The Real Darkside Defense

gang

Expect the Owls to return to this kind of gang tackling as shown in a prior Penn State game.

Geoff Collins handed out nicknames like candy.

Rod Carey hands them out like Scrooge with Christmas Gifts.

Different strokes for different folks.

Collins, the self-proclaimed Minister of Mayhem,  called his defense “The Darkside Defense” last season.  That same defense went out and gave up 45 points to Boston College, 49 to Houston, 52 to UCF and 57 to Duke.

Hardly a unit that earned any nicknames.

knowles

From left, Knowles, Rice and Stewart sound like a law firm but the are ready to defend the Owls on that side of the field this fall.

Keeping people out of the end zone is a priority for the Owls this season and Carey hinted as much in a radio interview with Harry Donahue when he said his defensive philosophy was to have a “more sound base” and to take fewer chances designed to create turnovers for the trade of keeping the bad guys out of the end zone.

The good news is that Collins brings a sound system for Northern Illinois and three outstanding defensive coaches in DC Jeff Knowles, Melvin Rice and Walter Stewart. Mix in co-DC Fran Brown with his special knowledge of personnel and the Owls will get a lot more from their talent than they have in the last two years.  On October 28, the Huskies won a football game against BYU by scoring just seven points because their defense only allowed six. Yes, that was the same BYU team that beat Wisconsin and that was the same Wisconsin team that beat Manny Diaz’s Miami team, 31-0, in the bowl game.

In Knowles’  first season as defensive coordinator this past fall, the Huskies were second in the FBS in sacks with 50, trailing only national champion Clemson. The Huskies were ranked 11th in the nation in rushing yards allowed per game (109.2), 10th in team tackles for loss per game (7.9) NIU had six all-Mid-American Conference selections on its defense.


In Knowles’  first season
as defensive coordinator
this past fall, the Huskies
were second in the FBS in sacks
with 50, trailing only national
champion Clemson. The Huskies
were ranked 11th in the nation
in rushing yards allowed per
game (109.2), 10th in team tackles
for loss per game (7.9) NIU had
six all-Mid-American Conference
selections on its defense

Arguably, with the linebackers Collins has now and a front line that includes returning starters like Karamo Dioubate, Dana Levine, Dan Archibong and Zack Mesday he probably has more talent than he had at NIU.

There is some learning for the coaches, especially ones who weren’t with Carey last year at NIU. One of them is Fran Brown, the co-defensive coordinator/cornerbacks coach. Brown coached four seasons at Temple, spent the last two years as an assistant at Baylor and is now back with the Owls.

One change in the defense, according to a recent Marc Narducci story, is that the Owls will play off more receivers instead of playing press coverage.

That tends to keep the play in front of the defensive backs and limits long scoring plays.

In other words, don’t expect this defense to give up 57, 52 or 45 points in any single game.

It’s not Mayhem, but Mayhem was never what it was cracked up to be so this change appears to be a welcome one.

We’ll just have to come up with a new nickname for those one-time dark side guys.

14 thoughts on “The Real Darkside Defense

  1. Collins did one good thing, he played freshmen.

    I hope Carey does the same because this team and subsequent TUFB teams are short on depth.

    The CBs must play off the ball, no Rock Ya Sin’s with the size, strength to play press. Smart, play the cards you are dealt.

    Time for Dioubate to show some all AAC-conference colors, all-Philly is not good enough.

    Look for more sacks from the LBs this year.

    This 2019 team can win 7 or more games if Russo throws more TDs than INTs.

    Having seven home games is an HUGE advantage. Carey could not have asked for anything more.

  2. I wonder if the Darkside Defense would have to be the most Perfect in City History to Win and Play in the Playoffs, and win the National Championship? I feel as if the Darkside Defense would have to be worked into the Temple Football Lexicon like how older or equal programs have their own remarks. I’d feel the City and the School would be needing a Playoff Apperance and National Championship Run to wedge options later on?

    • I’ll settle for having a few shutouts first and then have to come up with a catchy nickname later. Collins problem was being heavy on shtick and light on substance

      • It’s called “style over substance.” Collin’s very first game, against Nova, after hearing all his mayhem baloney, by halftime I was sitting there asking outloud, “where’s the mayhem?” And we never really saw it for 2 seasons at least not the way it was promoted. Sounds like Carey’s assistant coaches know how to get the job done – let’s hope so. You always have a chance if you can keep the other team from scoring.

  3. Like I said many times, we got BM (bowel movement for those who don’t know what BM stands for) instead of mayhem from Collins on D. That D allowed BC to beat them into a pulp in the second half while using a second string running back and a tight end. It was enough to make one sick. Throw in the number of times receivers were wide open with nary a defendant within ten yards (think Duke) and that D was mediocre at best.

  4. It is the comparison of past BS Blowhard vs upcoming Hope for Traditional tough football that gives me hope.
    If New-Guy Rod C can mix traditional football with modern appeal to the kids playing and recruited, we have a chance.

    • Collins w/all the hip and hype didn’t exactly set the recruiting world on fire…, don’t think Carey will do any worse. What Carey must do is out-recruit the teams in the AAC.

      UCF, Memphis, and Cincy have out-recruited the rest of the conference the last three years. No small wonder those three teams are the top three teams coming into this season.

      Can Carey out-recruit UCF, Memphis, and Cincy? The answer to that question will determine how good TUFB will be in 2021 and 2022.

    • thanks for posting George, helps to support my earlier comments on UCF, Memphis, Cincy and the recruiting impact

      • I predict right now on 4/3/19 that GT will open as at least 2.5-favorite on the road no matter how badly they lose to Clemson. That’s the modern day impact of the P5 pull on bettors. I never bet Temple games but I would take the money line in this one knowing how incompent Collins, Thacker and Patenaude are.

  5. I would take the money line in this one knowing how incompent Collins, Thacker and Patenaude are….

    Especially given all the changes in style and personnel Cary’s staff will be making. The old staff just couldn’t adjust.

    • ‘Adjust’ is a keyword. Kraft bought an experienced HC who came with his own staff.

      We should expect this guy to have the ability to make adjustments in real time.

      Much of Collins was on the job training and a very delayed flash to bang.

      Disappointment a plenty if Carey takes an inordinate amount of time to make adjustments with game plans and on the Saturday sideline.

  6. A good friend of mine and a former player went to practice today and said it was a well-run intense practice. No gimmicks like team DJ’s, clam digger pants, or stupid signs.

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