The Rutgers Al of Miami, coach Coop, is still not completely sold on Manny.
From the moment the season ended, it’s been nothing but bad news for the Temple football program.
Other than the expected losses, players with returning eligibility left for the NFL (2) and other FBS teams (2).
Pessissmism, not optimism, have understandably reigned.
Still, all is not lost. There are several reasons for optimism left in no particular order and we’ll go with just five names:
Manny Diaz. Despite having three top 10 national recruiting classes in the last six years, Diaz took that talent and lost six games, including crosstown rival FIU (which had six classes rated lower than Temple prior to last season). If Diaz “coaches” Miami (with D’Eriq King at quarterback and Quincy Roche at DE) to a loss against visiting Temple, the season momentum could be off and running for the Owls.
Anthony Russo. Even in an ill-suited offense (for him), Russo improved from 14 touchdowns and 14 interceptions to 21 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. If he makes even the same kind of improvement this season, that will be 28 touchdowns and eight interceptions. No Temple quarterback has ever had that kind of season, even in a 10-2 season (Brian Broomell), a 10-3 season (P.J. Walker) and a 9-1 season (Steve Joachim). Gotta think that 28 touchdowns and eight interceptions get the Owls at least 10 wins.
Ray Davis. Maybe 900-plus yards from a true freshman running back will convince this coaching staff to put more emphasis on the running game, even with an RPO approach. If it does, that sets up success in the passing game.
Jadan Blue. Three years ago, Blue had over 100 yards and three touchdown receptions in what might have been the last “true” Cherry and White game of the century. People who saw that performance knew we had something then. His record-breaking season in 2019 cemented that perception. If Blue even has a “slightly” better season in 2020, he could be a first-team All-American. His style of play reminds me a lot of Gerard “Sweet Feet” Lucear, a former great Owl wide receiver from Georgia. With him as the “speed” receiver and Branden Mack as the “possession” receiver (with a whole lot of speed), Temple’s passing game could be lethal.
Nikolos Madourie. Who? At Temple these days, you’ve got to check the official roster daily to see if the guy’s still here. (Madourie still is.) He could be the impact pass rusher Roche was. For comparison’s sake (recognizing the levels of play are different, though), Roche was named AAC Defensive Player of the Year with 13.5 sacks. Madourie, a 6-6, 240-pound player from Sunrise, Fla,., had 15.5 sacks his last year of JUCO ball. If he gets, say, 13.5 this year, he will be more than an acceptable replacement for Roche especially since guys like Dan Archibong, Ifeanyi Maijeh and Kris Banks are going to provide a good push up the middle.
You want optimism? That’s the best we can do now, a week before the start of spring practice.
Otherwise, we live in Philadelphia but our mindset is in the Show Me state of Missouri.
Friday: A Look at Depth