TU-Duke: An unmitigated disaster

You needed to look no further than down the dial to see the current state of two Group of Five programs on Friday night.

On one ESPN channel at halftime, G5 Old Dominion was taking care of business at ACC power Virginia Tech with a 10-7 lead.

On another ESPN channel at the same time, G5 Temple was floundering like the fish out of water Rod Carey was here in a 24-0 deficit against ACC cellar-dweller Duke.

The Owls lost that game, 30-0, but many of the same problems that existed in a 3-9 season a year ago for this once-proud Temple program surprisingly resurfaced in the first half.

We thought it would be different but it wasn’t and that’s the saddest takeaway from Friday night. Surprisingly, because we were told by the players and the coaching staff that the whole vibe has changed but on the most important day, game night, it was a rerun of a year ago. Lackluster with no energy.

D’Wan Mathis demonstrated–pretty much like he did in a 3-9 season a year ago–that he was not particularly bothered by multiple three-and-outs. That kind of laisse fair attitude spread like a pandemic to the rest of the team–special teams, defense, and offense.

You are only as good as your leaders are and that includes both the quarterback and the head coach.

To me, the first mistake of the Stan Drayton Era was sticking with Mathis after a scoreless first quarter.

I mean, why do you bring in another four-star quarterback like Quincy Patterson to compete with Mathis and settle for multiple three-and-outs in a real game?

You don’t.

If the competition is open in practice, you should be able to lose the job in a game if you don’t turn the scoreboard into an adding machine.

At the end of one quarter and multiple three-and-outs, you bring in Patterson. Send the message both to Mathis and the rest of the squad that failure in any aspect of the game is unacceptable by this new staff.

Maybe he rallies the team around him. Maybe he doesn’t.

But you don’t sit there and get your ass beat because your starter can’t make plays to keep drives alive.

After five-straight three-and-outs near the end of the first half, Drayton went over to Mathis and patted him on the back. I wouldn’t have done that. I wouldn’t have hit him in the head but I would have told him to take a seat and let Quincy see what he could do. (Nick Saban would have hit him in the head.)

The point is that if you give Mathis five three-and-outs, to be fair, you have to give Patterson the same kind of rope. Mathis cannot be the starter forever if he keeps putting up zeros on the board.

You light a fire under him and you light a fire under the rest of the team.

On the other side of the ball, you don’t let the bad guys’ quarterback sit back and pick you apart with a base defense. If you can’t get to him with four, you bring five. If you can’t get to him with five, you bring six. If you can’t get to him with six, you bring seven. Bring the entire team on passing situations. At some point, you have to make him eat dirt and like the taste.

That’s Temple football.

At least it has been in the past.

Maybe it can be in the future but, judging from Drayton’s disappointing debut, that future is a lot farther off than we previously thought.

Sunday: The Compelling Case for Quincy Patterson


19 thoughts on “TU-Duke: An unmitigated disaster

  1. This has to be hard for you to have to write after many months of excitement about changed ideas and attitudes from the new staff along with portal additions. It was rough to watch after your optimism expressed all summer and earlier today.

    Saban has smacked a QB (McCarron) on the butt for being amped, but never hit one on the noggin. He knows he’d break his hand. He had to relieve Tua and Jalen, but never struck them. He’s cussed them out now and then, but what coach hasn’t?

    • Yeah, thought all those comments from Antoine Smith about getting sacks would actually turn into sacks in real games. Thought Patterson being here would light a fire under Mathis. If those things happen in practice and don’t happen in games, then they don’t happen period. It’s the “if a tree falls in the woods and you don’t hear it” theory. I want to see this in games against real teams like Rutgers, not Lafayette and UMass.

  2. I bought two season tickets (even though I needed only one). I will not go to the Lafayette game unless Drayton names Patterson the starter by Monday. Mathis has all the talent in the world but has no fire in his belly. You need fire in the belly to play quarterback.
    I think there’s more fire in this belly than that belly:

  3. Even with the upgrades in talent from the transfer portal this roster still seems to lack speed. A lot of folks have been commenting these are Drayton guys and on the other side of the ball they pretty much weren’t Elmo’s guys either but Duke was just better prepared plus they clearly had the better QB by far. Don’t know if Mathis will ever play up to his potential

  4. This is tough, but we have to give coach and his staff a chance! Pat Kraft as he was walking out the door to his DREAM JOB Boston College or is it Penn State hire Rod Carey has put Temple back several years!!! At some point the players have got to take accountability also and fasten the chin strap up a little tighter and play harder!!!!! I do believe these coaches and young men will step up! Always a Temple Owl

