That’s no way to play the game in Philly

There were a couple of good things to say about Saturday night.

Neither, unfortunately, had anything to do with what happened on the field.

One, the rain held off until after everybody was gone which was about midway through the third quarter. Two, it was warmer than expected for a night game in late October in Philadelphia.

That’s about it.

Temple football's Khalif and Wyatt

Bernard Pierce (30) thanks his fullback Wyatt Benson (44) and tight end Evan Rodriguez (88) in the good old days when Temple used fullbacks and tight ends to lead the way for great tailbacks, control the clock and keep the ball out of the hands of spread offense teams.

The game itself was a 62-21 shit show with Temple trying to out-UCF the Knights at their own game.

Good teams make you play their game and not fall into the trap of playing the other guy’s game. This was about as bad a game plan as we’ve seen since Matt Rhule’s first year. He eventually learned to go back to his instincts, which was to ditch the spread for a pro-style game.

We don’t even know what Rod Carey’s instincts are but they were the wrong ones on the past two Saturdays.

The way Temple football became relevant over the last decade was to run the ball behind fullbacks and tight ends, shorten the game, have long drives, keep your defense and the opposing offense off the field. That’s the kind of game that Philadelphia fans love.

We’ve seen less and less of that DNA this year and it was particularly on display in the last two weeks.

Unless something changes drastically, Temple football will lose whatever relevance it has in the American Athletic Conference as the years go along.

Screenshot 2019-10-27 at 1.47.25 AM

For some reason unbeknownst to me, a Northern Illinois staff that used the RPO offense has force-fed that same offense on a Temple roster better suited to run a power football game.

Great coaches tailor their schemes to the talent that they have and not the talent that they want, even if they were more comfortable doing something elsewhere.

Run the ball behind H-blocks, tight ends and, yes, even a fullback, and the chances are that UCF doesn’t have the ball enough to score even half of the 62 points it finished with on Saturday night. Instead, the Owls try to do things ass-backward this year, try to establish the run off the pass instead of the other way around.

Bill Belichick doesn’t run Tom Brady out of an RPO nor should Rod Carey do the same with Anthony Russo. You don’t see the Detroit Lions running an RPO for Matthew Stafford. That’s a crazy offense that minimizes what you can get out of a quarterback with a strong arm.

The Temple DNA has been to load up a great tailback behind a great offensive line, establish the run, and open up lanes in the passing game with play-action fakes.

That’s what made Temple the winningest team (tied with Memphis) in the league until last week. That’s Temple TUFF.  Knock people off the ball, control the clock, and make plays in the passing game off play-action fakes to the running backs. When you have key injuries in a number of areas (center, defensive tackles, safety), you build a scheme around shortening the game and slowing the game down when playing a fast-break team.

That did not happen on Saturday night and I don’t know if this coaching staff will ever improvise and adjust. Unless they do, we’re looking at a six-win season and that’s medicority in a season that was supposed to be a lot better.

Tuesday: Fizzy’s Corner


29 thoughts on “That’s no way to play the game in Philly

  1. That game was atrocious. Lots of things to question including why Carey didnt call a timeout towards the end of the 2Q to give the defense a blow. Next play was a TD pass down the sideline. Isaiah Wright has been very disappointing and looks disinterested—most draft prospects wait til the bowl game for that. The OL hasnt blocked worth a damn for 2 games and we got no pressure on their QB last night. Straight trash to watch. When are they gonna wake up? We just cant take that next step beyond being semi-relevant.

  2. Four possibilities only now

    1. shit-for-luck
    2 team not so good after all
    3.Coaching poor, maybe with technique, formations, or play call choices
    4.key players don’t like Cary and his Group, and if so will not lay down their lives on the field now as a lost cause.

    • 1. You make your own luck
      2. Depth was always a lurking issue in the background
      3. Offensive scheme does nothing to help its defense
      4. You don’t lose 63-21 without an element of quitting in there. That’s not Temple TUFF and if they don’t break down the film and find and punish the offenders, they are never going to fix it.

  3. Aside from key injuries, there is something radically wrong going on with this team. Wrong schemes or whatever but TU just doesn’t have the speed these top AAC teams have – take them to 3rd and long and bam, either runs or passes that just shoot past our guys for long gains and TDs. Isaiah looks hurt to me. He isn’t running hard and hasn’t been the last few games (somethings wrong there). He’s also letting punts and kickoffs go past him instead of stepping up to catch it allowing the other team to down it near our goal line often – what’s up with that? Last night was embarrassing and harks back to bygone years of futility. Crap……. We’ll go 6-6 or 7-5, go to a crappy bowl game and probably lose (we need to win a bowl game). Concerns about how well Carey will recruit too.

