Defensive Guessing Game

You know what they say about assumptions or assuming, but in the long stretch between the end of the Cherry and White game and kickoff at Notre Dame, assuming can be a fun exercise.

We’ll assume this for now:

Notre Dame will see some Mayhem on September 3d when its offense approaches the line of scrimmage.

That’s because we can be relatively confident in the personnel that will line up on the defensive side of the ball.

Here is our fun list of starters for now, subject to change, mostly due to injury and coaching decisions and assuming a 5-2-4 defensive alignment:

DE-Sharif Finch, Jacob Martin

DT-Karamo Dioubate, Michael Dogbe 

NT-Freddy Booth-Lloyd

LB-Shaun Bradley, Jared Folks

CB—Mike Jones, Artel Foster

FS-Sean Chandler

SS-Delvon Randall

There are, of course, a lot of good defenders not listed there who are, what head coach Geoff Collins calls “above the line” and starters in his mind, even if they don’t line up on the first play of the first series. This is a two-deep defense when you consider guys like Greg Webb are available on the line and Benny Walls, Linwood Crump and Derrick Thomas in the secondary.

Your 2017 starters at DE?

There may be others we haven’t heard about because guys like Keith Kirkwood have spent some time as a pass rusher. If he’s anywhere near as good in that capacity as Romond Deloatch was the Owls will have something.

Right now, though, that group is pretty impressive.

At one end, the Owls will have a playmaker in Finch who started a game against Rutgers way back in 2013. He made in my mind the key play in the win over Penn State in 2015 as well. At the other end, you have a single-digit tough guy in Martin, who also had a sack against Penn State (who didn’t?).

At one of the DTs, you will have a guy in Dogbe who really came into his own at the end of last season as a starter and Dioubate, a guy who received a phone call from none other than Nick Saban the day he decided to keep his Temple commitment. He was too good to redshirt last season.

At one corner, Nate Hairston, a fifth-round NFL draft pick, will be replaced by a guy in Jones, who was projected by Mike Mayock as being “the steal of the 2017 late rounds” if he had declared this year. Jones declared for Temple, not the NFL, and probably will be a third round pick or better in the 2018 draft if he just duplicates the kind of success with the Owls that he had with North Carolina Central. If he succeeds it, watch out.

With Mayhem, and these guys creating it, anything is possible.

Friday: The True Legends

Monday: Wandering Eye



10 thoughts on “Defensive Guessing Game

  1. I wanted to comment about the news that TU might be pursuing the Tennessee QB transfer and reply to some of the comments that were posted to the previous TFF article. But I procrastinated. So I’m doing it now. IMO, unless this kid is an absolute potential AAC All Conference level star, CC should pass on him. There are two 3 star QB’s contending for the starting job that were recruited from some of the best HS programs within 100 miles of TU. And there are two other seemingly good prospects for the QB job. If CC is bringing in this kid that appears to be a bust at Tennessee to demonstrate he can recruit SEC talent and hands over the QB job to him, he’ll have screwed up on a few levels. First, there is a certain type of kid that succeeds at TU and they’re not quitters. Just the opposite, they hang tough and push themselves to seemingly overachieve. That’s not to say no kid should ever transfer. But the HC has to understand the impact on the chemistry of the team when making such a move. There’s something to this Temple Tuff chemistry. (I remember going to one of the season ticket holder events and how every player was so gracious and well mannered as they talked to people. There was one exception who was a 4 star recruit that just wasn’t like the rest. I can’t recall his name now. That’s probably because I don’t believe he ever got on to the active roster. But other lesser rated recruits passed him.) Second issue, however, is the possibility of burning those recently established relationships at some of the better area HS programs by bringing in a P5 washout at the expense of some of the more high profile recruits from those TU territory schools. CC is going to have a tough enough time recruiting this area as is, since so many view him as another temporary HC looking to move back to a P5 as soon as he can. Stability in the TUFB includes not only having a HC that stays for a reasonably lengthy number of years, but also it means maintaining and, ideally, improving on the recruiting of the primary recruiting region and the HS coaches and players within it. And that’s PA and NJ primarily. So I hope CC gives it a lot of thought.

    • I’m against it for many of the reasons you stated. If he can’t cut it at Tennessee and Tennessee is not a Top 25 program (like Collins keeps saying Temple is), then logic follows that he won’t be able to cut it at Temple. Plus, it’s bad optics. “I can’t play here, so I’ll play at Temple.” Err, no. We want to get to the point where we are beating Tennessee players with Temple players who accepted the Temple TUFF challenge from the jump and have been through all of the practices with us. The other reason this troubles me is that it sends the message that Collins is sitting down with his assistants. “Guys, if we want to get out of here in two years like I promised you, we need one of these SEC quarterbacks.” If you are planting the seeds for a house of bricks (I know I’m mixing metaphors here), you do it with local talent with an eye on the program being just as strong or stronger 3-4 years down the road as it is this year.

  2. The only thing I have to say is that the kid won’t be able to play for a year. By then one of the QB candidates may have solidified his position and then what does the kid do. If I’m this kid TU is not the place to come especially because the freshman Todd Centeio may be the best of the bunch.

  3. Kids go where they think they can play. Why did Centeio sign? He thought he could one day start ahead of Russo, Nutile, .., If this kid from Tennessee signs then he believes..,

    let the best players play,

    nobody cares where you came from when the whistle blows

    • All I can think of is that this kid is Kevin Newsome and Jabo Lee all over again. They thought they could play here, too. I don’t think he beats out Russo or Centeio, but if he wants to come, I hope he is a positive influence in other areas like Jabo and Kevin were.

  4. TU and rest of G-5 are fighting a losing battle. The sooner they recognize it the better it is for the individual schools.

    The fact is that when the TV contracts are up, the talk of 4 or 5 super conferences will again reach the forefront. Already there are again rumors that the Big 12 is toast. TU and most of the rest of the also-rans will never be invited into the “club” because the days of unlimited TV money are over. Schools will become more greedy, not less, and unless a school can show it adds to the pot, its D-1 football future is doomed. Fact is that TU spent all the money it recently has on football twenty-five years too late. The only out I can see for college sports is that the schools realize that they’ve been subsidizing the NFL’s and NBA’s minor leagues and demand payment.

  5. What kind of competition did Mike Jones see at NCC? He has a lot to prove. I can’t wait to see him kickitupanotch.

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