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Summer Scheming ‘23: Temple Owls

The Owls and Hurricanes have met 14 times since 1930. I have no idea why Miami is headed to Philly to play at Temple, but I’m sure it is Blake James’ fault.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 05 USF at Temple Photo by Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Miami Hurricanes and the Temple Owls will face off in Philadelphia, PA on Saturday, September 23rd. The ‘Canes hold a 13-1 win-loss record over the Owls, dating back to their first meeting in 1930, a Temple win. The Hurricanes and Owls played every season from 1992 through 2003, with a break in 2004 before playing again in 2005.

Temple coach Stan Drayton returns after finishing 3-9 in his first season with the Owls. Drayton is a former running back for Division III Allegheny College, where he was a National Champion and record holder.

Drayton has since worked his way up through the coaching ranks eventually landing with the Green Bay Packers, Florida, Tennessee, Ohio State, the Chicago Bears, and Texas Longhorns before landing the head job at Temple.

Per Bill Connelly’s SP+, the Owls are the 99th ranked team in FBS football for 2023. The Temple offense is 102nd and the defense is 89th.

Summer Scheming SWOT Analysis

This year’s Summer Scheming will look different than in years past by featuring a SWOT Analysis on each opponent the Hurricanes will face in the 2023 season. SWOT in this iteration will stand for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Traditions* (not Threats). We’ll discuss one cool tradition from each of the football programs on the ‘23 schedule.

Strengths: Linebacker play, Kicker

Layton Jordan and Jordan Magee are AAC first and second team linebackers, respectively. Jordan and Magee combined for 27.5 tackles for loss, 13.5 sacks, and four forced fumbles last season.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 05 USF at Temple Photo by Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Former Miami kicker Camden Price had a fantastic 2022 for the Owls. Price hit on 13-of-14 field goals including a 49 yard long. The former Hurricane finished 4-for-4 against USF last year as a season high.

Jalen McMurray is another strength for Temple. The cornerback logged seven PBU’s a year ago, and is a 3rd team all-conference preseason defender.

Weaknesses: Talent

Talent. Most G5 teams are going to lack the raw talent of Power 5 teams, sure. But Temple lacks talent even just narrowed down to the AAC. The Owls have just the one player on the AAC first-team in Jordan, and just one on the 2nd team in Magee.

Cincinnati v Temple Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

Temple doesn’t have an offensive player on the preseason team until the 3rd team. The quarterback situation is EJ Warner, he threw for over 3,000 yards last year with an 18:12 TD:INT ratio and under seven yards per attempt. The Owls rushed for barely over 1,000 yards as a team.

Opportunities: Anderson vs. Miami DB’s

If Warner can find protection the offense could find a weapon against Miami’s defensive backs with wide receiver Amad Anderson Jr. Anderson caught four touchdowns in ‘22, and we all know Miami has made QB’s and WR’s look like all-world talent even since Manny Diaz was the defensive coordinator.

The hope here for Temple is having enough protection against Miami DC Lance Guidry’s defense. Guidry is a sound DB coach, and focuses on safety play specifically. But Anderson could be the opportunity the Owls need in MTSU fashion in ‘23

Traditions: Cherries and Diamonds

From the Temple website:

The Cherry Crusade

Temple’s most ardent fans, the Cherry Crusade comprises students who paint themselves in Temple colors, make signs, lead cheers, and show their fervent support for Temple Athletics in the front rows at football and basketball games.


Acres of Diamonds

In his famous speech “Acres of Diamonds,” Temple Founder Russell Conwell claims that greatness can be found in our own backyards. He wrote, “Greatness consists not in holding some office; greatness really consists in doing some great deed with little means, in the accomplishment of vast purposes from the private ranks of life, that is true greatness.” Temple students and alumni strive to fulfill Conwell’s wish for the university.

Offensive Scheme

The Owls have two tight ends on the All-AAC preseason teams, one one the 3rd team and one on the 4th team. Expect more 12 (one RB, two TE’s) and 13 (one RB, three TE’s) personnel sets from the Owls in ‘23.

