Reasons for Optimism at SMU

Bad news for Memphis fans at the beginning of this video

At the top of reasons to be optimistic about Temple’s chances in Dallas this weekend came a moment during a post-game interview on Saturday.

The sideline reporter grabbed Temple coach Rod Carey and asked him how satisfying the win over a ranked Memphis was and he didn’t skip a beat.


SMU quarterback Shane Buechele was one of the Elite 11 quarterbacks (along with Temple’s Anthony Russo) in 2015

“Great win, but we have a lot to clean up,” Carey said before running off the field.

That got me to thinking. Geoff Collins had a similar moment almost a year ago to the day and I wondered what he said.  So I looked it up.  After beating No. 20 Cincinnati, Collins spouted this jibberish:

“This is just a tribute to our culture and our players and the love those young men have for each other in the locker room.”


Screenshot 2019-10-17 at 9.24.22 AM

One coach talking nuts and bolts football, another so far in the abstract he reminded you of Marianne Williamson. Carey saw some things to clean up and he was already thinking about getting the bucket, mop, and Pine-Sol out. Collins was patting himself on the back so much he almost broke his spine.

That, to me, in essence, is the difference between Temple football 2018 and Temple football 2019.

Screenshot 2019-04-14 at 8.01.54 PM

Other than that, which was super important, funny how fast things can change in a couple of weeks.

A couple of weeks ago, Temple looked like a vulnerable team for “only” beating ECU, 27-17, on the road and SMU looked like the best team in the league after beating crosstown rival TCU, 41-37.

This looked like a tough spot for Temple and it still might be but what happened since was encouraging. Now things have changed just a little, even though the “public” might not see it. The line opened with SMU as a 6.5-point favorite and is now, last I checked, at 7.5. This time, though, the line tells me nothing. It would be nice, though, if even a fraction of the 25,000 Eagles fans in Dallas this weekend made the short trip to SMU to cheer on their “real” hometown squad.

Tulsa took SMU into overtime in Dallas and then fell flat on its face in a 45-10 home loss to Navy. Tulsa is not as good as we thought it might be nor probably is SMU. TCU has a good brand name but, as a current football team, probably not up to that name after losing, 49-24, to a good Iowa State team last week.

Temple can win this game if it cleans up that little mess it left on the field that allowed a ranked team to come back from a 23-7 deficit.

The fact that Carey spent this week using that mop to do some work instead of scratching his own back with it bodes well for Temple’s chances.

Saturday: Game Day


18 thoughts on “Reasons for Optimism at SMU

  1. Our pass defense looked not so good, but we played that entire game without a starting saftey and without his backup. I don’t know if they will be available for this game, but I sure hope so. This will be a tough game, but I think we will win a close one. Your analysis looks about right. Rabbi Dick White

  2. Mike, Did you catch the Malcolm Jenkins interview on WIP this week ?
    It was amazing and on point with your harping for a backfield for TU.
    Jenkins answered as to why he thought Eagles had so much trouble on D.
    He said they were not used to a O set with 2 backs, a Tight End and 2 Wide Outs !!! Said they were not certain if Pass or Run was coming.
    Imagine that, an old fashioned Traditional set where the O can either RUN or Pass because the D backs always had to keep 1 step closer incase of the RUN.
    Damn it I hate old fashioned LOGICAL Football, don’t you too.
    Proof that a backfield can help, that’s what I needed to hear , from a Pro.

    • Matt rhule said the same thing. When he went with his instincts and used a fullback to establish the run and open up passing lanes, temple became a much tougher team to prepare for because only the New England patriots play that way and nobody in college does. Every defense is geared to stop the spread and getting ready for tu in one week was just not enough time

    • amen, maybe someone will start bucking the trend and come back to some traditional formations and plays….always keep the D guessing!

  3. Geoff Collins is the biggest gas bag that I have ever met and that includes politicians. The guy is like one of those talking dolls with a string that you pull that says the same thing over and over again. He spewing the same BS at GT. I feel sorry for those fans because they think it’s going to get better. We know it’s not.

    I have never coached football but have played it and have watched as much football as some coaches and I, along with many on this site, saw immediately that he was a coaching fraud. I just hope that TU’s administration learns something from that hire, namely that they better look behind the bs and see whether the guy can coach. I knew he sucked when I watched the Florida Tennessee game the year before and Florida went up 14-0. A bad Tennessee team scored the next 35. Same with Diaz. TU dodged a bullet. Last season, he said he was staying with Miami through the bowl game because they needed him. His defense got killed. Can’t imagine how bad it would have been without him.

