TU-UCF: What the last six days tells you

This graphic illustrates the difference between Warren Ruggierio and Mike Uremovich

As a Temple fan who just watched a mediocre East Carolina team dismantle South Florida on Thursday night, I came away with one overwhelming prevailing feeling.

We’re fucked.

Excuse the language. If I had a Youtube or Facebook account, I would probably be kicked off the platform but I’m given a little more lattitde on my own site.

Put it this way: East Carolina needed a freak late score to beat that terrific powerhouse Charleston Southern, 31-28, and absolutely hammered a team that the Temple coaching staff had no clue how to stop. Honestly, before a few weeks ago, I did not know Charleston Southern had a football team but looking into its season so far, it has lost to Monmouth (41-14), Robert Morris (31-24) and the team that made Bobby Wallace famous, North Alabama (45-22). Monmouth lost to Princeton of the Ivy League.

I’m glad Temple doesn’t have Princeton on the schedule this season. It’s already too embarrassing and, if Dr. Jason Wingard doesn’t dismiss this staff between now and the end of the season, he’s culpable in bringing Temple down to that level.

Temple is 15-2 in painted end zone games; probably 15-3 after Saturday.

Everyone talks about how Temple’s defense, led by Jeff Knowles, could not stop USF but at least an equal blame has to got to Mike Uremovich’s offense. The Owls could only manage 34 plays and under 17 minutes of offense under Uremovich’s tutorship. That produced a whopping 14 points.

Meanwhile, against a better defense on the same day with approximately the same number of plays and minutes, Wake Forest scored 70 points on a good Army team.

No escaping the conclusion that University of Delaware grad Warren Ruggiero is a better offensive coach than Uremovich, who is only here because he is cozy with Rod Carey. Am I missing something here? Do you see any innovation or creativity in Temple’s offense? Why hasn’t Uremovich used a terrific high school quarterback, Trey Blair, to throw a halfback pass yet? Is he saving it for the bowl game? News flash: This team ain’t making a bowl. Why do we see Edward Saydee in there on first-and-goal from the 3 instead of the pile-driving Tavon Ruley?

More blame goes his way season-wise, at least from my perspective, than Knowles because he’s got too many weapons to be producing too few points. In Randle Jones and Jadan Blue, he’s got NFL receivers. In Ruley, he’s got a power back who should be gold in the red zone but is seldom used there. In Amad Anderson, he’s got a big-time productive wide receiver at Purdue who has about 1/10th of that production here. In Dwan Mathis, he has Temple’s first four-star quarterback since Kevin Harvey. In Kyle Dobbins, he made the only back who scored three touchdowns in a game for Temple disappear after that game.

Don’t get me started on the special teams coach. I haven’t seen a punt block or a return to the house since Geoff Collins was here.

As disappointing as 4-3 UCF is, there is no way a 3-4 Temple team isn’t more disappointing.

At least UCF is missing superstar quarterback Dillon Gabriel.

There is no similar excuse for Temple.

The wise guys in Vegas have UCF as “only” a 10.5 favorite.

The “wiser” guys in Philadelphia who have watched not only Temple against USF but ECU against that same team know better.

Temple’s coaches have no idea what they are doing but savvy Philadelphia football fans already knew that.

The Vegas wise guys evidently need another Saturday to convince them.

Picks this week: Going to use some underdogs to rebound from my only poor week. Going with unbeaten SMU (+1) to win at Houston, VIRGINIA TECH getting 4.5 at the fighting Geoff Collins’ (GT), NAVY getting 11 at Tulsa and ILLINOIS getting 2 over visiting Rutgers.

Last week: Won on Ohio State, lost in WMU, UMASS and NC STate bringing our record ATS to 18-14-1.

Sunday: Game Analysis


Fizzy: Success comes down to this

TU had 500 yards and 30 first downs, but still found a way to lose.


Editor’s Note: Former Temple football player Dave “Fizzy” Weinraub brings the perspective not only of a player but a lifetime of coaching football, teaching and writing. He breaks down the Memphis game here.

By Dave “Fizzy” Weinraub

    If I could be the defensive coordinator facing Temple every week, I could be the fourth Temple guy in the College Coaches Hall of Fame along with Ray Morrison, Wayne Hardin, and Pop Warner. That’s because I know what happens when Temple gets a first and goal inside the opponent’s 10-yard line.

  1. The first play will be a run up-the-gut.
  2. The second play will be a quick-screen to the outside.
  3. The third play will be a fade to the corner of the end-zone.

     I know this because that’s what they did all of last year and the first three games of this year.

     Coaches Rod Carey and Mike Uremovich don’t understand the importance of the first and goal play call. If you run the ball and don’t get real close to the goal line, you are screwed. The defense can now assume the next two plays will be throws or trick plays. A first and goal is the most wonderful time to call a play-action pass or another kind of imaginative play.

