Saturday, October 22, 2011

Shallow Owl

Why do 100,000 Owl fans see one and two head coaches see another?
Every time I watch Chester Stewart drop back to pass, and I've been doing a lot of that over the last four years, I think of the 2001 movie Shallow Hal.
In it, Jack Black can look at a 500-pound woman (played by a guy in a fat suit, presumably) and see only Gweneth Paltrow.
So far, we've had two coaching staffs fall in love with Chester.
One, led by Al Golden, was hit over the head during the first quarter of last year's Bowling Green game after a pick six and pulled Chester in favor of Mike Gerardi.
Stewart never saw the field again in 2010.
When I watch Chester, I see poor mechanics, terrible reads on the option, a penchant for holding onto the ball way too long, no touch on deep throws, blinders for field vision and not a whole lot of mobility. Any quarterback worth his Lee Saltz has to know whether or not he's behind or in front of the sticks.

The second, led by Steve Addazio, has yet to pull the plug. Maybe if Chester had tossed that pick 6 in the first quarter, the Owls might have recovered to be 4-1 in the MAC East, instead of 3-2.
Bowling Green 13, Temple 10.
What am I missing here?
I'm sure he's a nice kid with a great personality and might look like a combination of Brett Favre, Randall Cunningham and Tom Brady at the Edberg-Olson Complex for six days of the week, but I feel like Jason Alexander.
I'm not seeing the beauty on game day. I have not for four years.
Alexander played the friend of Jack Black, who spent most of the two hours shrugging his shoulder and trying to knock some sense into him.
When I watch Chester, I see poor mechanics, terrible reads on the option, a penchant for holding onto the ball way too long, no touch on deep throws, blinders for field vision and not a whole lot of mobility. Any quarterback worth his Lee Saltz has to know whether or not he's behind or in front of the sticks.
Other than that, he's beautiful.
Now Chester wasn't the ONLY reason Temple lost on Saturday.
Twelve penalties (to Bowling Green's two) certainly did not help.
(I thought A LOT of those penalties on Temple were questionable and my suspicions were only re-inforced when Bernard Pierce landed what seemed like five yards into the end zone via the air on his touchdown and the refs placed the ball at the one. Hmm. Wishful officiating, perhaps?)
Still, despite all of that, one cannot underestimate the psychological impact to the defense when the offense constantly goes three and out. That was the 10th-best defense in this year's MAC they were playing, not the 1985 Chicago Bears.
Moving the sticks on the field is on the quarterback, like it or not.
Fixing the problem and making the hard (or easy) decision off the field in this case is on the head coach.
Otherwise, we could all be seeing ugly.

28 comments:

nyc tu fan said...

Wow, I think this post is the predominant thought for most Temple football fans. It’s really tough to win as a one dimensional team. Besides that, the wear and tear of being that run only one dimentional team is starting to show on both Bernard Pierce and Matt Brown. In many ways today’s game was a mirror image of the Toledo game in the fact that the opposing defense stacked the line if scrimmage and was daring Chester Stewart to beat them with his arm. I understand Chester in more athletic and more elusive then Gerardi and Coyer but he has average speed and doesn’t make much happen when he breaks the pocket. I was hoping to see Gerardi to even just give the impression that the offence was going to pass. I see teams going to a 2 quarterback rotation, and while I’m not a big fan of that, without even just the threat of a pass it makes it tough to beat a good team. Hats off to the defense again this week, when your on the road and can hold the home team to 13 points you’ve got to find a way to win that game. Temple with even just an average passing game would be a force, stay one dimensional and the blueprint for beating the Owls is out there created by Toledo and Bowling Green. Temple is just too good a team to put the kind of performance on the field they did today. They are a much better team then they showed today.

A couple words on the officiating, while it wasn’t a factor in the outcome of the game, the MAC should be ashamed of themselves for putting that crew on the field. More than once after a flag was thrown and the crew had to huddle up for what seemed like 2 or 3 minutes to try and figure out what the call was.

