The case for the defense

On the touchdown passes in the end zone, you can see Owls around the ball but nobody makes a play on it.

Temple’s defense experienced the worst kind of replay on Saturday, three similar touchdown passes within a seven-minute stretch of the fourth quarter.
For all intents and purposes, the game was over right there, a 21-10 Rutgers’ lead on the way to a 35-10 win.
After giving up two touchdown passes in the first quarter at Uconn, the replays are maddening familiar.
Progress, at least in this case, was the coverage.
If you look at the coverage, Owls are there. On one touchdown, it was a linebacker (Nate D. Smith) and a corner (usual lock-down left corner Anthony Robey, beaten for the first time all season for six). On another, two Owls miss tackles in the open field against Juwan Jamison, one of the best halfbacks in the conference. On another, three Owls are around the ball.
Against UConn, over the middle, nobody was.

Kevin Newsome: Too good an athlete to keep off the field.

Temple defensive coordinator Chuck Heater made the adjustments he needed to make at halftime to close off the middle and the rest of the field. There’s nobody better than Heater making halftime adjustments.
Problem on Saturday was there was no halftime to make adjustments and no offense to make a comeback with.
There would have been an offense if the Owls had thrown on play-action passes on first down in the opening half (see Sunday post below), but 21-10 is too large a deficit for Temple to recover from when facing the No. 15 team in the BCS standings. Throwing is a whole different story when you HAVE to throw the ball. Temple should have mixed it up in the first half, when it didn’t have to throw.
This is about the defense, though.
To me, the solution is simple: Get athletes in there who can make plays and knock the ball down and maybe even intercept it.
They don’t even have to be recruited. They are already here.
Vaughn Carraway, the starting free safety who was suspended for the Rutgers’ game because of a questionable hit (the hit looked OK to me) at UConn, will be back for Pitt.
He’s one of the athletes. I think Carraway makes the tackle on Jamison.
I’d love to see them move Carraway to one corner and move Kevin Newsome, a three-time first-team all-state safety in Virginia, from scout team quarterback to roaming the middle of the field. It’s not like the Owls don’t have Big East talent back there. Carraway, Newsome, Tavon Young, Robey and Abdul Smith are Big East talents. Heck, Newsome (PSU recruit) and Carraway (Michigan recruit) are Big 10 talents. It’s not like the Owls have to play MAC defensive backs against BE wideouts. It’s not like the brain trust at the E-O hasn’t thought about it. Newsome said as much after the Maryland game: “Coach Addazio asked me if I would play either wide receiver or safety and I said I would do anything to help the team.”
The “or safety” comment was the most intriguing to me.
What happened since? I’m told Addazio was not comfortable with only having one spread offense quarterback in reserve should starter Chris Coyer go down. When you are constantly getting beaten on jump balls in the secondary, that’s not a good enough reason for me. Heck, it’s not like if Newsome moves over to defense he won’t be available to play quarterback in a pinch.
Can you imagine how much different it would be on the back-line defense with two 6-foot-3 guys with 4.5 speed  and near 40-inch vertical jumps (Carraway and Newsome) back there to make plays?
We might be talking about three field goals and not three touchdowns.
Even with the Owls’ anemic offensive game plan, we’re also talking about a 10-9 lead going into the final quarter.
And maybe, just maybe, a 3-0 Big East record.
Is it too late to change secondary personnel?
Maybe,  but I think it’s worth a shot even at this late juncture.
Otherwise, get used to more jump balls in the end zone landing in the wrong hands.


13 thoughts on “The case for the defense


  2. That's what I'm talkin' about.I should be director of football operations. :)If Steve Addazio listened to me, Temple would have blitzed true freshman starter Perry Hills of Maryland and had the same short passing gameplan that Ohio had that befuddled Penn State…. and they might have won both and certainly would have won one.Now I'm saying this as LOUD as I can:GET KEVIN NEWSOME ON THE FIELD TO SHORE UP THE BACK-LINE DEFENSE.There.I feel better already.

  3. I see the lack of pass rush as the real defensive liability. Nova had all day to look over the field. Look what Cuse did to UConn last friday night, 2 or 3 blitzing LB's and DB's each play. Heater needs to bring the heat on Pitt and Sunseri on Saturday, he is very shaky under pressure.

  4. Put a head set on Gibson. I have more trust in him than our slogan-toting head coach. Who.needs schemes when you can just scream "10th and Diamond!".when the going gets.tough?

  5. I don't know about the headset, but I sometimes wonder if our coaches ever look at film of prior games of our opponents.Case-in-point: William and Mary had 14 blitzes on Perry Hills and hit him 11 times, sacking him 3 times. Of the other eight times he was hit, he threw three picks.Temple blitzed him only twice, sacking him off one of those blitzes.Ohio killed Penn State with quick slants all day, just moving the sticks.Temple tried to run the ball up the middle all day, with no success.It kills me to have lost those games and I think those two losses came home to roost in the abysmal attendance showing vs. Rutgers.Had Temple beaten PSU and MD, there is no doubt in my mind we'd have 50K for Rutgers.The wins over USF and Uconn were "too little, too late" for the "softcore" portion of our fan base, which is the vast majority of the TU fan base.

