Chris Coyer: The James Casey of Temple

Anthony Vasser

James Casey while playing quarterback for the Rice Owls.

All of this talk about James Casey being the “emergency quarterback” of the Philadelphia Eagles got me to looking up Casey’s credentials as a potential quarterback should both Michael Vick and Matt Barkley go down on Sunday.
Since Nick Foles already is out with a concussion, it looks like Casey would not be in over his head as a quarterback because he was more than a serviceable at that position while playing for the Owls.
The Rice Owls.

Call James Casey the Chris Coyer of Rice. Or, if you will, call Chris Coyer the James Casey of Temple. Very similar skill sets. Very similar-type players.

Temple's Chris Coyer catching at a halfback option pass from Jalen Fitzpatrick in front of Deiontrez Mount and Keith Brown. (See, trick plays do work.)

Temple’s Chris Coyer catching at a halfback option pass from Jalen Fitzpatrick for a first down in front of Deiontrez Mount and Keith Brown. (See, trick plays do work.)

Casey, like Coyer, made a position change his senior year and, like Coyer, moved from quarterback to tight end.
Unlike Coyer, though, the coaching staff at Rice used Casey wisely as he became the first player in the history of the NCAA to do this: Throw a touchdown, run for a touchdown and catch a touchdown all in the same game. Casey did this twice for the Owls.

Casey was second in the country in 2008 with 111 receptions, which set a Conference-USA record. He caught 13 touchdowns, rushed for six more and threw a pair. Those are the kind of stats I thought Coyer could have put up if he was targeted enough in the Temple offense this season. That’s not going to happen, but that doesn’t mean he can’t throw for a touchdown, run for a touchdown and pass for a touchdown in one or two or more of the remaining Temple games.

Since there are five games left, I’d like to see Coyer do this twice, maybe three times, for Temple.
Heck, five times would be nice but I realize I’ve been spitting into the wind all season on this issue.
Coyer is a pretty talented player. Those of us who have seen him all these years, even his one or two detractors (don’t get those people, but they are out there), have to agree on that.
He can run. He can throw. He can catch. He can block.
I realize Coyer is needed to block now more than ever, but I would like to see some plays to free him up to throw the ball out of non-Wildcat formations. On those plays, Chris Parthemore (see his perfect seal block in the slideshow below) can be used as a blocking tight end.
Since there currently are no plays in the Marcus Satterfield playbook for the tight end reverse, pitch and throw downfield, maybe line Coyer up as a fullback, have him rip off a few runs to set up a toss pitch option pass downfield.

Great play for Coyer, running to the left, not the right as shown here.

Great play for Coyer, running to the left, not the right as shown here.

Too much to ask?
Yeah, probably.

I asked Chris after the game on Saturday if the tight end reverse, toss and throw downfield off it was in the playbook and he said no.

My immediate reaction was to say a four-letter word preceded by the word “Oh.” (Sorry, Mrs. Coyer.)

There should be a way, though, to have Coyer run the a couple of plays out of the fullback position, establish himself as a threat running the ball inside the tackles and then quick toss and have him throw the ball down the field. I’m 90 percent certain you can get a safety to bite with that kind of setup.

It worked a few times for the Rice Owls with James Casey.

It can also work for the Temple Owls with Chris Coyer.

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9 thoughts on “Chris Coyer: The James Casey of Temple

  1. Not sure whether or not you’re going to like this idea, but I think if you want to show Coyer’s versatility, you have to put him in at the Wildcat. He needs a little bit of open space and momentum and the fullback positon is too close to the line of scrimmage, in my opinion. Also, I just don’t think he has the speed to get around the corner on reverses (it hasn’t worked with guys like Fitzpatrick and it hardly ever worked with Delano Green, and they were much faster.) If you insist that he is a triple threat, I think the wildcat offers enough deception and more promise. Also, I’ve researched James Casey a little, and the guy was an elite athlete, and although he did practice as a quarterback his freshman year (he was a pro pitching prospect), he played almost primarlily as a WR (111 rec. for 1300 yds in 2008) and because of his size he migrated to the TE position. Also he ran a sub 4.50 40. Antother guy that fit into this mold was Matt Jones from Arkansas. I guess Coyer can take cues from their book but I don’t think he’s on quite the same level athletically, he’s bulked up considerably for his role

    • With him in the Wildcat, everybody expects him to run (like he did on the two series at Idaho). Like to sneak him in the formation where no one expects him to pass (TE/RB). Element of surprise is key to getting the safety to bite. I think he can find either Fitzpatrick or Anderson roaming free on that kind of play.

  2. Coyer not being utilized more in this offense is one of the big issues I have with Rhule and his on the job training this year. He made the move recognizing Coyers skill set yet doesn’t seem to have any specific plays to take advantage. With Andersen and Fitzpatrick starting to provide deep threats the least that should be done is use Coyer more in the short to intermediate passing game where his running ability could break some for longer gains. Maybe a couple of laterals where he has a run / pass option

  3. He should be getting 10-15 touches a game.

  4. Absolutely, agree, John. From the few carries he had at Idaho and the catch in the end zone for the TD against Fordham, it’s obvious he’s still got great ball skills. I know he bulked up, but he’s still got good open-field moves. Not using him is a real head-scratcher. Much rather see him get the ball than anybody on the offense not named Zaire Williams. (Of course, P.J. gets it every play in some manner or another.)

  5. Coyer starts in the slot, motions into shotgun… PJ motions out to the slot, Coyer fakes the draw so that the safety/ CB bite and throws it deep to over the top to Robby Anderson… or he can keep it and run.
    I would LOVE to see us use the play where the Steelers scored against the Ravens last week. Heath Miller goes in motion, play develps like a toss to the right, but heath is hit with the shovel pass right behind the center/right guard and walks in for the TD. Coyer would flourish with these types of plays where he can run with misdirection…. Ill try and find the Heath Miller TD

  6. thanks, michael … and cap …. LOVE that kind of creativity!

  7. To quote bill parcels (a guy who knows a thing or two about coachinh) “every team is exactly as good as their record”. MR and staff are 1-7 on a schedule that had three slam dunk (not just winnable) games already scheduled. He started off poorly in selecting his staff and has consistently under achieved with the talent he’s been handed.

    I don’t know if the owls will win again this year but I know the experience the seniors are getting is inexcusable. The poor utilization of talent is disgraceful and evident of a clueless staff. A defense that can’t hold a team (even FCS) under 500 yards and special teams that resembles the keystone cops makes an anemic offense fly under the radar.

    I’ve stopped watching the owls because I can’t take bobby Wallace 2.0. I hope for the kids sake the university sacks Rhule but I doubt that will happen and he’ll be the last D1 coach at temple.

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