Gabe Infante Hints at New Offense


National High School Coach of the Year Gabe Infante will have a positive impact on both Temple’s game plans and recruiting

A few weeks back, a writer for Philly Voice named Joe Santoliquito (who I will henceforth drop the journalistic norm and refer to him as Joe in any second reference) made a big splash by spilling some locker room gossip about Carson Wentz.

No names were attached to the quotes in that piece but it got a lot of attention.

Nice story and it got a lot of clicks for a website called Philly Voice but a more newsworthy story Joe did last week received as much splash as a pebble skipping across a puddle on 13th Street.

In other words, none.

Screenshot 2019-02-28 at 12.01.03 AM

It deserves mention here because it says a lot more about the other Lincoln Financial Field football tenant, Temple University.  Full disclosure here: As a big fan of the Catholic League, I’ve followed Infante’s teams closely over the last decade and I can write without hesitation that it was the best-coached team, college, high school or NFL, I’ve seen in that time frame. Infante will have a positive impact on Temple’s preparation and recruiting, which has been lacking in the past couple of years.

Joe did a story on new Temple running backs’ coach Gabe Infante and, in it, Gabe went on record as saying more revealing than anyone said in that Wentz story: “There’s no chance to catch your breath and learn how to do it, while you’re installing a new offense.”

On the surface, that’s a pretty innocuous remark. Of course, moving to a new job would naturally involve a new offense except for the fact that St. Joseph’s Prep and Northern Illinois ran essentially the same read-option offense a year ago. It was also pretty much the same offensive look Dave Patenaude ran at Temple last year.

Screenshot 2019-02-28 at 11.13.05 PM

While Prep and NIU had the personnel to run such an offense, Temple does not. The Owls have a classic NFL skill set passer in Anthony Russo and fans had to cringe every time Patenaude was asking a talent like that to slide, which he did rather well.

Maybe this group of accomplished coaches looked at the current Temple personnel grouping and decided to fit the offense around the skills of the players they have and not tried to force a system onto ill-fitting players. The offense Temple should run is the exact same system Bill Belichick ran while leading the New England Patriots to the NFL championship–heavy use of the fullback to establish the run and explosive downfield plays in the passing game as a result of play-action.

Definitely the antithesis of the RPO game and something to look forward to in the weeks ahead.

Joe wrote a story that had a lot more meat to it than his Wentz one because it attached a name to a quote and hinted at real positive change.

We should find out soon enough but, with Infante around, the Owls should be in pretty good shape.

Saturday: Pure Gold

Tuesday: The Annual Season Ticket Call

Thursday: 5 Things to Watch in Spring Practice



14 thoughts on “Gabe Infante Hints at New Offense

  1. Glad Infants is at Temple. I hope Carey is successful and stays long term, but if not, Infants would be a great choice for a successor. Rabbi Dick White

  2. Five things to watch.., one should be the coaching staff, and Ed Foley in particular. In 2008 AG made Foley the TEs coach, Foley stayed there until Daz came along in 2011. Dumb Daz took Foley off the field for two years.

    MR came back and had the wisdom to put Foley back on the field as the TEs coach. Foley stayed the TE position coach all the way through the Collins era. Now Carey comes along and thinks he has a better TE position coach. What?

    Ga Tech, Maryland, and Temple will all be learning new offenses and defenses with new coaching staffs. Talent wise none is significantly better, although Maryland and Ga Tech have both enjoyed higher ranked recent recruiting classes.

    We’ll soon see how Carey and crew measure up against similar circumstance.

    • I’m not worried about GT. Most of the team was recruited for their triple option skills and with mediocre Patenfraud as OC, I cannot imagine that they will be any kind of threat on offense. If they primarily run the ball, which they should do because that fits the talent that they have, I’ll be sick because he and Collins didn’t so it at TU. I don’t believe that either Patenfraud or Collins have that much foresight though to play to their team’s strengths. If Carey is a bust, it will destroy those like me that was tired of the string of inexperienced assistant coaches TU hired and those who were calling for the hiring of an experienced winning head coach.

      • I remember John mentioned on here after Collins quit that “Temple should take a look at the Northern Illinois coach” because he wins championships and beat Buffalo. I tried to find that comment but it’s like looking for a needle in a haystack so I just have to give John Belli major props here for being the first (and only) guy to mention Carey before the Diaz hire. To me, I don’t care about the 0-6 in bowl games because we are all going to see bowl games become the college football version of the NBA all-star game. In the NBA game, nobody plays defense. In the college game, it will be even worse. No player of high significance participates because of the NFL draft. Two championships and four division titles in six years are much more important to me than 0-6 in bowl games.

  3. Only time will tell, and best of all we’ll have a set of facts to make informed assessments.

    Mark these games on the calendar, first year coach vs first year coach: Ga Tech, Maryland, ECU, and SMU.

    Word is Carey has been somewhat aloof and has not established a good relationship with the seniors and lettermen.

