Tuesday, October 30, 2012

When did Temple stop playing smart?

... Breaking News: Temple's proposed game with Hawaii is 'off the table' ... Hawaii could not resolve ticket issues on its end ...
Note Boston College was beaten badly by Temple, yet beat Navy, 37-0. This was the only time I ever saw Hardin say he was outcoached but Temple had better personnel than Marshall and won, 31-10.


Not long ago in the general scheme of history, Temple was known as having a smart football team.
Smart coach.
Smart players.
"I was outcoached by Wayne Hardin again," Joe Paterno said after his second-straight one-point win in a row over the Owls in the 1970s. "We were lucky they didn't connect on that two-point conversion."
"Hardin is outcoaching Joe again," late Allentown Morning Call sports columnist John Kunda said out loud  in the press box after Temple took a 7-6 lead on PSU at halftime in 1979.
Everybody in the press box laughed because they knew it was true.
Something happened along the way to change that perception, certainly in the 1990s, and again maybe in the last couple of weeks.
Also at Pitt, Temple gets two cracks at a score inside the 5. On third down, instead of rolling Clint Granger out on a pass/run option, the Owls run it up the middle behind an inexperienced offensive line and a true freshman running back. That's just beyond stupid.
I get all the Temple TUFF talk and the team generally over the last five years has been as tough as nails.
What's alarming is the number of extremely dumb plays being made out there by both players and coaches. Here are four touchdowns worth of stupidity at Pitt:
1) Ball goes off Temple player's leg on a punt, leading to an early Pittsburgh possession.
2) Temple player catches a kickoff while standing on the sideline. If you are standing on the sideline at the 10, that's usually a pretty good clue the ball is going to go out of bounds.
3) Temple player gets the ball stripped. That probably falls more in the area of toughness than smartness, but it takes some smarts to secure the ball.
4) Also at Pitt, Temple gets two cracks at a score inside the 5. On third down, instead of rolling Clint Granger out on a pass/run option, the Owls run it up the middle behind an inexperienced offensive line and a true freshman running back. That's just beyond stupid. Give Granger two cracks at finding a receiver in the end zone on a rollout.
To me, that's the most egregious stupidity because it came from a coaching staff who should be thinking on the fly better.
Just once, I'd like to see the team play as smart as those Hardin teams did most of the time.
There's still four games to get the team's head in the same place as their heart. If that doesn't happen, there won't be a fifth.


Tomorrow: The Road Ahead

2 comments:

MassOwl82 said...

Completely agree with the tone and premise of this post. At this point of Temple's evolvement into a difference-making BCS program, I would gladly take a well-prepared team with a thoughtful game plan. Mike, I think that is why even the UConn victory felt a little hollow. While the closing drives were excellent, it never should have come to that. Coach Slogan was done in all game long by Pasqualoni.

On the fumbled punt in the opening drive of the Pitt game, I put that one on Matt Brown. He easily could have come up and played that ball, but gave up on it too soon and became a traffic cop. His teammate was not out of position, with back to the ball just 30 yards downfield. That is another example of bad coaching. Lou Holtz would have lost a kidney yelling at Brown after that one. He had a particular pet peeve about punt returners giving up on the ball and losing field position (or possession).

Let's hope for best against Louisville. It's actually a good set up to be more competitive than we think. Classic look-ahead game for Cardinals.

Temple Football Forever said...

I don't know if it's the injury but Matty seems to be backing off these punts.
It's his senior year, he should be running up on them.
Against Nova, he took a huge risk and ran up on the ball confidently and swiped it while getting hit by a Nova defender, made him miss and Houdined (err, escaped like Houdini) down the sideline for a 55-yard gain.
Anthony Robey can't be blamed because he never saw the ball and might not have heard Brown yelling to get out of the way.
Matty saw it the whole time.
He might be our best offense now, even on a bum leg. I'll give him free rein to take back any kick he wants, as long as it's not 9 yards deep.