On a team most neutral observers have listed down in the 100s, it’s been pretty clear for awhile that Temple two of the best units not only in the AAC but in all of G5 football.
Specifically, offensive line and wide receivers.
Despite finishing 1-6, the offensive line allowed a league-low 1.7 sacks per game in 2020. It returns four starters and a junior college All-American comes in to replace the oft-injured Vince Picozzi, who was the other starter. Really, if you count tight end David Martin-Robinson (and you should) the line returns five starters not only from 2020 but from the 2019 regular season when they finished 8-4. They proved to be good run-blockers more during the 2019 season than the 2020.
Pretty impressive but not as impressive as the wide receiver group, led by Temple’s all-time leading single-season record-holder Jadan Blue. As good as Blue is (and he’s an NFL player), Randle Jones on the other side is slightly faster and has been called a “flat-out stud” by head coach Rod Carey.
There’s plenty of depth, too, with a productive Power 5 portal transfer in Purdue’s Amad Anderson Jr. Anderson caught 36 passes for 362 yards and three touchdowns for Purdue in a couple of seasons and, with Blue and Jones, should get a lot of single-coverage opportunities. (Hell, you can’t double-cover a single Temple receiver because that opens things up for the other two.)
What does this mean for the team’s bottom line?
Not much if the defense and special teams can’t be fixed.
That’s something that Carey should be placing a priority right now during two weeks of practice in the Bronx.
Still, good defense or no, when the Owls have the ball there is a chance … a chance .. that they can turn the Lincoln Financial Field scoreboard into an adding machine.
If so, the season could be more exciting than the experts say and that something is better than nothing.
Friday: Some areas of concern
Monday: Camp surprises
Friday (8/20); Rutgers fans