Did You Ever Get the Feeling?

Figuring out Temple football gave Matt Rhule this kind of living space

Every comedian has a shtick, a routine, style of performance associated with that particular person.

Temple football today reminds me of a 1950s and 60s comedian named George Goebel. He started a series of jokes with “Do you ever get the feeling?”

He had the whole comedy thing figured out in how it would work given his circumstances. He knew the room.

Matt Rhule definitely did not have the Temple football room figured out until after his first two years and, largely to figuring it out, he’s sitting on millions of dollars and, on top of that, trying to sell at $2.5 million home in Waco after moving on to the Panthers.

Rod Carey would do well taking notes.

Do you ever get the feeling that this is the year Carey figures how to succeed at Temple? I have my doubts but we shall see.

How did Rhule figure Temple out? After the first two years, he scrapped the spread and went to a more conventional pro offense using two backs. In this interview with USA Today’s Paul Myerberg, Rhule capsulated the Epiphany beautifully. The scheme fit the school. Temple TUFF, 10th and Diamond, run the ball, with two backs, make explosive plays off the play-action passing game, play great defense and special teams.

This the key quote in that story:

Said Rhule, “How do we differentiate ourselves? How do we make ourselves hard to prepare for? Put two backs on the field. Put two tight ends on the field.

“This is what your roots are. These kids have made themselves really tough. And that’s the only way we’ll ever win. By being a really, really tough football team.”

Let’s analyze that. What does “put two backs on the field” mean? Two halfbacks? Two fullbacks? Three quarterbacks? It means exactly what he did: Put a fullback in front of a tailback, establish the run, bring the safeties and the linebackers up in run support and use deft play-faking to the backs in throwing to wide open receivers for explosive downfield plays. It was what we were pleading for him to do in this space for the first two years of the Rhule Era.

Carey, to me, is a good coach but Rhule made the leap to great when he went from to a more traditional NFL-style offense.

Temple has the offensive line to run such an offense, experienced, talented and averaging 300 pounds across the front. Use, say, Tayvon Ruley (6-0, 216) as a fullback in front of Ray Davis and that’s even an extra blocker at the point of attack for a shifty cutback runner. Throw one more blocker in the area of defenders and Davis has a bigger hole to cut through. The Owls have a quarterback known for an accurate and big arm and not for his legs. Those are the essential elements of a play-action focused offense, not an RPO one. Great coaches adjust to their personnel; they don’t make the personnel adjust to them.

Is Carey comfortable with just good or does he want to be great?

This season Temple fans should find out if the Owls play at least nine or more games. If Carey is still living in a modest home in South Jersey next year and driving a pickup truck, he will have done things his way and gone 4-4.

If, on the other hand, he reads the room better than a year ago, he will be 9-0 or 8-1 looking for a $2.5 million mansion somewhere, maybe even Waco.

It’s the difference between being good and great.

Now let’s go have a season and find out.

Friday: The AAC After Week One


14 thoughts on “Did You Ever Get the Feeling?

  1. Is it an ego thing or a reluctance to give up what you know? I think it’s more a reluctance thing than ego. People are afraid to change if they’ve had success with what they’ve been doing. Rhule had to change because while the team got better his second year, he still left 2 or 3 wins on the field and fans were not happy. He had nothing to lose. Carey though has had success with the offense he put in here, having run it at Northern Illinois.. It thus, is understandable that he’s reluctant to change. I think he should go more pro set and play action but understand why he has resisted doing so.

    • After the first year, I think his approach is this: Put my stuff in and then get the players I want to run the stuff. He’s got players to run the other stuff with a lot more success but he’s too stubborn. Meanwhile, Temple suffers until he can get the speed and running QBs he needs to run his stuff.

      • He may have it in the kid from Iowa State.

      • Is he the kind of coach/person who will give the incumbent QB his due or will he be impatient and look for the the first opportunity to switch to the kid from Iowa State to “run his stuff?” Especially since Russo might have another whole year after 2020 season and the “kid from Iowa State” may not want to or can’t wait that long. We’ll find out pretty soon.

      • Big mistake to replace a guy who is on target to break all of the Temple passing records with just two repeats of what he did in 2019. Got to think that Russo will improve and not regress, as he improved a lot from 2018 to 2019. For this coaching staff to piss away that kind of greatness, especially if AR goes on to have a great pro career, will be something they will and Temple fans will regret forever. Make it work with Russo and have one of the new guys earn the job in 2022.

  2. That McMansion on a shitty crick in Texas appears to me to be a slice of hell. To each his own.
    I’d rather live in Rittenhouse Square or Gladwyne if I had that kind of loot,

    We must find a coach that wants to be a part of US.

  3. You’re getting the feeling it’s déjà vu all over again. I get the feeling that Carey is a one-trick pony based on NUI fan comments.

    • Hard to argue with 52-30 and a 5-2 record against the Big 10 with MAC talent. Still, I think a lot of that was able to build an RPO with speed against MAC-slow teams. Building a program based on RPO against teams with Southern speed like UCF, USF, Memphis and SMU is probably more problematic. Temple would do well to keep the Temple style (run the ball, defense, special teams) against that kind of speed.

      • Watching the Rock’n Roll Shargattack was memorable in 2017. It’ll be interesting to see if Radar O’Russo can read the play and deliver to the correct weapon in 2020. If not Russo has another year of eligibility.

    • Navy coach said the BYU blowout was partly to blame on no scrimmaging. That’s why they likely agreed to move the game.

    • Bummer. I wanted to start earlier than 9/26, not later. Without moving the entire operation to Ambler, it probably wasn’t going to happen anyway. Ambler no doubt would have given the Owls full freedom to practice a month ago. The city is overreaching IMHO. Does Carey even know that the Owls have several available athletic fields in Ambler? Does Dunphy even care to tell him? I doubt that Al Golden would have settled for this limited practice situation.

  4. Opener is October 2nd week ?
    Now fear for the little chance Temple Football can survive that Money Drain.
    Problems here unless TV pays AAC big bucks$$$ ?

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