Some people wonder what football coaches do at this time of year, the few days after signing day and the few days before spring camp begins.
While the players do some conditioning drills outside and some weightlifting inside, the really good staffs are inside trying to figure out how to best utilize the talent that is available on the team. That was shown a year ago when Temple head coach Matt Rhule was reviewing film of a loss at Houston, saw his former offensive coordinator line up with five wides on a first and goal at the 1 and said he got physically ill watching that alignment. After a visit to the porcelain throne, Rhule scraped the Satterfield offense and went with his own.
“Give me a great
wrestler as a nose
guard and I will
show you a guy
who is going to
blow up the center
_ Vince Hoch
former TU DC
The result was a new offensive philosophy built around the talent at hand, a mix that (largely) saw two tight ends, a fullback and a heavy dose of play-action in the passing game. The result was a tie for the most points ever scored by a Temple offense and a 30 percent improvement in third-down efficiency.
That’s using your head for more than a hat rack.
Conversely, with the collection of depth and new high-end talent coming in, a strong case can be made for a 5-2 defense. With the number of quality linemen the Owls have on that side of the ball, they can cause havoc in opposing backfields by blowing up the point of attack with five guys across the front, instead of four. Imagine speedy defensive ends like Sharif Finch and Haason Reddick containing mobile quarterbacks when interior linemen like Karamo Dioubate and Greg Webb are on each side of nose guard Averee Robinson, a two-time Pennsylvania State Class AAAA (large school) heavyweight wrestling champion at Susquehanna Township. Former Temple defensive coordinator Vince Hoch was fond of saying “give me a great wrestler as a nose guard and I will show you a guy who is going to blow up the center every time.” Robinson has that kind of gap leverage potential as a nose guard. Like his brother, Adrian, he is playing out of position at Temple. Adrian was a natural OLB, his future position in the NFL, who was forced into DE duty as an Owl. Averee’s future is as a nose guard at the next level, whether it is the NFL or Canada.
I like the two linebackers for a couple of reasons. In Avery Williams (2) and Stephaun Marshall (6), you have two proven single-digit tough guys to carry the linebacker load. If I’m only going to use two LBs, I’m comforted by the fact that they are among the nine toughest guys on the team already. Then I can still use another proven tough guy, Nick Sharga (4), in the same role he had last year (roughly 10-15 plays on offense and 10-15 plays on defense as a backup LB).
There is experience all over the place with this defense, and a couple of big-time playmakers coming in to flank Robinson in Greg Webb and Karamo Dioubate. With Robinson blowing up the center, and Dioubate and Webb during their thing, these mobile quarterbacks are hit as soon as (or right after) they get the snap and do not get a chance to turn a corner or build up a head of steam.
Robinson and Freddy Booth-Lloyd playing nose guard could just be the disruption along the DL the Owls need to stop those mobile quarterbacks. The experiment is worth a try in spring practice.