  4. Someone please tell the OC that you are allowed to use the middle of the field. I can only recall 2 passes the entire game going to the middle of the field. The first touchdown pass, and one late in the game to Mack that was knocked down by a defender. Everything else was outside the hashes. It makes it real easy on the defense when they only have to defend a fraction of the field.

    Also, please tell the DC that you are allowed to blitz. Second week in a row we let a QB just stand in the pocket and bomb away without sending a blitz to knock him around or at least get his feet moving so he has to throw on the run.

    I just don’t understand the logic on either side of the ball.

  5. PS: Mack played a heck of a game last night. He’s really tough, has good hands and plays hard.

  6. Don’t know what this staff will do for the rest of this season, my bigger concern is what Carey’s direction will be building this team going forward. If he and the staff want to go RPO then we need to get a QB, transfer portal?, who can run it. Don’t think either Russo or Centeio are really suited to run it. With the current talent on the rooster judicious use of the transfer portal for a couple of key contributors can get things moving the right way. Then focus recruiting on players who fit that scheme like Golden and Rhule. Otherwise, we’re probably more than a few recruiting classes away from having that fast break style of “video game” offense like SMU, UCF, etc.

    • That’s why I think we should concentrate on recruiting the type of players Golden and Rhule did and run that type of offense and build that kind of toughness on defense. We’re just a few pieces away from completing that type of team; we’re about 100 pieces away from building the type of team Carey seems to want to have.

      • Does anyone know what Carey has in mind for TUFB identity? How in the world can you successfully recruit/build a team when you don’t know where you want to go?

        Baylor is undefeated and everyone in America knows how it happened.

        This Indiana connection with TUFB is a lawyer’s dream. Classic ‘Hit and Run’.

        MR should have stayed. The AAC is a great conference. Temple would be in the Top 10 this year under MR.

        Players never quit on MR. As bad as Collins was players didn’t quit.

        A few players quit on Carey last night. That was the first time since the Daz era.

      • Baylor offered Rhule 2 things he wouldn’t get at TU, maybe 3. Two things for sure a lot more $$$ and a better chance to get into the playoffs. A third thing might be better visibility in the Big 12 to get an NFL offer which I think is his ultimate goal. His stint at TU had served it’s purpose and I don’t think there was anything more for him to gain staying

      • I thought Rhule was a Temple lifer. He was given a raise from $1.2 million per year to $2.4 million a year extension through 2021 and had more money to live on than he needed. He had a million-dollar home in Cape May (still does). Temple went above and beyond what it could reasonably afford to keep him. In fact, both Collins ($2 million) and Carey ($2 million) are making less than what Rhule made. If we can’t keep Rhule, we can’t keep anyone. We were lucky to have Wayne Hardin for 13 years. There are no more Wayne Hardins out there anymore. Bottom line: When Rhule figured out what it took to make Temple a perennial powerhouse, he took that blueprint with him and none of his successors believed in following it to their downfall (so far). Carey is a good coach. He should be able to go back, look at the film, and figure it out.

      • Mike, I believe Carey is a good enough coach to look at what Rhule did and figure it out. The question is will he do that or stick with what he is “comfortable” with. The thing with Rhule’s blueprint and for that matter Golden as well is that they are familiar and comfortable with that style of football coming out of PSU. Look at the MAC, outside of Temple most of the top teams there played more of a pass first, high scoring style. Maybe part of the issue is Kraft didn’t look at the tape, figure it out and target coaches “comfortable” with a defensive oriented, ball control style of football, and that’s not a knock on Carey

  7. When something happens once, it’s an occurrence. Twice is a pattern. Three times is a trend. I’m seeing trends I don’t like in the games that were losses. Buffalo was a bad loss, SMU was worse, but UCF went to a level not seen before. I’ve got some concerns on the head coach. He says it’s fixable. I hope so.

    • I think he’s putting all his eggs as far as the blame/excuse as/on getting Matt, Benny and Iffy back. I think it’s a lot deeper than that. I hope he’s right and I’m wrong. Haven’t seen a Temple defense gouged like that since the last time we played Clemson.

  8. Does any one realize that over the past two weeks, Temple has played the teams that will probably be in the AAC championship game. Both UCF & SMU had speed on both sides of ball and bigger guys in the trenches against Temple. That combined key injuries on the Temple Team and lack of roster depth is what killed Temple these past few weeks.