Temple Football Forever said...

yes, hat's off to the defense.
every time we went 3 and out (and it only seemed like 187 times), I thought to myself how can any defense stand this kind of wear and tear?
My prevaling thought in the second half was that some fluke play was going to beat us and the juggling BG catch in the end zone off really good coverage (though I would have liked to see him knock the ball down) was that one play.
I don't understand why SA, who was so quick to yank Mike Gerardi with a LEAD against PSU, was turtle-like slow to yank Chester. Doesn't seem quite fair to me.

ihatenoamchomsky2 said...

gerardi is good for atleast 3 more points in this game. he goes in in second half, tu wins

Temple Football Forever said...

How many TDs did Gerardi throw against BG last year?
Have many TDs did Gerardi throw against Buffalo last year?
Plenty.
It's not like he hasn't done it before.
I think Daz is way to caught up with "I've got to see how they do in practice" bullbleep.
If all we had to go on was practice, Vaughn Charlton would have been a three-year starter over Adam DiMichele. Golden said VC practiced better but ADM was the gamer and Golden went with the gamer.

Charles said...

It's all on the playcalling (which indirectly and directly) is damming of Stewart. Yes Brown and Pierce are great running backs, but if Chester's only asked to throw the ball (on a good day) less than 10 times, as in the Maryland game, what does that say about Stewart right then and there, especially with the talent we have at WR and TE? When we went out for the final drive I had no confidence that Chester could drive us down the field. Maybe Gerardi or Coyer don't get the job done, but at least (in the case of Gerardi) they could manage the passing game better.

Living down here in SEC/Auburn Country, Chizik figured out about halfway through the Florida game (about a game too late) that Trotter wasn't the answer and put in Moseley. How/why Addazio didn't with Stewart yet is beyond me. If he's not a fan of Gerardi, then give Coyer the shot. One of them at least can give us some resemblance of a passing game to at least take some pressure off the defense and running game. Otherwise, he might have just cost us the division.

Temple Football Forever said...

Good points, but I think the playcalling is a "chicken or egg" argument, as in what came first?
What came first, an offensive game plan that almost eliminated the forward pass as a weapon or lack of confidence in the QB to execute that game plan?
If it's the latter, then they should get a new QB.
I was good with the playcalling against Villanova and Akron. Run the ball to set up the pass and it made play-action devastating. Now we run the ball to set up more runs. Not good.

Northern VA Football Owl said...

before the season Daz assured the faithful he would run a system designed around the talent and skills of our play makers. just the opposite has occurred - he's trying to stuff CS into his offensive system. The pro set we ran last year is better suited for the talent we have on offense. Think about it, play makers at the RB, WR, and TE positions, and a dominating O-line..three and five step drops with Gerardi at QB would be a better than the spread w/CS at QB..... Our defense is good, our offense is average at best, and our special teams are slightly above average....., no MAC title, no bowl game..., it really is painful to see where PSU is right now. I don't think DAZ will ever forgive Gerardi for throwing the ints in the second half when we were so close to winning the PSU game. He has put that loss on Gerardi. In retrospect, that game has defined our season. We abandoned the long pass after that game, became a one-dimensional team on offense, and put the entire season on the backs of BP and the defense - both are wearing down. Speaking of BP..he has lost a half-step since the PSU game..I'll be pleasantly surprised if he makes it to game 10.

Temple Football Forever said...

BP lost a half-step because he pulled the hammy. Last year, he would have left the game. This year, Daz is forcing him back in. If BP didn't come back into the game on a bum leg, we would not have scored a TD (love Matty Brown but he's not going to get you in on 3d and goal from the 2) In many respects, that's good. But we need to get BP's hammy right. He's got world-class speed and I want him back to where he was in the Navy game in 2009 (268, 3TDs, including the most spectacular 68-yard-game-winning TD run you'll ever see).
Give him off until Wednesday. Then get him in the whirlpool and training room until Saturday.
I have a feeling a new QB and a 100 percent BP will re-energize this offense.
At least I hope so.

