A treat, a jump shot, and a color highlight new Temple players

People of a certain age remember the Rice A Roni jingle “the San Francisco treat” but few people ever remember a player from San Francisco making an impact as a football player at Temple.

Re’Mahn Davis is that one and only player.

The Frisco native had 90 yards and scored a pair of touchdowns in a 56-12 win over Bucknell in the opener and may just be the running back who allows Isaiah Wright to concentrate on his wide receiver and special teams duties.

We shall see.

To me, there were a lot of impressive first-timers out there getting extensive action for the Owls but none more than a color (Jadan Blue), a jump shot pronounced MY JAY and a treat from San Francisco named Davis.

What we do know is that he was the most talked-about freshman by his older teammates since Bernard Pierce lugged the pigskin before the 2009 season. Pierce had a pretty good year then, rushing for 1,361 yards and 16 touchdowns. Still, Davis had the better opener this time because Pierce’s debut against Villanova was six carries for 44 yards.


Jager Gardner took this handoff from P.J. Walker against SMU for 94 yards, the longest run from scrimmage in Temple football history

Going into the season, Temple coach Rod Carey pretty much indicated that Davis and veteran senior Jager Gardner were on the same level. Since Gardner scored a pair of touchdowns as well, that equality was borne out during the game.

There is still time for one to separate himself from the other and, in order to beat Maryland, one will have to.

Gardner was always seen as someone with enormous potential–he still holds the longest run from scrimmage (94 yards) in the Temple football history playbook–but has been never above pedestrian backing up guys like Jahad Thomas and Ryquell Armstead.

Maybe he will do that this year but the time clock for college running backs is usually this: If a true freshman and a senior are even, playing time usually goes to the younger player. Davis rushed for 60 yards and a touchdown and caught two passes for 78 yards and an additional score.

It’s been that way in the history of college football.

Gardner can change all that with a couple of long runs for touchdowns against Maryland but he is running out of time.

The fallback plan has always been Wright, who spent a full week in summer camp at the running back position. The hope is that plan will not have to be dusted off and used, but the reality is that Wright is a game-breaking talent and the Owls are plenty deep with game-breaking talent at wide receiver. Blue, who caught a pass from Frank Nutile against Villanova last year, had his first significant action since catching a pair of touchdown passes in the 2017 Cherry and White game with 10 catches for 117 yards and a touchdown. He missed that fall season with an injury but could play a major role this season.

On defense, the guy who really impressed has a name perfectly suited for basketball, not football. Ifeany Maijeh (last name pronounced my jay) won the starting defensive tackle position against Karamo Dioubate and finished with five tackles, two for a loss and a sack. Dioubate–rated the No. 5 defensive end recruit in the nation coming out of high school–also had a sack.

Still, the same school of thought applies to the Maijeh/Dioubate competition as it does the Davis/Gardner one. If it’s close, the tie goes to the younger runner.

So the next couple of games are most crucial for the older guys who have to do something in the games to separate themselves.

That kind of competition can only help the team as a whole.

Saturday: Bye Weeks Clues


Possible 2020 NFL Drafted Owls

When Karamo Dioubate was coming out of high school, his signing day ceremony was a short trip to my neighborhood Buffalo Wild Wings so I sauntered on over.

During it, he took a call from Alabama’s Nick Saban and turned down a last-minute offer, saying, in effect, “no sir, I’m staying home and headed to Temple.”

Those are the kind of calls top five position players in the country have to fend off on National Signing Day. Dioubate was switched from DE to DT when he got to Temple and it took him longer than expected to feel comfortable there.

Still, the talent is there for KD to blow up in this, his senior year. If he has the kind of offseason in the weight room than Michael Dogbe had last year, he could dominate on the field like Dogbe did this year. He has the size (6-3, 295) that Dogbe has. He needs only to develop the err, dog, Dogbe had.


Buffalo Wild Wings was rocking the day Dioubate signed at Temple

While Dioubate was a rotation player for the 2016 AAC championship Owls, moving to tackle from end had its growing pains. Each succeeding year he has shown to be more comfortable as a DT starter. Dioubate has a low bar to become a fifth-round or higher draft choice. Byron Cowart, a Maryland defensive tackle, was picked in the fifth round by the New England Patriots. Cowart,  had 38 tackles, no sacks and ran a 5.16 40-yard dash. I’m going to go on record as saying Dioubate will do better than that this season. He had 23 tackles, a sack and a fumble recovery for a touchdown this past season. Cowart, like Dioubate, was a top five DL recruit when he originally committed to Auburn before transferring to Maryland.

