Friday, September 10, 2010

Some fixes in store for the Owls

Temple AD Bill Bradshaw expects at least 25,000 and the weather should help. Be there, wear Cherry and yell like hell.

Back in 1979 and 1980, the Cleveland Browns were known as the Cardiac Kids.
Twelve of their 16 games in both of those years were decided by seven points or less, hence the tag.
Those Cleveland Browns had nothing on this year's Temple Owls, though, now 2-0 as a result of essentially last-second field goals.
I'll take it, warts and all.
Don't kid yourself.
There were plenty of warts in both Weeks 1 and 2.
"We can't play like this and beat UConn," Al Golden said.
Right on, Al. I would add we can't coach like this and beat UConn, but I hope he knows that, too.
My goal for this team was to beat the UConns and Penn State's of the world and if the Owls play the next two weeks like they played the first two, they won't get within a sniff of the Huskies or the Lions.
Two flawed wins over two great programs is better than two flawless losses, though.
The good news is that the warts can be fixed.
The bad news is that I don't know if they will be fixed.
Some suggestions:
Wart: As someone who watched and admired the flawless game plans and play-calling of Wayne Hardin for 13 seasons, I can tell you right now our offensive scheme is way out of whack. We throw when we should run. We have the wrong personnel on the field. We have a Heisman Trophy candidate who doesn't start. We have a playmaking tight end we don't throw to at all. Our offensive coordinator is a career linebacker at Penn State, who was a linebacker's coach at Temple before being moved over to offense. Doesn't make much sense to me, nor does our scheme. Our biggest chess piece is a runner with world-class speed and size (6-0, 218) and moves to scare the bejebbers out of defenses, yet he doesn't play much more than half the downs. Put Bernard Pierce is there and everybody else gets open. Throw the ball to Evan Rodriguez, not Vaughn Charlton. What is AG trying to prove with this overuse of VC and Matty Brown? I don't get it. Fake to Bernard Pierce when he doesn't get the ball and throw downfield. Do that and you win games by touchdowns in the first, second and third quarters and not by field goals in the fourth quarter or overtime. I liked our play-calling and personnel packages a lot better when Bruce Arians, a starting quarterback at Virginia Tech, was making the calls. Would Bruce Arians ever sit Paul Palmer? No. I knew Paul Palmer. I liked Paul Palmer, but Bernard Pierce has more talent than Paul Palmer. He should be out there.
Fix: If Bernard Pierce is healthy, put him in at least on first and second down. Matt Brown is a good change-of-pace, third down, back. Put the fear of God (i.e., The Franchise) into opposing defenses, then play-fake, ball-fake, to Pierce and you'll see Rod Streater and Michael Campbell and Evan Rodriguez running wide open through the secondary. If Chester Stewart can't hit them in stride, bring in someone who will.
Wart: We let immobile (i.e., slow and white) quarterbacks kill us by letting them sit in the pocket. Yeah, I said it. Slow, white quarterbacks. I can say it because I'm slow and white, too. These are guys who can't hurt us running, but can do big-time damage with any time at all back there. Play the contain defenses against option quarterbacks, not the slow ones.
Fix: Let's start putting them on their asses with all-out blitzes. Mark D'Onofrio called a couple of nice safety blitzes late in the fourth quarter that seemed to work. Let's hope he sticks with it.
Special Teams
Wart: We've got the best kicker in the league. He should be the one kicking it through the end zone, not the Central Michigan kicker. Work on those high snaps to Vaughn Charlton. Twice in two weeks is two too many.
Fix: I think Brendan has been told to kick it high. When he kicks it on a line, it goes through the end zone. I like that.
This is football, not rocket science. Our coaches aren't working for NASA. They are not trying to hook up two space crafts going at 25,000 mph.
These are easy fixes and we have enough time to do it.
Let's  use this time to get smart with our game plan and put our best players on the field in a position to utilize their talents. That gives us the best chance to win.
Temple can't beat UConn playing, or coaching, like it did against CMU.