Fizzy’s Corner: Dissecting The Loss

Editor’s Note: Former Temple football player Dave “Fizzy” Weinraub brings the perspective not only of a player but a lifetime of coaching football, teaching and writing. He breaks down the Navy game here.

By Dave “Fizzy” Weinraub

Well, you saw the game. There could have easily been fourteen more points on the board for Temple, and the two-point conversion call at the end was stupefying. That’s not what I want to discuss. 

     Throughout last season and this year’s first game, one consistency stands out. Temple does not adjust during the game, especially on defense. The game plan you come in with is the plan for the entire game. No matter what.

      Saturday was the worst. With over a month to get ready to play Navy’s triple-option, the plan was an overshifted 4-3 with a defender (nose-tackle) head-up on the center. Guess what? It didn’t work, and Navy ran up and down the field because Temple couldn’t stop the fullback. The only time the defense changed was when Navy had third and/or fourth and short.

 My opinion is that if you stop Navy’s fullback, you destroy their offense. So one different alignment might have a middle linebacker stacked in back of the nose-tackle, and they each blitz the gaps on either side of the center. Another might be two defenders lined up in the gaps on either side of the center. You have to remember that Navy’s quarterback couldn’t run well and couldn’t throw deep. There was no risk.

     After the debacle, Inquirer reporter Mike Jensen interviewed head coach Rod Carey. Carey said the problem was, “Our pad level was too high.” Of all the poppycock excuses I ever heard, this takes the cake. What the hell does that mean? Do you have to get shorter defenders? Carey made no mention of coaching deficiencies. 

     With last year’s defensive collapses in the second half and the poorly designed defensive strategy vs. Navy, one thing is abundantly clear. Temple can’t adjust. What a waste of talent.

Friday: USF Preview

35 thoughts on “Fizzy’s Corner: Dissecting The Loss

  1. Watching the highlights just confirms how out-coached Carey was. How do you run a base five two defense with a nose guard and lbs three four yards off of the guards. Navy coaches were salivating when they saw that. Then, on both Navy sweeps for first downs, the defensive end gave up outside contain by going for the dive back. Really poor coaching. This loss really puts the Owls behind the 8-ball. With trips to UCF and Memphis and SMU at home they will be hard-pressed simply to get to 4-4.

  2. Oh_well mentioned in Mike’s previous post that TU is just unlucky. As John Milton said, “Luck is the residue of design.” and with the design concocted by Carey and his minions, TU would have had to have been as lucky as one can be to win this game. This game reminded me of the Navy game at the Linc in 2014 when the Owls lost to Navy on a brutally hot day when the Owls came out in black helmets in spite of the heat and were chasing Navy all day long because they could not stop the triple option. Losing to Navy with superior talent is inexcusable because they do the same thing year in and year out and TU’s own game film from past years clearly shows how to stop them. Can’t tell me that had the coaches called Phil Snow once Navy was scheduled, that he would not have spent ten minutes describing and explaining what needs to be done to grind their offense to a halt. Hell, as Mike noted in a previous post, the internet has posts showing how to stop the triple option. This loss had nothing to do with bad luck and everything to do with a team not ready to play this game because of poor coaching.

    • Gotta wonder what the pregame gameplanning was in the E-O:
      Rod Carey: “We had nine months to prepare for Navy. Yeah, I know the Miami game was the first on the schedule but the Navy game was the most important because it was the first conference game. We don’t want to give our fans and administration the impression that we weren’t prepared for everything they can throw at us, so what’s you guy’s input?”
      Gabe Infante: “Guys the fullback gouged Navy for 154 yards for Air Force. Navy hasn’t stopped a fullback all year. How about putting in Tavon Ruley as a fullback and running straight up the gut?”
      Rod Carey: “We don’t use a fullback, so that’s out.”
      Gabe: “I mean, we could use it for one game and go back to our stuff for USF.”
      Rod: “Nah, that’s too much work.”
      Gabe: “Hey, they’ve got two 5-10 corners and Branden Mack is 6-6. Might want to use that mismatch and throw him a lob every time we get in the red zone.”
      Rod: “Nah, that’s taking advantge of those little guys. I’d rather throw a dump pass to Ray at the 4 and have him juke a defender.”
      Knowles: “Air Force and BYU overshifted took away the fullback. We might want to do that.”
      Rod: “But we play don’t usually do that. I’m not doing that for one game.”
      Knowles: “OK, Rod.”
      Rod: “Good. We’ve got the game plan nailed down. Who wants to order the hoagies from Richies? Since I’m making the $2 mil a year, they are on me.”
      Laughs all around.
      Seriously, this was a perfect example of the pullquote I used in my pregame analysis. Carey might be a good coach with a 52-30 record coming here but, since he’s been at Temple he’s done a TERRIBLE job at attacking the weaknesses of most Temple opponents and against Navy they were many. It can’t be poor scouting because every college football fan knows if you take the fullback away from Navy, you shut them down. The way to do that is exactly what Fizzy said. Overshift and put as many men at the point of attack as possible, string the option sideline to sideline and use Temple’s superior edge speed to dominate the game

      • Except that they didn’t play the 4-3 and were in a 5-2 alignment with a nose guard for most of the game. They had their linebackers four yards off the ball catching Navy’s linemen after the fullback already had three and one-half yards.. It was the same error Rhule made in 2015 against Army.

