Arians will roll the dice in Super Bowl

Bruce with strength coach Link Gotshalk and John Chaney (Photo courtesy of Willard Cooper)

When he was the head coach at Temple, Bruce Arians had a saying:

“No risky, no bisky.”

That was shorthand for “No risk it, no biscuit” and, if there’s one thing consistent about his time at Temple was that Arians practiced what he preached on both sides of the ball.

Arians’ accomplishments at Temple were, in my view, extremely underrated. He was a terrific recruiter and a good enough head coach to post two winning seasons against what in both seasons was rated the No. 10 -toughest schedule in the country.

He produced a Heisman Trophy finalist in Paul Palmer and the “quarterback whisperer” had a trio of fine quarterbacks in Tim Riordan, Lee Saltz and Matty Baker in five years.

In a 35-30 win at Rutgers in 1988, defensive coordinator Nick Rapone followed the playbook of most DCs at that time and went to a prevent defense with 1 minute, 52 seconds left in the game and RU having no timeouts. A quarterback named Scott Erney carved up that prevent and the Scarlet Knights had the ball on the Temple 30.

This time, Arians used the timeout and got in the ear of Rapone and told him to rush eight and drop back three. Temple sacked Erney three times and the game ended with a defensive tackle named Swift Burch sitting on top of him. (That same Rutgers team won at Penn State, 21-16.)

“If I was going to lose, I was going down with my guns blazing,” Arians said afterward, holding the game ball. “We called jailbreak–which is an all-out blitz–on the final three plays and, fortunately, it worked. I’m a former quarterback. I know the best pass defense is putting the quarterback on his back side.”

No risky, no bisky.

In his final game, a 45-28 win over Boston College at the Vet, Arians called two flea-flickers that resulted in touchdown passes to Mike Palys that basically won that game. There seems to be an unwritten rule in college football that if you try one trick play in a game and it works you don’t try the same play in the same game again. Arians never believed in unwritten rules. He made defenses make quick decisions with lot of motion like on this play:

Meanwhile, we don’t see flea-flickers at Temple anymore even once in any game.

No risky, no bisky.

It is a philosophy Arians had at Temple and took with him throughout his NFL career.

Nobody really knows what will happen on Sunday night, but if it involves a risky decision, Arians knows what the call will be.

Here’s hoping when he gets home that biscuit will be the best tasting one of his life.


11 thoughts on “Arians will roll the dice in Super Bowl

  1. What was the first play he called for Lee Saltz versus Penn State? Saltz replaces an injured Tim Reardon. If my memory serves me, it was a bomb to Willie Marshall?

    • I’d have to look that one up but Bruce beat Pitt 3 of 5 times, beat a 9-2-1 Virginia Tech Peach Bowl team (soundly, 29-16), beat a California Bowl-bound Toledo team (35-6) and was not embarrassed against Florida State, Alabama, Penn State, Georgia, BYU … all powers at that time. All with no facilities in comparison to them.

  2. Arians teams played Alabama close down there with Paul Palmer but in 1988 he stunk up the joint because he put in an offense that always had a wide receiver in motion running to the opposite side of the field. Problem was that he always ran the play to the side of the field the receiver ended up. He also stunk in the Syracuse game where Don McPherson went on a 98 yard drive to win the game. In that game they had nine in the box to stop Palmer and it took him over a half to figure it out. Second half they went to play action and smoked them. Also he screwed up the BYU game at the Vet and there were others. I was very friendly with some of his coaches and they said he was insane on game day and they had to ignore him to win.

    • Hey John, that was the unfortunate short lived tenure of Tony Demeo….as a young player I watched Demeo come in to the locker room at half time down at Navy….he was feeling real sure of himself and BA dug into him and fired him on the spot in the locker room at halftime…..he pulled the offense together and discussed the previous offense and went with that. The Demeo offense was absolutely horrible and a huge mistake.

      • Good hearing from you Brian. I remember sitting in the stands for that Bama game just waiting for them to fake it or throw off of it and it never happened. Couldn’t believe what I was watching. That same year in the Tulsa game I think two or three extra point/field goals attempts were blocked because the holder was lining up five yards from the snapper instead of seven and it took a whole half for the coaches to realize it. sometimes it looked like no one knew what was going on.

  3. Touchdown Temple!

    How many FBS schools have both interim uni pres and AD? The BOT is failing student athletes, alumni, and fans. Sad, frustrating, and demoralizing.

    How can anyone fault guys like Russo, Roche, Jarman, Davis, etc.? Those kids and parents are not stupid.

    I would advise my son/daughter student athlete in a heartbeat to choose a school committed to athletic AND academic excellence.

    Interim and excellence are oxymorons.

  4. Please watch #32, Sheldon Morris this whole clip, starting with the wrap around draw which always worked. That is what we are always talking about here….Temple Tuff….perfect example!

  5. I was at that game in Berkeley! Cal won. I got a high-five from Todd and a cold shoulder from Bruce after the game. Arians was pissed at the mediocre performance.

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