Other than Dioubate and RB/WR/KR Isaiah Wright–who could go anywhere from rounds 1-5 next season, the possible NFL draft pickings are slim but  there are plenty of guys who have a shot to make it as a UDFA or even a late-round draft choice.

In other words, Temple has plenty of talent in its current senior class.

I think linebackers Shaun Bradley, Chapelle Russell and William Kwenkeu have chances but both Bradley and Russell are on the small side for linebackers. Sam Franklin packs a Malcolm Jenkins-type punch as a NFL strong safety but will this current Temple staff use him there instead of forcing him into an already crowded linebacker room?

The talent is good in this senior class but the current listed redshirt juniors, who include center Matt Hennessy (6-4, 295), QB Anthony Russo (6-4, 230), DE Quincy Roche (6-4, 235), DT Dan Archibong (6-6, 285) and WR Branden Mack (6-5, 215), could be even better or almost certainly drafted higher.

If you want a real longshot, too bad cornerback Josh Allen (6-3, 190) is only a sophomore. The last two No. 7 NFL draft picks?

Both named Josh Allen.

Monday: Tale of the Tape

Wednesday: That Big-Time JUCO

The Case For The Defense


Karamo Dioubate (72) who had a hand in the last title, could have two hands in this one.

The other day I sent a message to a politican columnist I know that said simply this:

“Keep calling balls and strikes as you see them.”

I don’t always agree with her—actually, very rarely do—but I respect the way she approaches her craft and the logic of the arguments she makes.

In this day and age of polarization, it makes sense to hear  both sides rather than look for ones that ratified a pre-existing view.

Later in that message, I mentioned to her that the pitch cast on the Phillies games does a much better job at calling balls and strikes than the humans behind the plate do. That’s because the computer—setting the batter’s box the way it should be (belt to knees)—doesn’t make mistakes.

That brings us to the case Temple quarterback Frank Nutile made at media day.

“We’re loaded,” he said.

His head coach, Geoff Collins, was more cautiously optimistic in that kind of setting but said after the bowl game that he was going to have a “ridiculous” team in 2018.

I interpreted that as ridiculous as in the good kind because of the number of key returning players the Owls have in 2018.

Those are humans, though, and humans, like the umpires, can make mistakes in those types of evaluations.

Setting up the equivalent of the “pitch cast” box to take an objective view is the fact that the Owls have three immovable tackles in the middle of the field in Michael Dogbe, Dan Archibong and Freddy Booth-Lloyd and options at both ends in Quincy Roche and either Nickolas Madourie and Karamo Dioubate. Madourie is a junior college transfer who had 17.5 sacks at that level and Dioubate, who has been in the interior in his first two college seasons but was a high school All-American at defensive end, which got him recruited by schools like Penn State and Alabama. If Madourie’s jump to major college football doesn’t translate, Dioubate should be able to handle the other end position. Hell, Dioubate is more of a defensive end than he is a tackle and the Owls might want to utilize his talents where he can create more Mayhem. Just a thought.

The Owls have really good linebackers and defensive backs.

Put them all together and this should be a much more impressive defense that held eight-win Florida International to just three points.

Nutile has played against that defense every day in the offseason and it might be one of the reasons he used the word “loaded” or Collins used the word “ridiculous.”

Those are subjective words, but there is a lot objective data backing it up. The ultimate arbiter will be the record, not the humans who call the balls and strikes.

Play ball.

Wednesday: That’s Special

Friday: Silver Linings

The Impact of Karamo Dioubate

Matt Rhule gets the phone call from Karamo at the 2:15 mark.


According to a name origin website, Karamo denotes an extravagant, ambitious nature with the desire for financial prominence.

If those qualities come through at Temple for the next three years, Karamo Dioubate will use a lot of the former to get to the goal of the latter and we will all be richer for it.  One day Temple recruiting will reach the level where there will be no under-the-radar guys and a lot of ICBMs coming in with nuclear-tipped warheads every signing day.

