## Friday, September 04, 2009

### The Villanova Post-Mortem

I was just working out some math equations in my head.
Hmm, what does 27,854 plus 1 equal?
What does 27,854 minus one equal?
Probably around 8,000.
Fuzzy math?
No, just some figures based on observing the very fragile Temple football fan base over the last 30 or so years.
Expect the crowd for Temple's game against Buffalo when it comes back from an expected Penn State beat-down to be around 8,000. That's where the minus 1 comes in ... 27,854 fans minus one must-win, equals 8,000.
Had the Owls beaten Villanova and gave a decent effort in a loss at Penn State, they would have drawn 30,632 for the Buffalo game, which arguably is the most important on their schedule.
I know that.
You probably know that.
Tell that to the 20,000 or so Temple students who believed last night, but no longer do after a 27-24 loss to Villanova.
You could hear the refrain coming out of the stadium.
"Same old Temple," the kids were saying.
And they were OUR students, not Nova's.
Can you blame them?
Until Al Golden beats a team with a winning record (and the last time I checked he hasn't as a HEAD coach), he's all talk, no substance.
Back on Feb. 4, I wrote that I was worried about this game because Andy Talley, quite frankly, is a better game coach than Al Golden.
I thought it didn't matter because Golden had the talent edge to Talley's game-coaching edge.
I was right in both cases.
Temple brought four or five most of the night. The last time I checked, this is not the North-South All-Star game. They do allow you to blitz.
Talley is the better game coach and Golden had the better talent.
I was wrong about the edge part. Talley's football acumen far surpasses Golden's. Edge should not have been an operative word.
What good does it do if you have advantage in a chess match and you can't finish it off by making the proper moves?
Talley made the proper moves and Golden didn't.
I wrote here last week that "Temple's No. 1 priority should be getting to the quarterback."
A freaking blind man could see that.
Until Al Golden beats a team with a winning record (and the last time I checked he hasn't as a HEAD coach), he's all talk, no substance

Al Golden couldn't. If that's Mark D'Onofrio's fault, he's got to get in Mark's face and say, "bring the house." That's what the head coach is for.
If you can't get to the quarterback bringing four or five, bring six.
If you can't get to the quarterback bringing six, bring seven.
If you can't get to the quarterback bringing seven, bring eight.
You get the idea.
Temple brought four or five most of the night.
The last time I checked, this is not the North-South All-Star game.
They do allow you to blitz.
The defensive side of the ball is not the only area where the guys with the headsets on came up small.
The Owls have a career linebacker, Matt Rhule, as an offensive coordinator and that's probably why their offense has no imagination.
At least George DeLeone, a lifelong offensive mind, pulled out the handoff to Tim Brown, pitch back to Adam DiMichele and bomb to Travis Shelton for six against Bowling Green.
What we've seen in two years is a 28-24 lead against Buffalo with 38 seconds to go, a 6-0 fourth-quarter lead against UConn, a 27-7 fourth-quarter lead against Navy and a 24-14 lead against Villanova and losses in all four games. It can't be the kids' fault all the time.
Bruce Arians had Matty Baker also throw a pair of long-bomb flea-flickers to Mike Palys for a couple of scores in a 45-28 win over Boston College two decades ago. Arians, the offensive coordinator of the Super Bowl champs, knows his stuff. Might be a good idea for Rhule to take a page or two or 12 out of his Temple book.
When backup quarterback Chester Stewart lined up in the slot, I thought, "Great, we're going to TRY at least one throwback pass."
Nothing.
Meanwhile, Talley tries a reverse that goes for 28 yards and his offensive plays had a sophistication far above any package Matt Rhule threw out there.
What we've seen in two years is a 28-24 lead against Buffalo with 38 seconds to go, a 6-0 fourth-quarter lead against Uconn, a 27-7 fourth-quarter lead against Navy and a 24-14 lead against Villanova and losses in all three games. It can't be the kids' fault all the time.
Just once, I'd like to hear Al Golden say, "I screwed up. I take full responsibility."
Instead, he throws Kee-ayre Griffin under the bus after the Navy game and now throws the kids who fumbled and tossed INTs under the bus last night, saying the story of the game "begins and ends" with the five turnovers.
The buck has to stop somewhere else. I, like Golden, love playing this game. You have to win it, though.
Golden can't go out there and hold onto the ball and throw to the right person, sure.
But he can put those kids in a better position to win.
That's what Talley has done for nearly 20 years at Villanova and that's why Villanova has a win Temple needed more.

