While the defense can keep Temple in games, the lack of an offense will continue to prevent it from actually winning those games. After hitting what should be a low point of 2013 last week in Tampa, Cincinnati will rebound at home behind the play of its own defense.
"He'll make mistakes along the way," acknowledged first-year coach Matt Rhule, who has changed much of the depth chart since the opener at Notre Dame, to the point at which it's one of the youngest in the nation. "We can live with that a little bit. We know what it's going to be.
Instead, I detect a "comfortableness" with Rhule and I don’t see a team, particularly on the previous five Saturdays they lined up, that played like their hair was on fire. Quite the opposite. I see a team going through the motions way too much. Even against Notre Dame, the one game I thought they played "hard" they did not play "smart."
Will the real Temple please stand up tonight against Cincinnati?
What is the real Temple?
One of the reasons Rhule was hired was to stop the bleeding of coaches at 10th and Diamond. The thinking was that the kids needed the stability of one coach and they could not go through the trauma of having a new coach every other year. So, rather than get a big-time winning head coach, Temple University "settled" on someone no other FBS school even heard about or considered hiring, Rhule.
Despite what some of the most vocal corners of the fanbase would want, Brendon Kay is still the starting quarterback for the Cincinnati Bearcats. There’s no reason to bench him at this point. But it goes without saying that Kay is uncomfortable at best in the pocket. He needs a confidence boost and throwing complicated passing plays at him isn’t the answer. Eddie Gran needs to strip the playbook down to his top 10% most essential and simple plays and make sure Kay can run these in his sleep. While some have argued for Gran to open up the offense, that seems ludicrous given the UC’s quarterback’s mental state right now. Short and intermediate passes as well as screens would do Kay some good on Saturday.
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