  3. I see that the Eagles may be able to have a limited amount of fans this week during a game. Frankly, if TU gets the same exemption with no tail gating I may just eat my tickets and not go. Tail gating is essential to the experience.

    • It’s a shame we can’t set up a tailgate spot and just go and watch the game on tv there. This season sucks and I’m not all that convinced next season is going to be any better.

      • We did that this weekend in West Chester at the cigar shop Steve Conjar works at. There were about 15 of us. We plan to do it again on November 14th. it was all outside and we mostly kept a safe distance apart. the only time we went inside was to use the bathroom. It’s far though. About thirty miles from my house in upper Roxborough. it was close to Longwood garden.

      • Kinda thinking FDR park, although that’s probably not allowed either

  4. Rod Carey will unfortunately not be fired this year. Temple doesn’t have the moxie to make the move. You will go into another year next year w/ his preparation and inability to coach up players. Look at the bowl game last year, it gives you an indication of a team that doesn’t believe in a coaching staff. Name one player that has improved under Carey? Good coaches can coach a team up, this team has not been coached up. You will have a lousy year this year, because of Covid he will get another year. Losing year next year and then he is gone. They should make the move as early as possible, admit the mistake and move on. Carey is probably a decent person, is ideal for an FCS or Division 2 program where he can have a successful career.

    You can go two ways: stick w/ Dunphy (no disrespect) and Carey and wallow in mediocrity or hire a legitimate Athletic Director that can get the right coach on campus.

    Navy does not have much talent this year. Niumatalolo is a coach that epitomizes the phrase “coaching them up”. Their cupboard is bare.

    Does anyone think if you would have switched coaching staffs that Temple would have lost that game? No way.

    • I agree with most of your points. The only one being I don’t believe he will have a losing season next year because everyone (players) is allowed to come back, even the seniors who have graduated this year. My biggest fear is that he will go 6-6 every year (4-4 this year) and Temple, which never fires mediocre coaches, will keep him until he’s 68. Big fan of the hire but that was a PISS POOR coaching job against Navy given the fact that he knew they couldn’t stop the fullback (and refused to use one) and that the ONLY thing he needed to do was stop the Navy fullback and the scheme was not set up to do that. An absolutely atrocious job given the fact that they moved this game from Sept. 26 to Oct. 10.

      • Even Daz and Geoff knew how to stop the triple option. Geoff lost to Army there in 2017 because he rushed three and let a guy come off the bench and beat him with the pass and because he layed an egg on the goal line and then had a missed field goal. Geoff beat Navy twice. I have so far been a Carey defender but cannot continue to be one after such a poor coaching job. One more thing. When will he give Russo the coaching he deserves? Russo seems to lock in before the play is even run and he seems to blindly throw the ball to the primary receiver whether he’s covered or not. That happened on the interception, the almost interception, and the 2-point play. I attended a scrimmage at Franklin Filed Russo’s freshman year and he was doing the same thing then. When will a coach break that bad habit?

      • Not only does TU keep mediocre coaches but they give them ridiculous extensions and even raises. Letting a coach stay till their contract is up is one thing, and bad enough, but giving extensions is absurd. I hope they have enough sense to evaluate Carey’s results after 3-4 seasons (he should be expected to continue with 8-9 wins a season) and do what they need to do to try to improve the programs success rate. Yeah, Rhule sucked his first year but improved has second and they kept him. But if Carey doesn’t keep it up…..well, you know…are we headed back to the bad old days?

      • When I worked as a sports editor in doylestown we had policy of up or out. That should be the standard for Temple coaches making $2 mil or more per year. Fortunately, then we were able to win best sports sections award in the under 50,000 daily circulation category pretty much every year in the state and I was able to grab a couple top writing awards and our circulation increased every year until I moved onto The Inquirer. That was an example of up every year. Going from 8-4 to 4-4 should be an example of out.

  5. Very disappointed in Carey’s coaching on Saturday but equally disappointed in his reaction to the loss like it was no big deal and the team needed tweeks and wasn’t broken. Losing to a Navy team that got smoked by BYU 55-3 and Air Force 40-7 is a broken loss. Air Force and BYU=Not Alabama and Clemson. Cannot afford to piss away wins in college football and have such a cavalier attitude afterward especially when the blueprint for a win on both sides of the ball was practically delivered to the door of the E-O.

