The biggest news coming out the last couple of days about Temple football was not on the practice field where the team is working hard for the season opener in less than two weeks but because a Russo picked Temple to win the AAC East.
And it wasn’t even Anthony Russo.
Ralph D. Russo (no relation), the Associated Press’ long-time college football beat writer, picked Temple to win the AAC East.
That’s good news.
The most long-awaited
depth chart in the history
of Temple football (there
hasn’t been one since the
2016 season finale) will
be released on Aug. 26
The bad news is that he also picked Memphis to win the overall title but, since we’re still five months away from that potential matchup, the Owls can have a lot to say about both getting to that game and winning it.
First things first.
Russo didn’t detail his reasoning but he probably thinks the Owls would beat Memphis (and UCF) at home, lose to Cincy on the road, but probably set themselves up for a home rematch against the revenge-minded Tigers and lose. History, though, proves that teams playing against revenge have won the title (UCF over Memphis last year, despite the Tigers losing the regular-season game, 31-30) so the Owls don’t have to follow that script.
Meanwhile, the Owls are writing their own foreward (this one spelled with an ‘e’ in the middle) of what could be a remarkable 2019 story.
To me, all of these predictions could get blown up with a key injury here or there so the predictions are pretty much made with minimal injury impact in mind so building depth is an important ingredient and that’s just what the Owls are doing now.
The most long-awaited depth chart in the history of Temple football (there hasn’t been one since the 2016 season finale) will be released on Aug. 26, but while there is hitting at practices, there is no tackling so expect a lot of the proven tacklers last year on defense to rise to the top of the depth chart this season as well.
That means on defense expect last year’s starters at corner, Linwood Crump Jr., and Ty Mason to be trying to fight off Harrison Hand–who started four games for a Power 5 team (Baylor)–to keep their jobs.
At safety, reports from OwlsDaily.com that DaeSean Winston is lining up as starter is particularly impressive since he did not get as many reps as Benny Walls, the other safety starter. The fact that they are both holding off Penn State backup Ayron Monroe (who played in all 12 regular-season games for the Nittany Lions) probably is a good sign for the quality of the safety group.
The fact that the five current linebackers (Shaun Bradley, Chapelle Russell, Sam Franklin, William Kwenkeu and Isaiah Graham-Mobley) are the strength of the team has been pretty much common knowledge since the end of last season. Franklin’s value is that he can play any defensive position (end, LB and safety) and can be moved all over the field as needed. Owls will be hurt by graduation at that position in that only IGM is an underclassman.
Probably the two key ingredients to winning college football games are getting to the bad guys’ quarterback and keeping the bad guys off your quarterback and the Owls should have no problem doing that with a group that includes starting ends Quincy Roche and Zack Mesday and interior linemen Dan Archibong and Karamo Dioubate. Dana Levine, who started three games before getting injured, is also back at DE along with junior college transfer Nickolas Madourie–who had an eye-popping 17.5 sacks in one season as a JUCO.
This defense has the potential to shut a lot of people down and with the abandonment of Geoff Collins’ Mayhem scheme–which left gaping holes in an attempt to ramp up turnovers–should be more fundamentally sound.
Monday: Thoughts on The Offense