  4. By the way, college sports as we know them may be dead if the outcome of a lawsuit in California holds that college players have to be paid. I can foresee a true split between the haves and have-nots-those who want to pay and those that don’t. If they rule in favor of pay, colleges should just drop all sports because the idea behind having sports in college will be dead. Only 24 teams make more today than they spend on athletics. It would kill the budgets of most schools. What most people don’t realize is that by declaring players employees, their scholarships no longer will be tax free. That means that those attending the more expensive schools will have to pay tax on 60 or 70 grand a year. Also, it would destroy all non-revenue sports. Talk about killing the golden goose.

  5. There is an interview with Carey on the Athletic Webpage today. If I can cut and paste I will post here soon.

  6. By Chris Vannini 1h ago 1
    Rod​ Carey​ didn’t​ see this opportunity​ coming. Who did?

    In December,​ Northern Illinois announced a contract extension for Carey​ after winning​​ the MAC championship. Manny Diaz had already been named Temple’s head coach, replacing Geoff Collins. Everything was set.

    Then, Mark Richt made a surprise retirement announcement before the new year, Diaz went back to Miami as head coach — with the Hurricanes paying Temple a $4 million buyout — and the Owls needed a head coach again. This time, they looked in the direction of Carey, hoping for someone who isn’t looking to quickly jump to the next big job like Al Golden, Steve Addazio, Matt Rhule, Collins and Diaz all did.

    On Jan. 11, Carey, 47, became the head coach at Temple, making the rare move from one Group of 5 head coaching job to another. He left NIU with a 52-30 record, four division titles and two MAC championships, but he didn’t win more than eight games in a season in his final four years. Temple, which was one of the worst programs in the FBS until about a decade ago, has reached four consecutive bowl games.

    The always upfront and blunt Carey recently spoke with The Athletic about the decision to leave NIU and what he envisions at Temple. This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

    Rod, how have these first few months at Temple been?

    Good, but it doesn’t mean it wasn’t difficult. The difference in this compared to something else: Usually, you’re taking over a bad team. This is a good football team. They have a good culture here. Really, the challenge wasn’t coming in and changing and re-establishing. It was coming in and learning the players — how do we meld what we did at NIU with what they’re doing at Temple? We’re still in the process of that. Before I did anything, I met with all these guys. Before I went on the road recruiting, I met with every single kid here. After that, I went to see our signees, and we got on to 2020s pretty darn quick. Now, we’re starting meetings and getting everyone on the same page. This is in-the-weeds stuff.

    You’re a Midwestern guy, being from Wisconsin and spending your whole career in that area. How is the adjustment to Philadelphia?

    I like it. You don’t ever have to wonder what someone thinks about you out here. They will tell you. Like, Midwesterners get put off by that, but I don’t. They’re not being mean about it. That’s just how it is out here. “This is what I think, and I’m going to tell you.” Midwesterners might wrap it up in a bow. These guys don’t. I appreciate it, because it saves time.

    How did this come together? You’d signed an extension, Manny had the job, he backs out. How did it come together for you?

    (Temple athletic director) Pat Kraft and I knew of each other, a lot of mutual friends. They reached out. I think they were looking for a different profile than they had before, going with Power 5 coordinators. Matt, he left; Geoff, he left; Manny, he left. Probably looking for some stability. They got in contact. I’d kept track of Temple because of Pat and the people we know. There had been a couple guys on my staff that had coached through here, too, and they talked about it.

    When they reached out, obviously, I’m going to look at this. I’ve had opportunities to leave before for money. You don’t leave NIU for money, because it’s a really good place. Money is what gets you interested in something, but the reason you take a job is because it’s better. As you got into this thing out here, it’s just better. That’s not a knock on NIU, you know what I mean? It’s just saying what Temple is. You’re in Philly, you have a great recruiting base, a growing institution with 40,000 students. NIU has a lot of different issues that way. You have a culture out here that’s similar to NIU, from the standpoint of a blue-collar mentality. I love that mentality. That’s not a pervasive mentality today in college football.

    Temple has been used as a stepping-stone job. How are you approaching it? I imagine they want you sticking around for a while.

    I’m not one of those guys that likes to hop jobs, so I told them to put whatever buyout you want on the thing. I’m not interested in that. I was at NIU for eight years, six as head coach. I didn’t come here to get the next job. That’s not important to me. Like every red-blooded American, if somebody wants to hire me, you’re going to look at it if they can provide something that Temple couldn’t. But right now, I don’t know what place could come offer me that isn’t providing what Temple is.

    How do you look back at your time at NIU?

    When you leave as the fourth-winningest staff in six years, four championship games, two championships, the numbers speak for themselves. The best winning percentage of a staff over 30 games. Simply put, and I know this is a true Midwestern expression, we left the pile higher than when we came. I’m not going to lump in the two years Dave (Doeren) had, because that’s Dave. But the six years we had, the numbers speak for themselves. The woodpile is higher.

