TU-UConn: A case of de Ja Vu

If some of the old-timers like me felt a little bit of deja vu on Saturday, it could be understood.

The last time a lot of us remember Temple trailing at halftime and winning, 49-17, it was at Veterans Stadium and the year was 1979.

Head coach Wayne Hardin told me the story then.

“I turned to (defensive coordinator) Vince (Hoch) and said, ‘What do we do?’ He said, ‘I don’t know, coach, what do you think?”

Screenshot 2019-11-30 at 11.30.33 PM

Hardin thought about throwing the ball but instead decided to give the ball to a great running back from Coatesville named Sherman Myers. “Tank” scored five second-half touchdowns, then a Temple record, in a 49-17 win.

The difference between then and now?

That Syracuse team was one of only 30 bowl teams that year. So was Temple. Now there are 80 bowl teams in a watered-down college football landscape.

That Syracuse team had future NFL Hall of Famers Joe Morris and Art Monk.

I doubt that this UConn team will have a single future Hall of Famer and I know for certain that the Huskies are about as far away from a bowl as any program in the country.

The 49-17 score this time was cosmetic but it was pretty good makeup so the current Owls deserve a lot of credit for averting disaster. Call it lipstick on a pig.

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When people all over the country see the final, they will think Temple took care of business the way Temple was expected to do so prior to the game as a 29.5-point favorite. What isn’t as noticeable in the boxscore is that UConn led for half of the game and Temple needs to play better if it is going to win a bowl game.

I talked to two former Temple quarterbacks (before the game) who shall remain nameless and mentioned to them that this offense is ill-suited to the talents of the best quarterback on the team, Anthony Russo. Temple needs to run the same offense with Russo it ran in the last two years with P.J. Walker. Ditch the spread and establish a power running game and only then throw off play-action fakes. They both said they are going to sit down with current head coach Rod Carey and take that argument to him.

Good luck with that because that’s really the only way Temple goes from 8-4 this year to 10-2 or better the next. This season went way too fast and Temple had way too much offensive talent to struggle to score 13 on Cincinnati last week.

Carey is going to have to be flexible, but there’s nothing in his history at Northern Illinois that suggests he’s anything but stubborn. Great coaches, though, design an offense that suits their talent and the next few months will tell if Carey is great or just good.

At Temple, just good won’t do.

Tuesday: Season Recap

Thursday: An Ideal Bowl Matchup


29 thoughts on “TU-UConn: A case of de Ja Vu

  1. Against Cincy, Russo missed at least two passes that would have gone for touchdowns. He tends to overshoot long passes. Aside from the terrible kicking game, those two in the clear touchdown passes would have given us the victory, no doubt. It is beginning to look to me that Centeio, in addition to being much more mobile that Russo, is a more accurate passer. He throws what I like to call, catchable passes while Russo, though stronger, is a flame thrower. He did throw some nice touch passes today, but he missed Blue on a touchdown pass when he threw it a bit two far and over the wrong shoulder. I hope he can do much better next year. Salisrab (Rabbi Dick White)

    • To me this is the only game where Centeio has shown that both with his passing and mobility. Before today I really didn’t feel he was the QB after Russo in 2021. Still not sold on him as a starting QB.

  2. As many have mentioned before, there must be a “no return/just catch” order placed on Wright for punt returns. There were a couple yesterday that I thought for sure he was going to return. One of them had 5 yards between he and 51 of Uconn, who by the looks of it, would never be able to pin down Wright. Then Wright had to listen to 51 talking smack thinking it was his coverage making him fair catch it. Looked odd.

    • Agree about Wright. A couple of times last night he could have run but instead called fair catch almost as soon as the ball was punted. Very strange season for him after the success he had last year. .

  3. Those hoping for the Military Bowl should note that there could be Eagle Bank Bowl cold in the East about the time of the bowl. I still feel the cold from that game. Owls, but for a couple of hiccups, had a good season. The defense got back to playing Temple Tuff. Unlike under Collins, there were very few times when a defender was not within five yards of the receiver as was the case under Collins. It will be an interesting off season. Can Russo improve? He showed he can run and has to do it more often if Owls stick with this offense. Will they benefit from the transfer portal? Getting Blackshear will lessen the loss of Gardner and allow the Owls to run a two back set. And, can they recruit a class in the top half of the conference? The cupboard needs restocking after three bad recruiting seasons. If the Owls win the bowl, Carey will tie Addazzio for the most wins by a first year coach, Addazio had better talent relative to the level of competition than Carey did. We have to hope there is no sophomore jinx as befell Addazzio who fell to 4-8. That would be disastrous. One good thing for next season is that the Owls won’t have to face Perry at Navy who is a senior and was spectacular against Houston yesterday.

