By Dave (Fizzy) Weinraub
[Before we review, be advised that those who get the Inquirer found absolutely no coverage of the game. If you’d like to write a nasty letter, go to firstname.lastname@example.org. My letter is already there.]
Before the season started, I was asked to predict our record for 2019. Looking over a tough schedule coupled with a new coaching staff, I thought 6-6 would be the final result. I’m so pleased to be wrong. We’re now 7-3 with the possibility of more wins.
However, does that mean we should do the mummer’s strut down Broad Street? Not yet! There’s lots of room for improvement. And as the newspapers usually give an excellent account of what happened and who starred in the game, I like to take an in-depth look at the coaching decisions.
Obviously, our defense was terrific. The “Wild Boys,” as they call themselves, were the main reason we held on to the victory. Lead by Quincy Roche, they terrorized the very talented Tulane QB, who became quite nervous as the game continued. He was not only nervous but also quite agitated at the two or three times Temple should have been called for late hits, after he threw the ball. And that’s my first comment. If those penalties had been called, they might have affected the outcome of the game. Add to those uncalled penalties, were the three after the whistle unsportsmanlike calls for 15 yards apiece. One of our guys even reached over the shoulder of a ref to push his adversary. I don’t have any stats, but I’m sure we are among the most penalized teams in the league. The coaching staff has to find a way to tame the guys. This was the 10th game and the penalties haven’t stopped. Maybe our tough guys need some sensitivity training.
I try to stay away from criticizing the official’s calls, as they usually even out. They did on Saturday, as the referees who didn’t make the roughing the passer calls on Temple, also didn’t call the numerous ‘holding’ infractions by the Tulane offensive line. So there!
I’ve previously been remiss in not mentioning our end-of the-half play calling. Yesterday was at least the second time, and possibly the third, we’ve had the ball in reasonably good field position with over two minutes left on the clock, and a small lead. And what did we do with these opportunities? Well, we basically got really conservative and ran out the clock. Yesterday, Tulane had enough time to get downfield and almost score. What is our offensive coordinator thinking? We had the wind. Throw the ball downfield and put the game away.
Similarly, we did the same chicken-shit play calling in our last possession and it almost led to a possible tying score by Tulane.
Now, back again to the first-and-goal calls. We had to kick three field goals because we couldn’t score. Two times we had first-and-goal. I would like to point out that first down in this situation is the only time you can truly fool the defense. That’s because the following calls are based on what happened on first down. So if you’re going to fool the defense, the first down play is most important. In the past, we’ve always run-up-the gut on one and sometimes two plays. Yesterday, we ran up-the-gut on the first occasion, but not on the second. However, all the passes on both series of downs were direct throws with no play fakes. That’s dumb. I could offer any number of terrific plays that make great use of faking to a running back in that situation, and they should happen on first down.
I still don’t understand why Russo doesn’t run more. He mentioned before the season started that he was thrilled with the offense because there were so many RPO’s attached to the plays. So why doesn’t he keep the ball? There were so many times he could have had considerable yardage.
I can’t stop without a defensive comment. Tulane walked in for a score based on two successive running plays. The first running play had a hole so big Santa Clause could have scored. So what did we do on the next play when they had first and goal? We lined up in the same defense – so they ran the same play and strolled into the end zone. How could we not go into a gap defense on the goal line?
This past week a local sports-writer called me grumpy. Okay, so here’s a story.
I was not paying attention while I was driving, and tapped a guy’s bumper at a red light. When he came out, I was embarrassed because he was a dwarf. When he saw a small dent, he said, “I’m not happy!” To which I replied, “Well which one are you?”
Thursday: Hazard Warning