"What I'm Used To"

Chris Coyer threw for eight touchdowns last year

Last spring, Chris Coyer was unquestionably the Temple starting quarterback. But after an inconsistent junior season in which he was benched for the last two games in favor of Juice Granger, the left-hander is back competing for a job – a scenario which makes Coyer feel, well, comfortable.

Last spring, Chris Coyer was unquestionably the Temple starting quarterback.

But after an inconsistent junior season in which he was benched for the last two games in favor of Juice Granger, the left-hander is back competing for a job – a scenario which makes Coyer feel, well, comfortable.

"It's more of what I'm used to, to be honest," said Coyer. "Every year since I've been here except last year, I've been competing for a job with two, three, four other guys. If anything, last year was the abnormality."

Coyer earned the right to head into last spring and fall as the starting quarterback off what he did at the end of his sophomore campaign, leading the team to a 4-0 record and being named MVP of the New Mexico Bowl.

But it's also fair he has to earn the job back after last season in which he completed 84-of-164 passes for 946 yards with eight touchdowns and four interceptions, while rushing for 444 yards.

"There were definitely a few things that went wrong, I had a fumbling issue and I don't think that's a secret to anyone," admitted Coyer. "I'm working real hard to fix that. I'm asking the defensive guys to try to strip the ball from me every day. It was a definite issue. You can't turn the ball over and win.

"As the season went on, the accuracy of the throws went down. (My mechanics) aren't there yet, but I think I can get there. It's better. I've been working hard all winter."

With Matt Rhule taking over for Steve Addazio, Coyer has been reunited with the coach who recruited him. It's also a bit of a fresh start after ending the season on a down note.

"It's definitely a fresh start," agreed Coyer. "Coach Rhule was my position coach for two years, I'm very comfortable with Coach Rhule. I know he'll get on me and how he'll get on me. He can ride me pretty good, but he's fun to be around, and as far as a fresh start goes. …It's good. I definitely feel more upbeat and excited."

Part of the excitement is Rhule's contention that the Owls will throw the ball more often. They were predominantly a running team under Addazio and even Al Golden before him.

This looks like it could be the most balanced Owls team in a while – partly because of philosophy and partly because they don't have an apparent future NFL running back on the team.

"We ran the ball so much. …I think the guys thought if we mess up (a pass play) it will be the last time we throw the ball for a little while," said Coyer. "The run to pass ratio will be a little bit different. I'm a quarterback. Yeah, I like to run around, but I'm a quarterback first. I love to throw the ball."

Rhule said he is simply looking for the quarterback who can pick up yardage, be it through the air or with his legs.

"At the end of 15 days, I'd like to have a good idea of who can move the team. … Who can throw and run with the football well enough to move the team," said Rhule. "We're not at the stage where we're looking for a lot of intangibles. …It's who can throw the ball to the guy who is open and have him catch it.

"Right now, it's about installing and teaching them what we're doing, because it's so different than what they were used to. We're going to let them go do it. Chris has had tremendous energy and juice, and he's been out there showing what he can do."

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