5 Goals For Spring Practice


Someone in the coaching office conference room is a yellow legal pad with a list of goals for spring practice that begins tomorrow.

Right now, we don’t know what’s on it or how many bullet points need to be covered but we hope it includes this five items, in no order of importance:

Generating a Pass Rush. With Quincy Roche on one end and Gregory Rousseau at the other end, we know that Miami is going to have one of the best edge rushing games in the country. It would be nice if the Owls could counter with an impressive one of their own in the opener. Hmm. Roche and Rousseau vs. who? Right now, Nickolos Madourie and Arnold Ebiketie/Manny Walker look like the starters with not much behind them. Owls are pretty set up the middle with Dan Archibong, Kris Banks and Ifianyi Maijeh. Maybe moving Archibong to his first position at Temple, end, will help.

Temple summer practice, football,

Game planning for Miami. With that kind of opening opponent looming, it’s never to early to have a game plan for them. Better now to design quick passes ,wraparound draws, and screens to mitigate that pass rush and catch the Hurricanes flat-flooted.

Establishing the run. What worked at NIU (err, RPO) does not necessarily work at Temple. Matt Rhule and Geoff Collins recruited this team to establish the run and make big plays off play-action fakes and Rod Carey should think long and hard about developing an approach suited to the personnel already here. Ray Davis is probably the second-best running back in the league (only behind Memphis Kenneth Gainswell) and should be more featured in this offense.

Fixing special teams. Carey will tell you that the special teams were not a disaster last year, but Temple fans have eyes and they have ears. From what we saw, they were a disaster. Temple needs to improve both the return and kicking aspects of special teams, although the coverage was passable. Will Mobley is a reliable short-range kicker but do you trust him when you need a 50-yarder to win and the game is tied, 14-14? Temple had the special teams’ player of the year, Isaiah Wright, in 2018 and turned him into a fair-catch artist in 2019. That’s a head-scratcher. Temple needs to make the punt return an offensive play again.

Clock management. If the coaching staff is honest watching film from 55-13, 45-21 and 63-21 losses, they were the direct result of stopping the clock on incomplete passes, giving teams with far greater speed a lot more plays to do damage. In the past, particularly under Matt Rhule and Al Golden, the Temple offensive philosophy has been to chew up the clock with a running game and extend the game into the fourth quarter. That worked pretty well with Temple TUFF players. Clock management and an effective running game go hand in hand and the earlier this staff realizes that, the better the chances to avoid those kind of blowouts in 2020.

Friday: The Case for Cherry and White


11 thoughts on “5 Goals For Spring Practice

  1. OL starting five? Shaping up to be the deepest TUFB OL in recent years.

  2. Maybe it was my imagination but it seemed like our run game got stopped a lot last season, even after several consecutive passes which should have set things up for an “effective run game.” Keeping the clock running, one way or another, is just good strategy but 3-and-outs giving the ball back to the opponent doesn’t help the cause either. Maybe that’s why they tried passing as much as they did?

    • Nah. My observation was there were too many games like the Cincinnati game where 26 of 34 plays were passes. The difference was at Cincinnati those were the first 34 plays but IMHO there were a lot of those stretches sprinkled in a lot of the games. Got to get that balance mixed up better in 2020

    • The reason the run game was not as good as it should have been is because you can’t run the RPO offense with a QB who hardly ever runs. If I were an opponent’s defensive coordinator, I would tell my players to pay lip service to Russo because of how infrequently he ran the ball. There’s also a problem in my view with the mesh point. I watch other teams and the mesh points seem to be defender free giving the QB open lanes down the sidelines. Think of the ND and NC games. It always seems with TU that the mesh point is too “crowded” to work and the qb very rarely has open spaces to run.

      • Great point. We need a run-game coordinator who makes those kinds of analytical criticisms. Back in the day, Wayne was the HC, OC, passing game coordinator and run coordinator. Thought he did a great job mixing it up. Loved that wraparound draw to guys like Henry Hynoski and Mark Bright. Never saw that play work for less than five yards. What happened to the jump pass to the tight end in the red zone? Haven’t seen that at Temple since Chester Stewart to Steve Maneri at the Fake Miami more than a decade ago. We could be a lot more innovative and unpredicatable on offense than we are now.

    • I want to add that what I wrote may seem contradictory. I would just like to say that there were plenty of times Russo could have gotten four or five yards by running but handed the ball off instead of taking them. Everything doesn’t have to go for 80 yards to be successful in the long run.

  3. no fans for the final Spring Practice?

  4. Cherry and White has been cancelled.

  5. Surprisingly, according to Nadia no decision has been made about football alumni day on March 28th. I would think that it too will be cancelled.

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