Football is not a complicated thing.
Teams that make plays win.
Teams that have more playmakers make plays.
From where I sit, Temple has at least … at least … five big-time playmakers it did not have last year and that should play a role in the turnaround we wrote about in this space on Monday.
The Owls lacked a lot of things a season ago in finishing 3-9 but the sore thumb in this badly bloodied hand was a lack of speed.
For no matter how highly you think of last year’s running backs (Edward Saydee, Kyle Dobbins or Tayvon Ruley) or even record-setting wide receiver Jadan Blue (now at Virginia Tech) or even four-star starting quarterback D’Wan Mathis, none of them were able to take that ball, turn the corner and outrun anyone on a long touchdown run.
That’s not to say it didn’t happen. Randle Jones outran the entire Akron and SMU teams in recent years on his way to touchdowns and Amad Anderson took a short pass and did the same against Memphis.
Still, as a matter of course, Temple didn’t have enough of those kinds of players a year ago.
It does now.
Five come to mind:
Iverson Clement _ The former Florida Gator moved from running back to cornerback because the Owls need speed at that position. New coach Stan Drayton said he studied the film and no doubt saw a tight end chase down a Temple cornerback from behind in the South Florida game and made a vow that it won’t happen again. Iverson intercepts that same pass and puts six on the board in the fall. Because of a falling out with the former staff, Iverson didn’t see the field last year. He will see it this year.
Adonicas Sanders _ Sanders caught two passes against Duke, both for touchdowns in a 31-27 win for Georgia Tech last year, and no doubt Drayton has an inkling Sanders can reprise the role in the opener.
Darvon Hubbard _ The reason Texas A&M made Hubbard one of its prized recruits a couple of years ago was the elite speed at the running back position the Owls did not have last year. The 100- and 200-meter Arizona High School track champion had over 1,000 yards on just 99 carries at Willow Canyon High.
Dominick Hill_ A defensive back, it’s fair to say without the transfer portal, Temple doesn’t recruit a player like this. He was the No. 1-ranked player in the Orlando Sentinel’s 2020 Central Florida Super 60 and it’s easy to see why because he led Jones High in Orlando to a 13-2 record in 2019 with 30 tackles and a district-leading six interceptions as a senior. The Orlando area is considered the best area for recruits in the best state for recruiting in the nation.
Quincy Patterson _ After watching this young man’s film for the last four weeks, I’m convinced the Owls have recruited their best quarterback since beating out Nebraska for Dodge City Community College first-team All-American Walter Washington. As tentative as Mathis played for most of last season (other than the Memphis game, it appeared he was walking on eggshells), that’s how confidently Patterson plays a position that demands confidence. The Owls will rally around this special talent.
Those are just five playmakers the Owls have this year who did not see the field last year.
There are more and they will let themselves be known to the fans by making big-time plays that translate into wins.