2020: New Year, New Solutions


“Hey, just got off the phone with Matt Rhule and he came up with a pretty good idea: what do you think of me going to a play-action passing game instead of the read-option in 2020?”

The night before every senior day, I look down the list of guys leaving and think “wow, we’re losing this guy and that guy. … how are we going to survive next season?”

This year was different.

You don’t see Bill Belichick
asking Tom Brady to run a read
option and that’s part of the
reason why he’s the greatest coach
in our lifetime and other coaches
are 0-7 in bowl games

I was struck with how few impact players Temple was losing. Sure, there were the linebackers–Shaun Bradley, Chapelle Russell and Sam Franklin–but William Kwenkeu (the defensive MVP of the 2017 Gasparilla Bowl) took a redshirt and Isaiah Graham-Mobley–the best linebacker on the team when he went down for the season–should be fully recovered from his injury. That mitigates the losses at the linebacker position.

Matt Hennessy, the best center in the country, was a redshirt junior as was one of the best pass-rushers in the country, Quincy Roche. The Owls had a pretty good tight end returning on that day in Kenny Yeboah.

The problem with Senior Days in the changing world of college football is that you can’t judge what you are losing and what you are gaining on those days alone. Hennessy and Yeboah won’t be back and neither will Roche, who decided his chances to be drafted would be higher with a Power 5 team than his Temple brothers and entered the portal. Harrison Hand also left early for the NFL draft.

A Power 5 program that recruits four- and five-star players can survive that kind of bleeding of the talent base. Temple cannot.

Two steps forward one Senior Day, three steps back after the season is over. A pretty good argument can be made that the Owls lost more this season with their junior class than their senior one, given the replacements they have at linebacker.

The year 2020 is here but, with the New Year come new challenges. For the Temple staff, it’s replacing the seniors who invariably leave and the surprising number of juniors who leave or left.

Screenshot 2019-12-04 at 10.26.18 PM

Will we ever see this stat again under this staff? Got to hope so, but it doesn’t look good at this point.

With the New Year, whether the Owls can surpass what has been an eight-win season will be determined by how they address special teams, and the quarterback and center positions.

Temple built its reputation in the past on special teams. This year, the Owls did not block kicks nor did they return them. Is the philosophy to do nothing? If so, that needs to be changed from the top down.

At quarterback, the dilemma is simply this. They have one quarterback who can’t run and one quarterback who can’t pass yet they are asking the passer to run and the runner to pass. (Todd Centeio’s miss of a wide-open Branden Mack for an easy touchdown against UNC wasn’t his first of the season.)

Making Vince Picozzi the starting center fixes one spot.

At quarterback, the simple fix is this: Don’t ask the passer to run. Scrap the read option, go with a lot of H-back/tight end blocking motion and design an offense around the passer. Consider using Tayvon Ruley as a blocking fullback who gets an occasional carry. Establish the run first behind Ray Davis, then have explosive downfield plays in the passing game off play-action. Once the run is established, a deft fake to Davis will freeze the linebackers and safeties Temple receivers would be running so free Anthony Russo wouldn’t know which one to pick out. That would make Russo a much more effective quarterback. Bring Centeio in to run the Wildcat and as the short snapper to throw fakes off punts. (Remember when Temple used to fake punts for touchdowns?)

You don’t see Bill Belichick asking Tom Brady to run a read option and that’s part of the reason why he’s the greatest coach in our lifetime and other coaches are 0-7 in bowl games.

Saturday: Four Portals


31 thoughts on “2020: New Year, New Solutions

  1. You’re putting too much value in Mobley and Kwenkeu. We still need 2 more linebackers to step up.

    It’s a different world where our top players transfer out costing us a draft pick and hurting our planning for next season by scrambling to recruit the leftovers. Should Carey even bother redshirting with the portal nowadays? If the players are good they’re just going to declare or transfer out anyways.

    • Roche was 205 coming in and probably needed that year of development. Temple never in its wildest dreams thought they were developing him for another college team. John Belli is right. This portal thing was not meant for starters. It was meant for talented kids who were blocked for advancement by more talented kids ahead of them. This furthers the impression that the G5 is nothing but a farm system for the P5. It used to be limited to the coaching area. Now it’s the players. I’d like to see the NCAA scrap this portal rule but that’s not happening because the rich are poaching off the poor again.

      • Doubt it will be scrapped but at a minimum NCAA should tighten up how they’ve handing out waivers so far. If more non grad transfers had to sit a year could slow things down a bit. Portal is becoming “free agency” and the P5 will win out in the long run

  2. Can the Owls OL support a play-action style offense? The RPO offense seems to rely more on finesse than bulldozing the defense.

