Saturday, October 17, 2009

We've waited 24 years for a 4-game win streak

Nice job on that sack, Big Mo (Muhammad Wilkerson).

By Mike Gibson
The year was 1985.
The top-rated television program was "The Cosby Show."
A gallon of gas was 69 cents.
The No. 1 song in the country on Oct. 17 was by a group from Norway, Ah-a, "Take on Me."
That day, the Temple University football team was coming off its fourth win in a row, a 45-16 thumping of William and Mary. That was after wins on the road against East Carolina (21-7) and Cincinnati (28-16) and a 14-13 win at home against Rutgers.
Temple has not won four straight.
Until now.
I was struck by something Al Golden said before all this winning stuff started happening four weeks ago.
"Once we start winning, it's going to continue for a long time," Golden said. "That's the way this thing is built."
It was a telling quote and an unforgettable one.
Four straight wins have now followed and this latest one probably is the most impressive from where I stand.
I'm getting used to this winning, but it doesn't mean I'm taking it for granted.
I saw a couple of people leaving on Saturday and I mentioned to my friend, "I'm not leaving early. I want to go over and sing the fight song with the team. I want to savor every last drop of this."

"Once we start winning, it's going to continue for a long time. That's the way this thing is built."
He understood where I was coming from.
I tasted the sewer water of losing for too long. Now I want to taste the sweet nectar of winning.
If Golden is right, and I have no reason to doubt him, I'm going to be hanging around for a lot of fight songs and I can't think of anything better.
Saturday Temple beat an Army team that beat an SEC team, Vanderbilt, last week.
Army is very well-coached by Rich Ellerson (although you couldn't tell it at times on Saturday) and the Cadets are going to beat a lot of teams.
In fact, I would not be surprised if the Cadets don't beat Rutgers at beautiful Michie Stadium on Friday night because they play a style of defense that all teams should play.
Blitz, blitz and more blitz.
They put eight in the box and they come after the quarterback, hoping the reward (turnovers) outweighs any risk.
I can't see Rutgers' quarterback Tom Savage, a true freshman, thriving against that defense at all.
I like the philosophy and the scheme.
I also like the fact that these wonderful kids who play football for Temple University perserved against it.
Was it a masterpiece?
Post of The Week
Occassionally, we will see a post that blows us over with its logic and perception and we'll use it here. I found this one under a "Matt Rhule" thread on and I'm using it in its entirety.
First off, absolutely thrilled we won again. I have never seen 4 straight wins as a Temple fan, at least any that I can remember.
That said, Im going to temper my complaints and hope the future doesn't place so much pressure on our defense. I do not understand our offensive philosophy, if we even have one. I havent identified it other than we are absolutely terrific on short yardage. How many times have we seen Temple stalled on 4th and one/goal in our lifetimes. Not this year.

But what is up with the passing attack? There are simply too many athletes on this team to have such an anemic aerial attack. Particularly our 2nd half offense. Army thought so much of it they went for it on 4th and inches from their 25w 9 mins left? Wow, insanity imo.

I went back and looked at the drive chart. Temple didnt complete a single pass on 1st down yesterday. Why cant we incorporate more simple passes like slip screens and outs? Once again, we threw two deep balls, one was caught for a touchdown and one was missed for a wide open touchdown. Maybe a couple sacks were intended to be deep balls?

I also noticed there were at least two occassions when James Nixon was in single coverage and Army called a timeout. Teams fear that guy but guess how many balls he caught yesterday? Im also happy to see our RS'd highly touted WR recruit Vaughn Carraway makes such an excellent decoy. Maybe Rhule has a thing about two guys with the same name handling the ball. I'd sure hate to see this wonderful season derailed...

Go Owls
The Owls have to get better on offense. They have to get better protection for Vaughn Charlton. They have to have somebody (whether it be Joey Jones, Lamar McPherson, Kee-ayre Griffin or even Ahkeem Smith) step up and do a reasonable impersonation of Bernard Pierce for a game or two.
They have to get a clutch player like Jason Harper more involved and team leaders like him and Steve Manieri are going to have to keep making great plays like they did on Saturday. (Man, I was sooooooo happy to see Jason Harper reach the end zone for the first of what I hope is many times this season.)
Still, they can't be leaving plays on the field like they have been during this four-game winning streak.
They get so few opportunities to make plays, they've got to cash in when they have them. They can't be dropping long bombs from Chester Stewart or Vaughn Charlton anymore.
The Owls are coming up against a stretch of teams with quarterbacks, like Aaron Opelt of Toledo, who can make plays and put up a whole lot of points.
They are going to get into a track meet (think EMU last year) with one of these teams and the offense must be ready to win a game or two, like the defense has won these last four.
Nobody knows that more than Al Golden and company so while you and I can just hope the offense comes around, that'll be the focus this week. Tinkering with these great weapons, putting the gunpowder in and fiddling with the trigger.
It's a process, Golden likes to say, and it's all about getting better every day and having fun, too.
Like Wayne Hardin used to say, the only way to have fun in football is to win.
I'm having fun right now. It looked like the kids on the field were having fun, too.
I don't know where this road leads, but let's concentrate on both enjoying the journey and getting better every step of the way.
The quality of the journey is directly correlated to the getting better.