Patenaude: Just what the doctor ordered

Let’s face it: The Temple Owls looked sick last week against Buffalo and they need a prescription to look like their old selves–or at least the Rosey-cheeked (Cherry-cheeked?) group that played against Maryland.

A Dave Patenaude pill washed down by a little of Geoff Collins’ swag juice might be just what the doctor ordered and that should be delivered at Lincoln Financial Field on Saturday (3:30 p.m.) when Georgia Tech head coach Collins and his offensive coordinator Patenaude come to town.

At least that’s what Vegas thinks as the Owls were installed as a 9.5-point favorite and that rose to double-digits quickly.

Football is a strange game with an odd-shaped ball that takes funny bounces so it cannot be predicted from a mathematical standpoint. If that were the case, Syracuse, which beat Liberty (24-0) and lost to a Maryland-team (63-20) with Liberty beating Buffalo (35-17) would have meant Temple over Buffalo by 85 points.

It didn’t work out that way because it’s hard to give an X factor to overconfidence or a Y factor to turnovers or a Z factor to three dropped third-down passes.

Still, the variables involved with Patenaude and, to a lesser extent, Collins are pretty rigid and well-known in Temple land and have carried over to Atlanta.


Patenaude with the approval of Collins overhauled a highly successful Temple pro-type (at least the same pro-type run by Bill Belichick in Boston) and turned it into a spread ill-advised to suit the talents of the team he inherited all because that’s what “everybody else” does or because that’s what he did at Coastal Carolina.  He probably should have won nine regular-season games his first year (instead of six) using the Matt Rhule system and at least 10 his second year but underachieved both years. In the 40-plus years I’ve followed Temple football, Patenaude was the worst coordinator-level coach here I’ve ever seen and there was not even a close second.

National people who don’t know better think Collins did a great job here. Local people here, not so much.

So what has he done in Atlanta?

He repeats the same mistake again, trying to force-fit square pegs into round holes.

Both have a team that was exclusively recruited to run a triple-option and have now turned it into a college spread because (you guessed it) “everybody else does it.” Great generals know if they have a strong infantry and weak cavalry they don’t design an attack based on the kind of cavalry they hope to have. Instead, they accentuate the infantry in any battleplan. Similarly, great coaches like Belichick don’t do things because everybody else does it. They do things to fit their personnel and make it work with flawless execution. If Patenaude and Collins were great coaches, they would recruit the personnel they want to fit their offense first and make it work only when those guys are ready to play and not the other way around. They would try to make some form of a triple-option work until then.

Rod Carey proved last week that he wasn’t perfect (really, no one is). I’m still no more thrilled that he has Anthony Russo run a read-option offense than I would be if Belichick did the same with Tom Brady. Overall, though,  I’m glad he’s the doctor to nurse this team back to health and those guys on the other sideline holding up silly money down placards are the cure.

At least that’s what my instincts tell me. We will find out for sure in 48 hours.

Predictions early this week (to get the Maryland-PSU game in): MARYLAND getting 6.5 against visiting Penn State, WAKE FOREST giving 6.5 against visiting Boston College, SMU giving 7 at South Florida, EAST CAROLINA getting 3 at Old Dominion, UAB giving 2 at Western Kentucky, TOLEDO getting 3.5 over visiting BYU, CINCINNATI giving 3 at Marshall. Last week: 5-0 against the spread with Coastal Carolina covering the 17 against UMass (winning, 62-28), Old Dominion covering the 30-point underdog status at Virginia (losing, 28-17), Boston College covering the 7 at Rutgers (winning, 30-16), Indiana covering the 27 against UConn (winning, 38-3) and Iowa State covering the 29.5 against Louisiana-Monroe (winning, 72-20). Season so far: 12-4 straight up, 6-5 against the spread. 

Saturday: Game Day

Sunday: Game Analysis


22 thoughts on “Patenaude: Just what the doctor ordered

  1. Collins’ defensive coordinator is no better. Despite having much of the defense back, guys who practiced against the triple option for years, he did not know how to handle Citadel’s triple option and was burned by it time after time. Collins is a boob.