Nicolaos said...

Is there any alternative explanation to this dogged commitment to Stewart? How much better could he possibly look than any of our other QBs in practice? Does Gerardi show up? Does Coyer turn around and try and kick an Australian-rules field goal on his own end?

Seriously, what is he doing so fantastic that he's started over anyone? Hooter throws better 15+ yard passes to less talented receivers. On a side note; I've been keeping watch, and have noticed, the worse Stewart does, the worse Hooter does. I genuinely believe, 110%, that someone is instructing Hooter to tank throws so as not to make Stewart look bad.

Is there ANY other explanation for this? At all? What do we have him out there for if he's no threat at all to pass? We may as well snap right to BP or the Bug, or find ourselves one of those big-sack-of-meat type QBs to punch through on QB sneaks.

Temple Rugby said...

Northern VA,
If Daz is still upset with Gerardi for the interceptions in the PSU game, well, Daz should just look in the mirror. He never should have pulled Gerardi for two quarters, in favor of a QB who has shown to be erratic at best, over the last 3 seasons.

Temple Rugby said...

"worth his Lee Saltz..." I love it!

nyc tu fan said...

One of the biggest issues for me is that the run, run, run offence followed by the occasional 10 yard pass is the opposing defense can just as easily take the third most effective weapon (behind BP and Matt Brown) Evan Rodriquez out of the game as well. Having a QB in the game who can at least put the fear of the long pass to Rod Streater or Dion Miller into the minds of the defense will not only take the pressure off BP and Matt Brown, but opens things up for Rodriguez in the middle of the field. He is a match up nightmare for the LB’s and safety’s. These receivers, as a group, especially Joe Jones do an absolutely incredible job blocking downfield on the long runs. They hardly ever get the credit for that they deserve. Get them into the offence with a bone every now and again, they deserve it.
Even with the banged up offensive line, BP and MB starting to show some wear, with the weapons this team has on offence, if they can effective throw the ball downfield they should put 21 points on the board by accident. With this defense that’s a combination that will be tough for any team to beat.
I truly feel that with the exception of Saturday’s game against BG the teams record wouldn’t be any different with a different QB in the game. Villanova and Akron Girardi was at QB, Penn State both he and Stewart their hand in the loss. Against Toledo having a down field threat would have been nice, but face it the team was flat and the turnovers killed them. In the Ball State, Maryland, and Buffalo games the D won those games. Saturday against what I feel was an inferior Bowling Green defense (now ranked 9th in the MAC is total defense allowing 30 TD’s in 8 games and nearly 400 yards) TU s glaring weakness was exposed, and to continue winning and take some of the stress off BP and MB it needs to be addressed.
Winning the MAC East is not out of the question, the loss is just a bump in the road, it just frustrates me watching a team loose who is just plain better then Bowling Green on offense, defense, and special teams. They should have scored 21 points with their eyes closed.
Sorry for the long post.

nyc tu fan said...

Sorry, BG defensive stat was a 2010 stat, my bad, but you get the idea.

Temple Football Forever said...

West Virginia beat this team, 55-10. Temple's got offensive talent as good as West Virginia but doesn't utilize it because SA insists on playing the best "practice" QB. I don't care about practice. In games, he's not good.

Temple Rugby said...

I like Nicolaos' point. We are basically running a 'modified Wildcat'. Meaning, Stewart is nothing more than a middle man in the transaction between Pierce and the center. If we are to commit to the run on every down, then just hike it directly to Pierce and replace Steward with a blocking back. Not that I would like to see that, as silly as it sounds, but let's honest on what's going on here....

Northern VA Football Owl said...

"practice" what are we talking about? we are talking about "practice", not a game, but "practice". CS can practice well, not the game

nyc tu fan said...

Ok, I just did my morning “around the horn” ritual of checking Google for stories on any new Big East expansion news, philly.com for any the latest college sports news, and then here to TFF to see the latest comments.