As you can see above, the extra TE’s, whether on the line or off, create more gaps. More gaps means more defenders having to play up near the line of scrimmage.

Above- Play-action with the TE releasing inside and up the seam. I like it. Very Lashlee-esque. If you run insert enough on inside zone it will create the suction from the LB’s needed to open space.

Above- Looks like an under center, play-action, max protection type of Y-Cross. The slot takes his route across the field to the far numbers. The TE’s and RB help in pro to give the QB time in the pocket and the WR time to work that far of a route.

Above- Going with a bunch set and their more spread package. Temple has a lookie to the inside, with a corner and a slide working outside. Hard to cover in the red zone especially at the +5 yard line. Hit the middle of the field with LB’s chasing and S’s in man. LOVE IT.

Above- A screen on 4th and 3 in the +10 area seems insane, but it worked. A hat on a hat and make that 1st guy miss. If the Houston defender comes to balance and just makes a sure tackle they might not even have the 1st down, instead he comes in sloppy and it’s a touchdown for Temple.

Defensive Scheme

The Owls are going to base in a 3-4 Defense. The Owls defense is their strength both statistically, analytically, and on the preseason All-AAC team. Returning both linebackers and their cornerback helps immensely.

Above- Temple sniffs out the screen but their inability to tackle in space and their pursuit angles are terrible on this play.

Above- it’s QB Draw but it doesn’t matter. What I’m showing is how a line twist became undisciplined, and how the LB’s have vacated the low hole. The issue for Miami is Van Dyke can’t run to take advantage of this type of look.

Above- Houston drops smash in on Temple’s defense. Van Dyke loved smash under three-OC’s ago-Rhett Lashlee. I hope that Shannon Dawson will let Van Dyke pick a few concepts that he really likes as that’s the best method of getting a QB on the same page with the OC.

Above- Make the 1st guy miss. The key to breaking an ‘explosive run’ is making one person miss. Same for a punt return and a screen out in space. If the first defender can bring you down, it’s a 4-yard play. If you shake them now it’s on to a safety or CB that might not want the shoulder pads.

Above- How on earth does someone get this far behind the safety with 45 seconds left in the game?! Just terrible defense.

Kicking Game

The way a Temple or MTSU beats Miami is by playing to win, not playing to ‘not lose too badly.’ Southern Miss played Miami to keep it close, MTSU played Miami to beat their tails. Temple isn’t anywhere near as talented as Houston. The Cougars are moving to the Big12, Temple is lucky the AAC lost a few of their best teams in Cincinnati, UCF, and Houston. But guts can keep you in games against better opposition.

Above- Having the guts to call a fake field goal only down seven with plenty of time left is a thing of beauty. I love that it’s also speed option to Price, the kicker.

Canyonero Keys to Victory

The Miami Hurricanes absolutely should not lose to Temple. Period. End of story.

1- Look like a real P5 football program. Miami has three games prior to playing Temple. I can understand if there’s some issues with cohesiveness with the amount of transfer portal players in Week One against Miami-OH. But by Temple Miami has played the other Miami, TAMU, and Bethune-Cookman. That’s plenty of time to get the machine oiled up for a final G5 game and idle week before the ACC slate.

2- Turnovers. The era of Miami scoring 50 touchdowns on defense and in the kicking game are long over. But Miami isn’t even strong at getting turnovers anymore. Kam Kinchens can’t be the only player trying to get the ball on the Miami defense. Great teams create turnovers and keep their foot on the gas for 60 minutes.

3- Protect Van Dyke. One thing Temple can do is get after the QB with their linebackers. If I’m Temple I’m bringing the house against Miami and forcing them to protect, and Tyler Van Dyke to get the ball out quickly, and survive 220 pound LB’s throwing him to the turf. Max protect and beat them deep.

Way too early prediction: Miami by 10.