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What Temple coach Geoff Collins is saying ahead of game vs. Houston

Collins said he still believes in his defense even though it allowed more than 50 points for the first time since 2013.

Temple Head Coach Geoff Collins during a break against Tulsa on Thursday, September 20, 2018 in Philadelphia. YONG KIM / Staff Photographer
Temple Head Coach Geoff Collins during a break against Tulsa on Thursday, September 20, 2018 in Philadelphia. YONG KIM / Staff PhotographerRead moreYong Kim

Key points from coach Geoff Collins' press conference as Temple (5-4, 4-1 American Athletic Conference) prepares to visit Houston (7-2. 4-1) for a 7 p.m. game Saturday.

On his defense that allowed a season high in points during Thursday's 52-40 loss at Central Florida:

"I still have huge confidence in our defensive players, our defensive staff. They have a chip on their shoulder because they have been playing at such an elite level this season on defense and have another opportunity this week against another dynamic, explosive offense, trying to right some of the wrongs we had."

On injuries to center Matt Hennessy, running back Ryquell Armstead, and receiver Randle Jones that didn't allow them to finish Thursday's game:

"I think this year I have been a little more free with what I talked about with injuries. I am not going to do that. There were times in the game the opposing team knows where the injury is, knows where the vulnerability is, and I think there are times that part of the body might be tackled a little harder or something like that, so I am not discussing that."

On whether he could say whether he thinks they will be available this week:


Last week when Hennessy went down, he was replaced by starting guard Vincent Picozzi. If Hennessy isn't able to go, on how much more comfortable will Picozzi be having had more time to practice at center?

"Here is the cool thing about how we practice and how we live our daily life on the field. There is not a day in the last two years where Vince Picozzi hasn't played center. We move our offensive linemen around; we play them at guard, tackle, and center. Every single day when we come out to practice, the first thing we do is quarterback-center returns. Seven minutes every single day, there are seven offensive linemen and seven quarterbacks out there and they are doing quarterback-center exchange. We cross-train everybody in our organization and maximize their snaps. So there are seven minutes every day and cumulative over a two-year period that they are snapping the ball and getting comfortable."

On whether running back Tyliek Raynor, who had a key 15-yard touchdown run in a 24-17 win at Navy but hasn't played in the last two games, is close to returning to the rotation.

"He is actually getting closer to being back in the rotation. There are a couple of things needed to get cleaned up two weeks ago; I think his development the last two weeks has been awesome. I think he is close to having a really good impact on the game. Yesterday, he had a couple of really nice runs. The big thing with running backs in our scheme, it is not just hand you the ball and go to the right or go to the left. You have to protect a lot in our packages. The big thing is cleaning up protections. I think he has done a really good job of that, putting in the extra time, and we have maximized his reps over the last two-week period. So I am excited to see him perform Saturday."