What Mathis being named starter means …

About this time five months ago, new Temple head coach Stan Drayton gave tepid praise to incumbent quarterback starter D’Wan Mathis, saying this:

“We’re going to bring in some guys to compete with him.”

If Mathis can become a fan favorite in Georgia, he can do that in Philadelphia too.

That was after the Cherry and White game. Nice game for Mathis, but nothing special.

True to his word, Drayton brought in those guys–Elijah Warner and former Virginia Tech starter Quincy Patterson–and, after a healthy competition, Mathis retained his job.

At least for the Duke opener.

Thursday, Mathis was named the starter for the Duke game one week from tonight and that can only mean one thing.

Former Michigan State, Ohio State, and Georgia commit D’Wan Mathis is shown here starting the 2020 opener for Georgia.

Mathis, a former Elite 11 four-star quarterback, rose to the occasion to beat out Patterson, a former Elite 11 four-star quarterback.

We’ve checked the game notes of the other 10 AAC teams and none of them have an Elite 11 quarterback.

Temple now has two.

Duke has none and that’s one reason why you’ve got to like Temple’s chances a week from now (7:30 p.m., ACC Network).

It’s not even fair to say Mathis showed flashes of his Elite 11 quality in the 2021 season.

He showed flash as in one, the Memphis game. If Mathis showed flashes, maybe the Owls steal a win or two in the other AAC games. It was a damn good flash (35-for-49, three touchdowns) but it was a one-and-done nonetheless.

We needed to see more and it’s an even better sign that Drayton needed to see more.

Now he has.

Maybe he’s a guy who needs a fire lit under him and, in Patterson, that’s a lot of lighter fluid.

Patterson went 7-0 as a North Dakota State starter last year and, except for Cincinnati, you can make a strong argument that North Dakota State would have beaten every other AAC team, including Houston and UCF.

He’s a nice insurance policy to have should Mathis falter.

So far, Mathis has shown no signs of faltering and that’s a good thing. This is the third-straight year that Mathis has won a starting job. He started for Georgia in the 2020 home opener and Temple in the 2021 opener at Rutgers, beating out another Elite 11 quarterback (Re’al Mitchell) for the honor.

Memphis was objectively a better team than Duke last year so is 35-for-49 and three touchdowns out of the question next week?

Certainly not and, if Mathis puts up those numbers again, the Owls are guaranteed to have a nice flight home.

Monday: All’s Quiet on The Southern Front

Friday: Temple-Duke Preview

Saturday: Duke Game Analysis

What Klecko’s induction does for Temple

Too often, the ignorant is the norm when the subject is Temple football.

Even though the Owls pretty much have had the most Group of Five players in the NFL for the last decade, occasionally you come across a comment like this yesterday on Twitter:

Very funny.

Not.

Most “regular” Joe Blow NFL fans don’t follow things like what G5 team has the most NFL players and assume that the higher-profile G5 schools dominate.

Assuming sometimes means “making an ass out of you and me” but, in this guy’s case, it was him making an ass out of himself.

Unfortunately, that’s more than the norm than the exception. At least for the general comments I see on social media.

That’s why the almost certain lock nomination of Joe Klecko into the Pro Football Hall of Fame could do more to change that than anything. Being named one of the three finalists for the Hall of Fame, that’s a Hall of a Deal for Temple and Klecko. (Joe is a virtual lock as every group of three finalist has been rubberstamped into the Hall by the Veterans committee every year since 2009.)

Klecko will almost certainly get up there and talk about the New York Jets but also expect the father who sent a son to Temple and played for the Owls to spend a significant portion of his induction speech on Temple and Wayne Hardin.

Just the other day New England Patriots’ head coach Bill Belichick mentioned Temple. Belichick, unlike the Joe Blow fan, knows his stuff.

“I have some connections to Temple and, of course, Baylor, they have players,” Belichick said on Thursday in this article.

Belichick mentioned his following Temple through knowing two Owl head coaches, Hardin and Matt Rhule.

Bill and Ernie Adams, both New York Giants’ assistant coaches at the time, watched Hardin take apart Cal in the Garden State Bowl.

