During the second half of his third spring ball press conference, only a few sentences in, new Temple head football coach Stan Drayton singled out a position group a lot of fans might not have given a lot of thought to before now.
That said a lot because, up until now, wide receiver seemed to be a much deeper position but Drayton bemoaned the early lack of leadership in that group and heaped some praise on the tight ends.
There is some logic to that.
David Martin-Robinson is a 6-5, 255 redshirt junior and has always performed when he number was called. He, in my mind, is a leader. He leads a group at TEs at least three deep who could cause damage to opposing defenses this fall.
So were Randle Jones and Jadan Blue for the wide receivers.
Robinson is one of the five guys who should thrive under Drayton because, even at this early stage in practice, Drayton is understanding a basic philosophy we’ve preached here for over a decade: Coach to the talent you have, not the talent you want.
The coach who shall remain nameless forced round pegs (an NIU system) into square holes (Temple talent) for much of his three years.
Now, at least from what Drayton says, the square pegs are going into the square holes. You read here first that DMR will be a first-team all-AAC player at TE this year.
Here are four others who could challenge for league honors under this sensible system:
Jose Barbon, wide receiver _ The 6-0, 185-pound receiver filled in admirably whenever Jones and Blue went down with injuries over the last two years and caught a lot of difficult balls in traffic. He seems a logical starter at one of the WR positions and should shine.
Ronnie Stevenson, wide receiver _ The Owls have lacked a red zone lob pass threat since Branden Mack left and the 6-5 Stevenson with reliable hands provides that threat.
Trey Blair, running back _ The redshirt freshman was a superstar quarterback at Haverford High and the best punt and kickoff returner in that school’s history. Temple hasn’t had a dangerous punt or kickoff returner since Isaiah Wright was the 2018 AAC Special Teams Player of the Year and there may be a STPY Award for Blair in the future, if not this year, then maybe next. We screamed for Big 33 starting quarterback Jalen Fitzpatrick to throw a pass for Temple in this space for over a year and, when Matt Rhule relented, his first pass went for 86 yards and a touchdown against SMU. We did the same for the last staff with Blair and they were as blind as Stevie Wonder on the specific talent of their players. If Drayton allows Blair to throw a halfback pass, it will be for six. We won’t guarantee it but it’s got a 50/50 shot.
Adam Klein, offensive tackle _ The 6-5, 290-pound redshirt senior from Episcopal Academy has played here on a high level so long consider this: His blocking probably was the key factor in Ryquell Armstrong’s seven-touchdown performance in a 59-49 win at Houston. The RPO system the last guy championed probably didn’t highlight Klein’s run-blocking prowess but the downhill running game that made Drayton a Little All-American at Allegheny College will probably take hold at Temple. He earned his first career start in Sept. of 2018 against Tulsa and has been a fixture on the line since. Downhill blocking in the running game is his forte and that’s a philosophy Drayton can get behind here.
At least we can hope.
More on that after we take in the Cherry and White game on April 9.
Monday: Data vs. Feelings
Friday: A Tradition Unlike Any Other