Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Temple TUFF: Meaningful or an empty phrase?

The latest edition of Temple TUFF.

Nothing perturbed me more at the beginning of the season than the notion "Temple is going to take a step back without Al Golden."
If I read that once, it seemed like I read it 100 times.
That logic might have computed to those on the outside, but made no sense at all to those of us who follow the program closely.
Logically, Golden gave new coach Steve Addazio his best group of players to date (save for the quarterback position) and Addazio was bringing in a battle-tested SEC staff to "coach them up."
Temple-Miami common scores
Bowling Green 13, Temple 10
Miami 37, Bowling Green 23
Miami 41, Buffalo 13
Temple 34, Buffalo 0
Toledo 49, Miami 28
Toledo 36, Temple 13
An improvement upon last year's 8-4 record was expected.
I still expect an improvement.
But Addazio's margin of error now is zero.
The Owls must win three straight games and at least appear in a bowl game this year for any reasonable person to see an improvement upon last year's 8-4 season.

Temple TUFF will be put to the test more than ever, starting tomorrow night (8 p.m.) at Lincoln Financial Field against a good-but-not-great Miami (Ohio) team.
Does Temple TUFF have any meaning or is it just an empty phrase?
Temple got away from Addazio's "Plan to Win" in the past two weeks. The plan to win is playing great defense, making a difference on special teams and establishing the run to set up play-action passes. You can't establish the run when you use the PIAA 100-meter dash champion up the middle like a fullback, which Addazio did almost exclusively at Ohio. You've got to get that kind of speed to the outside edges at least half the time.
He nearly got Bernard "The Franchise" Pierce killed with an ill-advised third-and-five draw at Ohio. Hopefully, Bernard will play and they will find ways to get him the ball in space (i.e., pitchouts and screen passes). If not, Matty Brown will do a fine job with similar plays.

Temple could not have ordered bettter weather.

To win three straight, Temple's defense is going to have to play with the kind of zeal it displayed during games vs. Penn State and Maryland.  They can't pick and chose when to play TEMPLE TUFF.
It boggles my mind that a team which shut out Ball State (42-0) and Buffalo (34-0) can lose to a team that lost to both of those teams. The defense played with a purpose and a ferocity in those two games they did not show at Ohio.
Temple should (will) be favored in all three of its games, but there is significant reason for concern.
Miami (Ohio) beat Army and Army beat Northwestern and Northwestern beat Nebraska, so these teams have talent. Kent State pummeled Bowling Green. These are no slouch teams Temple is playing.
Still, Temple has more talent and the time to show it is now.
Remember, Temple beat a Maryland team which beat the real Miami which beat the real Ohio (State). That's why a loss to the fake Ohio and the fake Miami will be harder to take. Temple was two minutes away from beating a Penn State team which is unbeaten in Big 10 play.
Two weeks ago, bowl scenarios were talking about Temple playing Ohio State in Detroit or the real Miami in D.C. After losing to Ohio, nobody is talking about that anymore.
It's time to polish the Temple brand and finish strong and make the Owls an attractive national name again.
To do that, Temple will have to do no more or less they play the way it played most of the time on the way to a 5-2 record.
Temple TUFF is needed now more than ever.