TU Offense: Most predictable in college football

One of the many “trick plays” that put Temple football on the college football map.

Any Joe Blow who watched Temple football over the first five games can tell you three things:

If D’Wan Mathis is in the game at quarterback, expect a fumble. If E.J. Warner is in the game, expect a pass. If Quincy Patterson is in the game, expect a run.

That’s called telegraphing a play.

The “original” Philly special

If Samuel Morse was still around today, he’d be the Temple offensive coordinator. (Inventor of the telegraph for those who don’t know.)

Former Temple running back Sid Morse (who then play-by-play guy Don Henderson called “Morris”) probably would do a better job than Danny Langsdorf.

That is a shame because as good a job D.J. Eliot is doing as defensive coordinator, that’s more than negated by the poor job Langsdorf has done as offensive coordinator.

You can add the “swing and gate” jet sweep (see above video)

There used to be a time when Temple would dictate the narrative on offense.

When Al Golden was head coach, the Owls used a jump pass to the tight end to win a game at the fake Miami. (Little did we know at the time Golden would become head coach at the real Miami.)

Also with Golden in charge, Adam DiMichele used a fake kneel down to throw a touchdown pass in the waning seconds of the first half at Navy.

Under Matt Rhule, Temple changed the momentum in a 27-10 win over Penn State with the first “Philly Special”–a pitch from then quarterback P.J. Walker to former high school quarterback John Christopher (a Temple wide receiver) who found Walker for a key first down. The Owls were down, 10-0, at the time and that play changed the whole game.

When the Eagles used the same play in the Super Bowl, Doug Pederson said “we got the play from watching a college game.”

He never gave credit to Temple. That’s not cool, Doug, so we hope you lose Sunday.

The real sad thing is that Temple has players with unique skills suited to what current head coach Stan Drayton calls “gadget plays.” Mathis can throw the ball on the reverse or a double pass. Running back Trey Blair is more than capable of a halfback pass.

“You want, North Philly, North Philly?”

Five games in, Drayton nor Langsdorf has taken advantage of those unique skills. No halfback pass. No double pass. No pass off a reverse. No pass off a fake kneel down. No jump pass to the tight end. No shovel pass to a running back in the red zone.

No nothing.

Instead, what every Joe Blow knows every highly paid coach in America knows and that’s probably why Temple is having a tough time scoring points right now.

Temple has a couple of choices. It can put Patterson in the game and have him throw (UCF won’t expect that) or it can jump-start an offense whose battery is dead by drawing up innovative plays.

Or it can keep what it has been doing and hope to win games by field goals.

That’s not a good plan. Eleven days to dictate the narrative on offense or keep up with the failed plan of the first five games.

Even Joe Blow can tell Temple that. We will find out soon enough if the Edberg-Olson brain trust is listening or has intentionally put fingers in their ears.

Monday: AAC Landscape


14 thoughts on “TU Offense: Most predictable in college football

  1. This is the deal. TUFB basically has the same level of talent on both sides of the ball. Yet, the defense is playing competitive football and the offense is not. Why? How soon we forget..,

    Temple waited until the very end of the coaching carousel to hire Drayton. Result, severely depleted available pool of staff hires, not to mention the foregone recruiting period. The BOT WTOTE THIS SEASON OFF with the extremely late HC hire of Drayton. There was no excuse!

    Good news is Drayton didn’t get the season write off email. He lucked out w/the DC and secured 7 starters via the portal

    The OC was not his first choice, just the best of all available. My gut tells me the OC will be gone before XMas.

    • Unlike our past 2 coaches, I do hope Drayton is the kind of guy who will make changes to his staff if they aren’t getting the job done. Not that surprised that the defense has progressed faster at this point but the OC just doesn’t seem to be maximizing the talent he has

  2. Just throwing this out there because Mike was so excited about Quincy Patterson, but I gotta ask what gives with him?

    Twice yesterday he faked a handoff out of the wildcat formation and then ran STRAIGHT AHEAD into the back of an offensive lineman. It really felt as if he closed his eyes and just ran ahead.

