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.
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