5 Best Trick Plays of The Ed Foley Era


A couple of days ago in this space, we outlined that Temple—not Clemson—was responsible for The Philly Special that goes under the name “Clemson” in the current Temple playbook and the proof was that Temple pulled off the same play in the Penn State game a year before Clemson did and was credited with it.

The special teams’ coach on the day of that Penn State win was Ed Foley and now that he is assistant head coach in charge of offense—presumably supervising current offensive coordinator Dave Patenaude—he will have some input at least into the play-calling and game-planning on the field.

At least that’s the hope.

The other hope is that the Owls will have more trick plays than the two they succeeded at last year. Here are five successful ones that should be rolling around Foley’s head since he was on the staff for all five:

The Good Old Fashioned Flea-Flicker (2006)

Head Coach: Al Golden

Offensive Coordinator: George DeLeone

Ed Foley’s Role: Tight Ends Coach

After being pummeled (70-14 and 70-21) by Bowling Green two years in a row, the Owls needed some trickeration to end a 20-game losing streak and DeLeone pulled out this one from the playbook. Quarterback Adam DiMichele received the snap from center Alex Derenthal, handed the ball to running back Timmy Brown, who pitched it back to ADM, who hit 4.3 sprinter Travis Sheldon all alone for six. Temple won, 28-14.

The End-Around Touchdown Pass (2010)

Head Coach: Al Golden

Offensive Coordinator: Matt Rhule

Ed Foley’s Role: Recruiting Coordinator

With the Owls just outside the red zone at Army, Rhule had speedy wide receiver Joe Jones take a reverse handoff from quarterback Chester Stewart. While on the run, Jones hit wide receiver Michael Campbell on a 24-yard touchdown pass in the corner of the end zone for the points that made a big difference in the 42-35 win.

The Double-Reverse Touchdown Pass (2013)

Head Coach: Matt Rhule

Offensive Coordinator: Marcus Sattersfield

Ed Foley’s Role: Tight Ends Coach

Even though the Owls finished 2-10 that year, that doesn’t mean they did not have their fun moments. All season in this space we called for wide receiver Jalen Fitzpatrick—the starting quarterback in the Big 33 game—to throw a pass in a real game. We finally got our wish on Oct. 26 at SMU when Fitzpatrick reversed to take a handoff from Zaire Williams and found Robby Anderson all alone behind the defense for an 86-yard touchdown pass. Temple lost, 59-49, but it clearly was not the offense’s fault.


The North Philly Special (2015)

Head Coach: Matt Rhule

Offensive Coordinator: Glenn Thomas

Ed Foley’s Role: Special Team’s Coach

Previously outlined in this space two days ago, it was the precursor to The Philly Special that the Eagles ran in the Super Bowl. It is in Temple’s current playbook by the name “Clemson” but they might want to change that name since Clemson stole the play from Temple. Former quarterback John Christopher took a pitch from Jahad Thomas who threw back to Walker for a 25-yard gain in a 27-10 win over Penn State. In the Super Bowl, the role of Thomas was played by Corey Clement, while Nick Foles (P.J. Walker) and Trey Burton (Christopher) assumed the other parts.

The Hokey Pokey (2007)

Head Coach: Al Golden

Offensive Coordinator: Matt Rhule

Ed Foley’s Role: Recruiting Coordinator

Only unsuccessful by the result (a bad call), the Owls used this to unofficially beat (but officially lose to) UConn and only a very bad play call by the MAC officials and upheld by Jack Kramer, the Big East replay official, ruined it. In the play, another wide receiver—former Hyde (Conn.) Leadership Academy quarterback Dy’onne Crudup—took the ball on a reverse and threw the ball ostensibly for quarterback Adam DiMichele in the end zone. DiMichele tipped the ball backward, where Bruce Francis caught the ball one-handed with one foot clearly inside the back of the end zone. Temple lost that game, 22-17, but really won, 24-22. Both national announcers on the TV broadcast that day said Temple was jobbed as did Connecticut-based ESPN, which replayed the play several times on Sports Center that night. The fatal flaw on this play was obvious to anyone who knows Football 101. Never have a guy take a pitch and force him to throw against his body. Crudup should have been lined up to the left, not the right, and made a natural right-handed throw.

Monday: The Coaching Shuffle

Wednesday: Staff Comparisons

Friday: Developmental Program?


The Philly Special


Even though I am an avowed fan of so-called “trick” plays (I prefer the term innovative), I understand that some do not like them.

“We saw Temple use
it to beat Penn State,”
would have been great
local currency, but
Pederson did not go there.

I had a conversation with a fellow Temple fan after Toledo used five trick plays to beat Temple, 36-13, a week after the Owls used no trick plays to beat Maryland, 38-7. Under then Temple (and ironically current Maryland) defensive coordinator Chuck Heater, the Owls were an over-pursuing defense susceptible to misdirection. Randy Edsall, the Maryland coach, didn’t try any the week before but Toledo must have picked up something on the Maryland game film.


Ed Foley, Temple Nation turns its lonely eyes to you

“Pure genius,” I said of then Toledo coach Tim Heckman.

“I don’t like trick plays,” my friend said. “Line up and beat them the old-fashioned way.”

“You don’t like them because they beat us. You sound like Knute Rockne before the forward pass.”

I thought about my friend and smiled when the Philadelphia Eagles used at least one trick play–The Philly Special–to beat the New England Patriots in Super Bowl and remembered that play looked a lot like a play Temple used to beat Penn State nearly three years prior. The Eagles direct-snapped the ball to running back Corey Clement, who took off ostensibly running for the end zone but instead flipped the ball to receiver Trey Burton–a former quarterback–who found current quarterback Nick Foles in the end zone for six.

In the Owls’ version, they direct-snapped to running back Jahad Thomas, who took the same route to flip it to receiver John Christopher–a former quarterback–who found then current quarterback P. J. Walker for a big first down.

It would have been nice for Eagles’ head coach Doug Pederson to give a tip of the hat to the local college squad afterwards but, instead, he vaguely referred to “seeing some plays in college games that we liked” as the Genesis for The Philly Special. National TV people picked up the Clemson version of the Temple play a year later and pointed to it as being Pederson’s possible inspiration. “We saw Temple use it to beat Penn State,” would have been great local currency, but Pederson did not go there.

To me, anything from 1-5 trick plays a game is perfect. Six is probably too much or using the same play more than once in the same game is probably not advisable.

Generally speaking, there haven’t been enough trick plays in the Temple offensive arsenal for my taste since that Penn State victory. I can remember only one from scrimmage in a down-and-distance situtation last year–the scramble formation that allowed Isaiah Wright to score on a direct snap against Army. The Owls also tried a variation of the 2015 play last year on a two-point conversion with Wright hitting Frank Nutile.

That’s not enough.

Maybe new assistant head coach for offense Ed Foley can install at least one  for the upcoming season. The Maryland game might be a nice place to start. Ed, Temple Nation turns its lonely trick plays eyes to you. Foley has been around for all of the trick plays of the last 10 years–spanning four head coaches–and might be able to come up with the daddy of all trick plays and something we haven’t seen before.

If so, he can call it the North Philly Special.

Friday: The Five Best Trick Plays of the Ed Foley Era

Monday: The Coaching Shuffle

Wednesday: Developmental Program?