Crunching Leadership Numbers

More leaders coming back in these 32 seconds than have left.

A few weeks ago, someone broached a question about who the leaders will be on the 2017 Temple football team.

It was a fair question because a couple of leaders left on offense and a couple of more left on defense in Jahad Thomas and P.J. Walker and Haason Reddick and Nate Hairston.

The answer lies in the numbers.



This (left) more than made up for that (right).



Or, in this case, the number because the returning single-digit guys—particularly Nick Sharga and Ventell Byrant on offense and Jacob Martin and Champ Chandler on defense—are natural-born leaders and provide enough quantity to go along with the quality.

It’s no coincidence that Thomas, Walker and Reddick were single-digit guys and there is no law against any of the other guys assuming leadership roles, as No. 15 Hairston did by locking down one corner.

Anyone who thinks there is a dearth of leadership on the 2017 team should be disabused of that notion.

All you had to do was look at the widely viewed tape of “The Drive” when Bryant not only caught three clutch passes in 32 seconds against UCF, but staggered to his position just before the final play from scrimmage. Any other player would have been so hurt he remained down but, even though he was groggy he had enough sense to realize that if he had stayed down, there would have been a 10-second runoff and Temple would have lost the game.

That’s leadership.

That presence of mind led to the latest single-digit guy, Keith Kirkwood, who saw a ball in the air and knew he had to catch or the game was over. Kirkwood made a great catch in the back of the end zone and the Owls were on their way to a seven-game winning streak.

Kirkwood, Bryant and Adonis Jennings, among others, give the Owls what I feel is their best receiving corps since Van Johnson and Troy Kersey were on the same team.

On defense, with Chandler in the middle of the field for a full season and Martin and Sharif Finch creating Mayhem in the pocket on defense, the Owls are in good shape.

At this point, it should be fun watching this team develop their own identity between now and opening day.


Friday:  Month of Mayhem


7 thoughts on “Crunching Leadership Numbers

  1. I’m glad Sharif is coming back. Does anyone feel Greg Webb will make his presence felt this upcoming season? He’s worked so hard to get back to playing D1 football, hopefully he ends it with a bang.

  2. Excuse my ignorance but when did Van Johnson and Troy Kersey play and with which QB? Those names just don’t ring a bell for me.

    • Played with both Van Johnson (’92-96) redshirted first year, Troy Kersey (’93-96). Our quarterback? The guy who held all of the records before PJ Walker broke them Henry (Hank) Burris. Future CFL first ballot HOF. Two time CFL MOP, and Three time Gray Cup winner, and an all around great guy and friend.

      • Where you No. 40? 🙂 Both Troy and Van were better than Ventell, Adonis and Keith but there’s still time for the latter three and I think the depth at the position is better on the 17 team.

  3. Thanks for the info 40. Go figure that Burris (I do remember him!) never got a shot at the NFL, especially given his CFL record – or did he prefer to play up there instead of being a backup down here? I wonder if PJ would play up there if the NFL doesn’t come calling – another Temple QB ruling the CFL.
    That last drive against UCF may be the best/most signifigant drive in Temple football history. Hope this next crew (players and coaches) brings some of that into next seaon.

  4. New receivers coach has a resume any coach would love to have. The position with the most talent on the team just became even stronger. The Owls are going to fly this season, which will make the running game that much more effective.

    • I agree with your assessment on the wr coach. I just wonder if he has any recruiting contacts. That seems to be a problem with this staff.

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