“Ernie and I were sitting up there watching the game, and on the first series of plays, one guard pulled deep, the other guard pulled short,” Belichick said. “And they just folded around to get the linebacker, but they pulled. And the two inside linebackers ran into each other. I looked at Ernie, and he looked at me . . .”

Did Temple just screw that up, they wondered?

“Four or five plays later, the same thing. The two linebackers,” Belichick clapped his hands together loudly, imitating the collision, “because they’re standing right next to each other. They went right into each other. [Temple ran] straight down to the safety for, like, 20 yards. They must’ve run that play six or seven times and it was 20 yards every time . . . At the time, I’d never seen that before. That was Hardin. That was his coaching genius.”

All of this should have changed the perception of Temple football nationwide but, sadly, it has not for the most part. Beating Penn State and playing Notre Dame to a nail-biter on national TV should have helped but it’s a constant battle for respect when you are Temple.

The fast track to changing perceptions is in the hands of the guys working out at the Edberg-Olson Complex.

Beat Duke in less than two weeks and everyone in America will know Temple has a football team and a pretty good one.

Friday: One Week Until Duke

Drayton offers some clues behind the digits

If these pictures say more than 1,000 words, just a few of them will be that this is a team that will play with passion and one Temple fans can be excited about.

Napolean Bonaparte was first credited with the phrase “a picture is worth a thousand words” but Temple football’s modern-day Napolean, the similar-sized Stan Drayton, might have illustrated it best with a memorable Monday night at the Edberg-Olson practice complex.

That’s where Temple’s first-year head coach didn’t need more than an hour or so to drop a couple of clues that might indicate what’s to come for the program.

No truth to the rumor that Fizzy played in this game.

Drayton departed from the Rod Carey Regime on many occasions this calendar year but none more than Monday night when he honored just six players with the coveted Temple football “Temple TUFF” single digits.

One, unlike Carey, Drayton took the decision away from the players and put it in the hands of the coaches.

Two, Drayton didn’t willy-nilly give the honor away but instead limited it to the six toughest guys.

What does that say?

First, the inmates are not running the asylum anymore. If you go 1-6 and 3-9 you forfeit any ability to name the other tough guys. That’s a good thing. Win, and get that privilege back.

Second, everyone gets a new start to impress a new coaching staff and the six players have earned it.

Third, it kind of indicates a surprise starter in cornerback Jalen McMurray and that means this coaching staff has an open mind.

Plus, McMurray has shown an uncanny ability to break on the ball for the last two years and that’s something that is more talent than taught.

The other five have been warriors who are established figures.

One, outside the program, Adonicas Sanders, who started 14 games for a Power 5 team before coming to Temple and has been a hero in at least a couple of them. He will wear Jadan Blue’s No. 5 and probably turn out to be an upgrade over Temple’s single-season leading receiver who set that mark in the 2019 season when the Owls finished 8-5.

The others are offensive linemen Adam Klein (a starter since he came here five years ago from Episcopal Academy) and Isaac Moore. In a 56-27 loss to Duke in the Independence Bowl, the blocking of those two were the highlights of that game for Temple fans. With their OL coach from that game returning, Chris Wiesehan, expect them to take that game to an even higher level this season.

Darian Varner, whose motor never stopped in a 3-9 season, is another single digit at DE (No. 9). He will wear the same number New York Giants’ Quincy Roche wore when he was at Temple and expect the same amount of pressure on the QB. It says a lot when a single player never quit in a season when a number of players quit on their head coach and Varner stood out as someone who played with pride.

Temple fans certainly noticed last year. It’s a good sign that Drayton has the same football IQ.

The other telling statement is that Jordan McGee (a linebacker who wears No. 6) will be a guy the Owls will inch to the line of scrimmage in blitzing situations in order to make life miserable for any bad guy’s quarterback. McGee has both the speed and the inherent hatred of quarterbacks to make it happen.

Those are a lot of statements about the immediate future of Temple football but none of those statements say as much as the photo at the top of this page does. These kids love each other, love Temple football, and will play with a passion we haven’t seen here in a while.

That last sentence contained 19 positive words. You can find 981 more by looking closely at the photos at the top of this post. One thousand words indeed.