  6. Good point about the pass rush. Youboty and Daniels are getting there a split second too late.At least No. 11 is in every shot when the opposing QB throws a touchdown pass. He was a split second off of getting McGloin on that TD pass over the middle and also chased Nova to the sideline when Nova threw a TD pass last week.He needs to get there sooner, but so does Daniels.I thought they'd miss Arob, but I didn't know it would be this much.We need to recruit a big-time pass rusher.

  7. Agree on all. Rutgers was an embarrassment in every aspect…from the TU crowd size to the game plan and the performance on the field. It is good to have an objective, passionate blog to call out the Owls.The program needs to stay humble and hungry and build. I've felt for the better part of two years now that Temple has received far too much praise for modest accomplishments. It's time to raise the bar, and slogans are not going to do that. Screw "10th and Diamond." Change that to "Beat Pittsburgh, No Excuses."

  8. Daz showed me a lot last year but this stubbornness to go with the run with this offensive line caused a 26-3 deficit at halftime against MD.The fans had to chant in unison (and really loud, I might add) "THROW THE BALL, THROW THE BALL" for Daz to wake up and throw the ball in the second half.You saw what happened then, TU outscored MD, 24-10, in the second half.TU had to throw the ball down 14-7 at UConn and you saw what happened there.Really, the best game plan was USF and TU went 16 for 20 passing there.Don't understand this running the ball on first down all the time.It's not working. Wake the bleep up.

  9. This team is so frustrating. I know that DAZ is an Oline coach at heart but with 4 new starters on the OL I dont know how he can continually try to pound the ball up the middle on 1st down against 8 in the box. IT hasn't worked all season. In his defense every time we try to throw we drop the ball. I know you have named players that can catch like Alderman and Fitzpatrick etc. but they have not showed it or they haven't gotten open. Either way what are we practicing? We cant abandon the pass because if we run every play we stand no chance. Coyer has also not been very good accurate this season. a perfect example was at Rutgers they rolled him to his left and he threw to a wide open receiver but led him out of bounds for a no catch. We know the running plays inside and out. Daz should just practice passes all day to A. find out who can catch and B. get our guys used to running them and making plays. If we can be effective passing our running game would be so much better. Instead we "have to" run QB draws on 3rd and 9 before we punt the ball. I don't know who he is trying to kid but qb draws on 3rd and long work sometimes if and only if the other team thinks you are going to throw the ball. When you run qb draw on every 3rd down dont be surprised when it dosent work. How can it be that hard if guys like you and me are screaming for this all season long. Throw a screen throw a quick slant. Not every throw needs to be 10+ yards if you dont wait for 3rd and 9 . UGHHH

  10. It's pretty hard for Ryan Alderman to get open because he hasn't been on the field (except for kickoff coverage) since USF.The kid is a human vacuum cleaner if you throw the ball near him.Fitzpatrick gets open and catches everything.Cody Booth turns his body inside out to catch stuff.The key to the passing game is two words: Play Fake.Two more words: First down.Those words seem to be out of the passing game so far.Play fake to Montel Harris on first down and there will be so many Temple WRs running open through BE secondaries Coyer won't know which one to pick out.If you think Coyer can't throw, think of those 3TD passes against Ohio last year, the Joey jones pass vs. Army last year, the two-minute drill at UConn.If he gets time to throw, he's USUALLY on target.He was 16 for 20 against USF.Is he perfect?No.But a play fake to MH will freeze the defense enough to give him time.

  11. By the way, where is Matt Brown?

  12. I completely agree with the need to open up the play book and get coyer more time to throw and Harris more space to run. The owls not only need to grind out some wins this year but they need to prepare for next year when they lose both Harris and Matt Brown. Coyer is going to need to step up and this is the year to develop the passing game and burn in the receiving corps. I also agree on the need to get BCS level talent on the field. Our secondary is exposed against the better teams in the league and is going to get scorched if we don't start pressuring the QBs. One of the biggest differences between top-tier teams and the also-rans is depth. The owls are pretty thin on defense and need to keep those guys on the field as little as possible so they can stay fresh. The offense is a key part of this strategy and having coyer and company face third and longs isn't cutting it. Peace

  13. Can't add or respond to Dayowl because he said pretty much what I've been saying all along.The prospect of having two athletic 6-3 guys on the backline of the defense is really more appealing to me than it is to Daz, I guess.We must really need a good scout team look every week. (Sarcasm inserted here.)As far as Matt Brown, he's still gimpy and will be for some time.No tougher kid ever played for Temple, though, and BP would have missed the RU and Pitt games if he had what MB has.Not knocking BP as much as praising MB.

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