According to The Inquirer’s Marc Narducci, the highlight of the first day of Temple football summer camp was the handing out of single digits.
Count me among those loving Temple’s single-digit tradition–perhaps because it gets mentioned on every national telecast–but more significant highlights should be coming in the next four weeks.
Temple’s schedule is an odd one in that the Owls have nothing more than a practice game with Bucknell on the schedule on the last day of this month, followed by a too early bye week, then the real schedule.
These should be the 5 goals to accomplish in the next four weeks:
Few Cherry and White days were more disappointing than the past one. After watching a few drills that did not involve hitting, the fans left in droves. I was gone right after they practiced punt returns with the return guy catching the ball and running through a line of players who had no interest in touching him. That’s not football. After a 35-0 loss to Pitt in 1983, Bruce Arians brought the team out at 6 a.m. and had them hitting in full pads the next morning. “Dumb mistake by a rookie coach,” Bruce said at the end of that season. “We were out-hit that day. We got into a physical mentality in that practiced and we weren’t outhit the rest of the year.” Owls need to create that mentality early.
The Owls have a lot of promising players on the second units of both lines but few of those actually saw game action. They need to develop that depth this month.
Solving the Running Back Dilemma
Head coach Rod Carey indicated that he’s open to moving Isaiah Wright into a full-time role at running back should no one emerge as a go-to guy. That beats what he said a week earlier when he indicated going to RB by committee was an option. Running back by committee is like having a baseball closer by committee. It never works. I like Jager Gardner as a backup but I don’t see him as an elite No. 1. Jeremy Jennings is fast, but he doesn’t have great open-field moves. Tyliek Raynor strikes me as a David Meggett-type third-down back. Maybe a true freshman will emerge like Bernard Pierce did in the weeks before the 2007 but, failing that, using Wright (where he has been used in the past) there will give the Owls the best running back in the league without hurting a deep and talented wide receiver corps.
RPO: Blessing or a Curse?
Quarterback Anthony Russo talked about the Owls using more of a run-pass-option this year than in the past couple. That’s a blessing if the run option is to a running back instead of a quarterback. You won’t catch Bill Belichick using Tom Brady as a run option nor should Carey expose Russo to getting killed on similar plays. While Russo is no Tom Brady (yet), he is like Brady in that he’s more valuable as a dropback passer than as a run decoy. A good coach designs schemes to best utilize the talent he has, not the talent he wants and, for Temple this year, the RPOs should be delayed draws and an occasional swing pass out of the backfield and little else.
A place for Franklin
The Owls need to get Sam Franklin on the field and, with a linebacker corps that includes Chapelle Russell, Shaun Bradley, Isaiah Graham-Mobley and William Kenkewu, snaps will be limited there. He has an opportunity to play safety and that’s where he should line up.
Other than that, and getting the timing down, the Owls are all set to build on expectations that have them getting more votes in the coaches poll than Tennessee and Ole Miss.
Saturday: Around The League
Monday: 5 TUFB Headlines We’d Like to See
Saturday (8/17): Depth Chart Thoughts