Sunday, November 4, 2012

What happened?

Shockingly, this crack team of reporters didn't ask Daz about why he didn't use his final 2 timeouts with 1:46 left in the first half and the Owls driving.

Somewhere near the end of the first half yesterday, I found myself repeating two words:
What happened?
Even though I had to scratch my head about Temple (with two time outs and 1:46 left and down 31-17) giving up at the end of the first half by not using its two time outs, I wasn't talking about the game.
I was talking about the last three weeks.
I'm not buying the argument that because this is the "big bad Big East" that the Owls are in over their head, talent-wise.
I called for this pass to be thrown on June 4. It took them to Nov. 3d
to throw it and it worked, but not for six.

According to and, Temple recruited talent that was at or near the top of the MAC for the past five years.
So that puts the Owls somewhat on a par or more talented than Northern Illiniois, Ohio, Kent State and Toledo.
Or not.
So much for recruiting rankings.
I don't think there's any doubt now that any of those teams would do better in the Big East than Temple has.
Yet, as we stood three weeks ago after a win at UConn coming off a win over South Florida, I didn't think any of the above teams would have done as well as Temple.
So, what happened?
Regression might not have happened in the locker room, but it has on the scoreboard and, ultimately, that's where you are judged in this business
Joe Paterno said a football team improves the most between the first and second games, yet did Temple  improve after a 41-10 win over Villanova? No, it lost to Maryland.
Head coach Steve Addazio says the team is so young, but nine of the 11 defensive starters against Villanova were either seniors or juniors. It's young because of a couple of suspensions and a couple of other coaching decisions.
If it's so young, then shouldn't it be getting better, not worse, with each game?
I get that Louisville is unbeaten, but shouldn't Temple AT LEAST have given the Cardinals the same kind of game 0-8 Southern Mississippi did (17-21) or 1-8 Florida International did (21-28)?
Should Temple not have given Louisville the same kind of game Troy (48-55) gave Tennessee or Tulsa (15-19) gave Arkansas yesterday?
Shouldn't Temple have given Rutgers the same kind of game Kent State gave the Scarlet Knights?
And this, mentioning the Fitzpatrick to Coyer throwback on the eve of the Rutgers' game. ....

I think so.
The Owls lost a lot to the NFL last year, but they didn't lose so much talent that they should have been blown out three weeks in a row.
This is what happens when you don't throw the ball on first down, using the one dependable weapon you have, Montel Harris, to set up the passing game with play fakes. Love the Jalen Fitzpatrick throwback pass to Chris Coyer that I called for on June 4 (see inset), but it shouldn't have taken until Nov. 3 to use it.
This is what happened in the last 2 minutes before half. Do you see a timeout? 
When you throw so much on third down, you are asking for sacks and negative plays. I realize the fumbles came on third-down runs, but it's OK to throw the ball on first and second down, too.
That's one of the possible fixes. The other fix would be to move Kevin Newsome from offense to the middle of the field on defense. Daz says he's not playing more at quarterback because he doesn't know all the plays. (I don't know how that's possible since all they do is run it up the middle, do a read option left and a read option right and throw an occasional pass. That's four plays to remember.) Then put him in the middle of the field on defense and tell him to knock down or intercept any ball in his zone. Since Temple has been killed on passing plays over the middle, Newsome could not be any worse than what the Owls have now. He is perhaps their most freakishly good athlete.
That said, the game got away from Temple yesterday because of a negative four in the turnover department.
The offense keeps giving the ball away and the defense can't take it away.
That's a pretty deadly combination.
Regression might not have happened in the locker room, but it has on the scoreboard and, ultimately, that's where you are judged in this business.
Beat Cincinnati.
Win the game.
Win ... the ... game.

Tomorrow: Charting the first 10 plays, free courtesy of TFF