In One Case, Position Flexibility Could Be Epic

running

Nick Sharga gains a first down on this run in AAC championship game and makes a tackle as a linebacker (below) in 2015 game against Tulane.

linebacker

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 

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10 thoughts on “In One Case, Position Flexibility Could Be Epic

  1. I’m afraid these guys will make the same mistake Matt made with Chris Coyer by trying to shoehorn existing talent into a scheme rather then create a game plan around your talent. It took Matt and co two seasons to figure out the team’s identity and I’m hoping our new staff are much quicker studies.

    • There are a lot of red flags so far about Collins, mostly disappointed with his avoidance of any talk of a long-term commitment to the school, but I really like his explanation of “position flexibility.” Having all four DBs who can play the other position is a real plus. Also, Dioubate was recruited as a DE but played DT exclusively last season. If, say, Finch keeps getting injured, could easily plug Karamo at LE, Dogbe and Webb at DT, FBL at NG and Jacob Martin at RE.

  2. Although not reported in Philly papers, the NY Times has her praising TU with faint damns, namely that she couldn’t attract talent at TU. The administration is probably soaking up the good comments and will overlook this one because they want athletic success on the cheap. If they’re not going to do what it takes to compete with the best, they should just fold up the program.

    • I don’t blame Temple for not putting money into women’s sports. They couldn’t draw flies when Staley was here and they were winning. University is similarly enthralled with Cordoza’s group. Plenty of upside in football and regular hoops. That’s where you put the money.

      • Was speaking of the administration generally and didn’t intend to single out women’s BB. That why they were kicked out of the Big East. Heard that men’s bb team may have to cancel an August trip to Spain because of a lack of funds. Bet that trip was used as an inducement for the new recruits.

  3. We have plenty of time to see what happens. This interchangeable thing may just be a way to get all the kids engaged in the new coach’s schemes. But yeah, if the Owls are hurting for LBers Sharga is one answer. Hopefully these guys will have different schemes to plug in. With all the really good recievers, maybe they want to have the multiple wide reciever option, but hopefully not all the time like with Rhule’s first 2 seasons.

    • I hope Patenaude wasn’t just blowing smoke when he said he would still run the football behind the fullback. It looks like he really wants to go multiple wides but I don’t like those sets with a rookie quarterback, who could use the added protection of a fullback.

      • It has always irked me that when a new manager, coach etc comes in they make changes even thought the current system is working. Why change from what’s worked the last two years just because you can change it. The fact is that few schools rely on a pro set and that’s why TU has had such success. Sharga’s back and healthy. Why mess with success. I know that a wait and see approach is prudent but so far with the horrendous recruiting and the switch of emphasis on offense it’s getting harder to stay quiet. I’m attending the scrimmage Saturday and hopefully see an emphasis on running and play action.

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