By Matt Sugam
No, the Jets backup quarterback isn’t traveling down the turnpike to play for a former coach. But with Steve Addazio on the Florida staff from 2005-2010, and Tebow’s offensive coordinator from 2009-2010, the second year head coach helped engineer the offense that Tebow ran.
“I think what they have found in [Temple quarterback] Chris Coyer is they have found a guy who can run their offense the way Tim Tebow ran their offense down in Florida,” Rutgers head coach Kyle Flood said earlier this week. “He’s that type of player.”
No, Coyer is nowhere near the level of one of the best college football players of all-time. But he fits the system Addazio runs, and does so like Tebow did.
Temple has run the ball for 68% of their offensive plays this year and Coyer has more carries with 71 than anyone else on the team. And since they’re designed runs out of the read option, it’s not like facing your typical scrambling quarterback who’s escaping a rushed pocket.
“It makes for a difficult situation because he’s a hard nosed guy trying to run it right up the middle,” defensive tackle Scott Vallone said. “It’s not a scat guy who’s trying to shake and bake you. He’s a down hill runner.”
And since he’s a quarterback, it makes it 11 on 11 instead of your typical 10 on 11 where the defense has a man advantage after the quarterback hands it off and doesn’t block anyone. With the quarterback as the primary ball carrier, the offense in essence has an extra blocker when he’s running, because on typical running plays with a tailback, the quarterback isn’t blocking.
“You see teams trying to use the safety to add in the run game and that’s where you get in trouble because then he can pop it over your head and you have no deep help,” middle linebacker Steve Beauharnais said. “And he’s a strong runner, so it ‘s not just one single linebacker [that] can take him down. This guys not your average running quarterback. He’s basically a linebacker running the ball and you got to really put a helmet on him.”
And the guys in the trenches need to make sure they’re getting off their blocks quickly.
“[You have to] get off the offensive linemen, using our hands – up front especially – because when you have that extra guy in the run game you have to be able to get off blocks,” Vallone said. “Somebody has to win.”
Of course, Rutgers can’t focus exclusively on the run. When facing a run heavy team like Temple, it can easy to fall asleep against the pass. Which is when the Owls will exploit the opposition.
“You got to defend them both in the run and the pass game because like I said before, he has the Tebow pass play that he steps up, and he gets linebackers to bite and then he pops one over your head and he has a pretty strong arm and they have a great vertical pass game and receivers with soft hands,” Beauharnais said. “So that can be a real problem.”