Saturday against Wagner: Enjoy the (last) win

A friend of mine for many years who pretty much knows Temple sports inside out put the Rod Carey Era (Error) in perfect perspective when I posted that the Georgia Tech fans are upset with Geoff Collins.

“He’s the Milli of college football head coaches. I fear we hired the Vanilli.”

Reading that line caused me to spit out my morning coffee and laugh out loud.

So true.

The song Milli and Vanilli got caught for being fakes on was “Blame it on the Rain.”

Our Vanilli blamed a 28-3 loss on the refs yesterday.

Really, Rod?

I could see blaming a 10-7 or maybe … maybe .. a 14-3 loss on the refs but 28-3?

We are seeing the last vestiges of a head coach in trouble.

I learned a few things I suspected but did not know for sure yesterday.

The least important one was that I could not take sunscreen into the stadium so as burned up as I was on the inside that’s how it showed on the outside.

The other three are way more important.

President Wingard, please heed these words.

One, the era of the hard-ass coach is over.

Two, the schemes on both the offensive and defensive sides are ass-backwards.

Three, when you have shitty special teams and WIN the toss, please do not … I repeat DO NOT … defer for the second half. I would rather see an onsides kick than a regular one in that situation but prefer to give my offense the ball over anything else.

That kickoff return killed any home-field advantage the Owls might have had.

When freaking UMASS gives BC a better game than Temple does, you know you have COACHING problems.

Let’s take No. 1 first. Getting to know the parents in the parking lot two years ago I got the vibe that almost every kid in the program “wanted” to transfer because they didn’t, in their words, “feel” Carey.

In other words, those kids–mostly good kids from good families–saw the direction Carey was taking the program and were not on board. The kids who could take the portal route did but those who couldn’t remained. There are a lot of good kids and good players here suffering as a result. They had been through winning programs under Matt Rhule and Geoff Collins and saw a decline under Carey. So did pretty much every Temple fan.

In order to win at Temple, you can’t be a “my-way-or-the-highway” guy. You’ve got to be a coach the players BOTH love and respect. The players loved Matt Rhule and Al Golden but more importantly respected both.

You would not see the hemorrhaging of players that we have seen under Carey with either or those two guys or a number of guys who are good players’ coaches.

You can be both–a players’ coach and a respected one.

Carey is neither.

The only reason why Temple will win 60-0 this weekend is the players. Certainly not the coaches. That’s how much better Temple’s players are than Wagner’s ones. Maybe a little more. Maybe a little less but I doubt the swing will be more than 20 points either way.

Enjoy it.

It will be the last one for a long time.

The way Temple played on Saturday, I don’t see the Owls beating either USF or Navy and those are the only two hopes for wins remaining on the schedule. Navy has a far better coaching staff and USF has Florida players. Even if the Owls win both of those games, are you satisfied with four wins?

I didn’t think so.

The next move is up to the President and the Temple Board of Trustees, if they care enough to bring us back to where we were three years ago.

If they don’t, all the work that got us to where we were in 2005 until 2019 will be for naught and throwing away that work of mostly two good coaches and men would be heartbreaking.

Monday: The Temple Curse

Friday: Wagner


Beating BC anyway you can

It was only three years ago Temple last played Boston College.

Sometime late Saturday I received this text from a long-time Temple fan:

“Hey, did you see Boston College quarterback Phil Jurkovec went down with a wrist injury?”

Yeah, I did.

My initial reaction was that I wanted him to play so opposing fans and naysayers of Temple won’t say “yeah, but Jurkovec didn’t play” in the still unlikely event the Owls would win.

“I don’t want to win like that,” I typed back.

That was my initial reaction but after sleeping on the question I really don’t care if he plays or not.

I HOPE Temple plays to its potential, maybe gets a few breaks and pulls out the win. If one of those breaks is Jurkovec’s bum wrist, so be it. Temple will have to play with its backup QB, too, so I don’t have a whole lot of sympathy for the bad guys.

That’s how sorely Temple needs some breaks especially after getting a series of bad ones the last couple of years, especially in that all-important first home game.

Plenty of other teams are getting breaks and maybe it’s about time Temple gets some.

