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.
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.
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