For all of the talk about position changes and other issues coming out of Temple football’s 2016 spring camp, the real key for the Owls this season will be stopping Greg Ward and Quinton Flowers. The Owls’ slogan this season is “Unfinished Business” and the business of stopping dual-threats has to top any agenda.
South Florida’s Flowers is on the regular-season home schedule, and Houston’s Ward could play against the Owls in the AAC championship game. Temple better devise a method for stopping them or their expectations of a great season could be dashed. Quite likely, the Owls will have to beat Flowers to get to Ward, so today is not too early to devise a plan to stop one and get to the other.
Flowers posted 320 total yards, passing for 230 and running for 90 with three total TDs (two passing, one rushing) in the Bulls’ 44-23 win over Temple in November. Those numbers were unacceptable, because the Owls insisted on playing their base defense against Flowers with no tweaks designed to slow him down. That was pretty much their approach in two other losses to dual-threat quarterbacks. The Owls lost four games a year ago and three of them were to dual-threat quarterbacks—Flowers, Ward and Notre Dame’s DeShone Kizer. The other loss was to a conventional drop-back quarterback with functional mobility, Toledo’s Phillip Ely.
So what happens in the defensive war room at the team’s practice facility between now and the start of the season is just as important as any personnel developments along the way. Defensive coordinator Phil Snow could have tipped his hand this spring that help is on the way when he moved his best cornerback, Sean Chandler, to safety. Having the speedy and sure-tackling Chandler spy Flowers could cause USF problems, because the QB won’t have the time to see the field and make plays.
At least that should be the plan. Executing it will be the key to unlocking a great season for Temple.