Editor’s Note: Dave “Fizzy” Weinraub is a frequent contributor to this website and former Temple football player and, later, a high school coach. These are his observations on the 20-17 win over Maryland.
By Dave “Fizzy” Weinraub
In Texas, the sun is shining
In Waco the skies are blue,
But if your name’s Ed Foley
You’re really pissed off too.
Raising my right hand, I would like to forthrightly say I’m thrilled with the win over Maryland. Obviously, the defense was spectacular. Four goal-line stands are the most I’ve ever seen and against a previously scintillating offense. Defensive coordinator Jeff Knowles and every defensive coach and player deserve any and all the accolades you can muster. It was a fantastic performance by very talented guys.
Now, let’s see where we can improve. Wait, did someone mention special teams?
With the help of the Inquirer’s Mike Jensen, I totaled nine bad plays made by the not so special teams. Besides the penalties, shanked kicks, bad snaps, missed field goals, and a blocker running into a bouncing ball, there was some coach’s strategy I need to have explained. After the bad snap which resulted in a safety, why would you kick-off and not punt where you’d get better hang time? On some punts by Maryland, why did our receiving team do nothing? I mean they didn’t try to block the punt nor try to set up a run back; they just stood around.
Now I know it’s Isaiah Wright, but common sense should tell you that when fielding a punt or kickoff on one side of the field, you don’t waste three or four seconds trying to get to the other side to find a lane. All that does is allow the defense to get further down the field. straight upfield and one block could get the lane he’s looking for. So before we leave the not so special teams, Coach Carey’s removal of Ed Foley as special team’s coach looks terrible right now.
Now, a few things regarding the offense. One big negative is the four times Russo tried to throw a hook just over the first down marker, the same receiver never turned around. How does that happen four times? Why would you keep going back to that play?
In the first half, Wright would run a late-developing pattern across the middle. It was open both times, but Russo didn’t make accurate throws. Why didn’t they go back to that play in the second half?
Despite the fumble in the second half, Gardner looked to be the much stronger runner over Davis. Why didn’t he get more carries?
On one of our drives down the field in the second quarter, we were chewing up the yardage on the ground, gaining nice chunks almost every play. Suddenly, there was an incomplete first-down pass and the drive stalled. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
On a few fourth and ones, our play call was a handoff five yards deep against a stacked defense, allowing them penetration. We have a 6′ 4″ quarterback who weighs around 230 pounds. Certainly, a quarterback sneak is preferable.
I was surprised to learn from Jensen’s article that our two long bombs for touchdowns were from check-offs at the line of scrimmage by Russo. Perhaps the coaches should let him call more of the plays. It’s good, however, he’s allowed the freedom to change the plays.
With 2:25 left in the game and Maryland’s offense in disarray on fourth down, why would we call a time out? It did turn out rather well though, didn’t it?
All in all, though, the offense is way more efficient than ever before.
So, Defense gets an A+, offense gets a B, and special teams an F. Thank you Football Gods. We should be among the top 25 this week.
Thursday: Questions and Answers
Saturday: Game Day