    • Carey needs to buckle up and double down on bringing in league leading talent.

      The top conference teams continue to get bigger, stronger, and much faster. Our WRs are good but lack league leading speed, i.e., SMU WR type speed.

      Why can’t our position coaches recruit? For instance, our RB coach should be bringing in top notch RBs from the local area.

      Things will only get tougher on the recruiting trail w/Rutgers and Schiano. Does Carey have a true appreciation for where he stands on the recruiting trail?

      Hoping for the Frisco Bowl. Dallas is a doable trip.

      • KJ you say bring in local recruits , how are they going to do that these coaches don’t know anything about this area . Brown will probably leave to go to Rutgers .this coach will probably try to bring players from Mac conference .

      • I look at this first year as a transition for Carey with his focus on learning what he has on the current roster, putting his system in place, etc. This recruiting class forward is what I’m going to be looking at. Would like to see Infante be more integral with recruiting, should have the contacts both in the Philly area and central/north Jersey. As with Carey giving him this first year getting acclimated to the move up to college. As for the coaches not knowing anything about this area, seems to be a TU and Rutgers fixation. Looking at Huepel’s staff when he first took over at UCF and not a lot of Florida coaches there. Let’s see what Cary and the staff do moving forward.

  4. I may be wrong but I think the Owls for next year have a solid run game with Davis and Ruley and at receiver with “Mack and Blue” – a nickname I’m giving them, as in black and blue, because they are tough guys after the catch picking up extra yards often bulldozing thru defenders. And to say nothing of super sideline catches. Yeah yesterday was against a lousy team but these guys showed some stuff. UConn did their usual thing by starting out pretty good and then falling apart for the rest of the game. Bowl game next, hopefully for that ninth win. Go Owls.

  5. News Flash: Russo Ran, for a TD! Wow, and looked good doing it.

  6. Looks like Daz let go in BC.

  7. The portal gives and also takes away. Yeboah is in the portal because he wasn’t thrown to enuf.

    • Don’t blame him for leaving , The way this offense is designed I would want to go somewhere where they throw me the ball more . Better shot at getting drafted not with this coach .

  8. Yeboah wasn’t utilized much in the offense but that has been the case with TEs here since Rodriguez who was probably the last TE who caught more than 20 passes in a season.

    • Yeboah transfers to Baylor…, who used to coach TEs at Temple?

      another sighting of the Foley Ghost appears imminent

      • Yeboah is a huge loss!! I don’t blame him, when that kind of talent isn’t used!!!How can Coach Carey be ok with that move? Seemed every time he touched the ball it was a big play.

      • Carey should have bent over backward to keep Foley. The only guys who he bends over backward for are NIU guys. Not a good sign at all and that’s coming from someone who likes the guy. He’s got to do a better job with the remaining Temple guys: Infante, DiMichele and Brown, including promote them to positions like DC and OC.

  9. Scuttlebutt is Baylor. We stole one from them (Hand, who they stole from us). Now they stole one from us. This is getting ridiculous but I can see it from the players’ perspective. If coaches can jump ship every couple of years, then they can, too. Don’t remember Matt Rhule PASSING to the tight ends a whole lot at Temple so, if he holds true to form, Kenny will catch less passes there than he did here. Matt used the tight ends as power blockers ahead of the fullback in the running game. Doubt that he will change philosophy because of one player.

    • We need to keep score on the 2020 transfer portal. So far, 0-1.

      Important because the incoming recruiting class is in the bottom half of the conference.

      I wonder how many recruiting visits Carey has personally made this year? Haven’t seen any pics of him w/new recruits…,

    • Mike, your assessment of Rhule’s use of the TE is correct. In his 4 years here, TE’s averaged 30 catches a season and that was always between 3 or 4 tight ends. No one TE had more that 2 catches. Collins and Carey’s offense were about the same numbers. The last time a TE was one of the top 3 receivers for a season was Addazio’s first year when Rodriguez was the leading receiver for the season with 35 catches. Yeboah is a grad transfer, gave us 3 good seasons and if he does end up at Baylor maybe he figures being in the B12 gives him better exposure for the NFL. With Sear and Robinson think the team will be fine at TE, plus Della Pesca is being recruited as a TE. Have to say the “drama” with some is a bit much because one!!! player enters the transfer portal.

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