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How Jaylon Robinson's Return to the Lineup Could Impact the Temple Game

With Jaylon Robinson now practicing, time to discuss how he could change play calling for the Knights, as well as how it creates issues for the Owls.

ORLANDO - For the sake of argument, let’s just say that UCF wide receiver Jaylon Robinson plays at least 20 snaps versus Temple. Robinson has been out of the lineup since being injured versus Louisville on Sep. 17.

How would Robinson’s return impact UCF’s ability to throw the deep ball? Further, how would a few long passes impact UCF running backs Isaiah Bowser and Johnny Richardson?

Now those would be topics worth discussing. During the past four games, UCF’s lack of a deep passing game truly hindered the Knights’ offensive efforts. Let’s consider the factors that impact how UCF would be able to perform with the addition of Robinson in the lineup.

Throwing the Football Over the Top of the Defense

The irony of how the deep passing game is impacted with Robinson stems from the player(s) that actually catch the passes. Robinson does not necessarily need to be the player that catches the passes. His mere presence on the field as a legitimate scoring threat anytime he touches the football will pull Temple defensive players away from other UCF skill position players.

Providing the element of a deep passing game does not necessarily include hitting two or three passes that literally travel 50-plus yards in the air before reaching a receiver. There can be subtleties such as a fade pass for a 35-yard touchdown, or a post route that’s hauled in for a 25-yard gain.

Those types of plays truly change the scoreboard, field position, and they also change what the defense will do schematically after being beaten over the top. Going back to the Cincinnati game, the Bearcats charged downhill to stop the short routes that UCF attempted to attack them with. There was no fear UCF could challenge Cincinnati’s safeties or cornerbacks with deep passes. Robinson would have made that game or any other game he missed quite different.

It’s a major reason why UCF’s first half offensive numbers were so bad against the Bearcats. The Knights simply could not get Ryan O’Keefe any passes down the field, the running game faced too many defenders near the line of scrimmage, and much of those two points are due to Robinson not being in the lineup for that contest.

Completions down the field also provide confidence. As in, confidence for Mikey Keene to continue to throw passes into deeper areas of the defense. If he can just hit one, if not two, of those deeper passes against Temple, it could completely change the dynamics of UCF’s play calling thereafter.

Pick Your Poison

There’s no question that Bowser is going to challenge the interior of Temple’s front seven. The Owls allowed 123 rushing yards to Wagner, a FCS program. As for FBS competition, Temple did not yet hold an opponent to less than 157 yards, and three opponents surpassed 200 yards on the ground.

Look for Bowser to hammer the Owls, and that’s when Robinson’s presence presents difficult questions to be answered by the Temple defensive coaching staff.

Will Temple crowd the line of scrimmage to stop Isaiah Bowser or play conservative pass defense?

Will Temple crowd the line of scrimmage to stop Isaiah Bowser or play conservative pass defense?

Do they take the risk of allowing deep passing shots by adding a defender to the box, or do they play conservative pass defense and stay back in a coverage like cover two or cover three, allowing Bowser to hammer them in the middle of the line?

Additionally, there’s no doubt that Richardson’s quick feet will challenge the Temple defense as well, both between the tackles and then towards the perimeter. Temple certainly has some unenviable decisions to make against the Knights with Robinson back on the gridiron.

Final Thoughts

It’s hard to say what Robinson will or will not be able to do. Can he play 20 snaps? Could he play more? Only Robinson will know that answer, and that’s not something he or the UCF training staff will know until the moments leading up to the football game itself.

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If Robinson does play, however, it could be the shot in the arm the UCF offense needs. Let’s see how this Saturday plays out for Robinson, UCF, and Temple.

For college football, UCF Football, and recruiting information go to: The Daily Knight podcast. It will be found on iTunes and Spotify. For more college football, UCF and recruiting information, go to Twitter: @fbscout_florida and @UCF_FanNation, as well as my YouTube Channel and Instagram page. Like and Subscribe!

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