU’s first offensive series if Collins and Patenaude have again mutated into Mr. Hyde if there is no lead blocker. .

    • I would not put anything past these guys. The explanation for not running on first-and-goal at the Navy 7 with 1:48 left and Navy with no timeouts left (“because of the defense Navy was in”) was a real head-scratcher among the many head-scratchers this year. Also, we all thought that the light bulb went on and they finally figured how to get the most out of this offense in the Maryland win and they lapsed into old (Nova, Buffalo) habits of throwing into tight windows that lasted right up until Houston. Run the ball behind a caravan of blockers is priority No. 1 and that opens up priority No. 2 (explosive plays in the play-action passing game). We were screaming that for the first two years of the Matt Rhule Regime. When he finally got the message, Temple won 20 games in two seasons. Maybe it takes two years of screaming for someone in the E-O to hear the message.

      • football is full of egos mike.

        “well we did have 700 yard of offense tonight” – our OC

        Shouldn’t matter if you have a 1000 yards, if you lose you need to reevaluate your game plan.

        I’ll be honest. It’s fun watching us score. But I much prefer the rhule days where we only scored 3 times and still won by 3 scores.

      • I approve of the above message. It’s much more important to win. Very disappointed now that freaking Ohio blew out Buffalo by 35 and everybody and his kid brother blew out Nova that we’re not sitting on eight wins now. Plus, UCF figuring out our “genius” OC in the second half despite having the 91st-ranked run defense in the country. Would love Collins to stay and dispatch Patenaude for a play-action guy (my first perference) but really think he goes and takes DP with him and that’s OK if a proven winning HC comes in and runs the Temple TUFF offense.

  3. Isn’t Nbr 7 R Armstead a thing of beauty again ?
    We should use his legs and back to get 2 more wins in the regular season.
    Shame he may be injury prone ?

    TU has had some nice Runners thru the years
    I cite, since Paul Palmer, nice backs like Stacy Mack and a few others thru Montrel Harris and Bernard Pierce : that young man o had power thru the line and then gallop to the end zones

    We can win with a smart running game this year again.

    • USF has a gigantic advantage this week – practice. Perfect practice conditions and they will take advantage.

      Strong isn’t stupid, he will put 9 guys in the box and dare Temple to throw in bad weather. Temple must go mass protect and exploit the one-on-one coverage down the field early on to win this game. Also, Russo needs to be smart and read the USF stunts at the line of scrimmage.

      We’ll see if Russo is strong enough to go down the field in tough conditions. If not, this will be a long sloppy game decided by critical penalties and turnovers.

      Expect to see Centeio in the game often on QB runs as TU will be able to get an additional hat on hat.

      Can this team be Temple Tuff and avoid the game changing penalties?

      • All temple needs to do is run the ball down usf’s throats; usf could have 100 guys in the box and still be unable to stop rock if TEMPLE blocks like it did against Houston

      • TU has a very nice indoor practice facility-the place where the season ticket party is held. The conditions also will not be tough for TU. The Linc blocks the wind very well. 50 and sunny are perfect weather conditions for northeast football. It will feel cold for USF though and will affect them.. This game is being played in conditions similar to when TU almost beat UCF during Rhule’s first year. I think UCF was affected by the weather. Hope the same thing happens Saturday.

      • I hope they just keep centenio in there for the fake punts. I’ve watched Todd for 2 years and have seen nothing of this great running ability he’s supposed to have

  4. Eagles ain’t stopping the Saints , with Special K, Keith Kirkwood, on that roster.

  5. I am kind of surprised no one has mentioned the Owls are a 14 point favorite. Seemed really high when I saw it even with TU on the upswing and UCF having lost 3 straight. I don’t generally do any serious betting. But I couldn’t give those points because of the concern the coaches might get stubborn and get away from what has worked recently.

  6. recruiting.., Rutgers, UCONN, and Maryland…, this is the year Temple should out-recruit each of those schools by a substantial margin.., all three of those schools have issues

  7. Even Russo recognizes the value of the running game. Below from Philly.com article. Too bad his coaches are so clueless.

    “Having a run game like that takes so much pressure off me,” said quarterback Anthony Russo, who has completed 57.7 percent of his passes for 2,071 yards, 13 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. “It opens everything else, play action, the defense has to respect the run and pack the box so that just gives more opportunities for our playmakers on the outside to make plays.”

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