Temple coach Steve Addazio admitted after Saturday's 37-28 win over South Florida that one of the ways he considered igniting the offense was making a change at quarterback.
Junior Chris Coyer, who had started the last final four games of last season and was the MVP of the Owls' New Mexico Bowl win, did enough to keep his job for an eighth straight start against the Bulls.
And after completing 80 percent of his passes in a 16-for-20, 167-yard, turnover-free performance which also included 54 rushing yards, the open quarterback competition appears to be closed again going into Saturday's contest at Connecticut.
"We missed a few made a few, it's (still) a work in progress," said Addazio of the passing game. "(But) we put a lot of pressure on (Coyer) in practice, we opened that competition up now. The last two weeks wasn't for the timid. We said ‘Let's break all the scabs here, let's create competition, push each other.' He was competing last week, I liked that.
"I want to see a raw guy going after it, and to his credit, he bowed up and I thought we saw some progress from that standpoint."
While lauding Coyer, Addazio also heaped praise on third-string quarterback Kevin Newsome, who played the role of South Florida quarterback B.J. Daniels in practice last week. Newsome joined the Owls in the summer after transferring from Penn State.
"Kevin Newsome was phenomenal," said Addazio. "Kevin Newsome is really coming into his own by the way. He was so explosive in his runs and he has a great arm."
Newsome at this point would still have to climb over Coyer and backup Clinton "Juice" Granger to see significant snaps.
Coyer, who is 6-2 as a starter, said he didn't feel any extra pressure to perform in the two weeks leading up the South Florida game, knowing his position was up for grabs.
"I've always felt pressure from Juice, because Juice is a very good player," said Coyer. "If I were to go down, I have full confidence he can go in there and win a game. But of course, I felt a little pressure. He played hard and played well the last couple weeks, and I had to do the same."
The good day at the office improved Coyer's completion percentage to 54.1 percent for the season. He now has five touchdowns – he connected with tight end Cody Booth for a 9-yard score against the Bulls – and just one interception, on the Owls' last-ditch effort in a loss to Maryland.
Coyer also deftly faked out the entire South Florida defense, which flowed to the quarterback's right while he kept the ball and went left for an easy 24-yard TD run in the first quarter – the type of play and command of the offense that got him the job in the first place.
The pass-run mix and play-action passing game seemed to click better than it had all season against the Bulls as Montel Harris emerged at running back and Coyer found success on the ground and through the air.
"It seemed a couple of our shots were a little more open, worked a little better (against South Florida)," agreed Coyer.
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