Game Day Forecast: Great weather, uncertain outcome

Temple is not getting much respect from the prognosticators.

Fanciers of sports talk radio pick up on the catchphrases of various successful hosts.

Mike Francesa of New York has “wait a minute, wait a minute!” but today’s signature that applies to the noon kickoff between host Temple and Maryland goes to another Mike, Missanelli, who says: “the line is telling me something.”

The opening line was Maryland favored by four.

It has since adjusted to around a touchdown.


No rain, just a beautiful day for football

Shocking, because after last week, I thought the line would open with Temple a mid-teen double-digit dog.

The line should be telling you that Vegas feels that Temple is a whole lot better than Syracuse–which was ranked No. 21 last week–but elsewhere the signs are that there is little respect for the Owls.

“Maryland travels to Temple
this coming Saturday before
a well-placed bye week ahead
of its first significant
test: a nationally televised
home game on Sept. 27, a Friday
night, against Penn State”

_ Ross Dellenger, National College
Football writer
Temple NOT a test?
Bulletin Board material

Only Sports Illustrated said to jump on the Owls but that was to cover, not to win, and I haven’t found a viable prediction service who is picking Temple to win outright.

I won’t but I won’t pick Maryland to win, either, because I think there are too many variables going into this game.

First, Bucknell might be the worst FCS team in the history of college football and I don’t think that game adequately prepared the Owls for this one. That’s not on the kids or coaches but on the Temple administration. To me, even a full-contact scrimmage between the first and second Temple units under game conditions would have been a better way to prepare and certainly a game against another FBS team would have also been better. I’m still very concerned that not a single Temple running back was able to take a handoff from deep in his own territory and outrace that entire Bucknell team for a touchdown.

That’s one strike against Temple.

On the other hand, many of the key players who starred in last year’s victory for Temple–notably Kenny Yeboah, Anthony Russo, and Shaun Bradley.–have not gone anywhere and they all figure to be the same kind of a nightmare for the Terrapins that they were a year ago. Russo was great in his first-ever college start, finding Yeboah for a touchdown, while Bradley had a pick 6.

That’s one strike against Maryland.

The second strike could be coaching but that’s also up in the air. Temple should have an advantage there because Rod Carey entered this season with a 52-30 record as an FBS head coach while Mike Locksley entered this season as a 3-31 FBS head coach. Last week, Locksley had to outsmart only Dino Babers (19-20 as a head coach coming into this season). It should be tougher against Carey. Still, I have a question whether Carey is married to a read-option offense. If he is, that’s playing into Maryland hands by giving the Terrapins more possessions than they should have and, with that kind of speed, that’s a high hanging curveball. If he’s flexible enough to adjust to attack the Terrapins’ weakness–run defense–by establishing the run first and throwing off play-action fakes, that could be a home run for Temple.

This morning it’s the bottom of the ninth and one team is down to its final strike.

We won’t know who swings and misses until 3 p.m., but that’s what makes sports great and just maybe a big and loud home crowd becomes the kind of closer Mariano Rivera was.

Picks this week (record 0-0 against the spread, 0-0 straight up): North Carolina State laying the 6.5 at West Virginia, Penn State laying the 17 against visiting Pitt, Eastern Michigan getting 8 at Illinois, Iowa laying the 2.5 at Iowa State, Buffalo laying the 4.5 at Liberty and Georgia State getting 10.5 at Western Michigan

Tomorrow: Game Analysis


Owls Know The Way to Beat Maryland

Perhaps no score in college football surprised the so-called experts more than Maryland’s 63-20 win over Syracuse on Saturday.

Sure, Maryland was a 2-point favorite at home against the No. 21-ranked Orange but Hurricane Dorian-type level of devastation was the thing that opened some eyes.

One thing the Terrapins established is they are a quick-strike team with plenty of speed on offense.

