Looking for answers

McGann to see action at QB Owls desperate for a victory Benjamin Watanabe Donnell A. Jackson “Walter Washington is our quarterback,” football coach Bobby Wallace stated last spring and affirmed throughout the summer. He maintained

McGann to see action at QB

Owls desperate for a victory
Benjamin Watanabe

Donnell A. Jackson

“Walter Washington is our quarterback,” football coach Bobby Wallace stated last spring and affirmed throughout the summer.
He maintained that position through the first three weeks of this season as well, but the junior quarterback’s second-half implosion against Toledo forced the coach to make a difficult decision.
Earlier this week, Wallace was discussing Washington’s continued epidemic of inaccuracy when he sighed, paused to gather his words, and said, “We’re going to play Mike [McGann] this week.”
With that, Wallace confirmed that tomorrow will mark the 2004 debut of last season’s opening-day starter. And though he won’t be starting this one, McGann’s return will be a disquieting sight for Temple fans – even if it is for only a series or two.
Wallace expressed a strong desire early in the season to sit McGann for all of 2004, which would have granted the fourth-year senior a non-medical redshirt and an extra year of eligibility for 2005. When McGann takes the field this weekend, that will no longer be possible.
Washington’s poor performance in the 45-17 loss to Toledo necessitated the move. Washington, typically a slow starter and strong finisher in his eight starts as an Owl, began last weekend’s game relatively well.
The Owls gained a 10-0 first-quarter lead. Then momentum shifted back in its usual direction, against them. Washington turned the ball over three times and misfired on a numer of short routes. He finished 15-of-36 for 205 yards, completing less than 50 percent of his passes for the second time this season.
“I think Mike could’ve helped us Saturday if I would’ve brought him off the bench in the second quarter, just to give Walter a rest,” Wallace said contritely. “I don’t think we’re going to be able to get through the season without doing this, so we’re going to go ahead and make this commitment.”
The last time McGann was on the field was Oct. 25 of last year when he injured his elbow against Rutgers.
He insisted losing the extra year of eligibility did not disappoint him.
“I’m here to help the team, so if coach thinks it’s best for me to play, then I’m going to play,” he said.
Wallace tried to sound decisive, claiming Washington was still the starter and that both quarterbacks were well-prepared for the situation.
“The plan going into the game will be to play [McGann] a series in the first half, a series in the second half, or if Walter’s struggling,” he said.
Wallace asserted that there is no quarterback controversy, but his tone did not sound as resolute as it did a few weeks ago.
“We just need an alternative to settle [Washington] down, because he’s a great player,” Wallace said. “I ain’t changed my mind on Walter Washington.”
If Wallace’s mind hasn’t been changed, it seems that it has at least wavered a little.
Ben Watanabe can be reached at bgw@temple.edu.

The Owls are reeling after an embarrassing loss on the road to Toledo. They return home this weekend, looking for their second straight home win.
“We started the game off outstanding [against Toledo],” coach Bobby Wallace said.
A fumble recovery by all-American candidate junior linebacker Rian “Goo” Wallace helped matters. Then the Rockets scored 24 unanswered points to take a 14-point advantage at halftime. Washington’s second rushing touchdown reduced the deficit to seven points, but the Owls would come no closer.
“It’s very frustrating for me because of how hard these kids are training,” Wallace added.
One positive for Temple (1-3) is that they are the least penalized team in the conference.
“Awareness is what we’re lacking defensively,” Wallace said.
Temple gave up 405 total yards of offense but did make 11 tackles-for-losses. Three players posted double-digit stop totals against the Rockets: sophomore safety Durrel Davis (12), Wallace (11), and senior safety Sadeke Konte (11).
Davis, and Wallace and senior linebacker Troy Bennett are three of the top four tacklers in the Big East. Bennett leads the conference in that category and is among the nation’s leaders with an average of 11 per game. Unfortunately, these numbers are a product of the defensive unit constantly being on the field.
Bowling Green is coming off a 34-17 defeat at Northern Illinois last weekend. Redshirt sophomore quarterback Omar Jacobs completed 29 of 42 passes for 275 yards while rushing for 38 yards and two scores in the loss. He is ranked 13th nationally in total offense, producing 286 yards per game, and Wallace calls him a “big and strong” quarterback that can “hurt you.”
This will be the seventh meeting between these teams with the Falcons holding a 4-2 advantage in the all-time series. The last time they met, the Falcons won, 42-23, at Doyt L. Perry Stadium in 2001.
Junior quarterback Walter Washington has put up some good numbers since arriving in Owl country. At times he is a one-man show, but is just 1-7 as a starter.
“He’s an unusual quarterback,” coach Wallace said, “Nobody runs their quarterback 18 or 20 times a game.”
At least, no team that is as pass-oriented as the Owls have run their quarterback as much.
Washington has rushed for a pair of touchdowns in each of the Owls’ first four games this season. He has 12 rushing touchdowns in his last five games dating back to last season.
Washington currently leads the Big East and ranks fifth nationally in scoring with 12.5 points per game.
But what more can Washington contribute that will help Temple get another ‘W’ in the win column?
It should be added that despite all his production using his legs, Washington is struggling to find his accuracy. Currently, he is completing just 51.8 percent of his throws and last week threw his first interception of the season, which was returned 88 yards for a touchdown.
Saturday, the Owls face Bowling Green (1-2, 0-1) at Lincoln Financial Field. Washington will not take all of the snaps under senior center C.J. Blomvall.
Wallace announced Tuesday that senior Mike McGann will play at least two series, one each in the first and second half. McGann has not taken a snap in Wallace’s offense since last season’s Oct. 25 loss to Rutgers.
This season was supposed to serve as a redshirt year for McGann. According to Wallace, this move will help in taking some pressure off Washington.
“I think he’ll perform very well,” Wallace said of McGann’s playing time. “Don’t expect a drop off in the offense with McGann in.”
Wallace clearly stated there is “no competition” between McGann and Washington. “Mike understands his role and if we get in the red zone, he’s (McGann) coming out.”
Donnell A. Jackson can be reached at donnellj@temple.edu.

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