Really, the first couple of weeks in college football has restored a lot of the faith in the game that I had lost with the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer.

First, UC-Davis won at Tulsa.

Then, South Dakota State won at Colorado State.

Then, East Tennessee State destroyed Vanderbilt and Montana won at Washington.

And, finally, Jacksonville State took advantage of a Hail Mary and won at Florida State.

The latter three wins, where FCS teams beat high-profile Power 5 teams, were particularly encouraging. None of those teams even recruit on the level of Temple, let alone the teams they were able to beat.

If those teams can make their own breaks over teams whose recruiting rankings are significantly higher, then so can Temple. Hell, Akron was far more competitive in its games last year than UMass was and destroyed a Bowling Green team, 31-3, that UMass would have probably lost to a season ago.

A year ago, a former classmate of mine suggested it was pure folly for Temple to ever entertain the notion that it can beat Boston College because, he said, “they recruit on a whole different level than Temple.”

I pointed out to him that the Boston College team that got destroyed by Cincinnati, 37-8, in 2019 couldn’t compete with a Cincy team that barely beat Temple (15-13).

“Yeah, well that was before they had Jurkovec,” he said.

Well, I really don’t care if they have Jurkovec or not as long as the pixie dust sprinkled on Montana, SDSU, ETSU, Jacksonville State nd UC-Davis finds its way to Lincoln Financial Field. There seems to be a lot of that dust around this season for some reason and Temple could use it dropping down from a cloud in South Philly between noon-3 on Saturday.

If so, Temple wins, with or without Jurkovec.

Friday: BC Preview

The Irony of Temple-BC

Interesting that Daz takes credit for a practice facility that was largely built 10 years before he got here (16-minute timestamp).

Irony is one of the most misused words in the English language, but Saturday’s noon showdown in Chestnut Hill, Mass. between Temple and Boston College is dripping in this definition of it:

“a state of affairs or an event that seems deliberately contrary to what one expects and is often amusing as a result.”

In this case, the irony is not that the Owls will be facing a guy in Steve Addazio, who not only left Temple (after pledging eternal loyalty) for two years. That’s a coincidence, not ironic.

It will be simply this:


You want facts? Patenaude’s offense for Temple (out of 127 teams): Passing=89th; Rushing=105; Team=112; Obviously, what he is doing is not working


Boston College is running the same offense Temple should be running now, while Temple is fumbling and stumbling through the same offense Matt Rhule struggled with in his first two years before abandoning it for one that personified the core principles of Temple TUFF established by Wayne Hardin and Bruce Arians and followed through by Al Golden.

By “deliberately contrary to what one would expect” we’re talking about the offense Daz ran here his second year, which broken down into basics was: run, run, throw (sack), punt. During his first year at Temple, Scot Loeffler was in charge of the offense and it was based on the concepts that the Owls always won by: Establish the run behind two tight ends and a fullback, force the safeties and linebackers up to the line of scrimmage where they would be susceptible to play-action passes. Loeffler went onto Virginia Tech after his first year here and Daz went back to the habits he formed at Florida. Now that Loeffler is in charge, Daz has made him “head coach of the offense” and that’s why the BC offense is succeeding where Temple’s is failing.

In Boston, it is run the ball behind an elite tailback (A.J. Dillon) and use play action to make explosive downfield plays in the passing game. Know any other team that has an elite tailback with explosive downfield receivers? If it doesn’t piss you off that Ventell Bryant and Isaiah Wright aren’t getting any separation, it should. It is not the fault of the kids, either; same players got routinely wide open under Matt Rhule’s play-action-oriented scheme. Those guys can do so much damage in a pro set but Patenaude wants nothing to do with it. In any other job, that would be considered malfeasance.

We saw a glimpse of that offense for Temple in Maryland, when the Owls were disciplined enough to stay focused in an H-back blocking look for their own elite tailback, Ryquell Armstead, whose success in the run game set up some nice play-action looks in the passing game for unbeaten quarterback Anthony Russo. Success in the run game allowed Russo to fake an out beautifully to Bryant (who sold it with a great leap) and that drew two Maryland defensive backs to Bryant, allowing tight end Kenny Yeboah to run free.

