Football Weather On First Practice Day


Since all of the Temple football practices are closed this spring, probably the best way to add an extra layer of secrecy to the whole deal is to hold the first day of spring practice during a time when the entire campus is distracted by March Madness.

It was a rainy day, but the long-term forecast is for a brighter few weeks ahead right until the spring game on April 16. Hopefully, that carries over to the field as well.


P.J. to Jahad: Explosive downfield plays in the passing game. 

Even though the football’s official slogan is “Unfinished Business” another key word for spring practice is progression. Is this the year P.J. Walker makes the natural progression from freshman sensation to sophomore slump to junior game manager to major impact player?

I think so.

P.J. had a very similar season to his freshman year (20 touchdowns, 8 interceptions, 9 games) to his junior year (19,8,14) and I look for him to drive those numbers up to 25 (or more) touchdowns. The more important number for P.J. though is to get to double-digits again as a winning quarterback and help the team lift those heavy post-season trophies, including a bowl one.

Hopefully, the Owls learned from a “fun” approach to the bowl game and will adjust that itinerary  when the time comes to go bowling. While the Owls played air hockey, beach volleyball and bowling (in an alley), the only bowling Toledo seemed concerned about was between the white lines on game night. Even though the Toledo staff was gutted by the departure of Matt Campbell to Iowa State, there were enough holdovers who learned by experience that was the quickest route to winning was detouring around the fun and focusing on a businesslike approach.


Averee Robinson, a two-time Pennsylvania large school state champion heavyweight wrestler, would be a nightmare for opposing centers if he were allowed to play nose guard.

Hopefully, the Owls will show a similar a progression from bowl one to bowl two as well.

On defense, do the Owls  go to a 5-2 defense or do they have personnel better suited or a 3-4 (Averee Robinson playing the nose flanked by Sharif Finch and Praise Martin Oquike with four starting linebackers in Nick Sharga, Jared Alwan, Stephaun Marshall and Avery Williams)?

A couple of things to look for: Do the Owls make a bold move, switching Jahad Thomas from tailback to the slot and making room for Jager Gardner and Ryquell Armstead at the tailback position or do they stick with the status quo? An argument can be made for either move, but Thomas would definitely add an element of explosiveness to the downfield passing game that did not exist last year, even with Robby Anderson. It looked to me that Anderson lost a step in his return and the Owls could use a guy, like Jalen Fitzpatrick, who could run under a long bomb and stretch the field for a quick six from time to time.

Armstead and Gardner would be an interesting tailback battle. Numbers do not lie. In Gardner’s final high school season, he gained 2,776 yards on 266 carries with 36 touchdowns in just 11 games vs. Armstead’s 1,488 yards and 18 touchdowns in 12 games on 219 carries in his final high school year.

Giving P.J. those kind of weapons, in addition to tight ends Colin Thompson and Kip Patton, could finish the offensive progression this team started to make a year ago and take P.J. from game manager to game buster.

3 thoughts on “Football Weather On First Practice Day

  1. unfortunate injury to our new coach.., broken hips equal two months on crutches….., wish him well

    • he’s a trooper. he will find a way to coach on crutches. I love what he brings to our program. Remember he was the last OC in charge when we threw our last flea-flicker. Trick plays shouldn’t be once or twice a season; they should be once or twice a game.

  2. I don’t think Tomas moves to the slot. I just don’t see the benefit of limiting his touches to that degree. Not sure he totally wore down in 2015, he injured the ribs against ND and never fully recovered, I see value in him getting 15 touches running the ball and another 5 catching the ball out of the backfield and or in the slot per game. This will limit the wear on him as the year progresses. Too much of a break away threat to limit his touches running the ball. As for the deep threat, I think PJ needs to be more accurate when throwing the deep ball, he has a strong arm but he lacks touch and doesn’t get enough air under the ball.

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