  4. Temple will need to block a punt, or return a kick for TD to win. Ford stadium is a Pony point magnet.

    It will be interesting to see how Carey approaches the next two games. Does he try to eat clock by milking every possession? Or, does he go uptempo and try to out run SMU and UCF?

    Temple has started the last three games with Yeboah and DMR both in on the opening series. Power vs Spread? The OC is still trying to figure out the right balance, and establish THE identity for this offense.

    When Centeio comes in, put him under center, 2 TE set. Let the play clock run to under 5 seconds, make the defense guess pass or run. Worse case, three and out in 3 minutes is infinitely better than 3 and out in 30 seconds.

    • KJ-Great analysis. SMU is built much like Memphis; very good QB and receivers. They’re weaker in the backfield than Memphis and after watching Tulsa tear then apart it’s clear that their defense is not as good as Memphis’ defense. The game comes down to whether Temple can get to the QB and cover their speedsters. Francis Brown has done wonders with the d-backs. They always don’t make the play but are always in a position to, unlike the Collins’ years when receivers were inexplicably wide open without a defender in sight. TU likely will not be able to benefit from early SMU mistakes like they did last Saturday so they will have to have their A game from the start of the game right to the last whistle to win. .

      • I don’t see a blocked punt in Temple’s future, unfortunately. Three guys rush the punter and they all stop before the guy gets the kick off. With Foley, he had 5 guys rush and they went all the way to the punter. High risk (roughing the punter), higher reward (blocked punt, possible TD). I’d like a happy medium. Go after punts when a running into the kicker penalty is only 5 yards and the bad guys need more than 5 for a first down; put the return on when it’s 4th or 5 or less.

  5. The OWL OL, Gardner, Russo, and Davis are built for the pro-set offense. The playbook needs to by tidied up. Defense can mop up most mistakes.

    • Great point and often overlooked during coaching transitions. The DNA (seniors) of this team is still largely a power team built by MR, Temple Tuff.

      Collins came in and tried to make orange juice with a cart full of apples. No dice, good luck Ga Tech!

      The Knowles defense is more like Snow’s than it is Thacker’s, so we have success on that side of the ball.

      Offense is a different question. The OC came in pre-determined, with little regard for the roster. Good news is he doesn’t appear to be stupid or stubborn, the offense continues to evolve (he has started three games in a row with two TEs).

      The 64K question is racing in Carey’s brain. Will he fully embrace Temple Tuff and recruit those type of kids? Or, will he stick with the spread?

      How much can you alter DNA and still survive?

      • We’ll find out when he signs his first class. (last year really doesn’t count). If he signs more athlete types rather than big guys we’ll know which way he’s going. Don’t really know much about the third string QB and whether he’s an RPO or more traditional QB. We know Russo’s back for one more year so we may see two qbs for awhile.

      • Fran Brown is a proven recruiter and was instrumental in getting a lot of the 2016 championship team through now.

  6. the 2020 Class looks a bit schizophrenic.., 9 big guys, a bunch of athletes/WRs types, and only one RB and one LB.., which is why it appears Carey is pondering the future direction…, it would be helpful if Infante could pull a few local kids. There is only 1 recruit from Pa in the next class.

    Must factor in the portal, success on D this year is in part due the outstanding play from 23 (all conference) and 13. Also, 96 is another huge addition.
    Let’s get another two or three starters (DE/LB) from the portal next season.

    Russo picked Temple over Memphis last week, and is picking SMU this week:

  7. Thank God that was Ralph and not Anthony 🙂

  8. I’m curious as to what it means to each AAC school to have one of its teams in a New Years Bowl. 1M? Anyone know?

  9. SMU, Southern Methodist, Interesting. They were once part of that fabled old conference the ‘ South West’ , with many big time teams.
    A close family member ( bro) went to T A&M, so as a kid brother I ways always interested when he told us the stories of the Games they he saw at A&M stadium including SMU.
    There’s often a tie in to a school if you think about it.
    I think TU can win, need the D to do their miracles again.

    Is it OK to recall about old times, I hope so.

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