The Q&A this week brings you a visit from Temple writer Joe Serpico at Underdog Dynasty. He weighs in on playing the old coaching staff, the massive ups and downs they’ve already experienced this season, and whether or not you should go out of your way for that famous sandwich if you’re going to Philly this weekend for the game.
1) What were Temple’s keys to success in the win over Maryland? And then what in the world happened to follow that up with a loss to Buffalo?
What a whirlwind of emotions, right? Temple and their fans are feeling great after that win over Maryland, and looking at the schedule thinking that double-digit wins could be in the cards. Outside of UCF, the schedule looks pretty manageable.
The defense played out of their minds against Maryland, while the offense made enough big plays to get the win. The Owls had their share of issues against the Terps, but managed to clamp down inside the red zone all afternoon. The win over a ranked opponent masked the flaws.
It could not have gone any differently against Buffalo. Temple scored quickly after a Bulls turnover, but then, they could not stop turning it over themselves. Quarterback Anthony Russo had four turnovers alone, and the defense could not could make the key stops like they did against Maryland. It was frustrating because it seemed as though Rod Carey had put an end to the slow starts that we were used to with the previous coaching staff. Obviously that was not the case and Temple fans are asking a lot of the same questions as the last two seasons.
2) All of us here at Tech have decidedly mixed emotions about OC Dave Patenaude’s play calling and use of QBs so far... he seems more committed to what the offense should look like rather than what works and is successful. Is that something you experienced during his time at Temple?
That’s a perfect evaluation of Patenaude, but if previous history tells us anything, the offense will get rolling as the season progresses. To give him some benefit of doubt, he’s trying to go from one extreme to the other in terms of schematics. With that said, you would think by now the coaching staff would know which quarterback gives them the best chance to win. He alternated his quarterbacks early on while at Temple, which looks to be the case again with Georgia Tech. Once they do settle on that guy, Patenaude can open up the play book a bit more.
3) Tech’s offensive line is a sieve due to lack of depth and injuries. Who on Temple’s defense will be spending the most time in our backfield?
The two names up front to keep an eye on are defensive end Quincy Roche and defensive tackle Ifeanyi Maijeh. The latter has been a huge surprise for Temple, leading the team in tackles and sacks, and also has blocked a kick this year. I also cannot write this piece without mentioning Temple’s linebacker corps, headlined by Shaun Bradley. Bradley was the one who stopped Maryland running back Anthony McFarland in the backfield on the crucial fourth-and-goal that helped preserve the win.
4) What were some of the positives and negatives during Collins’ tenure at Temple? And are you seeing any of the same so far at his short time in Atlanta?
I was a fan of the “Money Down” and it looks as if he’s brought that to Atlanta as well. I thought Collins was one of the originators in the sense of emphasizing big plays, but it seems every program around the country has something similar now. He also was a big hit for taking helicopters to visit recruits, which I’ve seen he’s done for Georgia Tech already too. He’s a terrific recruiter and you should see success there very soon.
Slow starts seemed to be the norm with Collins at Temple, which included a loss to Villanova last season. He moves to Georgia Tech and once again loses to a FCS team. It was embarrassing when it happened as head coach of a team in the AAC. It is considered worse when you are leading a Power Five program.
5) For those of us traveling to Philly this weekend for the game, what are some places we should eat and drink at that aren’t necessarily the touristy thing? Do we really need to eat the famous sandwich while we’re there?
If the question is “do I need to get a cheesesteak when in Philadelphia,” the answer is no. Locals are probably going to hate me for this, but I’ve had better cheesesteaks in Maryland (where I live now) than in Philly. If you’re trying to stay nearby the stadium complex, can’t go wrong with Chickie’s and Pete’s. Xfinity Live was not there when I was college and has become a big hit for fans before the game. If you’re going on campus, Maxi’s used to be our spot.
6) And finally, how do you see this game going? Who’s going to win and how?
I think it’s closer than Vegas has the line set at. Sure, the Owls have questions marks of their own, but they seem to have less than the Yellow Jackets, and Temple’s student athletes will be looking for a win over the coach that spurned them for another job. Collins’ familiarity with Temple’s personnel should help Georgia Tech a bit, but I still have this as a 30-24 win for Temple.
Thanks again to Joe for taking the time to chat with us. You should head over to Underdog Dynasty and say hello and check out my responses to his questions, or hit him up on twitter @joeserp. Otherwise, kick is at 3:30 on Saturday. Go Jackets!