While Maryland has revenge
motivation that can’t be
discounted, Carey has all
the cards in his pocket in
terms of strategy. As a head
coach on the FBS level,
Carey is 53-30; as a head
coach on the FBS level,
Maryland coach Mike
Locksley is 5-31

Those three hours gave Temple head coach Rod Carey a pretty good template for devising a game plan to beat the Terrapins.

Like the old Dean Smith four-corners pre-clock era basketball offense of North Carolina, play keep-away.

The way to control a big-strike type team, as Maryland is, is to run the ball, control the clock, bring the safeties and the linebackers up to the line of scrimmage, and hit some key third-down plays in the play-action passing game. Keep the ball for at least eight minutes of each quarter and score some points and that limits the opportunities Maryland has to touch it.

While Maryland has revenge motivation that can’t be discounted, Carey has all the cards in his pocket in terms of strategy. As a head coach on the FBS level, Carey is 53-30; as a head coach on the FBS level, Maryland coach Mike Locksley is 5-31. Plus, the Owls had an extra week to prepare so Carey knows what the deal is. Last year, the Owls put their tight ends in motion as blockers for NFL fifth-round pick Ryquell Armstead, got some turnovers on defense, and came away with a 35-14 win.

All  Locksley has to go by on Temple is a game film that showed a spread offense without a fullback or two tight ends and that’s pretty much what he’s planning to stop.

If Carey came out in two tight ends, and a fullback, pounded the ball behind running backs Jager Gardner and Re’Mahn Davis (with a healthy dose of Isaiah Wright misdirection), that’s something Maryland coaches would definitely not be prepared to face.

Running the ball behind extra blockers was also that strategy that Steve Addazio employed to beat Maryland, 38-7, in 2011:

As a bonus, it is also the best strategy for Temple in that the Owls’ strengths as a team are their offensive line, quarterbacks and linebackers. If Wright is the full-time running back, you could also say that position would be a strength of the team as well.

With Josh Jackson instead of turnover-prone Kasim Hunt at quarterback, this is not the same Maryland team that lost to Temple 35-14 a year ago in College Park, Md.

This isn’t the same Temple team, either.

It’s better-coached than it was a year behind a guy who is 4-2 against the Big 10.

Whether he goes 5-2 will be determined by his willingness to adjust his scheme to exploit the weakness of his opponent.

We will find that out in six days.

Tuesday: Owl Nation

Saturday: Game Day

The Case for Mike Locksley


Ten years of exemplary service at Maryland makes Mike a good fit here.

The  least popular individual on a football team when an offense is misfiring is usually the coordinator, so that’s why there were few tears shed on Sunday afternoon by Temple football fans when the news broke that Marcus Satterfield was leaving to take the head coaching job at Tennessee Tech.

After a 7-0 start, the Owls stumbled to a 3-4 finish and the fingers pointed directly to Satterfield, whose offense produced 17 and 13 points in the last two losses. Temple looked incapable of running a hurry-up offense in the AACchampionship loss to Houston, and Satterfield’s call of throwing into the end zone on third-and-3 with Temple down 24-13 and driving at the Cougar 38-yard-line with 7:18 left was widely second-guessed. That’s because the Cougars were giving Owls wide receiver Robby Anderson a 10-yard cushion at the line of scrimmage and a simple pitch and catch could have moved the sticks.

Satterfield bore the brunt of the blame but likely would have survived, because head coach Matt Rhule is widely considered “too nice a guy” to fire assistants. The process that Rhule likes to talk about broke down on one side of the ball late in the season and needs to be fixed.

Fortunately for Rhule, convergence of both time and circumstance has made a more qualified replacement available. Just last week new Maryland head coach D.J. Durkin said offensive coordinator and interim head coach Mike Locksley will not be retained. Unlike head coaching contracts, contracts for college assistants usually are not guaranteed meaning Locksley needs a job. Rhule so happens to have one available, and he should grab Locksley before someone else does. Locksley is a big believer in the play-action passing game Temple likes to run and has put up numbers using a similar system in the past. Locksley was OC for a Maryland team that averaged 28.5 points per game in its inaugural Big 10 season (2014), the most points the school was able to produce since 2010 (32.5). Locksley is also a top recruiter, at three schools — Maryland, Illinois and Florida. While at Florida, he engineered two top 10 recruiting classes in each of his two seasons as recruiting coordinator.

