In a season of change for the Temple Owls football team, there is still a enough of the past to make this a very interesting, if though to gauge, 2017 season.
This first post will focus on the Coaches and the Offense:
New Temple Head Coach:
The biggest change, obviously, is new Head Coach Geoff Collins, former DC at Florida, and as usual, brought some of his coaches along. By all reports he has worked the players hard, but with a good dose of fun through Spring practice and training camp.
Who On First – Er – Quarterback:
The Quarterback position is probably the most important area that will be completely new in 2017.
There are four guys vying for the job that even now appears to be a wide open competition as Collins refuses to give a depth chart. Those four are redshirt JR Frank Nutile, redshirt SO Logan Marchi, redshirt FR Anthony Russo and true FR Todd Centeio.
With the opening game against Notre Dame looming on September 2nd, the Coach is not only not naming a starter, but is also hinting that more than one QB may be utilized.
Using the phrase “above the line” to denote who has the ability to play in the game, Collins would only say:
“I am thinking we have three, maybe four (quarterbacks) who end up above the line, we just have to determine when they get their series and reps during the game. We are not opposed to playing those guys in different series going into the game, that is what we are leaning toward now.”
When asked if that meant he could use all four, “I’d say three,” Collins said. “There will be two that will probably play more than others and there is a third one who will come in and some different, some pretty unique things.”
Most football fans would know that while this tactic can wreak havoc on the defense as they will not know what to expect series to series, it also risks not getting any kind of rhythm on offense. That could be a problem for a team in a new system and how Collins and new OC Dave Patenaude handle that will be something to watch early in the season. When further pressed on who the starter will be -“There are two who have distanced themselves and the other two who have specialized packages,” he said, but would go no further.
Owls Wide receivers:
The Owls are in probably the best shape in the WR position. Coach Geoff Collins has called the unit one of the best groups in the country, mostly based on that they will return four of their best five receivers from last season. Redshirt JR Ventell Bryant, Redshirt SR’s Keith Kirkwood, and Adonis Jennings, and Redshirt JR Brodrick Yancy, are those veterans.
Other returning players are Jr Marshall Ellick who had five catches for 105 yards and a TD in the Spring game, SO Randle Jones, Redshirt FR’s Freddie Johnson, and fellow Cheltenham Panther Branden Mack. A Wild card is SO Isaiah Wright, who was all over the field as RB and Wildcat QB last year and can return kicks too.
One incoming FR that stood out in camp was Jadan Blue
Temple tight end:
This will be another position of change for Temple as their best two TE’s from last year Romond Deloatch and Colin Thompson are gone.
The top candidate for one of the spots is Redshirt FR Kenny Yeboah. He did get to play in one game last season, against Charlotte, catching one pass for 15 yard, but his season ended when they placed the red shirt tag on him.
By all accounts he is a “Big Play” guy as TE coach Ed Foley said: “He knows how to get open and he has enough speed so when he is open, he can get himself free, particularly from a linebacker or safety in coverage.”
“I want to go out and make big gains, long catches, and that is pretty much what I try to do,” Yeboah said. “Just go out and make big plays.”
Foley added that his improvement in blocking can make a big difference
“He can block, has the toughness, the tenacity to block, and he has the ability to get open in the passing game,” Foley said.
“I know my receiving is there. My blocking isn’t 100 percent there, so that is what I am working on,” Yeboah said.
Redshirt JR Chris Myarick, yet another CHS Panther, is being given a chance with a full scholarship this season, to provide some leadership in the unit. Redshirt SO Jake Robinson and Redshirt FR Steve Petrick are other TE’s being considered.
Temple Running backs:
Replacing All-Everything Jahad Thomas, now with the Dallas Cowboys, is a tall order, but as he was injured often the last few seasons, there are other guys with experience and skill to step up.
At the top of the list for Temple has to be JR Ryquell Armstead, who excelled when Thomas was out, and as a change of pace when he was in. He rushed for 919 yards, on a 5.9 avg. and 14 TD’s. He should have no problem carrying the ball 15+ times a game, as he averaged 12 last season.
At the Fullback spot. SR Nick Sharga will easily hold his starting spot as the lead blocker, while still getting in 15+ carries when needed for short yardage and/or controlling the ball. Redshirt JR Rob Ritrovato is his back-up.
In the middle of the Owl line redshirt FR Matt Hennessy while be asked to replace the departed Brendan McGowan. He can also play G and T.
On either side of Hennessy, will be Redshirt SR Adrian Sullivan, and Redshirt SO Jovahn Fair who each appeared in all 14 games last year. Fair started in 13 games at LG, while Sullivan started all 14 games at RG. Redshirt SR Brian Carter started 12 out of 36 games played.