Temple’s football No. 1 Lesson: Prime-time guys need help

Over in Munich, Germany, the old saying “Temple Owls are Everywhere” was on display in a hotel room a couple of days ago.

We can now say that both Kurt and Brenda Warner are by association Temple Owls, along with their son, E.J. Both were probably the only people in that 600-room hotel that were watching the Temple game that kicked off at 3 p.m., Philadelphia time, 2 p.m. Houston time and 9 p.m. Munich time.

That’s prime time and E.J.’s numbers were worthy of the Munich hour, passing for 486 yards, three touchdowns, and zero interceptions.

Maybe we will see Kurt and Brenda at a Temple tailgate soon but until then we can only thank them from afar for sending their son our way.

When it comes to prime-time players, E.J. has proven to be one. On offense, both Adonicas Sanders and David Martin-Robinson qualify. Maybe you can throw in Edward Saydee off his last two weeks. Amad Anderson is trending that way and so is DMR’s tight-end buddy Jordan Smith. On the line, Adam Klein, Victor Stoffel, and Isaac Moore might not be prime time but certainly solid afternoon performers.

On defense, end Darian Varner is prime time. So are linebackers Layton Jordan, Jordan Magee and cornerback Jalen McMurray.

If Temple needs to do something to break through as an AAC title contender next season–and that should be the goal–those guys need help.

Owls will certainly need to add a bookend pass rusher with Varner’s skills, somebody who can cover receivers on the other side with McMurray-level talent and interior line pieces to stop the run and get off the field. Next year, there can be no more teams who score 43 and 70 points on the Owls.

Make that 486, not 436 (typo no doubt).

Offensively, while Saydee is improving it would be nice if the Owls could add someone with the ability to bounce off that first tackler like Alcorn State running back Jarveon Howard, listed as a senior but still has a year of eligibility left after this as a grad player. The former Syracuse recruit has 1,174 yards, 11 touchdowns, and a 5.2 yards per carry average. Before you think Temple has no chance at him, just remember that head coach Stan Drayton is considered a running back guru, and NFL players like Ezekial Elliott can pick up the phone and recruit Howard for him. The pitch could be that Drayton’s tutelage is the best route to a high NFL draft pick.

The “Cherry Rhino” … I like that nickname

Saydee had one good game but could use the competition. He might become a prime-time player down the road, but Howard is that now. The Owls haven’t had a running back strike consistent fear in the opposition since Ryquell Armstead, Jahad Thomas, Bernard Pierce, and Montel Harris, just to name a few. Howard would certainly do that on Day One as a Prime Time Player.

So are Warner, Varner, and a few others named above. They could use a good kick returner, too. They haven’t had one since Matty Brown but current Harrisburg High recruit Kyle Williams could be that player.

To break through and hold that championship trophy next season, Temple needs to add a few of those types of players. It doesn’t have to be a whole team of transfers, just one plugging in some holes and areas of need. The good news is they won’t have to wait on high school players. There is immediate help in the portal and how well Temple uses it is probably the difference between a 6-6 year next season or a 9-3 one.

Or better.

Friday: Cincinnati Preview


14 thoughts on “Temple’s football No. 1 Lesson: Prime-time guys need help

  1. It’s good to see Year Zero showing its expected results. Some AAC talent on the roster. Some AAC talent has improved in the second half of the season. Some coaching strategies have worked. The team is competing and playing hard. Body language is good. Players are invested in the message they are hearing. Losing winnable games happens in Year Zero. The arrows are pointing upward.

    Much more talent is needed. Expect to see some roster movement after the season ends. It will be time to have chats with guys who the staff do not see as part of the future. Stan may have to have
    a chat like that with one or two of the coaching staff as well. Such is life in modern college ball.

    The challenge now goes to Year One. Drayton has improved the recruiting profile in a 250 mile radius. Fran Brown is no longer flipping Temple offers. There’s a guy on staff at Penn State who may try to take over what Fran was doing. But there are positive vibes around Temple FB recruiting that disappeared during the last two years of the prior HC. The arrows are pointing upward.

    The portal will play a role but expectations should be tempered with reality. Drayton has a compelling pitch to get players to come here, but only one year of track record as HC. And the bigger issue can’t be ignored – NIL is a factor for every recruit, and Temple is behind the curve in all sports on this one, even in the AAC and some G5 schools.

    9 wins? Conference title game? Sounds good in 2024. Bowl eligible a great target for 2023. The arrows are pointing upward.

    • TUFB will go to a bowl game next year, the conference foes will be weaker.

      What is the NIL strategy? Drayton must step in, and simply let the AD know he will leave if they don’t fix it.

      Such is life in college football.

      • The USF ad said the No. 1 thing he’s looking for in a new coach is “experience in handling the new reality of college football.” The Tampa paper assumes it’s NLI. Really, who has that kind of experience since it’s a one-year rule? And putting that responsibility on a coach instead of the department as a whole seems out of whack. The first question before Kelly’s remarks was about Jon Gruden. He said, “Can I say my opening remarks first?”

  2. Mike, really think going for top FCS players like Howard who you highlight and to go back in Temple’s past Rock Ya Sin is a good way to use the portal.

    • Leaving Presbyterian for Temple was the best thing Rock ever did and he said so at the time he was drafted. I really think getting overachieving FCS players is the way for Temple to go in the portal and less on relying on guys who couldn’t get on the field for P5 teams. Exceptions, of course, exist like Gill but, for the most part, the P5 transfers have let us down. You may not be able to win a national championship with a FCS all-star team but certainly should be able to win an AAC one.

      • I would agree, seem to have as many misses as hits with P5 transfers. Grad transfers are probably a third category TU has had success with, granted for just a single year

  3. next game up- we are considering going Saturday, then I find it’s a 4 pm Game !!! What the func? Temple always has ship-4-luck here. IF we go, we need to be dressed for Arctic Conditions I suppose. And then we’ll need to share the Linc with at least 842 fans, Ouch…..

    • Bundle up. It’s definitely going to be the first game of the season where gloves are on the mandatory checklist. I’d rather be watching from Hawaii. That’s an 11 a.m. start there and the game is over by 2 and probably wouldn’t need to wear gloves to enjoy the remainder of the day. 🙂

  4. To date, Drayton has out-recruited Mora by a wide margin, at least on paper.

    The transfer portal is set to re-open on Dec. 5 and the early signing period in recruiting begins Dec. 21. We’ll see how much UConn’s success makes a difference in recruiting.

    2022, TUFB had better Jimmy/Joe’s, UConn better X/O’s and season record.

    2023, ?

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