  3. Temple vs Miami. Diaz can recruit but can’t coach (so far).

    Carey did beat two Top 25 teams, but got blown out (again) in the bowl game.

    Think Vegas will make Miami favored by as much as 10+. The game will not be close.

    • Agree KJ. The recruiting rankings of Miami’s third team is higher than TU’s first team. This is the year that the 119 recruiting ranking will have its greatest effect. I’ve seen on this post and in letters posted in response to Inky articles that TU has to develop players. While it sounds good in theory and is an admirable goal, in practice there is only so much of an upside for most players. For every Riddick or Roche, there are ten or fifteen players no one will ever hear about. There are upper limits to how much faster, stronger, or bigger a person can get and with mostly two or low three star players, that limit, in many cases, has already been reached. I’m more concerned with the inability to develop the few lower four star and high three star players TU recruited like Diabiute, who plays but doesn’t start, and the offensive lineman from from Philly who never really played. For those disappointed by this season, gird yourselves for next year. I hope I’m wrong but with the loss of Hennessy and Roche, 6-6 will be an achievement. Happy New Year everyone.

    • After the temple gt and Miami GT results I would have said blowout TEMPLE’s way. Now even with Manny coaching them, I’m not optimistic

  4. The bigger question may be whether Carey’s recruiting can sustain the system, the program as is (to say nothing of improving it) with all the portal switch ups, early NFL declaring and whatever else. Especially with, and I totally agree with your G5-P5 assessment Mike, the rich poaching off the poor. But that’s the American way it seems and always has been, so we need to get used to it since the NCAA fosters it, instead of regulating it to be more fair.

  5. I know that there is absolutely no shot at this happening, but how many on this board would be willing to fire Carey and bring back Golden tomorrow?

    That should be your poll question Mike.

    • Unfortunately the zero percent chance of that happening makes it a less than ideal poll question. …but Golden getting an assistant coaching position and being the coach in waiting? Maybe 5-10 percent

    • Golden was horrendous on game day. His calls were often bad and ineffectual. He did everything else right though.

  6. The poll would be 95% fire carey and go w/ Golden, but it’s a moot point. This staff will be here another year, 365 days from now we will be saying “I knew Carey wasn’t the guy”. Nothing personal against him, but he came in with a terrible bowl record (did Kraft even check his record), doesn’t have deep roots in traditional recruiting hotbeds, doesn’t have any charisma (not that it’s the most important aspect of coaching, but at Temple it sure could help), brought a 1-AA/D2 staff in from NIU, and apparently has zero team discipline as you had a lot of horsing around on sidelines as the team got shellacked in Annapolis. Does anyone think a top tier coach would have players on the sideline having a water bottle fight as they are getting whooped? Does anyone think a mid tier coach would not address the woeful special teams situation. I’m not an alum, but I’m local and support TU, I’m the type of guy the program needs in terms of support (in addition to students/alumni), I’m sad to see that the gains made by Golden and Rhule will be destroyed. Everyone can see it. This is not the guy/not the staff. I wish the guy the best, I’m sure he is giving his best, but it’s like asking me to shoot a 73 in golf. No matter how much i play, it ain’t happening. He is in over his head. Sorry to be a bummer.

    • You don’t have to be a bummer this guy is the worst thing that could happen to Temple football he stands on the sidelines when he’s getting beat by 50 points fold his arms says why am I here I should be playing golf that’s not the kind a guy you need coach and Temple football

  7. Thanks for your post C E. TUFB needs so many folks like you, we truly appreciate your support.

    I often travel many miles to attend games. Upon hitting town, one of the first things I do is check out the local vibe. The Uber drivers, restaurants, clubs and taverns provide valuable insight on how well Philly thinks Temple is doing.

    It was off the charts during the last two years under MR. Better than the team’s record under Collins, absolutely dismal under Carey.

    The University BOT, AD, and new HC have underwhelmed the importance of culture. Carey doesn’t get Philly.

    After a big win, Aaron McKie told reporters, “hey, we are from Broad Street”. Fran Brown stared down a stupid question and said, “I’m from Camden, my mother had me when she was 14. I don’t worry or panic”

    Has Carey ever mentioned 10th and Diamond?

    Carey desperately needs an “ah ha” moment real soon.

  8. According to the Inquirer, Quincy Roche has announced that he is entering the Transfer Portal. Next season is becoming more and more likely to be a disaster.

