Interestingly, the more aggressive style didn’t result in more deep passes completed by the opposition. Temple was tied for second nationally last year in pass plays allowed of 20 yards or more (24), although the Owls surrendered 23 touchdown passes, tied for 83rd nationally. Having Rock Ya-Sin at one of the corners, a Southwest DeKalb High grad who could go in the first two rounds of the NFL draft, obviously helped Temple’s pass-defense efforts.
The change, like most of what Collins has introduced to his team, has been well-received.
“They’ve definitely attacked it,” Popovich said. “They’ve definitely embraced the idea of it and worked really hard and shown up every day and been excited to do it. So it’s fun.”
Another change has been how cornerbacks are aligned. Previously, they played either to the field or boundary – flipping sides depending on where the ball was placed for the snap. Now, they play either on the left or right side of the field.
Returning starter Tre Swilling and Zamari Walton are among corners who have performed well this spring. Early-enrollee freshman Jordan Huff is another.
“I would say the last couple weeks, he’s really come around and you can see that I think he feels a little more confident in what he’s doing and what we’re doing and kind of taking the whole thing into place,” Popovich said.