As anyone who follows the SEC knows, speed kills.
It’s important to be big but it’s more important to be big and fast.
Since the end of the Al Golden Era, we’ve been trying to get 40 times of the Temple football Owls with mixed results. At the season-ticket holders’ party, I collared then head coach Geoff Collins and asked him a couple of random questions.
One: “Who is the fastest guy on the team?”
Geoff: “Jeremy Jennings ran a 4.3 40, a couple of other guys a 4.4. We’ve got a few in his class.”
Bernard Pierce posted a 4.55 in his 40-time in the NFL combine and that, plus his numbers on the field at Temple, got him a third-round draft pick. That was an interesting time for Pierce because, when he was a senior at Glen Mills, his 10.8 indoor time in the 100 meters was the best of any high school athlete in Pennsylvania that year. It might have been a disappointing combine time for Bernard, but the league didn’t seem to think so.
Haason Reddick was even faster (4.54) in the combine and that was a ridiculous number for a linebacker/DE, faster than even Pierce’s NFL combine.
That got him a first-round pick.
Now the 2021 Owls seem to have some serious speed especially if Collins’ claim about Jennings was correct.
If so, the latest speed figures above (only noted as 20s on the Owls’ football twitter site) show some guys with better speed numbers than Jennings. It’s probably not 20 yards or 20 feet, but a series of times converted into MPHs.
If Jennings was the fastest on the team in 2018, it shows Georgia quarterback transfer D’Wan Mathis is right there in the same ballpark, as are Kadas Reams, M.J. Griffin and D’Von Fox.
When was the last time Temple had a quarterback who was the fastest guy on the team?
Err, maybe never. Walter Washington was a great running quarterback and P.J. Walker was more than adequate, but neither one was close to the fastest guy on the team.
Mathis might be.
That means that, in one of those RPO plays head coach Rod Carey likes to run, instead of pitching it to Iverson Clement, Mathis is able to turn the corner and go to the house on just about any play.
That could make things interesting this fall.
Other fast Owls seems to be Jennings, who converted from WR to DB in the offseason,, backup wide receiver Fox, safety Griffin and wide receiver Reams.
Those aren’t the only fast guys. We all know Jadan Blue and Randle Jones can fly, as can corner Freddie Johnson, among others.
They are probably among the fastest humans, not only around 10th and Diamond, but probably in all of North Philly. Hopefully, that speed translates to some serious playmaking starting Sept. 4.
Friday: The best words out of spring practice