  5. I’m not going to eviscerate Drayton. He was handed a tough hand, starting off 10 yards deep in his own end zone, but Wingard needs to consider if FBS football benefits TU and student athletes. Maybe move to FCS, reallocate resources, add wrestling, mens lacrosse, reinstate baseball- add womens golf and ice hockey. Wingard wrote about the NIL and how it could be an equalizer, it looks to be the opposite. Rich will get richer. NIL, transfer portal and realignment will make FBS competitiveness at TU untenable. Quicker that reality is addressed, better for TU. NIL Collectives will dominate FBS football- Group of 5 schools won’t have the resources. ODU and App State are in a different scenario- no other game in town in the Tidewater or Boone, Nc. JMU and Harrisonburg same boat- they can get fans bc they don’t have PSU, Eagles, Phillies amongst a load of FBS/FCS competition within a 2-3 hour drive.
    Have a great baseball team, womens FH and lacrosse are great programs, they can play on campus, better atmosphere, make a powerhouse wrestling program, you can be top 20 in mens lacrosse within 5 years. Football at the FBS level unfortunately at Temple has become a joke, this is no disrespect to Drayton or student athletes, but the environment that Golden and Rhule is different- you get a 3 star today, coach him up and he transfers at PSU.
    NIL takes a 4 star that could play at TU and bc they have significantly more $ he goes to MD.
    I do not like to write this, but I think it might be the best for TU and student athletes.


    • How are you going to finance all of these non-revenue producing sports without FBS revenue?

      • Good question. Football drives the bus. Plus, there are going to be about 28K Temple fans against RU for Homecoming. If Temple drops to FCS, you can say goodbye to that kind of alumni networking.

  6. If there was a positive from last night, it was a reality check for those who thought a turnaround would be instantaneous. Predictions of six wins, eight wins, high profile bowl games – all of it was absolute insanity and ignored the reality of the rebuild at hand.

    This isn’t even year one. It’s year zero. That’s how much work is required here. Stan has made many right moves since he started. Last night demonstrated just how much work still needs to be done. The roster is better than it was last year. The coaching staff is better than it was last year. Getting more talent and getting them coached to compete with ACC teams or Power 2 teams is not going to happen in Stan’s first 12 months.

    The first half of the season is going to be ugly. There should be visible improvement in the second half. Matching last year’s win total is a good result for this year. Going over it is a big success.

    Better days are ahead. But this is how the journey starts to get there.

  7. 2-10, maybe. Shutout! D apparently couldn’t stop them! With all the build up pregame, the big question was game-day coaching and it was an “unmitigated disaster.” Not even competitive. We should have done better, even in a loss.

    Temple spends millions annually (LINC rent, travel all over the country, etc.) which could pay to reinstate dropped sports (CE Speed, don’t forget about men’s track/field, and a couple others). Temple, and it’s decision making and funding history, will never be able to keep pace or so it seems. But having some sort of athletics program is just part of the college experience. How does little Nova compete at such a high level? Glad we’re not playing them this season. Food for thought.

  8. I hope you all are right: we’ve got to wait for Stan’s guys to get up to speed, burn off all the dross from the Carey years, etc.

    But boy, we looked so much less competitive than I imagined. Slower. No separation. Little pass protection. Little pass rush. (I’d like to see Quincy, too…but I didn’t think Mathis was as terrible as others are saying; he was rushed and defenders were draped all over our receivers — while Duke’s receivers were often sailing through wide open spaces. How does that happen?)

    We looked just like….. what I’d imagine Lafayette would look like playing an ACC team. Still….patience. Let’s give Stan space and time. Go Owls!

    • We looked worse than last year and I didn’t think that was possible until halftime last night

      • I hope this kind of question is not annoying, but I don’t have the football “mind,” technically, that many of you do. If we play 3 down linemen on defense…that means we have 8 people potentially defending the pass. So why, on so many plays, are the receivers so wide open…roaming in open space? Is it our defensive scheme, or purely a function of our defenders being slower/less athletic than the receivers? Baffling to me. (Versus….our receivers having very little separation, the QB has to thread the needle, etc.)


      • Not annoying. I’ve always echoed what Bruce Arians told me many times when he coached at Temple. “The best pass defense is putting the quarterback on his backside.” That’s coming from a very good college quarterback. He knows. Put eight guys in coverage and that gives the quarterback eight more (seems like it) seconds to find someone. Have eight guys chasing his ass and it might give him a split second and better yet, they might get to him and separate him from the football. Enough of a simulated pass rush. I want a real one.

      • I. Hear. Ya.

      • Did our defensive coordinator have success with his defensive schemes at previous schools using simulated pressure?

      • No

  9. We’re going to the Game vs (powerhouse ?) “Lafeyette” , just because, but with no joy within us anymore. Image what a power matchup this game will be, Wow. IF Temple wins it will put them on the track to where….? And to compare, watched ECU vs NC State yesterday, always amused by ECU as they beat TU so often… ECU had shitz-luck FG’er but they will smash TU as it looked, down the line, oh boy, oh_well

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