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The quote “Everybody has a game plan until they get punched in the mouth” by Iron Mike Tyson can apply to many things. Right now coach Geoff Collins and his Temple Owl football team is getting back its sense after going winless in two weeks of the college football season.
Yes, the Owls play has been anything less than desirable to watch. Coming into the season, the Owls were a dark horse to win the AAC, that doesn’t seem to be the case after two mediocre performances.
Offensively, the Owls are inconsistent. Starting quarterback Frank Nutile is already on pace to throw more interceptions a year ago with four already this year. Temple can’t afford those costly mistakes on the road against Maryland Terrapins this week.
Nutile is not the only problem, this receiving core has not done a good job of consistently getting open. The Owls have weapons, there simply just haven’t been getting it done.
This passing game is based on spreading the ball around but no one has really established themselves as the go-to receiver. Ventell Bryant is the most dynamic receiver out of the bunch and needs to ignite the team with a breakout performance.
Isaiah Wright is considered one of the most electric players in the country. His versatility at the running back and wide receiver position could be a major factor. This Maryland defense is very solid and features two really good pass rushers in Jesse Aniebonam and Byron Cowart. The Owls running game needs to step up more than its 115 rushing performance last week.
It was also questioned if the Owls would look to feature sophomore quarterback Anthony Russo a little more after last weeks’ lost. Expect to see Russo get some action if Nutile can’t get it going. Russo has the build and skill set of an NFL quarterback at 6’4″ and 230 lbs.
Russo also has the better arm but it’s understandable Collins commitment is toward Nutile. The senior quarterback lead the Owls to a Gasparilla Bowl game victory.
Both quarterbacks spoke out on their respective roles this year after last weeks game.
Nutile has come out himself saying he needs to be more consistent, while Russo says he is comfortable with his role as the backup.
While Russo had shown some flashes this offseason, it was Nutile that the Owls chose to lead the team. They even allowed Nutile to switch his jersey from No. 18 to No. 8, signifying him being the toughest guy on the team.
He might be the toughest player but is he the right guy to lead this program to a fourth consecutive bowl appearance? The Owls are due for a big performance. A win against Maryland will boost their confidence heading into their first conference matchup against Tulsa Golden Hurricanes next week.
The Terps are tough and interim coach Matt Canada has this team rolling but they’re not perfect by a longshot. While the offense maybe electric, this defense can be exposed, especially in the secondary.
If Nutile expect to get it going, this is the game it needs to happen. Another bad performance will cause for the Owls to hit the panic button and insert Russo as the starting quarterback.