Bull-Run said...

Sorry about the loss, I was listening on the streaming radio. It was a heart breaker. I still expect Temple to be a challenger in the east but BG looks like a heck of a team.

I like Golden but you're spot on with this post. A coach that does not take full responsibility for his teams performance has some problems.

--
"saying the story of the game "begins and ends" with the five turnovers"
--

He is right but what he leaves out is Turnovers begin and end with discipline, which 'begins and ends' with the coaches imbuing it on their team.

Mcg81 said...

Hi Mike.

I was worried about you after this game. I was worried about any die-hard Temple fan after this game. I, myself was stunned. "I can't believe it," was what I kept saying to myself. I hope you and all other Temple fans can recover from this and renew your enthusiasm. It ain't easy.

Unlike you, my thoughts on blaming this loss didn't fall to Golden. I blame KAG for committing another fumble (like the Navy game) and I blame VC for panicking and making that horrible pass at the end.

On a positive note, I was saying to myself at halftime, "When is Mike Campbell going to do something? I've been watching this guy start for two years and he's done nothing." Well, it looks like we've now got a go-to receiver in Campbell.

This was a bitter pill to swallow and I'll find myself shaking my head for the next week. But I do like football and I love everything Temple so I'll hope for the best when we face Buffalo. I think we'll have 15,000.

Matt

Michael said...

I'm done with Temple Football forever. Thank you Temple Football Forever for your inspiration, but the Golden era will be nothing but continued disappointment.

flip the swiitch OFF... said...

Mike,

I am an eternal optimist, much like you, when it comes to Temple. I love the school very much. I have been following your blog for about a year now. I think you have done a GREAT job! I find your comments very insightful and I agree with you approx 99% of the time.

Secondly, I must say good-bye to your web site & Temple football. They say the definition of insanity is performing the same task over and over again, but expecting a different outcome. After 25 years, I finally realized it is pointless to be a Temple football fan. I came to Temple, the season after Hardin and his 17th ranked Owls team. Since that time, it has been downhill.

Watching the Villanova game, I turned and looked at my 9 year-old son. I thought to myself, do I want to set him up for a lifetime of disappointment too? Here is an amazing personal stat for me. I have been to plenty of Temple football games in the past 25 years, but I HAVE NEVER ACTUALLY SEEN THEM WIN A GAME!!!! Since the birth of my son, I have taken my son to 3 games with me. Temple on the losing end of all of them. Last night, my son & I went to the Linc, thinking that we would witness our FIRST Temple win together. Not so.

I can go on a rant about why we did not win (I am pretty good at it now). However, I finally realized it is just plain pointless to even care. There is no excuse why we lost to Villanova. In fact there was no point to even play this game. We are supposed to be Division I. To create an annual game with a sub-division team just seems like a futile proposition. Is there such a rivalry anywhere in the nation? The division I team should (in theory) beat the crap out of the sub-division team EVERY year. How is that fair? Well, only if the Division I team is a “Poser,” like Temple. I think it is just time to put this program to sleep. It has been the laughing stock of the nation for decades. Now, I think it is affecting the reputation of the school in general. I see Temple starting October as 0-3. Maybe a few wins over losing teams, but no Bowl Bid. Then next year, we lose what good player we have to graduation.

So, do I want my son to reach middle-age, like me, before he can actually witness his team to win a game? To me, this is a form of child abuse. Therefore, I am off to the store to buy a Penn State t-shirt, for him and myself.
Mike, once again, thank you for a great web site and:

Good-bye Temple Football FOREVER.

Temple Football Forever said...

he's got one chance to win me back. Beat Penn State. This year. I don't think he's winning me back.

U.C.I. Photo said...

I'm not jumping off the Temple bandwagon, but I'm VERY upset with Coach Golden and the absolute pathetic display of ball control on offence and flat out lack hustle on defense in the second half.