Monday: A Hall of a Deal

Duke-Temple: A unique storyline

When Pat Kraft went to look for a new head coach after Geoff Collins quit, he reportedly zeroed in on Texas A&M defensive coordinator Mike Elko.

Elko allowed his name to float in the new Temple head coaching conversation and days later accepted a pay raise to remain at Texas A&M.

Some say he used Temple.

Either way, the game on Sept. 2 offers probably the most unique storyline of the opening weekend.

Elko turns down Temple job, gets raise to stay put, and then Kraft turns to the other DC, Manny Diaz, who stuck around for all of 18 days.

That led to a panic hire of fellow Indiana football alum Rod Carey, who was just a bad fit here.

Good storyline but there’s more.

Since Carey took over Temple, the Owls and Duke had one decent year (2019) and two horrible seasons.

Duke and Temple both had three wins a year ago and, arguably, Duke had both a worse loss than anything Temple had (Charlotte) and probably not a win as impressive as the Owls owned (Memphis).

All that under the backdrop of probably the worst locker room atmosphere we’ve seen at Temple since the Bobby Wallace Era. There was an open rebellion of Temple players, leading to many more good ones leaving than could be replaced.

All offseason signs point to problems at Duke that do not exist at Temple. For instance, its starting quarterback transferred down (FIU) and now they have a competition for the top job between primarily a running quarterback and a passing one.

Sound familiar?

That’s the same scenario at Temple with Dwan Mathis and Quincy Patterson. The difference is that both Temple quarterbacks have started and won FBS games and the two at Duke have not.

Duke and Temple both lost their leading receivers (Jake Bobo to UCLA for Duke and Jadan Blue to Virginia Tech for Temple) so that area appears to be in Temple’s favor simply because the Owls were able to entice the guy who caught the game-winning touchdown pass against Duke (Adonicas Sanders) to come to Philadelphia.

On defense, Duke was ranked 130 among all 130 FBS teams last year. The Blue Devils allowed 40 points per game last year (and 518 yards per).

Although Duke is a 7-point favorite now, this is a very winnable game from the Temple perspective.

If the Owls pull it out, the story the next day could be Arthur Johnson’s first choice for Temple head coach was better than Pat Kraft’s first choice to replace Collins.

It would not come as a surprise, let’s put it that way.

Friday: Behind The Digits

The day Temple almost beat a national champion

Imagine, if you will, Georgia coming into Philadelphia this year and Temple almost beating the defending national champion.

Never happen?

Never say never because it almost did.

In fact, it probably should have.

Except for three missed field goals by Jim Cooper Sr. (his son, Jim Cooper Jr. also kicked for Temple years later), the Owls would have most certainly beat the defending national champion BYU Cougars in the third game of the 1985 season. BYU was less than nine months removed of going 13-0, beating Michigan in the Holiday Bowl and finishing at the top of all three national polls (AP, UPI, USA Today).

Hell, had Cooper gone just 2 for 4 in field goals, the Owls probably would have won but it wasn’t all Jim’s fault. The Owls’ star running back, the durable Paul Palmer, missed most of the first half with an ankle injury. Despite sub Todd McNair having a good game, rust led to an early fumble that turned into a BYU touchdown. Cooper’s misses (45, 31, and 30 yards) were not chip shots but certainly makeable. Palmer rubbed some dirt on the ankle, came back, and had a 160-yard game.

Much has been made of the magic Bruce Arians was able to pull out of his hat in his five years at Temple, beating Pitt three of those years and having winning campaigns twice against top 10 schedules.

Playing as an independent with virtually no facilities, Arians overachieved and the 1985 Owls were a good example.

Still, the 1985 Temple Owls deserve a shoutout despite going 4-7.

That schedule was ranked No. 7 in the country and the Owls opened with closes losses against three top 20 teams, Penn State, Boston College, and BYU.

The Owls would bounce back to split the remaining eight games but those first three put them in a hole.

Still, a pretty good team and a good game that reflects how much college football has changed in the last 37 years.

Robbie Bosco returned as a national champion quarterback. Had Bosco won his championship in 2022 and not 1984, he probably would have gone to the NFL but his passing led to four touchdowns and more than offset the 257 yards the Owls had on the ground. While the Cougars had Bosco for four quarters, the Owls had Palmer for only three.

