Quinton Flowers looked way too comfortable back there.
A great man who had a Philadelphia stadium named after him probably said it best in 1927: “You can’t win them all.” Connie Mack was the first man credited with saying that, although many men have said it since.
Not that Temple didn’t try to win them all– at least the AAC games it was scheduled to play until last night. USF won, 44-23, and that was an eye opener. Many of us thought the defense falling apart for one game was an outlier. Now it’s a trend that needs to be fixed.
A Temple team built on defense, running the ball, throwing off play action and great special teams should be able to win by scoring 23 points.
The paid professionals who are in charge of fixing this probably know to do it is getting the swag back. For these Owls to be any good, they have to be frequent visitors and disruptors in the enemy’s backfield. That hasn’t happened the past two weeks.
It’s going to have to happen the next two, otherwise this is 2010 all over again, where the Owls jumped out to an 8-2 record and finished 8-4 and left a sour taste in everyone’s mouth. The Owls are still 5-1 in the AAC East standings and USF is still 4-2. If USF wins out and Temple wins out, then Temple wins the East. USF, not Temple, is the team that has to hope the other loses.
So now the question that needs to be answered is how to get that defensive swag back that the Owls had against both Notre Dame and Penn State, two teams that are arguably—and the stress is arguably—better than Memphis and UConn. Wins over Memphis and UConn is all that matters now and the way to get them is to follow the same schematic blueprint—with a few tweaks—that worked so well on defense against ND and PSU.
Utilizing a 5-2 front, with two-time Pennsylvania heavyweight wrestling champion Averee Robinson using his gap leverage over the center’s nose, has more potential to create havoc for Memphis and UConn’s offenses that the three- and four-man rushes the Owls have been using the past two weeks. Make Hershey Walton and Matt Ioannidis the flanking tackles and Nate D. Smith and Sharif Finch the ends and that’s the best way to make sure Paxton Lynch has plenty of unexpected company in the backfield. Christian Hackenberg did not have time to think, let alone throw an effective pass, and that is the kind of havoc the Owls need to bring on Saturday.
By using a 5-2, they will not have to blitz and be vulnerable for the big plays that have plagued them the past two weeks. It’s something that deserves consideration.