    I’d like to have hope that Carey knows what he is doing and that the exit of players and coaches from the old regimes are meaningless, but common sense says otherwise does it not?

    Carey has ALOT to prove and he better be moving towards showing something real soon.

  9. Most thought Collins and “Patenfraude” stunk things up. Now Carey is worse? His record so far has the ups and downs most of our recent coaches have had – losing games we should have won, winning games that surprised us, horrible first and second seasons then real good seasons (or the reverse), some bowl wins but mostly loses, etc. But always the highs and lows mixed together resulting in mediocrity. Difference now is whether the program will slide down, stay the same or improve – the latter not looking probable. But as before, partly because we have no choice, maybe Carey has something up his sleeve and we need to wait and see what he comes up with. 3 true blowout loses in one season however is something new and disturbing in this, Temple’s revitalized, era. With all the frequent coaching changes and questionable hiring strategies it’s amazing we’ve done as well as we have. I just don’t want to see things go back to the bad old days and must say I’m not very fired up looking forward to next season. It leaves me in the same old place – waiting to see what will transpire and keeping my fingers crossed.

    • I also cannot understand the dissatisfaction with Carey. Hell, he won several games as an underdog. For both the SMU and UCF games, there were a lot of injuries and against UNC they were simply outmatched at almost every position.TU could have been coached by Bear Bryant or Vince Lombardi against UNC and still would have been slaughtered. No one’s calling the Utah or SMU coaches failures after their blowout bowl losses. The only games I thing Carey should have won were the Buffalo and Cinncy games. Against Buffalo, the kids clearly weren’t ready to play with all of the drops and against Cinncy, the blocked extra point amounted to good coaching on Cinncy’s side and bad on ours because the kicker was barely getting the ball even halfway up the goal posts the entire season. They saw it and cashed in while Carey did nothing to get the kicker to get more elevation on his kicks. The time to judge Carey is after the 2021 season.

      • John, agree with your point regarding the 2021 season, I think a lot of people forget that Carey hasn’t even been at TU for 12 months yet. I hope the latest commit to TU from the transfer portal I just posted a few minutes ago is a good indication for the future.

      • I hope he’s better than the Monroe kid we got from Penn State who started but made zero impact plays here

      • Mike,

        Any guess as to where Roche is looking? I assume that he is looking for a higher profile in order to push his draft status?

      • Baylor and Texas a%m have been mentioned. Understand Baylor don’t know what the connection to Texas a&m is. With mo Wilkerson and reddick being first round Linemen out of Temple don’t understand how he thinks he will go higher in the draft playing for another school. He’s getting very bad advice from somebody

  10. On a positive note, looks like the staff is working the transfer portal. Saw on Rivals the Kwantel Raines, WVU safety just committed to TU. 4 star recruit who was listed as the No. 12 prospect in PA in 2017 with offers from LSU, PSU, Mich State and Wisc.

    • Raines appears to be like Monroe. Didn’t start for WVU last year; limited action on special teams for WVU? He will add depth and much needed experience to the Safety Room.

      • Raines just finished his R-Fr year at WVU. Monroe was completing his final year at Temple. I don’t think it is accurate or fair to compare the two at this point.

        Also, re: Roche-Texas A & M: Elijah Robinson is the DL coach.

  11. Now using Local ‘speak’ for TU-FB. Our past 19 years were like catching that perfect wave doing body-surfing at the beach in Wildwood.
    We rode it all the way in to the sand, it was great.
    Before that, the ocean was flat and no fun.
    Now we are hoping for a new wave and the fear is the surf is going to be flat again.
    And that’s how it was, as we had a great ride then.

    If the surf gets flat again, I ‘m concerned to B O T Lifeguards will call TU FB out of the water…

  12. Temple’s ONLY power play remaining : tell Philly Pols they will Build a stadium and new buildings in Ambler, unless Philly co-operates. There is nothing to loose. Is this still possible for Ambler ? You know, I, don’t know.

    Drove by all area over the holidays using RT 309 area to get to my Parents up in Bucks Co. That’s when it hit me, the obvious plan.

    Temple would get thousands of new Suburban ticket buyers, I guarantee.

    • Oh Well: If you think that the neighbors in Philly are against the stadium, wait until the neighbors with a lot of money get wind of such a plan. There really will be thousands of neighbors with a ton of money ready to fight the stadium.

      • Doesn’t matter where they play , Lost too many fans the last two years . Bad coaching hires and bad losses .

  13. Hope this Raines guy has speed (like Tim Raines). Need someone to cover ground against the speed that’s been coming into the league.

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