TU-Tulane: What we won’t see

No one knows what we will see when Temple and Tulane play in New Orleans on Saturday.

We do know that Vegas believes the game will be decided by around three points and Vegas has usually proven to be right so making a play in special teams for once in Rod Carey’s short Temple life could be the difference between a win or a loss.

.This was just two years ago. It now seems like 200.

Judging on nearly two years of evidence, we do know what we won’t see: An impact play by Temple on special teams. By impact play, it’s simply this: A blocked field goal, punt or return for a touchdown.

It’s as simple as that and as complicated. Penn State might be Linebacker U and Miami (Ohio) might be the cradle of coaches but it wasn’t that long ago Temple was “Special Teams U.”

James Nixon’s 93-yard kickoff return in the 2009 game beat a 10-win Navy team. Delano Green’s punt return in 2010 beat Fiesta Bowl-bound UConn. Those plays were the residue of hard work in training camp below and the coaches putting their most elusive athletes in a position to advance the ball.

Who is the Matty Brown on this team?

Willie Erdman is our Matty Brown this year and that says more about Rod Carey than it says about Erdman. I rarely have to rub my eyes and go to the roster when I see a Temple player but when No. 84 fielded a punt against Memphis I had to ask myself: “Who is 84?”

It turned out to be Erdman, who was profiled on OwlsDaily this week. When I read the lead that he was a transfer from Georgia, I got excited for about a millisecond. “Must’ve been a five-star recruit with moves like Gale Sayers” went through my mind before discovering he was a walk-on with zero punt returns for zero yards at Georgia.

I’m all for transfers from P5 schools coming to Temple, but you can leave the walk-ons there to the Villanovas of the world. If I get a P5 transfer, I want it to be a guy from Penn State, Ricky Slade to throw out a name, who had to transfer to JMU to get playing time despite being the No. 1-rated RB recruit in the country.

Back to Erdman, though. Carey seems to be from the school of thought that just catching the ball and securing it is enough. He doesn’t seem to understand that securing the ball and advancing it are not mutually exclusive concepts.

Where is our Avery Williams?

Williams is shown above blocking a punt. Under Carey, Temple hasn’t even tried to block a punt and no one knows why but a clue can be provided by how Carey approaches the return game. Carey is risk adverse, which means that he’s probably worried more about getting a 15-yard penalty for roughing (or running into) the kicker than he is about, say, Branden Mack using that 91-inch wingspan to leap up and block a punt and then have about 10 other Owls chasing it into the end zone and falling on it.

Again, it’s possible to block a punt without running into the kicker. Temple used to do it all the time. For instructions on how, pick up the phone and ask Ed Foley.

Carey is too proud to do that and too conservative to change his special teams philosophy now. Let’s hope he can make up the three points in other areas but abandonment of one of the three most important phases of the game is not something Temple can sustain.

Predictions this week: Had Marshall laying the 26.5 on FIU but that ticket returned voided due to game being canceled; also was lucky enough to jump on BC getting the 31.5 before the Lawrence injury and picked Georgia Southern covering the 6.5 (barely) in a 24-17 win over visiting South Alabama. Of course, won’t count those so we start at 0-0 with these official TFF picks:

Air Force getting 14.5 against Boise State (any team that beats Navy 40-7 has my respect); going with Boston College now getting “only” 24 against Clemson and Michigan laying the 25 against Michigan State. BC is incredibly well-coached, while Michigan State hiring Mel Tucker coming off a 5-7 season at Colorado was a real head-scratcher to me and that was reaffirmed by Rutgers’ win at MSU last week. Not touching Temple-Tulane (no trust in Temple’s defense or special teams), Memphis-Cincy or Houston-UCF, three AAC games that can go either way.

Update as of 11/1: Lost on both Air Force and Michigan, won on Boston College.

Record so far: 1-2 against the spread.

Late Saturday Night: Game Analysis


31 thoughts on “TU-Tulane: What we won’t see

  1. Let me know when he’s gone, after years of toil this clown is ruining our brand at a rapid pace.

    • Matt Rhule was awful his first year, but he turned it around quickly. Carey seems to be heading in the wrong direction. He’ll be coaching Eastern Illinois before he coaches the Bears or Colts.

  2. How to make up those 3 points? Do a better job with call playing within the red zone and score a higher rate of TDs. We need this win, but based on our previous games against so-so teams it’ll be a nail biter I’m sure.

    • Since they know we are going to run on first down, a quick inside fake to Davis followed by pulling it out and lobbing it so only the 6-6 Mack can get it will result in an easy 6. We seem to want to take the hard way every time we get in the red zone. Difference between being 3-0 and 1-2 headed for 1-7 unless the coaches get their heads out of their asses.

    • Oops, I meant “play calling” or “calling plays” not call playing – old(er) age setting in.

  3. I was on the sidelines for that Cincinnati game and felt sorry for Cincinnati because of how small they were and how thoroughly they were being decimated. Talk about turning a program around. It’s a shame that their non-conference schedule was canceled because I think that they truly are a top ten if not a top five team and the AAC is going to hurt them because of the weakness of most of its teams this season.