Temple had more talent, far more reasons for to win this game than Nova and they flat out choked.

I better NEVER hear Coach Golden or anyone else ever complain about Philly sports fans not supporting Temple.

As far as I'm concerned Philly gave Temple a shot to prove that they weren't the "Same old Temple" and they blew it.

Their only hope for credibility now is to go through the MAC like a buzz saw and win a bowl game. But if they can't put away a 1aa team with a 10 point lead going into the second half then I have zero reason to believe they can.

Temple Football Forever said...

well-said. I LOVE playing this game, but losing it PISSES me off beyond belief. You can't blitz once? Were we playing flag football rules on defense?
What a freaking joke....
Please take a page out of Jim Johnson's playbook and blitz your ass off. To quote Bruce Arians, I'd rather go down with my guns blazing than see us go down meekly like we did Thursday night. (By the way, Bruce Arians, after playing a prevent defense that enabled RU to move the ball down the field, blitzed four straight times in that game and got four straight sacks of Scott Erney for losses totaling 37 yards. You can look it up. Temple won, 35-30.

Temple Football Forever said...

Anyone else think we could have used pass-rushing specialist Junior Galette and lock-down corners Jamal Schulters and Darryl Robinson?
I don't know what they did, but Miami won five national championships with guys I bet were far worse characters.
Discipline them, sure, but kicking them off the team?

steve19149 said...

Papreps;

First I look forward to your return. I don't agree with some of your opinions but this one I generally agree with. AG needs to take responsibility for this loss. Sure the players need to do better too. AG brought the great majority of them here as well as teaching them how to play their position. I wonder if he has any outside party giving him advice. he sure needs it. I certainly don't mean any of his coaches since he gave them their jobs and can take it away. I really hope he can save this season.

Temple Football Forever said...

Thanks, Steve. I appreciate ALL Temple fans, both the ones who agree with me and the ones you don't. I realize nobody agrees with everything somebody else says, but your posts are always spot on ... so I really appreciate you responding.
I am so DISGUSTED right now I can't see straight, so I'm not posting on Owlscoop or OwlsDaily except to answer BroadStreetLeon's honest (and quirky, sometimes) questions. His heart is in the right place.
I know we can get it done at Temple, that's why this is so frustrating.
Al has gotten MAJOR brain cramps in too many important games. His done a nice job Monday through Wednesday, most Fridays and Sunday.
He doesn't punch in on Thursdays and Saturdays and that's a big problem. I'm sick.
Of course, if he beats Penn State, he's the greatest thing since sliced bread.
I don't think sliced bread has to worry about losing that distinction.

steve19149 said...

papreps:

As for the Defense play calling could have been better. One thing not mentioned is the warm weather and the defensive starters could have used a break here and there to have prevented a breakdown in the second half.

Temple Football Forever said...

with the 85 scholarships to their 63, WE should have been the ones wearing them down, I don't care if it was 115 degrees out there.

Don said...

Wow, there is a lot of misdirected rage in here. The tough losses are certainly hard to take, but TU football is soooo much better than it was even 2 years ago. This club with its no seniors, few scholarships, APR problems, a losing history to beat the band, sketchy support from its university, etc. etc. etc., is in a few short years attracting talent, graduating players, doing great work in the community and playing football well enough to be in these tight games with bowl-bound and championship caliber teams like UConn, Nova, Navy and UB. And you guys say toss Golden out the door because of this or that scheme or play call? The guy falls short of absolute miracle worker and now he is dead to you barring a PSU victory?? Adjust the expectations to something near reality. Please.

They are 0-1, next week they will very likely be 0-2, they can still win 7 or maybe even 8 games. Hopefully, that kind of performance -- first winning season for in the lifetimes of most of the players and first bowl game in THIRTY years -- might get Al Golden some much deserved redemption in this blog and beyond.

Temple Football Forever said...

Anyway you look at it, playing a prevent defense when all Nova had to do was dink and dunk to get it in position for a FG is stupid beyond belief.
So is handing the ball off to an RB at Navy last year when you could have punted the ball to them with less than 20 seconds left and with them having no time outs and 80 yards to go.
His game coaching is UNBELIEVABLY bad.
Unbelievably.