Temple searches for answers, as Cincy hits town

Temple searches for answers, as Cincy hits town

PHILADELPHIA (AP) Temple coach Steve Addazio can see the Owls making progress, even as the wins have dried up.

The Owls' 3-2 start, which included the program's first Big East winning streak, has faded with three straight losses.

They suffered a second-half collapse against Rutgers, were dominated from the start in a 30-point loss to Pittsburgh, then had a first-half tight battle turn into a rout in last week's 45-17 loss to Louisville.

Temple's three early victories put them in a position to still qualify for a bowl - with the season quickly winding down and no wiggle room for another loss. The Owls (3-5, 2-3 Big East) will try to get their season back on track Saturday against Cincinnati (6-2, 2-1) at Lincoln Financial Field.

``I see the positives,'' Addazio said. ``I hope this is the week we can put three, four quarters together against a quality team.''

The Owls hope to learn soon if they'll play a 12th game this season. Temple athletic director Bill Bradshaw has been trying to put the finishing touches on adding another game to the schedule, likely Dec. 7 at Hawaii. While the Owls await final word, Addazio has his team ready for the Bearcats.

He's trying to look forward because looking back at the game film has been tough to take. Addazio has to relive the missed blocks, bad passes and blown opportunities that could have turned one of their losses into a win and given them a cushion as they chase a bowl berth.

``I think,'' Addazio said, ``(that) we're handfuls of plays away from completely different outcomes.''

It's a popular refrain from losing teams. One play, one series goes the other way and suddenly that two-games-under-.500 record becomes a winning one.

``We've got to stop imploding a little bit at certain points,'' Addazio said. ``We're closing halves out not great and coming out not great. There's a series of points that's happening because of that.''

Good luck trying to turn the season around against Cincinnati. The Bearcats lead the Big East in scoring (34.2 points) and rushing yards (226.6) and snapped a two-game losing streak last week with a 35-24 win against Syracuse. Running back George Winn rushed for 165 yard against the Orange.

Even with a successful season, Bearcats coach Butch Jones is considering changing his quarterback. Jones held an open competition in practice this week between incumbent Munchie Legaux and backup Brendon Kay. The Bearcats pulled away from Syracuse last week after Jones replaced Legaux, who has thrown six interceptions in the last three games. Kay completed all three of his passes, including one for a touchdown. Cincinnati - competing with Louisville and Rutgers for the Big East title - even uses a wildcat QB, Jordan Luallen, who's also in the mix.

Jones could decide to give Kay his first start at Temple. He said the three quarterbacks have all done a great job of supporting one another.

``They are high character individuals and they understand and will be extremely supportive,'' Jones said. ``Make no mistake about it; they are going to come out here and compete and battle against each other too.''

The Bearcats used their wildcat package more extensively against Syracuse. Luallen ran six times for 32 yards and completed a pass for 14 yards. In the last three games, Legaux completed only 45 percent of his passes for 508 yards, two touchdowns and those six interceptions.

The Owls have their own issues at QB. Chris Coyer has been yanked in the fourth quarter in each of Temple's last three losses for Clinton Granger. Coyer is still the starter, but that could always change if the Owls are blown out again on Saturday.

``We're really young,'' Addazio said. ``We're making bunch of young-guy mistakes all over the field and they're popping up at the wrong times.''

That's exactly what the Bearcats are counting on.

``They did a lot of things that were really uncharacteristic of their football team last week in terms of turning the football over,'' Jones said. ``But they have tremendous talent and they are extremely well-coached and they take on the personality of their football coach.

``They are tough and physical and I know that that's what they sell in their football program.''

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Capitals stars react to losing Barry Trotz as head coach

Capitals stars react to losing Barry Trotz as head coach

LAS VEGAS—Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom weren’t expecting to lose their head coach less than two weeks after winning the Stanley Cup.

But business is business, Ovi said, and Barry Trotz is handling his by attempting to capitalize on claiming the championship.

“It’s sad,” Ovechkin said on the red carpet at the NHL Awards, where he accepted his seventh Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy on Wednesday night. “Obviously, we won together.”

The Caps’ captain also thanked Trotz for directing him—and his teammates—to new heights.  

“First of all, [I want to] thank him for a great job to be our coach, to be our dad, to give us a chance to win,” Ovechkin said. “But then again, it’s a business. You never know what’s going to happen. I’m pretty sure he’s going to be fine and I wish him luck.”

Backstrom, meanwhile, said he was caught off guard by Trotz’s decision to step down over a contract stalemate with the team. Trotz asked for $5 million per for five seasons; the Caps balked over the terms Trotz’s camp sought.   

“I was a little surprised, obviously,” Backstrom said. “I heard the scenario.”

Like Ovechkin, though, Backstrom praised the job Trotz did during his four-year tenure.

“He’s done a great job in Washington,” Backstrom said. “We obviously have him to thank for a lot. He’s done a tremendous job of schooling us and winning a championship. No one is going to take that away from him.”

Trotz’s next move is unclear, but he’s a free agent and currently eligible to negotiate with any team. The Islanders are the only team with an opening for a head coach.

As for Washington, GM Brian MacLellan said that associate coach Todd Reirden will get the first crack at replacing Trotz.

Ovechkin said he thinks Reirden would be a good fit.

“We all respect Todd,” Ovechkin said. “We all like him. Again, it’s not our thing to say who’s going to be head coach, but if it’s going to be Todd, it’s going to be fun.”


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A drawing of the moment Ovi lifted the Stanley Cup makes the moment joyful all over again

Daniel Duffy on Twitter/@RealArtOfWords

A drawing of the moment Ovi lifted the Stanley Cup makes the moment joyful all over again

How do you make a photo of Alex Ovechkin hoisting the Stanley Cup for the first time even more memorable?

You make it out of all the Capitals' game scores this year, of course.

Capitals fan and artist Daniel Duffy (@RealArtOfWords) posted a phenomenal finished piece commemorating the Cup win on Wednesday, June 20. It's a little meta and astounding to look at, but very fun to try and read. If you want to relive the glory that was the parts of the 2017-18 Capitals season, check out the piece.

The piece, which appears to be done in a traditional medium like pen or marker, holds the team faced, arena played at, and final score of every game. It uses six colors and over sixty lines of text. Ovechkin roars as he holds the Stanley Cup overhead, the white away jersey shaded with bits of grey text. It takes a skilled eye to sort text and colors into shapes and shading, but Daniel did a fantastic job! It's awesome to see a fanbase create different interpretations of iconic moments. We'll surely see more of Ovechkin in this moment.

Just as we thought we were going to get tired of the celebration, fans find new ways to surprise us. Stay creative, Caps fans!