    I spoke to someone close to the program who told me that some of what appears to be wrong with the team can be traced to the City’s covid rules which put a big damper on practices and other activities and still continue to do so. I am not trying to defend Carey but simply pointing out what may be causing some of the difficulties the team may be having. in the end, this year doesn’t mean much unless it’s a harbinger of the team’s future.

    • I wish I could blame covid for the two running plays called after the turnover put the ball first and goal on the 10. Gotta play action on first down and throw it into the end zone, preferably to your 6-6 mismatch.

  4. Long time, first time as they say….I don’t understand the covid excuse. If you want to be a first class program, don’t you load the team onto some busses and head to Ambler on land owned by the University to practice as was suggested here 6 weeks ago… There are work arounds for things if you open your eyes. Not looking for that work around is the sign of a mediocre staff at a mediocre program. Sadly with this leadership mediocre might be the best there is to hope for.

    • Golden would have been at Ambler in a heartbeat. He wouldn’t have put up with the city’s shit.

      • You guys are surmising that they could have gone to Ambler. There’s no evidence either that they tried and were refused or never tried at all. The same social distancing rules that TU applied to the team would have applied at Ambler. Nice pregame piece about Rhule, Robbie Anderson, and TU tonight.

  5. One more thing about Ambler. What makes you think that there is even a field there anymore? I remember the condition of the field for the couple of Cherry and White games they had there was horrendous and a danger to the players. Sports haven’t been played there in three or four years. On top of that, another reason they stopped going to Ambler were the union costs to ship the team and equipment there and back and the cost of setting up. If someone learns that Ambler was an option I’d be glad to say they screwed up not going. Till then all it is is speculation.

    • Google maps (9/30/19) show both Skip Wilson field, the baseball fields, the soccer fields in EXCELLENT condition.

      • Err, unless Temple sold those fields for high rise condos I think they are still there. Hell, Golden once held a full-contact practice at West Philly High and said it was one of his best practices as a head coach. “Give us 100 yards and a field,” Golden said.

  6. This triple option by Georgia Southern is very well-designed. I never want to see Temple football run the TO because I want us to be a destination school for NFL players but I’ve got to give a tip of my hat to good college football coaches when I see them and GS has much better coaches than we do, sadly.

  7. Ed Foley just pulled off a fake punt for a first down. By the way, google maps cannot tell you the actual condition of the fields. Like I said, the fields were horrible when they held Cherry and White there. Why would they keep the fields in game shape with no teams to play on them?

  8. Rod Carey allowing Boomer to walk seems really stupid now. Boomer would have stayed had his schollie been extended and now he’s kicking field goals like crazy for BC and booting kickoffs through the end zone. Carey has no feel for special teams at all.

  9. Bottom line up front. TUFB is just plain average.

    What have we witnessed with Carey in two seasons:
    Recruiting, below average.
    Special Teams, below average.
    Game Day Calls, average.
    Offense, above average* (QB averages 2 ints per game this yr).
    Defense, average.

  10. TU-SMU game has been shifted from Thursday night to Saturday on ESPN+. Just shows how far TU’s rep as a good team and TV draw has sunk. Sad.

  11. Just heard that 13 Owls are not playing because of the virus and that Russo is not playing today. (Could it be a Nutile redux).

    • Beatty seems unable or unwilling to throw it deep. He’s throwing a lot of sideline patterns that get 2-3 yards. Those seem to be the deepest ball he is confident enough to throw and Mitchell’s only pass was thrown at the receiver’s feet. I hope all of these Russo haters are taking notes.

      • TU giving off Bobby Wallace hang dog vibe. Someone tell Carey that Rhule failed with this stupid quick out offense. Why haven’t they run anymore slants and the long pass play to Mack that worked the first and second series. This is painful to watch.

  12. TU back gain more yards running side line to side line than any team in college football.

  13. Darkest day in a while: getting massacred 38-3 by a 2-4 team. Injuries aren’t an excuse- 2nd string should have hungry, well-coached players ready to step in.
    What was missing was “well-coached.”
    Carey has to go away.

  14. To tell you how far the program’s regressed, just consider that five years ago today, the Owls almost beat ND, Today they got blown out by a bad Tulane team. RUKM?

  15. Year after year of new coaches is starting to show!!!! They need to find someone that wants to be at Temple and wants to stay!!!!!!!

  16. Forget somebody that wants to stay, get somebody that is a FBS caliber coach. You want somebody that will get the program back to where it was w/ Rhule and if they do that and move on to a better job, good for them. Let’s be realistic, you can keep a mediocre coach for a long time (Dunphy) or you can hire a coach that will excel knowing they will move on elsewhere. I’ll take a really good coach for 3 years. Carey unfortunately won’t be moving on under his terms. Bad hire, real bad. Carey would be a good D 2 or D 3 coach. I hope he gets a job I wish him no ill will, but he is unfortunately out of his league at this level. Lack of game plan,no creativity, failure to improve (special teams), can’t win big games (0-7 in Bowl games), history of getting crushed in many games( kids not responding) are just a few of his deficiencies.
    Depressing watching that performance today. They might take them off ESPN + and be relegated to the old Channel 17 soon.

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