    I think expectations at NIU are outrageous and crazy, and that’s awesome that they have those. I think there are a lot of great things about that, and I wouldn’t want it any other way, but the numbers are the numbers. Everyone has their detractors, and they can say whatever they want, but we left the woodpile higher.

    I was going to ask about that, the expectations. You win the MAC last year, but some people weren’t happy with an 8-6 record. Did you feel the expectations were fair?

    I don’t think the fans and NIU have fair expectations at all, but don’t you want it that way? You want a passionate fan base, right? So, that’s OK. You’d rather have that than apathy. My problem, and I said this all the time, I just wish those passionate fans would have showed up all the time in the stands. That was a struggle. NIU is a special place and always will be to me. Our kids call that home. It’s a great place. Completely unfair expectations, but you’d rather have it that way.

    Along those lines, the MAC just released its schedule. I take it you’re excited to be playing —

    On Saturdays? Hell, yeah. There’s no doubt. When Pat gave me ours, he was almost apologetic about the two Thursday games. I’m like, “Pat, relax. I’m like a kid in a candy store. This is awesome.”

    Coming into Temple, the offense the last few years at NIU was not great. How would you describe what you’re looking to run at Temple?

    You’re right, but the years before that, we were historically great on offense. It’s not a matter that our system is broken. I think it’s more a matter of we probably didn’t execute as well as we needed to, coaches and players. We had good players. It probably comes down to the execution of coaches and players at inopportune times. We’re going to take our system and we’re going to bring it here and run it, and I know it’s going to be really good.

    Defensively, they’ve been really good (at Temple). You were good on defense at NIU. What do you make of what you have there?

    Probably one thing you can evaluate (before spring) is if you have speed on defense and offense. There’s a lot of speed on defense. It really starts there. If you can run defensively, you have the opportunity to play good defense. We have real good speed and size.

    What’s the biggest thing you need to get done before spring?

    We’ve gotta keep getting everything installed. I always say this: The transition is the biggest deal in this thing. It’s like what Thomas (Hammock) is going through at NIU. There are good players at NIU. There are good players at Temple. Two new coaching staffs. How that transition goes goes a long way for how you’re going to perform in the fall. This transition of how effectively we’re teaching and coaching is a big deal. We’re looking to get everything taught as thorough as we can so we can practice it.

    (Top photo: Ryan Brandenberg / Temple University)

    What did you think of this story?



    Chris Vannini covers the Group of Five conferences, college football coaching and national college football for The Athletic. He previously was managing editor of Follow Chris on Twitter @ChrisVannini.
    Add a comment…
    Mike H.
    58m ago
    1 like
    I’m one of those fans and alum that wanted him gone…and the fact he thinks he “left the pile higher” tells me he’s had his head in the clouds. He focuses on his record and MAC championships but fails to mention his overall record in bowl games (no wins, blowout losses). Most of his wins came with a generational player (by NIU standards) in Jordan Lynch, who he didn’t recruit. His record over the last 4 years has been average at best. Against the power 5 he will get ultra conservative and play not get blown out. Enjoy your jet sweeps and QB draws Temple there’s a reason the NIU fan base was happy to see him go.

    • Some nice nuggets there. I particularly liked the story about Rod knowing the same people that Pat knew. I tried to trace that timeline when Rod was hired and the best that I can determine is that Kraft was out of Indiana (one year out) by the time Carey got there. So it matches up that they know a lot of the same people. Plus, Carey knows Rhule (not as well as Collins did). The other thing was the unrealistic expectations of NIU fans and wished those same fans would fill the seats. Seems like NIU has an attendance problem that negatively impacts recruiting there.

    • Speed is relative.., team speed compared to what? Carey will think he has a fast team, until…, Maryland, UCF, Memphis, Houston, and USF are all faster..,

      Not a good sign Carey acknowledges he didn’t live up to NIU expectations, worse is he thinks that fan base is unrealistic…, and not a good sign he thinks his offense didn’t suck.., blames poor execution and play calling? How about scheme? oh, boy here we go again, welcome to the DAZ offense Part II.

      Imagine Franklin saying the same thing about the PSU fan base…,

      I think Carey left NIU to reboot the clock, and has a sigh of relief…,

      Maryland, Ga Tech, ECU, and SMU. How will Mr. Carey do?

  7. The attendance problem is going to worsen because too many people today of college age care very little about college sports or even organized sports in general. Hell, even Kick Saban complained about the fact that the students weren’t attending the games. Fact is that too many kids care more about tailgating than attending the game itself. That’s why many schools mandate that tailgating end when the games start. I’ve attended several TU BB games this season and the student section has only been at best half full. That’s the case with attractive opponents and and start times. That indicates to me that they won’t attend football games either, even with an on campus stadium. I would have to believe that the powers that be recognize that and must be wondering if it’s still worth it to build a stadium.

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