Mixing Things Up

Take the scenic route through Delaware and avoid most of I-95 hassles.

Take the scenic route through Delaware and avoid most of I-95 hassles.

While the notion about tackles in the A gaps and a nose guard over the center as the secret formula to beat Navy has been proven to work by Air Force coach Troy Calhoun, there is a strong conviction that a pretty good coach on the other side of the field has been breaking down Temple game film for the past couple of days.

Ken Niumatalolo has worked wonders at The Naval Academy since another great head coach, Paul Johnson, took his triple option to Georgia Tech.

Comparative scores indicate a close game.

Comparative scores indicate a close game, although the TU-USF score is a typo (real score was 46-30, not 20).

You do not overcome severe academic—getting into the Academy is like getting into an Ivy League school—and athletic (post-academy military commitment) without using your head for something other than a hat rack.

When he breaks down Temple game film, Niumatalolo probably sees a team that will attempt to establish the run and throw off play action. He will probably attempt to counter that by stacking the box himself and forcing the Owls to throw first and try to establish the run later. The way to counter an over-aggressive defense is to take advantage of their aggressiveness. That’s why it is important that the Owls mix things up and they can do that with these five plays they have not shown so far. Some people call them trick plays; I call them innovative ones and, if the Owls hit on just one, none of these plays will be wasted.  While I would not recommend the onsides’ kick (hey, it worked against Cincy last year), these are five plays that come with the TFF Navy Seal of Approval:

The Double Reverse

The Owls have tried the single reverse with Adonis Jennings at Tulane. That’s part of the film Niumatalolo has seen and is ready for; he has not seen the double reverse and Jennings handing it off to Isaiah Wright coming around from the other side should open up the field against an over-pursuing Navy defense.  That will set up the next play, somewhat later in the game.

The Double Reverse Pass

Virtually the same play worked four years ago for the Owls at SMU four years ago, where former Big 33 quarterback Jalen Fitzpatrick threw an 85-yard touchdown to Robby (then Robbie) Anderson off a reverse. We’ve been told Wright can throw an accurate pass between 60 and 85 yards in the air. We know that. Niumatalolo does not. That could catch Navy with their pants down.

The Shovel Pass

The beauty of this play is that it not only creates space for a guy like Jahad Thomas but, if it fails, it’s an incomplete pass and not a fumble. It’s like a delayed handoff except when P.J. Walker goes back to pass, he draws the rush to him and shovels a pass underhand forward to Thomas, who uses the newly created space to work his magic. The last time Temple used a shovel pass, it went for a touchdown from Chris Coyer to Matt Brown at Penn State (September 22, 2012). It is not on any recent Temple film and does not take a whole lot to put it into the playbook.

Throwback To The Tight End

A perfect play in the red zone offense that worked for a touchdown against USF a few weeks ago and Walker sells this play well, rolling out to his right and pumping a fake into one corner of the end zone (and drawing the defense to that side) before looking left to a wide open tight end. That tight end could be Thompson, who holds his block for a second and then releases. In that scenario, usually no one is assigned to cover him and that’s why he is always open.

Screen Pass to Jahad

This is a staple of the current offense, but an antidote to a defense that commits to stopping the run and the Owls should mix in a few of these every quarter.  No one is able to make defenders miss in the open field like Thomas and he is a weapon the Owls should use while they have him for a couple more games.

Thursday:  Temple-Navy Preview


21 thoughts on “Mixing Things Up

  1. If you decide to just stay on 95, you can jump off 95 @ the U of Delaware exit and get out of paying the toll and get back on 95.

    • Sounds like a pretty good plan, Ray. It also looks more direct on the map than going through Baltimore and D.C. I don’t like the number of trucks on I-95.

      • Ray is referring to using the DE 896 exit to (eventually) get to MD 279 exit to avoid the $4 (each way) toll, not using US 301 on the Delmarva Peninsula to the Bay Bridge. (I personally avoid the Delaware toll EVERYTIME I travel to/from Philadelphia; I usually also stop at the Wawa right near the DE/MD state line, but I digress.) US 301 is probably a good option to get to Annapolis from the Philadelphia area however; traffic will definitely be lighter than I-95 (though on a Saturday morning, the I-95 traffic won’t be that bad itself).