A story on Philly.com has me a bit concerned. It’s a story about BP being banged up and playing hurt. That’s no surprise or news flash, but what caught my attention was a part of the story that detailed Chester Stewarts inability to pass the football. It continues with the following: “Although Stewart's play has been lackluster the last two weeks, Addazio doesn't seem to think a fix is in order."I don't think anything is broke," said Addazio. "I think it's just a matter of making sure that we have more balance in what we choose to attack with."But, in terms of broke - I don't know if it's broke. I wouldn't say that. That's not an accurate statement," Addazio said.”

Now, I fully understand the world of coach speak, and what a coach says in the media is sometimes in complete opposition of what he means or believes, but, if that’s not the case here I have a much bigger concern. Let me start by saying I really like coach Addazio, I feel he and his staff are head and shoulders above the other staffs in the MAC. With his background at the University of Florida I have no doubt he knows what needs to be done to win games.

My concern is this, is the offense above the head of both Garardi and Coyer? Maybe that’s why we see Chester Stewart continue on in these games where by all rights it should be a QB shuttle system at least if not an outright change. In the second half of the Buffalo game I noticed Chester Stewart on the trainers table on the sidelines. They were working on what looked like his hip, knee, and ankle. Late in the first half Saturday it was obvious he was hurting again. At the start of the second half he was limping and his ankle was heavily taped. The timing was right for the switch at QB, the injury could have been the reasoning to the media and not ineffectiveness. The message sent to me was a hurting Stewart still gives the team a better chance to win then Girardi or Coyer at 100%. Are we missing a point here, is the offense just over their heads?

Philly TU Grad said...

Against Ohio TU is going to need to pass given the Bobcats run defense. I want to see them pull out all the stops for this game, get a game up on Ohio in the standings. Just think it's better to qualify for one of the MAC bowl tie ins rather then take chances a fill in for another bowl.

Temple Football Forever said...

above the head?
Don't think so.
Both Gerardi and Coyer are very smart kids.
Coyer, from what I've been able to research, is a certified genius who graduated in the upper one percent of his class at Oakton (Va.), a very highly rated academic school. He also has a knack of doing complicated math equations in his head.
Footbal wise, every time he touches the ball he scores an 80-yard touchdown (seemingly).
If this kid hasn't deserved a shot by now, I don't know when.
You can't keep throwing out a D1 quarterback who threw for 58 yards two weeks ago and 66 yards last week and reward him with a starting job in the third week.
That's a math equation even I can figure out.

Nicolaos said...

Just out of curiosity; is it possible that this whole thing is just Daz riding out this season with minimal effort and find a new job next year? I mean, just grind BP down, and try to ride him over MAC chumps and grab a bowl and/or mac championship appearance to show he can make it as a head coach?

He might have been committed till the next UCONN opening before, but after the Big East fiasco, I fully expect him to have his bags packed with him on the sideline at the last game of the season. It's no surprise to me that he sees nothing to be fixed; Army's a win, and all he has to do is piece one more together out of three (I assume he doesn't fully grasp how little the NCAA thinks about Temple and thinks seven'll get him in.)

Michael said...

Sooooo seeing as how with the exit of WVU today to the Big 12, im guessing the Big East is dead. If they do form a merger with C-USA and the MWC, I DO NOT want to see TU in the Central division (as its been proposed) traveling to play Louisiana Tech, Rice, and Southern Miss, among other southern schools. Having said that, Id like to look elsewhere.
First I'll start with the ACC and the remaining Big East team's possible destinations.
Boston College is on the record that they are going to block Uconn at all costs (Villanovagate Part II), and Notre Dame will never join a conference (the prize the ACC is waiting for). That leaves Rutgers, Louisville, USF and Cincy as the remaining Big East schools to to picked up.
Louisville and Cincy don't seem too favorable to the Atlantic Coast television market, and Louisville will most likely be picked up by the Big 12 along with BYU to get to 12 teams. As for USF; Miami and FSU will never allow them in the ACC.
Rutgers seems to be a lock for the next Round of Big10 expansion IF they expand; as of right now their NY market seems the most desirable to the ACC.
Not sure if Temple is on par academically with ACC standards, but they have the most appeal in the TV market, along with competitive Men's and Women's Basketball. Once the big east crumbles I will PRAY that the ACC picks up Rutgers and Temple.
Playing the optomistic role if we have no chance for the ACC invite; I'd HOPE that PSU would not block us and allow us go to the Big 10 in a few years - granted they expand. Thoughts...

