When the Temple Owls land in the Wild Wild West today, they would be wise to take a page out of a long-forgotten Western called “Temple Houston” when they put the finishing touches on a game plan.
The Western lasted only two years on NBC television and it was about the son of Sam Houston, a lawyer named Temple. It was a “Who Done It” on horseback, with Temple delving into clues and solving cases without the benefit of modern tools like video and DNA.
The Owls do not need video or DNA to know how to solve this case. The bad guy is Greg Ward Jr. and they know they have to arrest his development. They also know that they have had a tough job with similarly mobile quarterbacks in the past and, if they expect to stop Ward, they cannot do the same thing they did against Quinton Flowers of USF and DeShone Kizer of Notre Dame.
They played both of those guys like pocket quarterbacks, often rushing three. What happened more often than not was the three-man rush was not getting to either guy and they were able to make plays downfield with their arms.
Even Temple Houston, played by Jeffrey Hunter, in his day would be able to solve this problem. The Owls need to utilize a 5-2. Rotate the speedy Haason Reddick and Nate D. Smith at left end and do the same with Sharif Finch and Praise Martin-Oguike at right end. Put two-time Pennsylvania heavyweight wrestling champion Averee Robinson at nose guard where his gap leverage skills would cause a nightmare for the Houston center and flank him with Hershey Walton and Matt Ioannidis as the tackles.
Those guys alone have the physical talent to overwhelm the Houston offensive line and disrupt things while in the backfield but, just in case, use one of the safeties as a spy in case Ward tries to escape the inevitable problems.
Temple Houston struggled in the TV ratings back in 1964 because it went opposite The Flintstones on ABC and Rawhide (Clint Eastwood as Rowdy Yates) on CBS. This Temple-Houston figures to have no such ratings’ problems because it is the nationally featured noon game on ABC and Philadelphia is the 4th-largest TV market. Houston is the 10th-largest TV market and there is plenty of interest in this game in the other AAC markets, all in the top 36.
While Temple has prided itself on doing what it does to get to this point, it will have to swallow some of that pride and tweak some things on defense to stop this quarterback. You don’t have to be a 19th-century sleuth to figure that out. If you see a three-man rush, time to change the channel to something like reruns of Rawhide or The Flintstones.