The square-peg round-hole offense

23:15 Cholis Back 0 Comments




Steve Addazio's post-game press conference.


On the way into the stadium yesterday, I mentioned to a few of Wayne Hardin's ex-players that this was a game that Wayne would have loved to have formulated a plan for because of the over pursing nature of Rutgers' defense and its stout defensive front.

My worst fears about the offensive game plan were realized


In his day, there was no better offensive mind than Hardin. That wasn't me saying it. It was guys like Tom Landry, Joe Marciano (see quote at bottom of this story) and Joe Paterno.
"Wayne would pull out all the stops," I said. "He would throw on first down, throw little waggles and slants to move the sticks on first down, then hand off when the defense was on their heels. Then he might throw in a double-reverse and maybe even a pass off it. All that stuff used to work when coach Hardin called it."
New York Post picks Temple to beat RU in Friday paper.
Unfortunately, the game wasn't played in the Friday paper.

 I also expressed my concern that Steve Addazio would do just the opposite.
Too often, Addazio has tried to fit a square peg into a round hole. When you try to move bigger, faster, more experienced, defensive fronts with an inexperienced OL, you might as well be pounding your head against a brick wall.
All you get is a headache.
Why do I have the feeling that if this was 1940 and Steve Addazio was a Field Marshal in the German Army, he would have attacked the Maginot Line head-on instead of adroitly going around it like Rommel did? Rommel was going for the championship of Europe that year while Daz was only going for first place in the Big East in 2012, but the analogy stands the test of time.
Yes, Temple has to run the ball to be successful but it must convince the defense it can throw the ball first to make the run work.
The best chance to do that would be play fakes on FIRST down, not third when the defense is pinning their ears back on the quarterback.
"One of Steve's great strengths is his stubbornness," I said. "One of his great weaknesses is his stubbornness."
A look at the play chart suggests my worst fears were realized.

Temple had 10 first-down play calls in the first half and seven were Montel Harris running plays, two were Chris Coyer running plays and one was, you guessed it, another running play, a two-yard gain by Jamie Gilmore.  In the third quarter, the two initial first-down plays were a Montel Harris rush and a Chris Coyer rush.Sense a pattern here? I'm guessing the Rutgers' coaches did, too.

Temple had 10 first-down play calls in the first half and seven were Montel Harris running plays, two were Chris Coyer running plays and one was, you guessed it, another running play, a two-yard gain by Jamie Gilmore.  In the third quarter, the two initial first-down plays were a Montel Harris rush and a Chris Coyer rush.
Sense a pattern here?
 I'm guessing the Rutgers' coaches did, too.
As I have written many times, what would be the harm in opening up the game with a two-minute drill, the same two-minute drill that won the game at UConn?
What would be the harm  in taking advantage of Temple past tendencies by faking the ball right into  Montel Harris' belly ON FIRST DOWN to freeze the defense and throwing the short- and intermediate sideline routes that have a high likelihood of success? Temple does have edge athletes who can do damage, too.
What would be the harm in having Jalen Fitzpatrick, a Big 33 quarterback, throw off a reverse?
If it's not there, just have Fitzpatrick tuck it away and take off. He's damn elusive, as his short stint as a spring practice running back showed.
Yes, the defense could have played better in the third quarter but a better-designed offense might have put a lot more than 10 points on the board by then.
Just once, I'd like to see Temple putting square pegs into square holes.
Maybe Saturday at Pitt.
We can only hope.