Until then, Temple will have to settle for rolling out an occasional Atom Bomb to drop on the bad guys.


Karamo at Buffalo Wild Wings.

Temple got a couple of those weapons and, for purposes of this story, we will concentrate on the Hydrogen Bomb called Dioubate. This is just the kind of weapon along the defensive front line that the Owls need to unleash on Penn State as soon as possible and that could be as early as the second game.

He’s that good.

It’s one thing to “trust the film” but it’s quite another when the film is trusted not only by the staff at Temple, but the more highly-paid ones at Alabama, Penn State,  Michigan State and South Carolina. When it comes to Dioubate, they see what you see, a pretty polished and unstoppable lineman far advanced beyond his years. Now Dioubate will have to cram a lot of learning into a short summer camp, but he certainly has the physical tools to do it.

Imagine using Sharif
Finch and Michael
Dogbe—forced to play
out of position
last year as a
tackle—at the ends,
using the gap
leverage skills
of two-time
Pennsylvania state
heavyweight wrestling
champion Averee
Robinson as nose
guard and flanking
Arob with Greg Webb
and Dioubate at tackle

They say great coaches are the guys who build a scheme around their talent and Phil Snow is a smart enough guy to know that he’s got the physical talent to run a 5-2 scheme as opposed to last year’s 4-3.

Imagine using Sharif Finch and Michael Dogbe—forced to play out of position last year as a tackle—at the ends, using the gap leverage skills of two-time Pennsylvania state heavyweight wrestling champion Averee Robinson as nose guard and flanking Arob with Greg Webb and Dioubate at tackle. That’s a defensive line that is not only going to stop the run, but make quite a few visits to the quarterback, and make plays in the flat, ala Finch against Penn State last year. That’s not even mentioning other potential DL starters like Haason Reddick, Freddie Booth-Lloyd, Josiah Bronson and Jacob Martin (who was one of the 39,000 Temple students who had a sack against Christian Hackenberg last year).

With that accomplished, the Owls could return two starters at linebacker, Avery Williams and Stephaun Marshall, and have another LB starter, Jared Alwan, to rotate in for plays. Williams and Marshall are so tough they earned single-digit numbers and probably will do so again.  I like having two proven single-digit guys playing both linebacker positions in a 5-2.

The safeties could be a couple of guys, Delvon Randall and Nate L. Smith, who saw plenty of playing time a year ago and the corners will be Sean Chandler—the only player in the nation to return two pick 6’’s last year—and Kareem Ali Jr. (Or Artrel Foster or Nate Hairston.)

With that line making things relatively easy for the six guys behind them, it is not a huge stretch to conclude that this could be a record-setting defense next season. Every year, there are true freshmen who step onto the field and make big-time plays all over the place. Those true freshmen usually are in the SEC.

Now, with Dioubate, Temple finally has one and it opens up an extravagant, ambitious world with a rich future and a whole lot of post-game tailgates where the beer will taste like champagne.

Love to see the PSU analysts drool over a Temple recruit and the arrogance they had at the time that none of their players would decommit.

Waiting for The One

Linwood Crump made the play of the day on Saturday for Temple.

While it might seem like the Owls are finished with their recruiting, a couple of positive things happened for Temple football on Saturday.

One, Linwood Crump remained firm in his commitment to Temple, tweeting that he was going to spurn Rutgers’ attempt to flip him.


A tremendous statement from Linwood Crump

Two, head coach Matt Rhule was working last night on a home visit with Temple Football Forever’s No. 1 recruiting target, Prep Charter lineman Karamo Dioubate. Hopefully, the fact that Imhotep’s Tyliek Raynor and Archbishop Wood’s Anthony Russo decided to play for their city convinces Dioubate to make this the Holy Trinity year of Philadelphia marquee recruits.

In other developments, the Owls are trying to flip wide receiver Isaiah Wright from Rutgers. This remains a possibility because the Owls really need a playmaker to replace Robby Anderson. While Ventell Bryant and Romond Deloatch appear ready to take that step, the fact that they have not so far is a bit disconcerting because anyone with two eyes knew Anderson was extra special right away.

You want that one receiver that you know is extra special right away and Wright might be the right guy.

It should be an interesting next few days.