Spring Practice Not All That Far Away

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People of a certain age remember what Ricky Riccardo–the 50s TV star, not the late-night WIP radio sports talk show host–used to say to wife Lucy when she got herself in a bad situation.

“You’ve got some ‘splaining to do” in that Cuban accent of his.

Both Ricky and Lucy are gone but Rod Carey is still here and, while the Temple football head coach hasn’t really adequately explained what happened in the 55-13 loss to North Carolina, Temple fans would forgive him if he just would fix the underlying problems that led to three blowout losses last season.

Spare me the excuses and just fix the issues which have been easy to spot over the last 13 games and the fixing process should start soon or expect to see a repeat.

Spring Practice is only a couple of weeks and, due to NCAA rules, the Owls are limited to the 15 sessions illustrated above.

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The foundation can be set over the course of those practices by eliminating the sources that led to losses.

In my mind, it was pretty simple. Carey’s run-pass-option offense stopped the clock far too much and allowed teams with far more team speed (SMU, UCF and UNC come to mind) to have more possessions than the Owls and more opportunities to put points on the scoreboard.

This hasn’t been unique to Temple in the past and all Carey has to do is look at game films from Matt Rhule and Al Golden specifically on how the Owls largely avoided those kinds of embarrassing losses, stay competitive into the fourth quarter and pull out wins. Simply, build an offense around a running game and a passing game built around play action.

Twenty-six passes in the first 34 plays in an all-important game at Cincinnati was perhaps the worst offensive game plan in the past five years and that’s saying a lot for a team that had Dave Patenaude as their coordinator for two of those years. Twenty-six runs in the first 34 would have probably been a lot more successful.

The basketball version of this was John Chaney’s inside-out offensive philosophy. Pump the ball inside to the big men, have the defense collapse around them and move the ball around to shooters.

The football version of this is run first, pass second. Carey brought with him an outside/inside offensive philosophy of spreading the field with the running game and then attempting to throw off of it. What might have worked at Northern Illinois has not worked here and won’t work with a strong-armed, weak-legged, quarterback. Hopefully, Carey is a professional enough coach to come to that conclusion on his own watching Temple film for the last three months. He’s got to stop making excuses on special teams and at least admit, even if it’s to himself, that the Owls did not make a difference in that important third of the game in 2019.

The good news is that he has a relatively solid offensive line, some good blocking tight ends and a marquee running back to operate such an offense this year.

He has 15 practices to establish that philosophy in the spring and take it into the summer. Whether he has the will to do it will determine how much “splaining” he will have to do to Temple fans who were forced to watch their team take uncharacteristic poundings in 2019.

Monday: How Others View The Owls

Friday: Why 2020 Could Be Great For Temple

Monday (3/2): Why 2020 Could Be Terrible for Temple

 

9 thoughts on “Spring Practice Not All That Far Away

  1. there are many reasons why MR is a pro HC. TUFB is one of those reasons.

  2. Great quote from Phil Snow: “I’ve just been following coach Rhule every rung up the ladder.” To many Temple fans, we are the top rung on the ladder but reality is that we’re just a low rung. Amazing how we went from having the best coach in college football then (in my mind) happy to be here for 13 mostly winning years to people who can’t wait to get out. I hope Rod Carey is not happy with 8-5 seasons going forward. We need to get back to that championship mindset Rhule had.

  3. Mike, I think there is a typo in your first sentence about the Cincinnati game.

  4. I know what you meant and your analysis is spot on.

    • Thanks, Phil. One of the drawbacks of being my own writer and editor is missing stuff every once in a while. Fixed it. Know you always have my back. Got one comment that said “blah, blah, blah” and deleted it because it added nothing to the conversation. When you don’t have a defense for what Carey is doing, you type “blah, blah blah.” At least I back up my points with logic.

  5. Owls need depth on the OL, and Russo needs to learn to move around in the pocket.

  6. Spring Football.

    Offense: It appears the OC will stick w/the RPO spread offense. Not good.

    MR abandoned the RPO spread offense at Temple. He won by putting two TEs and a fullback on the field. MR turned his dual threat QB into a pro set passer and PJ Walker got it done.

    Carey wants to win by turning his pro set passer, Russo, into a RPO dual threat machine. Can Russo get it done in 2020?

    The OL has depth despite not having dominant Dion Dawkins alpha dog

    Defense: Big questions are DE and DB. The AAC has become a speed conference. Challenge for TU will be to find enough speed at the DB and DE positions.

    Dominant AAC LBs today are really RBs who can’t catch or cut, and love to hit. TUFB has plenty of those types on the roster.

    Special teams: Don’t be stupid. Put the best gunners in TUFB history back on the field, Randall Jones and Freddie Johnson. And, find a punter who can flip the field with booming punts. Ditch the gimmick rugby style pooch punts.

    Special team can change the outcome and momentum, look at the 1:09 mark. USF had the lead, 13-10. Mack Brown, who just thrashed Temple in the bowl game, has the commentary.

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