    And, of course, another inexcusable dropped ball by a wide-open receiver, this time a potential easy touchdown.

    • Time to give Fox a shot a wide receiver. The ironic thing is if Fox catches that same pass Barbon did, it’s six. He’s significantly faster than Jose. Love Barbon so I really hated to see him drop that other pass, which might be his only drop as a Temple receiver. It’s the first one I can recall. When your offense is so bad, drops for sure touchdowns (like Barbon’s yesterday and Stewart’s against Rutgers) are magnified. It’s really apparent that we need to bring more blockers to the point of attack to help the running game out. Having two tight ends with one in motion and pitch it to the RB behind the motion block is certainly worth a try. We now know what won’t work: Putting Patterson in the game on running downs and E.J. on passing downs.

      • I might add that I saw Mathis get on the field for at least one play. It MUST have been called for him because Warner immediately threw the ball to him, but Mathis failed to even turn around. It was a perfectly placed pass….

  3. Got to build with EJ !! Can’t keep juggling quarterbacks as your trying to build program back! I think this offense has to get better in more areas then QB. This O-line has got to get better!! I think when you got a young freshman QB that shows promise you take the good and bad and build with it . Go Owls!!!

    • E.J. is not going to be effective without a run game. So we’re going to have to draw up a scheme to get the running game going. If the OL isn’t good enough, then you bring more blockers (tight ends) to the point of attack.

  4. While I understand that it’s Drayton’s first year and starting a freshman quarterback, these are no reasons to predictably conservative. This, along with questionable decisions on fourth down, it appears to be a learning process. He’s still an upgrade from his predecessor.

  5. TU DBs and LBs faster than Memphis’ RBs and WRs. Can’t say the same for TU RBs and WRs. DBs did great job covering which allowed DL to get sacks. But 3-and-outs wore down the D-line which has limited depth at this stage of Drayton’s tenure. That will change with another recruiting class and portal sweep. Get Patterson to practice running wide now and then versus straight ahead. He’s not fast, but he’ll do better than than he’s doing. There’s two weeks to work on wrinkles for UCF…and you know they’ve got speed.

  6. At this point, I’m not sure changing offensive coordinators would make much of a difference. For 2 straight years this team has had absolutely no running game. I don’t care who is calling the plays, if you have an offense that can’t run the ball, you become predictable and ineffective. A few trick plays here and there would be nice, but the lack of a rushing attack is the fundamental problem and needs to be addressed.

    The offensive gets absolutely no push on running plays. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a team fail to convert 4th and shorts as consistently as this team has over the past 2 years. Couple that with the fact that none of our running backs look like FBS level running backs. I see no explosion or wiggle from any of them. Even the UMass running back looked way more explosive than anyone on our roster. I don’t think any of our running backs has made a defender miss all season. We need to hit the recruiting trail and transfer portal hard for O-line and RB help.

    I’m not sure how Iverson Clement was worse than any of these other guys at RB and got moved to defense. Would have at least liked to see him get a few carries before he left.

    As for Barbon, that is far from his first drop as an Owl. He was pretty sure-handed last season, but I can recall the first year he got any playing time (2018 or 2019 I think) he dropped nearly everything thrown his way. Hopefully he can shake that one off and have a good season, but I do agree about Fox. I have been wondering why he hasn’t had any playing time. I felt like he was pretty solid last year when given an opportunity. The same goes for Amad Anderson. I’d like to see us utilize the speed of those 2 WR’s, especially with the lack of a running game. I think hitting Fox or Anderson on a few screen plays is worth a shot.

    • Good points all around. Fox and Anderson are playmakers. Fox stood out as the best WR in the Cherry and White Game and Anderson took that short pitch and went around end for 53 yards and a touchdown for six in last year’s Memphis game. He seems to have that little elusive element that the other guys lack. As far as the line, Klein and Moore and good but they have holes elsewhere.

  7. Pingback: Temple at UCF: A bridge too far? – Temple Football Forever

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