    • Thacker=Kennesaw State; Patenaude=Coastal Carolina; compare that to the last jobs of the Daz coordinators: Chuck Heater, DC, National Champion Florida Gators; Scot Loeffler, QB coach, National Champion Florida Gators. Plus, the current Temple staff is all proven championship FBS coaches. Most of the support staff on GT are non-champion FCS guys. Can’t believe the GT fans haven’t seen through this guy yet. It took us, what, one or two games?

  2. Let’s see what G Collins and his staff cab get done vs Temple.
    My fear is that our QB Russo continues to be un-trustworthy.
    Is the game O scheme stupid form him also, just like under Paten-fraud was?
    We will also be at the Game for 3:30.

    BTW, respectfully and with good cheer I do believe perhaps it was I, Moi, Me. who first wrote the label Paten-Fraud here on TFF ? I think so….
    No big deal if I’m incorrect .

    BTW #2. I bought Tixx here online and I went thru a hell of a learning curve to get to have them delivered but no physical Tixx.
    I had to study and read read read to learn about Google Pay APP and sent them there so the Gate can read these Tixx from my Android.

    Lots of work here, but now I know, but do not trust having my Credit card Info with Google Pay App, just to get Tixx……

  3. So why in the hell do 4 of 7 Inquirer reporters pick GT to win?

  4. Ga Tech will win if we keep throwing INTs.

    we’ll win if Davis runs for over 100 yards and Temple finishes ahead in time of possession.

    the game plan should be like the Houston game last year.., ran the ball 58 times, no fumbles/INTs, finished with 34 minutes time of possession

    • That just dangles the offense we all want to see
      Show us two tight ends and a blocking fullback
      With our TEs that’s still a dynamic pass game
      Plus we’d see our backs getting yardage like buffalo got

    • Gimme that offense
      Blocking fullback, two TE’s
      With our TE guys that’s still a dynamic passing game
      Our RB’s could get yardage like buffalo did against us

      • Sorry, Mike the system told me I got blocked so I rephrased.
        Think I just double clicked
        Delete whichever one, please

      • That’s OK, Josh, leaving them all in… to me, you don’t have to run a spread to have a dynamic passing game. Belichick uses the fullback a lot (especially in the red zone) and that sets up Brady for a lot of great play-action fakes in the scoring area. No one respects Brady as a runner and that’s OK. Belichick doesn’t try to tell Brady to run a read-option nor should Carey try to do the same for Russo. Read-option doesn’t work if they are going to key on the runner every time and that’s what happens with relatively immobile guys like Brady and Russo. I say create passing lanes in other ways. I hope Carey isn’t so married to the read-option he falls into the Patenaude trap of force-feeding a system on kids who are better suited for another system.

    • I haven’t commented this season, holding my tongue as I absorb everything. Saw KJs post and had to spit it out. From the first series my thought was that this offense is just the same stuff from the other guy….can someone break the trend and run an offense that fits TU? In what universe would a defense worry about Russo pulling the ball and running? Set up a hard hitting run package with a fullback, tights and an o-line drooling to maul people….and then do what you want after that.

    • It’s a smart move .
      The strength of this team is around the QBs ( Russo & Centeio ) and the receivers . The obvious weakness is this team does not have an established or dependable running back. Sometimes you have to change what was done in the past to move forward .

      • right…the strength is a dropback passer (Russo). prototypical, 6′ 4 230. Establish the run to give him a play action option/possibility. He can’t run the ball with any threat to the defense so why have him running an PRO. obviously Gardner has experience and the freshman can split some time with him. But if you want to try and tell me that Russo can hurt me running….no chance. For that offense there must be a fear of the QB hurting you with his feet….not a chance with Russo.

      • I agree, Brian. Play-action (not read-option) is the way to go given the talent Carey inherited. Really discouraged that he doesn’t see that or is so married to what he did at NIU that he doesn’t care. Otherwise, damn good coach and so happy to have him over Collins it’s not even funny.

  5. I see Yeboah having a big game tomorrow .
    I also see a high turn out tomorrow.
    Tickets are getting scarce on the Owls side of the field on Stub Hub.

  6. Was that Maryland getting 6.5 or 65?

  7. Pingback: Georgia Tech fans now know the feeling – Temple Football Forever

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