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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Tim Connelly won’t take top Wizards job, to stay in Denver

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Tim Connelly won’t take top Wizards job, to stay in Denver

There won’t be a Tim Connelly reunion with the Washington Wizards after all.

Connelly passed on the opportunity to become the Wizards President of Basketball Operations, and instead will remain in the same capacity with the Denver Nuggets, a source confirms to NBC Sports Washington. ESPN first reported on Connelly's decision.

Washington received permission to meet with Connelly late Thursday evening. He left the NBA Combine in Chicago and flew to Washington Friday for a discussion with Leonsis, a source told NBC Sports Washington. On Friday, Connelly reportedly received the offer to fill the front office vacancy created by the firing of Ernie Grunfeld on April 2.

While the interest in the Wizards was genuine from the Baltimore native, Catholic University alum and former member of Washington's front office, Connelly could not leave the "stable" situation with significant promise in Denver, a source told NBC Sports Washington.  

Connelly, 41, was named Denver’s general manager in 2013. The Nuggets won 54 games and finished the 2018-19 regular season as the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference. The roster, headlined by All-NBA center Nikola Jokic and guard Jamal Murray, is the second-youngest in the NBA. "Tough to give that up," the source said. "Too much to risk."

The Wizards are coming off a polar opposite campaign that ended with a 32-50 record. Significant uncertainty exists going forward with five-time All-Star John Wall expected to miss a large chunk of the 2019-20 season as his four-year, $170 million supermax contract extension kicks in.

Leonsis began a deliberative search process for a new President of Basketball Operations after dismissing Grunfeld, who held the position for 16 years.  While other candidates were interviewed during the process, including interim GM Tommy Sheppard, Connelly’s name was linked to the opening almost from the start.

Connelly considered Leonsis' handling of the discussions first class, according to a source.

Sheppard, former Hawks GM Danny Ferry and Thunder assistant GM Troy Weaver are the other known primary candidates.

In April, NBC Sports Washington first reported Connelly considered the Wizards his “dream job,” according to sources. The Catholic University alum began his NBA career as an intern with Washington in 1996 before holding various full-time front office positions under Grunfeld. He left for New Orleans in 2010.

The Wizards face significant challenges before re-entering contention in the Eastern Conference. With Wall injured, two-time All-Star Bradley Beal is the only healthy returning starter. 2018 first round pick Troy Brown Jr. is the only other valued long-term asset beyond the ninth overall selection in the 2019 NBA Draft,

More than half of last season’s roster is entering some form of free agency. Washington could have limited salary cap space depending on which players return.

The situation requires the kind of roster-shaping creativity Connelly demonstrated in Denver. The Wizards now must look elsewhere for their new front office leader.


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Baltimore Ravens Roundup: Roster is set heading into start of OTAs

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Baltimore Ravens Roundup: Roster is set heading into start of OTAs

Kick off your Monday with the latest Baltimore Ravens news including the full 90-man roster heading into the beginning of OTAs.

Player/Team Notes: 

1. The Baltimore Ravens have officially announced the full 90-man roster that will be competing for an official team roster spot in OTAs this summer. Ravens OTAs begin Monday.

2. With the return of Pernell McPhee and the addition of Shane Ray, it's clear that the Ravens are searching for the right pass rushers for their defense. The two veterans join draft pick Jaylon Ferguson in the quest to create a dynamic defense.

3. Marquise Brown is expected to miss OTAs due to continued rehab on his foot from Lisfranc surgery. However, Brown is expected to be ready by the start of training camp in August.

Looking Ahead:

July 15: 4 p.m. deadline to get a long-term deal done with designated franchise tag players.

The 2019 NFL schedule is set! See the Baltimore Ravens defend the AFC North at M&T Bank Stadium this season. Get your tickets now at www.BaltimoreRavens.com/tickets.

Credit: Rotoworld and Baltimore Ravens for news points.