5 Greatest TU Spring Phenoms

 

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In the 2011 game, Myron Myles scored 3 touchdowns.

As Allen Iverson once said, talking practice is different than talking games and, while there will be a Cherry and White game on April 16, even that is still practice. The important thing is doing it in a game, but to get in a game, you’ve got to do it in practice.

That’s why everything that happens until the kickoff of the Army game in September has to be taken with a boulder, not a grain, of salt. Exhibits A through E are these five April phenoms who were were not as phenomenal when the real games started in the fall.

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  1. Khalif Herbin

At Cardinal O’Hara in 2014, Herbin was the key player for the White team in a 10-9 loss to the Cherry squad. Herbin, the No. 1 draft choice of that squad, caught a 66-yard touchdown pass from Connor Reilly in the game. “The whole team recognizes what Khalif can do,” Temple head coach Matt Rhule said. By the end of the next season, he was gone, a victim of injuries.

 

  1. ventresVentres Stevenson

On April 26, 1986, a freshman running back named Ventres Stevenson was the best player on the field and, according to head coach Bruce Arians, “the outstanding player during our spring practice.”  He led the White squad to a 17-7 win over the Cherry squad. Stevenson finished with 86 yards on 16 carries, but finished the season as third string behind Heisman Trophy runner-up Paul Palmer and second-teamer Todd McNair, both future Kansas City Chief players. Stevenson later became a very good back for the Owls, but just not that season.

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  1. Vaughn Charlton

In the 2008 game, Charlton—wearing the Orange jersey—led the Cherry to a 21-6 win at the Edberg-Olson Complex. The Orange jersey meant the quarterback could not be hit and that always made a difference for Charlton, who went 13-for-28 for 209 yards and two touchdowns. Senior Adam DiMichele went on to be the starter that season and only a Hail Mary loss at Buffalo kept the Owls from being bowl eligible. DiMichele thrived on contact and seemed to make some of his better plays after getting hit by defenders and spinning out of contact. Charlton had the tools but never reacted as well to contact.

  1. Louis Angelo

With Louis Angelo calling the signals in the 2001 spring game, the Cherry beat the White in the most lopsided game ever, 36-0. Angelo threw a pair of touchdown passes. By the start of the season, Angelo was behind starter Mac DeVito and backups Mike McGann, Devin Scott and Collin Hannigan.  He did not throw a pass that season.

myron

  1. Myron Myles

In 2011, a freshman running back named Myron Myles—at least that was the name he was going by at the time—gained 133 yards and scored two touchdowns on 20 carries and led the White team to a 27-26 win over the Cherry squad. (Myles also caught a touchdown pass.) Bernard Pierce sat out the game, but, in the fall, led the Owls to nine wins and a bowl game. He was recruited to Temple from Wissahickon High as Myron Ross. Myles later transferred to Millersville, where his best game (114 yards) came during the 2014 season.

Wednesday: In Search of a Punt Returner

We’re Talkin’ Practice

Learning to distrust the results of Spring Practice is a necessary step to move forward to the more important practice period—the four weeks prior to the opening game, in this case, Army. Still, there are battles to be won now and players who can win them.

Here are 5 Things We Should Know Coming Out of Spring:

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1) Backup quarterback

This currently is being billed as the battle for the backup quarterback position, and for some good reasons. Two guys, Frank Nutile (pronounced NEW TILE) and Logan Marchi have been in the program for a couple of seasons. However, Anthony Russo arrives in July and all bets could be off.  If P.J. Walker, who has been rather durable all three seasons, goes down, head coach Matt Rhule cannot be blamed for burning Russo’s redshirt. If it’s for just a play or two, Nutile and Marchi are battling for backup quarterback. That is what this spring is for. Of course, one could play off the charts and change the dynamic.

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2) Starting Safety

This battle could get interesting. The defensive coaching staff has resisted the temptation to start Nate L. Smith, but the former George Washington and Archbishop Wood star has made plays during real games every time he’s asked. Delvon Randall should play the other safety, but Rhule moved Brodrick Yancy over to safety and that could mean that they have a plan for Yancy since Rhule called Yancy the “receiver more like John Christopher” than anyone on the team. They like his toughness and that could translate well to the safety position.

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3) Interior defensive line

The cavalry here arrives in July, with Karamo Dioubate and Gregg Webb expected to compete for starting positions along with Averee Robinson and Freddy Booth-Lloyd. Yet the Owls really need to build interior depth as many of their returning linemen either are or have started as defensive ends. There may be a few conversions out of necessity.

4)   Interior offensive line

Only two positions are set in stone, offensive tackle (Dion Dawkins) and center (Brendan McGowan). Bryan Carter, a starting offensive tackle, might be needed to return to DL, but that’s what spring is for. There are a number of promising guys, like Jovan Fair, who can earn starting spots.

5) Running back

I fully expect Jahad Thomas to run with the ones again, but it has to be enticing to split out that game-breaking ability and put it in the slot. That’s probably the position Thomas is better-suited for at the next level, so why not start him now. He’s a little (lot) undersize to be an NFL running back, but one good season in the slot earns him some camp looks. The only way he gets those is if Jager Gardner shows the kind of form that enabled him to run for 2,776  yards and 36 touchdowns as a high school senior. Ryquell Armstead and David Hood, who had half that many yards and touchdowns in their senior high school season, are also in the mix.

Monday: Five Biggest Owls’ Spring Phenoms of All Time

Who is Here and Who is Not?

Jihaad Pretlow will not be roaming he secondary for the Owls next season.

Jihaad Pretlow will not be roaming he secondary for the Owls next season.

Every spring practice season, only the most ardent of Temple fans frequently updated rosters on Owlsports.com trying to cross both fingers while holding a rabbit’s foot.

The goal, of course, is hoping that “nobody good” has left the team. I do not know about you, but I want the money for my rabbit’s foot back.

Jacob Quinn will be leading the way for a Delaware back this fall, not an Owl like Zaire Williams (23) in this 2013 game at SMU.

Jacob Quinn will be leading the way for a Delaware back this fall, not an Owl like Zaire Williams (23) in this 2013 game at SMU.

I didn’t need to open the roster to find out that the team’s best offensive lineman, Dion Dawkins, might be facing some legal problems after being involved in an off-campus fight. I’m always one for “innocent until proven guilty” and the day Jim Gardner led Action News that “a Temple football player had been involved in an alleged rape” I dashed off an email to Gardner asking that if the player got exonerated to please lead off Action News with that exoneration. He later was exonerated and Action News underplayed that development as much as it overplayed the player’s arrest.

Hopefully, Dawkins will have the same fate but another offensive line starter (at least in the final game at Tulane), Jacob Quinn, has decided to eschew his final year of eligibility and go home to Delaware to play for the Blue Hens. He will be eligible immediately. Buddy Brown, who came to the school as a highly recruited linebacker, “retired” from football.

Another guy not here, Jihaad Pretlow, one of the team’s best defensive backs transferred out of school.

All good guys and players, unfortunately. Someday  I’d like to open up the roster and see the only news is that the fifth string quarterback or the fourth-team offensive guard leave the team but that never seems to happen at Temple.

That’s the bad news.

The good news is that 100 or so players do remain.

Unfortunately, college age kids being what they are, this kind of thing happens everywhere but it’s a two-steps-forward-one-step-back kind of thing with the Owls. An offensive line that already was a weakness became weakened in two areas and there are only so many good players to go around. The defensive backfield and linebacking corps lost some depth.

How this impacts Temple won’t be known this spring. Heck, it will not be known by Cherry and White Day. The Owls will have to wait until the Penn State game for that answer.