Temple offensive starting projections


“After Ray rips off a couple of big runs, I want you to fake it into his belly, bring the linebackers and safeties up for run support and find Jadan or Branden wide open for six. Easy peasy this year.”

Without any solid news coming out of the Temple summer football camp, it’s hard to get a read on who the impressive newcomers are and how fast they are progressing up the depth chart.

This time a year ago, we would have had a season-ticket holder party and have been able to sit down at the tables and talk to the players and get their imput.

Rod Carey probably has the best offensive personnel he’s ever had. A little less RPO and a little more play-action are the ingredients he needs to turn the scoreboard into an adding machine.

That’s how in 2009 I got this when I asked who was surprising among the true freshmen. “Bernard Pierce.” Just about every one of the seniors and juniors I talked to back then said to watch Bernard Pierce and that’s he’s going to make an immediate impact. To a man, when asked about the pleasant surprises the two words “Bernard Pierce” came out of every mouth.

They were right.

Players know. Pierce had to wait until two days before the Villanova game to be cleared by the NCAA to play, and that’s why he only had 44 yards in a limited debut against Villanova. Everyone who saw him said in the parking lot afterward if Pierce played the entire game, Temple would have won.

Without that kind of input, picking a projected starting lineup is like walking around a dark room without a light on. All we have to go on here are three things: 1) what we saw last year; 2) last year’s depth chart and 3) the roster currently published on Owlsports.com, which is constantly updated.

So here’s an educated guess with all of those caveats plus the injury factor which can happen between the time this is typed and published. That’s how football is, unfortunately.

Quarterback: Anthony Russo (6-4, 235); Halfback: Ray Davis (5-9, 210); Fullback: None (unfortunately); Wide receivers: Jadan Blue (6-0, 180), Randle Jones (6-0, 190) and Branden Mack (6-5, 220); Tight end: David Martin-Robinson (6-4,245); Tackles: Adam Klein (6-5, 295) and Isaac Moore, (6-7, 305); Guards: Vince Picozzi (6-4, 305) and Michael Niese (6-5, 275); Center: C. J. Perez (6-1, 287).

First impressions: The line is extremely large and experienced. In Perez, the Owls got an All-MAC performer and MAC championship center to replace a high NFL draft choice. “There’s not one coach here I didn’t know previously,” Perez said on the school’s official website. An argument could be made that this line is better than the one that played in the bowl game because Picozzi is back after wrecking his knee in the USF win last fall. Picozzi, from Lansdale Catholic, was arguably the second-best lineman on the team. The other guard is a FCS All-American from Dayton, Michael Niese. Huge upgrades at the guard position from just the bowl game.

Second impressions: Quarterback depth improved with Re-Al Mitchell, the transfer from Iowa State, and the improvement of prized recruit Trad Beatty. Even if Russo, who has been durable for his two seasons, goes down, the Owls should be in good shape at quarterback. I don’t feel as confident in the backup RB position, which is why the Owls should have made a run for Penn State portal guy Ricky Slade (who ironically went to Old Dominion, which isn’t playing football this year).

Randle Jones is one of three receivers who may be the best group ever to play at the same time at Temple. All three sport single digits.

That should open enough holes for Ray Davis to go from 900 yards to over 1,000. If that happens, and the coaching staff utilizes more play action than they did last year, that should buy an extra second or two for Russo to find the most talented three wide receivers who have ever played together at Temple.

That’s not even an argument because it’s impossible to find three who had the stats just two (Mack and Blue) put up last year. Going over the list, the closest I could find were the Henry Burris duo of Troy Kersey and Van Johnson and their best year fell well short of the nearly 2,000 yards Mack and Blue put up under the same quarterback last year.

One thing is clear: If the Owls have trouble putting points up on the board this year, it will be on the coaches and not the players. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that establishing the run first and a heavy dose of play-action second will get that job done.

Monday: Defense

Friday: Special Teams

Monday: Do You Ever Get The Feeling?


14 thoughts on “Temple offensive starting projections

  1. At some point Mike we have to realize that we’re beating our heads against a wall with the call to run more play action. As you know the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. I’m crazy but not insane.

    • Yes. Maybe moving to Chester temporarily for a year…to avoid Linc rent and allow some fans should be at least considered. I don’t think this administration is capable of thinking outside the box, though.

      • Good point Allen. Some jackass who obviously can’t count sent me a message that he only counted 10 offensive players. I clearly have 11: QB, RB, 3 wrs=5; TE, 2 tackles, 2 guards, a center=6. 6+5-11. As far as playing in Chester, they could probably allow the season ticket holders in and say they have to sit at least a seat apart and wear a mask. Don’t think Chester has the same ban on fans Philadelphia has. Of course, since the Linc contract is on a per-game basis the Owls won’t have to pay up this year and Chester could come cheaper. Moot point since thinking outside the box is not a strong point of the current administration. Adequate TV setup already in place in Chester as soccer games there are broadcast regularly on Channel 6.

  2. … and the same jackass just said Bernard Pierce was not cleared to practice until two days before the game. I knew that. He played in the game so he should have played the entire game. That was the point. Jackassery gets you banned for life and that’s just what happened to him. Pierce participated in team activities that did not include FORMAL practice. That’s how the kids knew he was good.

  3. Today’s story in the Inky that Carey says he hasn’t been able to scrimmage because of some unnamed city policy and that it may affect the Navy game is very depressing especially because it seemingly already affected a possible game with Pitt. If Pitt can practice so can TU and TU better get it straightened out because I think this season is very important for TU and the AAC to show they belong with the P-5. Navy’s playing BYU on the 7th in a prime time game, TU should be in a game like that.

  4. Mike being a college football coach today requires being a politician. Carey would never have made a controversial statement accusing city officials of a double standard had he been asked the question and I think the reporter knew that. Send the reporter an email and ask him why he didn’t ask the question. Betcha he doesn’t answer because the subject may have been off limits.

  5. I sent Narducci an email asking why the fact that the Eagles are scrimmaging wasn’t discussed. If he responds, I’ll let you know what he said.

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