USF coaches explain wide run on play before FG
PHILADELPHIA -- Just before the blocked field goal that sent USF to its fourth straight loss, the Bulls' downward spiral started when they couldn't convert on a third-and-1 they needed to keep the ball out of Temple's hands and set up a last-second kick.
At the Temple 23-yard line with 1:25 to play, USF coach Skip Holtz said his staff had initially called a run up the middle, but after a Temple time out, the call was changed to a run wide to the right out of USF's "T-formation" alignment, which has three running backs behind quarterback B.J. Daniels.
With Marcus Shaw and walk-on fullback Spencer Cavalieri blocking, Demetris Murray ran to his right, but Temple linebacker Tyler Matakevich slipped two blocks and dropped Murray for a 5-yard loss.
"It's easy to second-guess everything you do," offensive coordinator Todd Fitch said of the call to run wide. "We had run in the middle ... I knew they were going to pound the inside gaps probably. You certainly want it to work. In discussing it with (coaches) down on the field, they were going to be heavy on ... inside gaps, because we ran so much quarterback sneak the last 3 weeks and inside belly-type stuff that it'd give us the outside seam."
Holtz said he believed the run failed because of execution rather than the play call, saying he understood the reasoning in running wide. Shaw ran past one defender before diving low to block another defender downfield, and Cavalieri only delayed Matakevich a split-second before he got to Murray, who slipped and fell on the grass.
"We had an inside play called initially," he said. "We had been having some success up the middle. It wasn't half a yard. It was a yard and a half, a little bit longer. We felt as much as we had gone inside, Coach Fitch mentioned we could get on the perimeter with the Big T, which I thought really was a good idea. As much as we had run quarterback sneaks and fullback bellies and things like that up inside, we didn't execute. We ran right by one defender. Again, I don't think it's as much the play call as the job we did executing the play. They did have the middle of it loaded."
Murray, who had lost a key fumble that led to a Temple touchdown but later scored on a 4-yard run, said it's his job to make a play in that spot.
"I think they blitzed somebody off the edge and kind of threw off our blocking scheme, how we usually block it," he said. "I'm not exactly sure what happened. I'll have to go back on film and see. They made a play. They made plays all day when they had to. Tip your hat to their defense. They played hard and they did what they had to do. ... You've got to make a play when it's your number."