Yeboah and Chris Myarick not only blocked well but caught key passes to keep the sticks moving. Temple really had not used its tight ends effectively in the Dave Patenaude Error until that afternoon.


If it doesn’t piss you off that Ventell Bryant and Isaiah Wright aren’t getting any separation, it should. It is not the fault of the kids, either; same receivers got routinely wide open under Matt Rhule’s play-action-oriented scheme


Last week, against Tulsa, the Owls lapsed into the same unfocused look they showed in losses to Buffalo and Villanova. It was not a good look.

This is the same kind of crisis Rhule had after his second year at the helm. His talent dictated run/play action but his offensive coordinator at the time, Marcus Satterfield, was stubborn about running the spread look. Rhule had the cojones to demote Satterfield to wide receiver coach and hire a guy from the Atlanta Falcons, Glenn Thomas, who implemented a more pro-style look that coincided with the Temple TUFF brand.

So far, it looks like Temple head coach Geoff Collins is satisfied with handing the keys of his offense over to a drunk driver rather than someone with vision and sharp reflexes. Maybe that will change. Maybe it will be Saturday. We saw this movie before, though. All last year and three of the four games this year.

It’s like Waiting for Godot.

The essence of great coaching is to get the most out of the talent you have, not the talent you want. Establish the run behind a great tailback in Ryquell Armstead following a great blocking fullback in Rob Ritrovato and immensely talented receivers like Bryant,  Wright and Branden Mack can get the kind of separation they need to cause serious damage.

Boston College runs the exact same offense Temple should be running with its personnel. That’s irony. The Temple challenge on this Saturday will rest in being smart enough to fight BC’s fire with some of the same fire of its own.

Friday: BC Preview

Scoreboard Watching Could Get Interesting


The scoreboard you can get building a $130 million stadium

In a perfect world, one of these days the little guy rises up to bite the big guy in the butt.

That seldom happens because the deck is always stacked against the little guy because the big guy usually makes the rules.

Nothing reflects that reality these days more than the monopoly called big-time college football.

Yet there is a miniscule chance the impossible happens so it’s nice on a late May day to dream.


The view Maryland defenders had of Bernard Pierce in a 5TD game in College Park

For Temple football, that boils down to two sports this season: Watching the Owls’ scoreboard and watching those of particularly two other guys: Boston College and Maryland.

You can only control what you can control and, if the Owls control things and win another AAC title, then the secondary sport of scoreboard watching comes into play.

Boston College is supposed to be good this season. If head coach Steve Addazio gets out of his own way and allows Scot (one t) Loeffler to call the plays, it could be very good.

Maryland is supposed to be better and any team that defensive coordinator Chuck Heater goes to usually gets a lot better during his first year on the job.

How much better will be determined if BC can beat Purdue and Wake Forest before getting to Temple and Maryland can beat a Texas team bent on revenge.

There’s nothing more
idiotic than a fan
saying, “Let’s beat UCF,
USF and Memphis first
before we start thinking
about Maryland and BC.”

Either way, the Owls should be underdogs in their two Power 5 games but I don’t see that number rising to double-digits so winning those games is a realistic goal.

Then it’s hoping that either BC wins the ACC or Maryland wins the Big 10. Not likely, but necessary if that miniscule chance of Temple ever making a big national splash is to occur.

As always while discussing these scenarios, we have to address the “let’s take one game at a time” of a lot of our fans. There’s nothing more idiotic than a fan saying, “Let’s beat UCF, USF and Memphis first before we start thinking about Maryland and BC.” Fans don’t have to take a game at a time. Fans can look ahead to any game they want to because fans looking ahead doesn’t cause the team to lose.

Taking one game at a time is the job of the paid professionals, the head coaches and their staffs, to pound that point home to the scholarship athletes under their guidance. It’s always good to remember that Buffalo, for instance, is taking the same approach to the Temple game that the Owls are taking to BC and Maryland.

As fans, it’s our job to get excited about all of the aspects of the season and, for this one at least, scoreboard watching is one of those pursuits.

Monday: Gambling on the G5

Wednesday: How The Tokyo Trip Helps

Friday: FBS Pecking Order and The Owls