    Geoff Collins dismal recruiting class rankings have finally caught up with is team. Rod Carey wasn’t able to recruit very well because of his late hire at Temple. I think that will change after this season.

    Realistically, the talent level if this team has take a dip from previous years team, and its starting to show on the field. Especially when the AAC conference is becoming more competitive.

    The Coaching carousel over the past years has affected this team, but give Rod Carey some credit for this team being 5-3 .

  9. For Carey to get a B for the season, he has to get 2 more wins at a minimum. There is no question that after the first team, the talent drops off a cliff. Thanks Geoff. Mr. Recruiter pooped the bed both of his years. His classes were ranked 119 and 78 according to Owl Scoop. Both are unacceptable especially the 119 year, his first year. Rhule had Owls at78 and then 69, 80, and 59. Carey had em at 83. Can’t build depth on those numbers. Carey needs to be at or below 60 to rectify the recruiting deficiencies. Nevertheless, keep that in mind when critiquing his coaching. Knowing how poor the recruiting classes were, the guy’s doing a phenomenal job. Was surprised to see Rhule had an 80 his third year. Maybe he foresaw the drop off in talent. Looked at NIU-Carey’s recruiting was not that good.

    • That is where Carey has to be smart enough to put recruiting in the hands of Fran Brown

      • I know both of you guys were in when they hired him I was not .he’s not a Temple guy and he brought all of his assistants and got rid of some Temple people . He was a head coach in the MAC . Big deal ,hopefully he can recruit some kids from the local area so Temple can get tough again

      • He’s got to beat either usf there or Tulane there or both for this to be a successful season; 6-6 won’t cut it

      • @Fjones
        Who cares that we hired Rod Carey from the MAC.
        I’d rather hire an active successful head coach , or an ex HC with success on the Division 1 level, rather than a ‘hot’ coordinator that will leave in 2-4 years .

    • I don’t know what you’re looking at John and Mike saying that this guy is a good coach .you’re still going to give this guy a b after Saturday’s game .no way he gets an F . You guys make too many excuses for this coach just watch the rest of the season and see what happens . He’s garbage and he brought a lot of trash with him .

  10. Temple Tuff was inspired by loyal Owl fans. Knocked down, get up, shake it off, ask Mickey (Mike Gibson) where to punch. Play hitters not quitters.

  11. Hey Frankie before SMU and UCF you likely were saying that he’s a good coach, I understand that Maryland was miss-ranked and was not a top 25 team but Memphis was and UCF would be one had their coach not made an error during the Pitt game. They schooled Pitt at home and have scored more points than any team Pitt has played this year. UCF’s coach decided not to kick a field goal and instead went for a killer first down. They didn’t get it. And if you think 5-3 reflects on the ability of the coach, it’s clear that you don’t have a clue about TU football. Carey is the only coach to beat two ranked teams in a season. Most people had him at 5-2 at this point in the season and for two many years, 2-5 would have been a miracle at this point in the season. . Finally, Carey can’t be blamed because his defenders are slower than the opponents’ receivers. Like I said, the current problem rests primarily on lousy recruiting. The time to judge Carey is in year three after he’s had two complete recruiting seasons. Friggin Collins had a recruiting class ranked 119. That’s as bad as it gets.

    • John,
      I’ve been following Temple football since god awful days of Jerry Berndt. So I have a pretty good clue about Temple Football. I’ll wait to the end of the season to grade Carey’s season.

      Otherwise, I agree with you regarding Collins . He was a fraud. Now Carey has to play with cards he was dealt with from Collins lousy recruiting .

      I can’t agree with someone on this site calling Carey garbage and failure at this point, given this season’s record.

    • Looking at Miami so far this season I think this team is 4-4 at best with Diaz and no better if Collins stayed. Still think this team has a good chance to win 8 games then let’s see how recruiting pans out before I start saying Carey was a bad choice. As for garbage coach’s I’ll take the coordinators from a MAC championship team over an OC from Coastal Carolina and a DC from Kennesaw State

      • No guy that goes 52-30 as an FBS head coach (including 4-2 against Big 10 teams with G5 talent) is a garbage coach. Carey probably was the best guy out there we could have hired. I would have taken Leipold of Buffalo over him, but I certainly think Diaz would have been an unmitigated disaster here and the continued presence of Collins and Patenaude would have spiraled the program downward. Still, beating UConn to go 6-6 won’t cut it. They don’t have to win out but winning 3 of 4 is the expectation here. If we play the way we played the last two weeks, though, we won’t beat Tulane or USF.

  12. PJ fleck was
    Available when they hired Collins I believe. We should have rowed the boat

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