  6. For those that are unaware, the game this week is being broadcast only on ESPN+. Just saw this on Facebook in a you can hoot from home post that said that it could be watched at this web address: It’s Homecoming Week! Join us and Hoot from Home on Saturday, Oct. 17 as Temple Football takes on USF.
    Watch Live Here » http://ow.ly/4Y4C50BQlUH

  7. Well, just when Temple finally gets an experienced head coach, he turns out to be a coach who refuses to do the obvious things to win. We better beat USF or my signing up for the TV sports package is a waste, also speaking of which, what’s with being on ESPN+ so much (Memphis game too). So much about Temple athletics has become mediocre at best for a university that can do much better, but refuses to.


  8. Navy always beats TU up the middle. Simply put, serve up the biggest bun and beefiest defensive lineman to clog up the middle to push the QB to the outside. I say that every time. I feel like Clara Peller “I don’t think anyone is back there.”

    • I wouldn’t say always. Temple put Freddy Booth-Lloyd and Averee Robinson in the middle in the championship game and the opposite was true. Temple beat Navy up.

      • Correct! FBL was beefy and had a large bun. Unfortunately the HCs didn’t read this blog. I ordered a Gino’s Giant and a Triple Whopper a week before the game.

      • Yeah. It took Rhule 2 years to follow to advice of this blog and he was nearly damn near unbeatable after that.

  9. Was anyone upset with the BLM patch on the helmet? I have many friends who were some of whom have canceled their tickets because they believe that political stances have no place on a uniform representing a university especially because I’m sure that the university would not approve patches pushing conservative positions like law and order and pro life and BLM is an avowed Marxist organization.

    • I honestly did not notice the BLM thing. The only thing that annoyed me was seeing the number on the side of the helmets more than the ][. The ][ is our brand. The numbers on the uniform are large enough.It’s a little redundant to have such large numbers on the unis and then also put them on the side of the helmets. I know the ][ was on one side of the helmet but the camera angles showed the number side of the helmet more.

    • Bruce Arians said, “Protesting Doesn’t Do Crap.” I disagree. Race riots are counterproductive. North Philly never recovered from 1964 and 1968 riots.

    • ‘Sympatico’ Bro….. Enough of all this crap. We ALL know the reasons. Thanks for daring some truth JB.
      Even my spouse, total non-political will not watch TV sports with heavy handed Political one sided crap when it is beyond reasonable.

  10. Careful, John B. Your sentiments are quite reasonable and understandable. If a couple thousand others feel and act similarly, the deficit for the program becomes too much to cover and the current political actors finding fault with so many things we have now will add football to their list.

    With limits apparently being imposed on spectator count, such action this season may not be especially noticeable, so you may not be going to games anyway.

    Too bad there doesn’t seem to be an attendance incentive clause in Carey’s contract (like in Texas HS football).

    I don’t want to go back to the team playing Lehigh, Lafayette, and Bucknell like Penn does and has done so many seasons.

    • Playing Army, JMU, Villanova, Towson, Villanova, and Delaware in a suburban location sounds good to me. Temple shouldn’t kowtow to Philly politicians.

    • I am all for equality and social justice but BLM is not for either of those things. It’s a Marxist organization intent on destroying America and TU should not be publicizing such a group or any group for that matter. This is just another example of a college administration bending to the will of some of the student-athletes because I cannot believe that they all are in favor of this. Unless people complain, this will just get worse. TU is risking having half its base turn their backs on the university. Look at the NBA which got woke and and is going broke. Ratings for the NBA finals were horrendous because they lost half their audience. By the way, clueless Dunphy commended the students for this:
      https://owlsports.com/news/2020/10/10/general-owls-for-justice-patch-debuts-on-temple-football-uniforms.aspx

      • Englert was an “interim” President for four years. Why do I think that Temple is in no hurry to replace Dunphy? That’s the Temple way of doing things. The Temple way is also keeping Carey for the next 10 years even if he’s 4-4, 6-6, 6-6, 6-6, 6-6, etc., etc. I’d rather give Gabe a shot if Rod goes 4-4 or less. Kids love him. Great coach with an unbelievable record as a HC.

  11. Mike, I thought you didn’t want political rantings on this site. But since you’ve allowed it, I must say that the BLM ranting shows, if anything, a lack of knowledge of blacks in American history, how it persists today and why BLM even exists. And btw, our present administration shows absolutely NO respect for law and order, the Constitution, democracy or the right to protest (peacefully) and express an opinion. Let’s stick to football.

  12. And again, btw, if political “statements” are considered inappropriate why is it ok that corporate advertising logos and names are emblazoned on every piece of the uniforms – sometimes bigger than the school name or logo. That sickens me and has for a long time. But money is everything and dominates sports, but the players whose very lives are negatively affected by American attitudes can’t display a little sticker?

    • I think calling BLM a Marxist organization is hyperbolic. Paul Palmer and other great ex-Temple players participated in BLM events. Are they Marxist? No.

      • The founders of BLM stated openly and proudly in the media “we are trained Marxists”
        They only recently scrubbed messages from their site about how their goal is to dismantle the structures of western civilization on down to the nuclear family.
        BLM is without doubt an extremist far-left organization and their founders consider this a point of pride.

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