ihatenoamchomsky2 said...

The more i think about it the more Im afraid our inability to pass and unwillingness to pass (both explimfied by the decision to keep CS in) might be the most damning thing to happen to our program this year. We have some great talent at TE and WR and Daz is unwilling to give them opportunities to make a difference. What recruit is gonna wanna come here to play WR when they wont get a chance or what QB would want to come when there at the mercy of these bizarre personel decisions? And if weve seen anything over the last 10 years, all the winning teams at the NFL or FBS are largely based on passing offense.

nyc tu fan said...

I’m with you, I was just trying to come up with some rational explanation. Your blog post hits it on the nose; everyone sees it with the exception of the coaching staff.

Da M Nels said...

Stewart is throwing the games. He has connections with organized crime and is getting paid to win or lose depending on the point spread.

Temple Football Forever said...

Da M,
Stewart is definitely not throwing the games. I've watched Chester Stewart play the last four years. Every day I got to bed I knee down and pray that he's going to turn into Randall Cunningham one of these games. I've given the bleep up. Judging from his body of work, Saturday is the best he can do. Saturday was more typical of a "typical" Chester game. Heck, he threw for 58 yards two weeks ago and 66 yards this week. There was one "atypical" Chester game and that was Maryland when he went 9-9 but I could have completed all nine passes. None of them covered longer than 10 yards (although the receivers made some nice RACs after catching the balls). If Daz doesn't have the balls to go to Coyer, the safe pick for Ohio is Gerardi. Gerardi was a first-team all-state QB in New Jersey. He knows how to play the position. We can win with him.

Temple Football Forever said...

Ben Onett is coming in and he will be following the Coyer Era so I can see the passing game significantly improving very soon.
Juice Granger? My red flag with him was that he was a part-time starter at Pierce Junior College in LA. If he's not good enough to wrest the starting position for himself at a junior college, it should not be surprising that he hasn't made his way up the depth chart at a school with high 1A aspirations.

SJ said...

Mike - what have you heard about the Big East? If they lose a few more teams are they toast? Cincy and Louisville could finish it, right? Are they going for the straight merger with C-USA? What is the prevailing thought on its future? Thanks.

Oh - if anyone is going to the Ohio game there is a good tailgate on the basketball arena side of the stadium - good for kids and adults. After the game hit "Uptown" (walk up the hill from the stadium). There are more bars and restaurants than you can make it to in one night. Start at The Union (on Union)- one of the first bars you come to on top of the hill. Beer starts at $1.00 and tops out at $4.00. You can work your way back in to town from there. It is a fun place to come and visitors after the game will not get a hard time, no matter the outcome. I hope to see lots of owls there! Thanks Mike.

Temple Football Forever said...

it's amazing how things have changed in two weeks. Two weeks ago, I would have been good with a football only invitation. Last week, I demanded an all-sports invitation or nothing. Now even an all-sports invitation is a gamble. I think it's a gamble worth taking because it elevates BOTH football and basketball, even if the BE loses the AQ (which it won't until 2015 in any case). That would give Temple football three years of AQ status. I just hope Daz can recruit AQ players. Heck, I just hope Daz can recruit AG players. Yes, I hope as many Owl fans as possible make the trip to Ohio. This game will be close because we have no balance in our offense. I have confidence in Heater's defense, though. We might need to pitch a 10-0 shutout if Gerardi doesn't start.