TU-Memphis: No Mulligans Allowed

There is a school of thought out there that because of a national pandemic things like doing your job correctly should be overlooked.

That maybe this year every coaching staff in America should get a Mulligan and be re-evaluated next season.

Noble, but incorrect because other people in your same profession have no trouble doing theirs. The new head coach at Boston College is doing just fine. The Georgia State coach is doing great. The BYU coach is a sensation.

All have arguably lesser talent than Temple with the possible exception of BYU.

Whether or not Rod Carey is the right head coach for Temple University’s football team going forward is very much an open question.

What we do know based on the evidence of three games is the program is going backward.

In three games, we’ve seen the Owls allow 31 points to a Navy team that scored only 27 on a very bad ECU team, allow 37 points to a team that got beat 42-13 by Tulsa and now made some very questionable moves in a 41-29 loss to Memphis on Saturday.

If you think that’s the Temple football we have all come to know and love, think again.

We said this before the game.

Matt Rhule preached “not beating yourself” but running the ball twice after a turnover that gives you a first down at the 10 is beating yourself. Not doing the basics in the kicking game is beating yourself.

Even the best part of the team, offense, is riddled with coaching mistakes.

In the red zone, the Owls have a ready-made mismatch in 6-6 wide receiver Branden Mack against any secondary. Why not lob it to him in the back of the end zone on the first play after the turnover when the Memphis defense is not set? Your chances are a lot better of a) scoring and b) getting a pass interference that puts the ball on the 1 with a first down than what Carey chose to do. Would Rhule have thrown to Mack?

I bet he would have. That’s why he’s in the NFL and Carey is 0-7 in bowl games.

The Owls missed a chip-shot field goal their first drive. Before the game, Carey said he was “happy” with the kicking game. Any other coach in the United States would look at the results and not only say he wasn’t happy, but that “our kicking game sucks and we need to do something about it.”

Let’s see. After a comical performance in the kicking game the first two games, the Owls not only missed that chip shot field goal but also missed an extra point, had two kickoffs go out of bounds and only by a miracle missed a third kickoff going out.

When you have three kickers on the team and one of them has kicked it out of bounds twice, what do you do? Of course, try another kicker.

Instead, Carey sent out the guy who kicked it out of bounds twice for a try at a third kick out of bounds. Only by some miracle did the ball take a crazy hop and squirt down the sidelines and stay inbounds.

This happens to no other team in America yet Carey tolerates it and has done so for two years.

Sure, Anthony Russo threw three interceptions but one of them was a ball delivered perfectly to Jadan Blue that should have been caught and another came after a brutal non-call on a perfectly-thrown ball to Mack that probably would have led to a touchdown for Temple and robbed Memphis of a touchdown.

That’s a 14-point swing right there and it would have been the difference in the game.

We said before the game that the defense needed to hold Memphis to 28 points or less for the win but because they did not generate even a semblance of a pass rush, they could not.

The kicking and special teams, though, is another story and there is a minimum standard that every team must achieve and Temple is far below that standard.

It has nothing to do with COVID and plenty to do with incompetence and that’s a standard Temple cannot accept but knowing the Temple administration as I do it probably will.

Monday: Fizzy’s Corner

8 thoughts on “TU-Memphis: No Mulligans Allowed

  1. I posted this in the previous post but it’s more appropriate here especially because Cinncy’s QB is now proving my point by destroying SMU with his runs. Thinking about the game today I concluded that Carey has a decision to make. He’s trying to run an RPO offense with a pro type drop back QB who cannot run with any skill or ability and also someone who is really not accurate enough to run a pro set offense for a couple of reasons including a lack of time to get his feet set and a recklessness about him. All the teams I watched today that use RPO offenses successfully have QBs that can and do take off three or four times a games and regularly get first downs and TDs. Not Russo though and it’s not his fault that he can’t because he’s not built for it. The decision Carey has to make is whether he should go with a QB with the skills to run the offense he wants to run instead of a QB who does not have the skills to do it. No team and no coach can be successful unless they utilize the skills their players are blessed with to the fullest ability of the players. Carey better realize this soon because not only this season but the rest of his Temple career depends on whether or not he stops trying to put a square peg of a pro set QB into the round hole of an RPO offense.

    • Matt Rhule wasn’t a good coach at Temple until he followed the repeated advice of the John Belli’s of the world: fullback, establish the run, play action, two tight ends, shorten the game and control the clock and play keep away with the ball to avoid giving possessions to these explosive offenses like Memphis and UCF. Carey is falling into the same trap Matt did in his first two years. I hope he is as open to change as Matt was but he appears to be more set in his RPO ways and that’s to the detriment of Temple. Both John and I gave Matt much credit in his final two years at Temple. He went from a guy who we both said couldn’t coach in his first two years (he could not) to a guy who was able to change and, because he did, became a damn good coach and we said so at the time.

    • I agree that a running QB is needed. Russo has the look of a pro QB but seems to be a bit unsure of himself at times. He is not consistent. One good play and then one bad play.

  2. The answer is right in front of him. Put Ruley in as a fullback, establish the run with Davis following his lead blocks, then fake it to Davis and have wider windows for Russo to hit Mack and Blue. Right now with this RPO every window is so tight you wonder how the Owls catch those balls. Make it easier for the receivers by ditching the RPO. Every defender goes for the pitch man and nobody respects Russo’s ability to run so the most AR can get is 5 yards and that’s a best-case scenario. The traditional pro offense makes not only Russo more dangerous but Mack, Blue, Jones and Davis.

  3. Geoff was the first dopey coach to eschew an offense that proved so successful. Carey is following in his footsteps and isn’t smart enough to employ what made Rhule successful. It amazes me that both of them would rather run their stuff and call all of the shots instead of adopting a strategy that has worked as well as it did for Temple. Also, this team should drop the Temple Tuff moniker because it doesn’t fit at least this year. Opponents cannot be as successful on 3rd and and 4th downs as they have been this year against the Owls for this team to be considered TUFF. . By the way, Cinncy’s QB has 179 yards rushing tonight. Russo won’t have half of that for the whole season despite running almost the exact same offense.

  4. This has gotten so pathetic that its laughable. Brett Diersen is responsible for Special Teams. He should no longer be employed. Mobley should never see the field again and whoever is blocking on FGs needs to be re-evaluated. Defense was better despite the score but the constant allowance of first downs on 3rd and 4th down. Its so demoralizing to watch and to me means they lack discipline. And the offense was putrid for not capitalizing on the several opportunities they had to score. Would it surprise you to find out Carey takes over the offense in the redzone? Something is really suspect how the offense moves so well until they get into the redzone. You all nailed it…Carey is so stubborn that he wont play to his team’s strengths. Not a formula for winning or success but all of us be damned because hes sticking to his guns. Happy to have enjoyed the recent success because I dont see us getting back to that anytime soon.

  5. Even the Big XII is going back to defense and running games (from analysis on another site): Gundy (OK State) has ditched his favored wide-open scheme for old school football: power running, play-action passing, field position, protecting the ball, timely turnovers, and trusting the game to the conference’s best defense. Impressive defenestration of Iowa State yesterday.

    Send some OkSU clips to the Rodster so he sees it’s OK to do it that way.

  6. I looked like a game which might have been winnable -I guess.
    But again TU FB is subject to either: poor coaching, not enough talented kids or bad luck
    I think poor coaching decisions leads to piz-poor-luck.

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