After about almost every press conference, new Temple head coach Geoff Collins talks about position flexibility.
In the first scrimmage on Saturday, tight ends were playing offensive tackle, a backup fullback was playing guard and all four starting defensive backs were playing the other’s positions—corners playing safety and vise-versa.
There was so much flexibility going on, folks thought the entire Temple football team was double-jointed.
If, however, Collins truly wants to achieve flexibility he might consider bringing back the 60-minute player and we have our own suggestion.
Nick “Shots Fired” Sharga.
There are a couple of good reasons for this.
The first is that new offensive coordinator Dave Patenaude seems fixated on expanding the multiple wide-receiver sets and that, by its very nature, limits the role of Sharga as a fullback. That’s bad news in my opinion because his lead blocking in the run game makes him an additional downhill offensive lineman and opens up the passing game because opposing teams cheat their linebackers and safeties up against the run.
Without Sharga in there, the element of surprise is gone and the opposition knows the Owls are going to fling the ball out there as fast as they can.
Say, though, Sharga plays no more than 15 plays a game at fullback. He PROBABLY is also the team’s best linebacker, so why not get him 15-30 snaps on that side of the ball. All the defensive coaches have to do to judge for themselves is watch the game film of Sharga starting at linebacker playing 20 plays on defense in a 36-12 win over No. 21 Memphis and Paxton Lynch two years ago. Despite National Player of the Year Tyler Matakevich also playing linebacker, Sharga was among—if the the best—defensive player on the field that day.
Sharga might not be able to play 60 minutes, like another Philadelphia collegiate player, Chuck Bednarik, but getting him as many reps on both offense and defense—say, 50 of the 60 minutes—is something he is more than capable of handling.
On Oct. 18 1986, Holy Cross player Gordie Lockbaum played 143 of the 171 snaps in a 17-14 win over Army. On that day, he led Holy Cross in rushing and receiving and played free safety on defense.
The team that wins usually is the one able to get their most productive player on the field and, once the new coaching staff figures out Sharga fits that description, the better off we will all be.
Wednesday: The First Casualty of the QB Wars