For a program that prides itself on “position flexibility” it boggles the mind that one position in particular sticks out like a sore thumb on the “above the line” so-called depth chart:
The weird thing is that it doesn’t have to be this way and there is a fix right under the coach’s noses. You’ve got to wonder if they are so close to the trees they can’t see the forest.
What’s that, you say? “Mike, the coaches are around these guys all the time. They know what they are doing.”
Err, you mean the same guys who said at this time last year that Nick Sharga was “the best fullback in the country” and did not use Nick Sharga as a fullback? Those guys? The same guys who thought Logan Marchi was the best quarterback on the team for the first seven games when every fan who watched the Army game would tell you Frank Nutile was 10x better? Those guys? Yeah, I thought so. Not buying the excuse by the Collins’ apologists that Sharga was “hurt” because the same guy led the nation in special teams’ tackles in 2017. You don’t lead the nation in special teams’ tackles by being a cripple.
But back to this year’s sore thumb problem, though.
The Owls have only one proven defensive end—last year’s sack leader, Quincy Roche—but an overabundance of flexible above the line talent in the interior of the defensive line.
All they have to do is move an All-American defensive end (that’s right, defensive end) in high school, Karamo Dioubate, to one end and the problem is solved. Dan Archibong, another outstanding tackle, can also play end. Meanwhile, Michael Dogbe and Freddy Booth-Lloyd are two of the better interior tackles in the American Athletic Conference. There simply just aren’t enough snaps to get all of those guys the reps they need inside but there is plenty of opportunity outside the tackles.
If I was Dioubate or Archibong, I’d walk into Geoff Collins’ office today and tell him I think I can help the team better by rushing the passer and stringing out running plays from sideline to sideline.
Meanwhile, I can’t believe the defensive coaches don’t see that for themselves.
If there is a subplot to watch in tomorrow’s opener against Villanova (noon, Lincoln Financial Field), it is finding out whether the coaches are as flexible in their thinking as they hope the players are in their positioning.
Putting players in the best position to win is the definition of good coaching. In less than 24 hours, we will find out a lot about both.
Sunday: Game Analysis
Tuesday: What We’ve Learned After Week One
Thursday: Buffalo Preview