The TU football playbook in the red zone so far has been 2 runs followed by an incomplete pass.

      Thus far in 2020, Temple has been to the goal line three times in the first half in three straight games and come away with 3 points, 6 points, and 7 points. Saturday, they had a missed field goal, a made field goal, and a missed fourth and goal. That’s why they lost. The main reason Temple is 1-2, instead of 3 -0, is they don’t know what the hell they’re doing at the other team’s goal line. Temple could just as well be 0-3. 

     Success in football depends on three essential factors, coaching, coaching, and coaching. Temple keeps making the same mistakes over and over. Do you blame the players or the coaches? 

Friday: Tulane Preview

Saturday: Tulane Game Analysis

Temple Football: Stuck in Neutral

A season that began with the good guys winning 56-12 ended with the bad guys winning 55-13.

Temple made Bucknell look like, well, Bucknell way back in late August and, in late December, North Carolina made Temple look like, well, Bucknell.

It did not have to be this way.

How about fitting an offense
around the skill sets of guys
who were recruited to run another
type of offense? That novel concept
doesn’t seem to have ever occurred
to these guys and that’s one of the
many things that was sad about this
season. If you are a professional
coach, you adjust your schemes to
fit the talents of your players,
not trying to force your players
to fit your schemes

Every single North Carolina game was a lot closer than yesterday, with the exception of Mercer (56-7). Even the thumping of North Carolina State (41-10) that made the Tar Heels bowl eligible was closer.

Where does that leave Temple?

Stuck in neutral and probably not moving forward any time in the foreseeable future. Sure, the Owls should enter next season as one of the AAC favorites but with their top players declaring early every year (Matt Hennessy was the latest and soon will be followed by Quincy Roche), the Owls really cannot move forward to the point where they can beat one of these mediocre Power 5 teams in a bowl. With Hennessy and Roche back, the Owls go in as a prohibitive AAC East favorite next season. That’s not happening.


Now they are just another contender and will be lucky to repeat the two 8-5 seasons they just consecutively finished.

The goal any program should be to improve and the Owls just have not shown one iota of improvement in the last couple of years. Eight and five and eight and five speaks for itself. At least with Golden you saw 1-11, 5-7, 9-4 and 8-4 seasons. Rhule had 2-10, 6-6, 10-4 and 10-3. That’s an improvement. You could see it coming with Al Golden and Matt Rhule but, really, can you see it coming under this staff?

I don’t.

The only thing we saw coming was a loss. This is what we wrote in this space way back on Dec. 13:

Screenshot 2019-12-27 at 10.57.13 PM

The reason is simple. Temple had 63-21 and 45-21 black marks on its resume and UNC had no such black marks.

UNC runs a system that fits its players. Temple does not.

Screenshot 2019-12-28 at 12.47.25 PM

Temple had a “Temple TUFF” brand of football that set it apart from other teams in the “Golden Rhule” Era. Golden believed in great defense, special teams and shortening the game by a running game that opened up the passing game.

That set Temple apart stylistically from every other team in two leagues and made the Owls just as tough to prepare for as, say, Navy is to everybody else.

Now, under the current NIU staff, the Owls run the same style of spread and read/option offense everybody else in college football runs. Incomplete passes stop the clock and, with each stoppage of clock, the bad guys get a lot more possessions with the ball than they would have under Golden or Rhule. Special teams are not even an afterthought; they are a nightmare. Rhule and Golden made certain that the special teams got the head coach the offense and defense did in coordinators and did not treat it as a group effort.

No one here is calling for Rod Carey to be fired–Temple never does that nor does it have the money to–but a little flexibility next year in the organizational structure would be nice. Hiring a proven successful special teams coordinator would be even nicer. A renewed emphasis on a power running game to set up the passing game–and not vice-versa–might be nicest.

Screenshot 2019-12-28 at 1.18.33 PM

A lot of disappointed Temple fans in these $80 seats. (The upper deck was packed as well.)

The style of offense Temple runs does nothing to help its defense and the Owls, frankly, do not have the personnel to run such an offense. Offensive coordinator Mike Uremovich said something telling when he talked about signing a new quarterback, saying that this quarterback’s skill set is more suited to the type of offense they run.

How about fitting an offense around the skill sets of guys who were recruited to run another type of offense? That novel concept doesn’t seem to have ever occurred to these guys and that’s one of the many things that was sad about this season. If you are a professional coach, you adjust your schemes to fit the talents of your players, not trying to force your players to fit your schemes.

Even sadder is a team like Eastern Michigan–with 1/10th the fanbase, talent and facilities of Temple–was a much more competitive team in a bowl game against a better AAC team (Pitt) than UNC was.

Eastern Michigan has an offense and defense suited to its personnel, not one where a new coach forces his own schemes onto players ill-suited to run them.

In other words, it has a clue. Not so sure we can say the same thing about Temple anymore.

Monday: Season Review