It’s Memorial Day which signifies both a solemn and reflective day and the beginning of summer.
When it comes to Temple football, it’s solemn for a different reason in that Vegas has set the over/under for 2.5 wins so influential people on the outside think the Owls are not going to improve that position in the next three months.
Around Labor Day, though, a much clearer picture could emerge.
If this were, say, 2019 and the Owls were sitting on those expectations, it would be pretty grim but this is the era of the transfer portal and the Owls could be a much different team in three months.
Two wins is a pretty low bar but there are a number of things that could go right for the Owls not only to go over it but to surprise just about everyone with a winning season.
To me, they are improved on the offensive line, running back and at least as good in the wide receiver department.
The return of Ty Mason at one corner and bringing in a good Big 10 corner along with Freddie Johnson and a transfer from UConn makes the Owls improved at that position. Amir Tyler brings steady leadership to the safeties and William Kwenkeu and Audrey Isaacs are proven linebackers.
To me, quarterback and defensive line are unproven commodities.
If, say, D’Wan Mathis breaks out and tosses 30 touchdown passes or more and limits the interceptions, that’s one thing Vegas isn’t counting on happening.
If the Owls are able to bring in some defensive linemen who can stop the run and get after the passer–they already have three two-deep players from North Carolina and Kentucky coming in–that’s another.
Putting a real emphasis on special teams–and by that I mean blocking punts and field goals and returning kicks for big yardage–is a third area.
But, to me, it all comes down to the quarterback.
Protecting yours and putting the other guy’s on his back.
The Owls have the protection locked down and, in the coming months, they have to bring in some guys who are capable of breaking down the protection of the bad guy’s quarterback.
So far, the defensive line is just not good enough either in the stopping the run or getting after the passer department. Add a couple more edge rushers and run stoppers in what is still a very talent-rich portal and things could change. You’ve got to think Temple’s highly-paid staff knows this as well.
Their careers pretty much depend on attracting that kind of talent and the urgency is now, over the next three months, not next year or two years from now because they are staring down a 2-10 or 4-8 disaster otherwise.
That’s pretty much the hope we have going forward, that they know what everybody else knows.
Friday: What Could Go Wrong?
Monday: A sucker bet?