Three names to watch in Temple camp

Absent of actually being there–and really no one in the media is these COVID days–the best way to follow the progress of the Temple football team is

The editor there is Shawn Pastor, an impartial observer and terrific writer of the Owls since way back in the 1990s. The difference between Shawn and the Brand X site is that he is not an employee of Temple University and therefore is free to criticize.

Without mentioning names, I don’t think you can find a single article on the archives of the “other” site where the editor there has ever hammered a Temple coach for underperforming while that said coach was also collecting a Temple paycheck.

That’s quite understandable. Don’t bite the paycheck hand that feeds you. Conflict of interest? Double-dipping? Call it what you want but I would have loved to have read just one story on that site calling for a firing of a high-profile Temple coach who wasn’t doing his job.

Never did. Probably never will.

If Rod Carey goes 2-10 this year, you are more likely to read a story about how the 2020 COVID season impacted the 2021 year rather than a call for heads to roll.

Maybe I’m wrong, but I don’t think so. The proof of that pudding will come in late November if Rod Carey finishes 2-10. If Brand X comes out with a front-page post calling for the firing of Carey, you have it in writing Aug. 20 that I will apologize to them and make a FULL post praising them to the hilt.

There’s a reason that never happened after Bobby Wallace’s 0-11 season over there.

You are definitely reading a head-rolling piece here in November if that happens and, to be fair, a call for Rod to retain his job should he go 10-2. Six wins, six losses? That’s the definition of mediocre and mediocre, as Wayne Hardin said on the day he retired, is “not my cup of tea.” Nor should it ever be Temple’s.

You’ll find plenty of criticisms from Shawn about Bobby Wallace and Ron Dickerson and even Steve Addazio in his wayback machine WHILE they were employed by Temple.

That’s why if Shawn says someone is doing well I tend to listen.

Daesean Winston has earned that open starting safety spot.

Shawn has actually been to the Bronx site where the Owls practiced for the first 10 days of summer camp. The Brand X guy has been there virtually by Zoom.

The three names to watch in Temple’s camp, judging purely from the coverage, are safety Daesean Winston, kicker Noah Botsford and 6-5 receiver Ronnie Stevenson.

Those, to me, just a guy who watched the team from afar in horror last year, didn’t really factor into the 1-6 record.

If the Owls are going to turn that 1-6 into a 6-1 or even a 3-2 start (which would require beating either BC or Rutgers in addition to Akron and Wagner), the guys who weren’t here for the 1-6 will probably have to be the reason for the turnaround.

That’s why the performances of Botsford, Winston and Stevenson are so encouraging.

According to OwlsDaily, Botsford–a nationally acclaimed kicker from St. Augustine Prep in Florida, has emerged not only as the top placekicker for the Owls but also could handle the punting duties.

If he’s that impressive, there’s a chance the Owls go from a laughingstock in the kicking/punting department to a solid dependable squad. From the four kicks that went out of bounds to the too many good returns by the bad guys last year was not a typical Temple football kicking year. Hell, even the 8-5 season was a horrible kicking year by Temple standards.

Winston is another interesting story. He sat out last year because of COVID and the Owls needed another safety to emerge alongside the dependable leader Amir Tyler. Winston has separated himself from everyone else. Why is that good? The Owls got really poor play opposite Tyler last year.

Finally, Stevenson.

A Western Pennsylvania legend at Montour, Stevenson gives the Owls what they seemed to lack when Branden Mack left for the NFL–a large dependable red zone target. According to OwlsDaily, Stevenson has been the surprise of the camp–every bit as good as Temple all-timers Jadan Blue and Randle Jones. (Not what Shawn said or wrote but me reading between the lines.)

If that carries over into the fall, watch out.

What does it mean to the Owls’ bottom line?

Certainly more than one win and maybe a lot more.

A month ago, I never expected, say, the kicking game and the safety position to be in good hands. If those two positions have improved, I’m looking forward to seeing how many more do.

Reading that they are exponentially better from someone I’ve learned to trust over three decades gets the juices flowing and that certainly beats the alternative.

Monday: How history factors into this season

3 thoughts on “Three names to watch in Temple camp

  1. I read both sites. No media had access to practice or the actual campus at any point.

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