Locksley has plenty of recruiting contacts in an area where Temple usually recruits heavily called the DMV (Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia). The Owls could give Locksley the keys to both the offense and the DMV recruiting area and trust the process once again.

Tomorrow: A Recruiting Overview

5 Possible Names to Take Temple OC Job


Without a doubt, Mike Locksley  is the best candidate available for Temple.

The top talk in Philadelphia football this week will center on potential coaching hires, but chances are Temple fans are not as interested in who succeeds Chip Kelly as much as who will succeed Marcus Satterfield. Satterfield, who took the Tennessee Tech head coaching job on Sunday, was a three and four wide receiver guy who was running an offense ill-suited to Temple’s defense-first, run-the-ball, style of play. Fortunately, head coach Matt Rhule put his foot down prior to this season and told Satterfield that he wanted to run the ball. That is the very definition of Temple football and head coach Matt Rhule is most comfortable with that style and now has an opportunity to find guys who are better-suited to that system. Here are five possible candidates:

Adam DiMichele

Adam DiMichele is a fan favorite.

  1. Adam DiMichele

Currently Temple’s director of player development, DiMichele—one of Temple’s greatest quarterbacks of all time—was wide receivers’ coach in 2014.  DiMichele spent the 2013 season at TU as a graduate assistant coach, working with the offense. DiMichele was part of some of the most imaginative plays in TU history, including the fake kneel down in the final seconds before halftime that found Bruce Francis open for 55-yard touchdown at Navy in 2008.


  1. Mike Gibson

Probably the best pure name  🙂 among the five, Gibson—a former Temple offensive coordinator (and no relation)—currently is the head coach at the University of Regina (Canada). He was offensive coordinator at Rice, Temple and Rutgers before embarking on career in Canada in 2001. An offensive coordinator in the states makes more than twice as much as a head college coach in Canada, so the former Western Maryland center could probably be enticed back to his native land. Since the name already was mentioned on Pravda as a candidate, we figured we research his credentials.


Todd has a NC and Temple ties.

  1. Todd McNair

On Dec. 7, a ruling by a three-justice panel in the 2nd District Court of Appeal affirmed that McNair “has demonstrated a probability of prevailing on the merits of his defamation case (against the NCAA),” Justice Richard D. Aldrich wrote in the 30-page opinion and that probably clears the way for the former national championship assistant to be hired by Temple or any other school. The former Owl would be a great recruiter and coach here.


Probably the least “sexy” choice (see Lockley’s wife), that’s why he probably will get a bigger office.

  1. Glenn Thomas

Rhule has shown a propensity to promote from within, so that probably makes him the leading candidate. His credentials, though, other than being Atlanta Falcons’ QB coach, don’t seem nearly as impressive as the other candidates. From 2001-07, Thomas spent his coaching tenure at Midwestern State. Four of those years were as a grad assistant coaching wide receivers (2001-04). From 2005-2007, he was the OC there.


Mike Locksley: Could be recruiting coordinator or OC.

  1. Mike Locksley

Four days ago, it was reported that Locksley, this year’s interim head coach at Maryland, would not likely be retained on D.J. Durkin’s new staff, making him a free agent. During Maryland’s debut campaign in the Big Ten in 2014, Locksley coordinated the highest scoring offense for the program in four seasons. The Terps averaged 28.5 points, which is the most since the team averaged 32.2 points per game in 2010. Locksley is also known for strong recruiting skills. He was listed as a top-25 recruiter in the nation three different times (2003, 2005, 2006) and was a finalist for 2007 recruiter of the year by He also engineered top-10 recruiting classes during each of his two seasons (2003-04) as running backs coach and recruiting coordinator at the University of Florida. This is just the guy Temple needs to overtake Houston recruiting next year in the AAC.