5 Takeaways From Spring Ball

Five takeaways from spring football which just concluded with the Saturday’s Cherry and White practice:

Offensive line getting thin

Usually, you don’t think about offensive linemen being thin but, certainly, the ranks of the offensive line thinned considerably with the loss of former Chestnut Hill Academy standout Darien Byrant to a transfer on Monday. New OL coach Joe Tripodi said last week that his primary concern was getting eight offensive linemen ready to play and that he had eight. We hope he wasn’t including Byrant among the eight because he now only has seven ready offensive linemen going into the season. Byrant could not crack the starting lineup in two years but the Owls have an outstanding first-team group of center Matt Hennessy (6-4, 295), guards Jovahn Fair (6-2, 300) and Vince Picozzi (6-4, 295) and tackles Isaac Moore (6-7, 305) and Adam Klein (6-5, 264).  This might be an area to scour the JUCO ranks for an immediate signee as Bryant’s departure has freed up a scholarship.

Screenshot 2019-04-14 at 8.01.54 PM

Russo on a different level

Defensive backs know who the good wide receivers and quarterbacks are so, when Keyvone Bruton was asked on April 6th what player on the entire team has stood out the most, his mention of quarterback Anthony Russo was an eye-opener: “I know he was good last year but, this year, he’s just on a different level as far as throwing the ball, knowing the offense.”  Toss in the fact that new head coach Rod Carey has said backup Todd Centeio has established himself as reliable and Trad Beatty is just behind him makes the Owls much more solid in this position than they have been in years. Russo’s TD/Int ratio should improve by getting away from Dave Patenaude, who used the pass to establish the run. Carey’s offenses have always used the run to establish the pass and that’s where Russo’s skill set should shine.

wright

Waiting on Wright

Carey also said that wide receiver Isaiah Wright would be “moved around a lot” to utilize his explosiveness. A lot of people have interpreted that to 15 carries a game and a couple of pass receptions but, to me at least, putting Wright full-time at running back makes the most sense. Up that to 20 carries a game and the Owls will be that much more explosive because they have the luxury of play-makers at wide receiver like Branden Mack, Jadan Blue, Freddie Johnson, and Randle Jones. The Owls have no such depth at running back although Jager Gardner and Tyliek Raynor should be able to split the remaining carries. A guy who came out of nowhere this spring is Valley Forge Military Academy product Trayvon Ruley, where he was a two-time conference MVP.

Open competition at corner

While there is an open competition for the starting cornerback position, Temple is the only team among the 130  in FBS with two returning cornerbacks who have had returned interceptions for touchdowns (Christian Braswell versus UConn and Ty Mason versus Tulsa) and they might not even be the best cornerback on the team because Linwood Crump Jr. has the most experience.  Baylor transfer Harrison Hand will be in the mix if he gets the OK from the NCAA clearinghouse.

Defensive Line is set

If you thought the defensive line was good last year, it just might be better this one and that’s despite losing NFL draft choice Michael Dogbe and underrated interior run defender Freddy Booth-Lloyd. Starting ends Quincy Roche, Dana Levine and Zack Mesday return but will be pushed by JUCO phenom Nickolos Madurie (6-6, 230), who had 17.5 sacks in his last full season. Interior is solid with Karamo Dioubate (6-3, 295) and Dan Archibong (6-6, 285). Depth here, like on the OL, could be an issue but that’s something the coaching staff has time to address between now and summer camp. Departures have freed up a couple of scholarships and this might be the time to grab a couple of JUCO impact linemen.

Even without that kind of insurance policy, you have to feel sorry for Bucknell and maybe even Maryland and Georgia Tech.

Friday: Checking The Boxes

(Back to a Tue-Fri-Sun rotation until summer practice)

Tuesday: What’s Next?

Friday: Gauging the Competition

14 thoughts on “5 Takeaways From Spring Ball

  1. Mike, I think you needed to discuss six topics, the sixth being the new coach, who has shown himself to be a solid professional who knows what he’s doing. So far, his focus has been solely on football unlike his predecessors who seemed to have other agendas including being cool and securing another job from the moment they started regardless of what they said. Golden, Adazzio, and Rhule each sought new jobs after their first seasons, something Rhule has continued to do today. There is no team DJ, stupid signs, or clam diggers, things almost every true Owl fan absolutely hated. I also think that he quickly realized that TU’s chance for success rests on establishing the run and being Temple Tuff in actuality rather than by word only. I know that right now any rating of the coach is premature, but so far I think he’s doing a great job.

    • I think he’s doing a great job, too. Would like to see more hitting, but when I heard his explanation (85 schollies in the spring compared to 105 in the summer), it makes sense.

  2. Paterno’s offenses were always based on establishing the running game first. It seemed to work out for him during his coaching career. It’s funny how Pautenfraud and Collins tried to reinvent the wheel, by centering the offense around the passing game.

    • Collins and Patenaude built this offense to throw the football. They did not recruit linemen to move people off the ball and control the line of scrimmage. The OL has been on a steady diet the last three years. Now they are one of the smallest in the AAC.

      Collins and Patenaude also did not recruit full-backs, or 20 carries a game RBs.

      Carey will have to play the cards he has been dealt until he can recruit run first Temple Tuff players on offense.

      Hard to image this offense averaging more than 100 rushing yards per game, or controlling the line of scrimmage in the fourth quarter.

      Temple will take the field in 2019 as a typical AAC offense. Mostly RPO and spread, and very little, if any, two back/two TE sets.

      Temple Tuff is gone.

      • Matt Hennessy (6-4, 295), guards Jovahn Fair (6-2, 300) and Vince Picozzi (6-4, 295) and tackles Isaac Moore (6-7, 305) and Adam Klein (6-5, 264) blew Houston off the ball for 59 points and six touchdowns by Rock. If that’s not big enough for this year, I give up.
        You don’t need 600-pound guys when you’ve got guys with the above talent.

  3. AAC East 300(+) Offensive Linemen:
    1. UCF – 11 out of 15, or 73%
    2. Cincy – 11 out of 17, or 65%
    3. USF – 11 out of 14, or 79%
    4. TU – 3 out of 13, or 23%

    • 1-3 a lot of fat guys. 4 muscle.

      • So the NFL and all the College Top 25 teams have it completely wrong? Dion Dawkins would have gone undrafted at 295 lbs.

        Facts are facts, the 2019 TUFB OL is light.

      • Same guys completely road-graded BC for 35 points, Houston for 59, UCF for 40. I’ll take talent over size any day of the week.

    • While size is important for offensive linemen, quickness and speed are more important and this line showed that it is very good. You can be big and strong but if you’re slow forget about playing because football is a speed game not a big man game. While not a direct comparison, De La Salle High School in California , which has the record for consecutive wins won despite regularly having one of the smallest O lines in its league because they were able to get to the point of attack very quickly and seal off the defenders for the split second necessary to spring a back or get a pass off.

  4. Not for nothing, but I spoke to my brother in law this weekend at a wedding, about GA Tech hiring Collins as their HC.
    He lives in the northern suburbs of ATL.
    He explained that most college football fans in ATL follow the Georgia Bulldogs, and that Collins & GA Tech football are a distant 2nd .

  5. Correct assessment Steve -o. I have often traveled to Atlanta for works and was sort of amazed how G TECH is an after thought well behind Georgia.

    It’s somewhat like Temple vs Penn State when it comes to media coverage and peoples sentiments.

    • If GT manages to become good again, they will have sellouts like they used to. They used to be as well attended as any school but they’ve been mediocre as of late.

  6. Owls and Eagles are both in Dallas October 19 and 20.

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