football Edit

Wilson: Owls need more accountability, less finger-pointing

Following last Saturday’s 45-3 loss at ECU, redshirt junior safety Jalen Ware, freshman linebacker Kobe Wilson, and redshirt freshman defensive tackle Jacoby Sharpe were made available to the media Tuesday.

The Owls struggled against the run again, allowing the Pirates to tally 246 yards on the ground. Allowing 221 rushing yards per game, Temple will face another test this upcoming Saturday when Alton McCaskill and conference-leading Houston come to town.

McCaskill currently has 12 touchdowns and is averaging 4.9 yards per carry.

“[McCaskill] is a good downhill runner,” Wilson said. However, Wilson said he doesn’t see the running game being too much of a problem Saturday.

When talking about the defense’s struggles, Wilson said the defense is “designed to get in the backfield. We haven’t played it how it’s supposed to look.”

Defensive coordinator Jeff Knowles’ group has primarily played a 3-3-5 nickel defense this season, a defense designed to stop the pass and depends on its linebackers and safeties to assist in the run game, something Wilson is confident about.

“The safeties we have are downhill safeties,” Wilson said. “They lead the team in tackles right now.”

Whether members of the secondary leading the team in tackles is a good thing is a conversation for another day. What Wilson is focusing on is the job he and his linebackers have to do.

“We have to learn how to be gap-controlled,” Wilson said. “We’re another part of the d-line.”

The heavies up front like Sharpe will need Wilson and his linebacker group to look better than they have during Temple’s four-game losing streak if they want to limit McCaskill’s production.

Sharpe, one of the many underclassmen filling in for the Owls, is confident in his ability to execute Knowles’ scheme, having played in a similar system in high school.

“I’m really familiar with this defense,” he said. “I can play outside and inside.”

What the Owls’ defensive execution will come down to, according to Sharpe, is communication. Especially if they want to stop red-hot Houston quarterback Clayton Tune.

Ware, who has an interception in each of Temple’s last two games, is looking to Amir Tyler’s voice in the secondary.

“All the communication goes through him,” Ware said. “He puts us in the best position we can be in.”

Ware also said head coach Rod Carey is focusing on the defense’s play on the perimeter for Saturday’s matchup against the Cougars.

“The most important thing is winning the perimeter and being more physical on the perimeter,” Ware said. “Coach said winning the perimeter and playing more physically can erase all the other things that we did badly.”

The Owls will need the defense to show up big Saturday if they stand any chance of ending their four-game losing streak, something that hasn’t been easy on the team.

“I know these guys want to win,” Wilson said when referring to his teammates. “They hate losing.”

Wilson didn’t stop there.

“They want to point fingers at certain things and certain coaches,” he added, “and we can’t do that. We have to hold ourselves accountable.”

Wilson said the team held a player-only meeting on Monday and that positive things came out of it.