  2. I really like the conference scoring breakdown in this post. At first I was dismayed at seeing Navy out score us on the majority of these matchups, but heck if our defense doesn’t shine as well. It’ll be a really good game.

    Any score predictions?

    • Hard to say, Ben. Look at Houston. Everybody says they play a great defense, but they allowed 18 versus Tulane (and 17 versus UConn), two teams we shut out. Navy scored 44 on Houston, they will not score 44 on us but they could score 24-27 or even up to 34. Can we score 35? I think so. Something like 35-27 Temple is the best I can come up with …

    • PJ came in as a dual threat caterpillar and transformed into a pocket passer butterfly.., everyone outside of the coaches looked at his size and athletic ability and hoped for continued development as a dual threat QB.., we were wrong

      he made a couple of NFL throws on Saturday night…, Temple will win at Navy if he has another strong performance w/o ints

      Temple 41 – Navy 38 (zero Walker Ints)
      Navy 42 – Temple 36 (one or more Walker Ints)

  3. Isn’t this great We all get to see another quality football game again, with Temple broadcast on a major network. It seems like years ago when we were fighting to win 3 or 4 games a year and calling that a success.
    As always I have no idea what to expect in this game except a good chance the defense will keep us in the game.
    I recall my last trip to a Temple at Navy game ( about 7 years ago ?) where we were near a win and fell apart in the last 2 minutes. Then we had that fumble or dropped punt and let them get away with the win with a few seconds to go.
    I trust this year we will make up for that bad finish.
    Is #25 Armstead still nursing his injury or are we holding him back just to let him go big time against Navy ?
    Last question please – we are season Tixx holders but not Temple Alum, so can we still buy/get in the Alum /Big Party Tent on Saturday ?

    No, I had to go to DVC now DVU – But always a Temple fan because they are our Philly football team. Period,.

  4. I-95 will be clear on a non-holiday Saturday Morning. I jump off 95 in Newark, skip the toll, and get provisions and weewee at Wawa. In Newark, take 896 north, 4 west, and 279 south back to I-95.

    About the Air Force Game – that may have been Worth’s first game. I believe Navy’s starting senior QB was sunk very early in the battle. Worth has been a destroyer all season. Sounds like a job for USS Hasson?

  5. Although Navy scored 45 on USF 24 of that was in garbage time and 6 of that was after time expired. That’s another film the coaches should be wearing out. .

    • Tough one to garner too much out of though; USF flashed out so quick that it makes the film a little tough to judge. 28-0 and it was all chunk plays.

      I feel like we’ll know how this game is gonna go by the end of the 1st quarter. If we can’t get off the field early, we probably won’t be doing it as the game progresses.

      The obvious keys is getting points on the first couple of drives and getting them off schedule when they have the ball. Basically do the exact opposite of what the Eagles did last night…….

  6. PJ, Armstead, and Bryant are injured. Hope they’re ready.

  7. Coach said today that Bryant will be available.

  8. Houston is the only ranked Group of 5 team with 3 or more losses.., Temple will be ranked with a win against Navy…, a loss means the best we can do is finish with a bowl win and another 10-4 season, no Top 25…,

    all things considered, back to back 10 win seasons and a bowl trophy makes for a very, very successful season..,

    the loss to Army will be one of the defining bookends for the 2016 team.., the comeback win against UCF will be the other..,

    we open the next year against a wounded team in South Bend…, they will take every opportunity to run up the score if we show any sign of weakness

  9. Hi, we will be there at Navy Stadium and got 2 tickets to the official Temple pregame tent. I look forward to saying Hi to a bunch of folks I only know thru this website, except I have said Hi a few times to one of my favorite Sports writers around here , Mr. Mike ‘Gibby’. Lets have a nice time, and We will root like hell but will accept any outcome, just hope it is the best one.
    We have been to the DC Bowl ( damn cold there ) and New Mexico Bowl ( people there super friendly) . Would like to make another Bowl trip if possible !!!!

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