Those are the breaks.

BYU knew it was in a game as it had 22 first downs to 21 for Temple.

Now the college football landscape has changed so much that big-time Power 5 teams rarely even visit G5 teams, let alone nearly lose to them.

Temple wasn’t a G5 team but just one that had the respect of the top 10 teams in America on a regular basis.

Maybe the foundation Stan Drayton is laying down now returns the Owls to as he has told the 1985 team, “getting this thing to the way you guys are used to it.”

Never say never.

Friday: Best of TFF

Monday: Best of Camp So Far

First day of practice: Perception vs. Reality

There are usually about five big days surrounding the Temple football season every year.

In no particular order, they are recruiting day, the first day of spring practice, Cherry and White Day, the first day of summer practice, and bowl selection day.

Notice we didn’t mention any actual games because, to me, those are the most important dozen days of the season.

Yet there are opponents on every one of the above days.

Recruiting day?

Pretty much you want to beat your entire league in garnering three- and four stars.

First day of spring practice?

Cobwebs.

Cherry and White Day?

Good guys vs. other good guys.

Bowl selection day?

Warm weather vs. cold weather.

Yesterday, on the first day of summer practice, the two competing opponents were perception vs. reality.

This opponent this particular year, perception, is probably the most hated one of all.

To have to sit and watch videos like the one above is particularly maddening. Just about everyone on the outside is saying Temple sucks.

The above video is typical because both of those guys made assumptions based on a set of “facts” that were largely false.

There were about eight false things those guys on “Winning Cures Everything” said about Temple but we’ll just concentrate on a couple in this space.

One, the roster strength numbers Gary cited here were the ones based on the end of last year, not including any of the Power 5 transfers new head coach Stan Drayton was able to bring in this offseason.

Two, he said Quincy Patterson “didn’t play last year” but, according to ESPN, he started seven games for North Dakota State, threw for 816 years and six touchdowns and, most importantly, was 7-0 at QB in the 2021 season before going down with an injury before the eighth game.

Gary: “He didn’t play last year. I don’t know what that means.”

Yeah, Gary, I’ll tell you what that means (nothing) because he did play last year.

Twenty-twenty-one was last season.

I mean, how do you make a mistake like that, and then we’re supposed to give credence to your assessment of the 2022 record?

Then, at the 2:25 time stamp, he adds: “The wide receiver corps is not great even with several seniors, none of them really played.”

Huh?

One of the wide receivers, Adonicas Sanders, not only played last year but caught the game-winning touchdown at Power 5 Duke.

Another, Jose Barbon, has played a lot not only last year but over the last three years and has been a dependable possession receiver. There’s a transfer in from Michigan State, Ian Stewart, who was not mentioned.

No mentions of significant upgrades at the running back position from portal transfers Jakari Norwood (Illinois) or Darvon Hubbard (Texas A&M).

Just sloppy reporting. Very sloppy.

For giggles, went back and looked at this assessment for the 2021 Owls. In that video, he said Rod Carey was a “great coach.”

Anyone who says Rod Carey was a great coach one year and then follows that up the next saying the Owls will be 2-10 should be taken with a grain of salt.

Make that a boulder of salt.

This is just the type of perception vs. reality battle that started yesterday and will last throughout the season. The most important dozen days of the season start in less than a month and there are a lot of notions out there that need to be disabused.

Judging from a significantly upgraded roster, coaching staff, and a new attitude around here, it won’t take long to do the disabusing.

Monday: The Day Temple Almost Beat a National Champion

AAC Media Day: Temple Between the Lines

The question is always asked on these media days to coaches about expectations and the answer, at least for the last two Temple head football coaches has always been something like this:

“We won’t set a number on wins and losses we just want to play the best we can.”

Temple’s Stan Drayton broke from that mundane view on Thursday when he said “we have set expectations and we expect to meet them” in terms of wins and losses in separate interviews with members of the media (not shown in the above video).

Guess what?

Reading between the lines, just four wins is not acceptable to this coaching staff and that has been transmitted to the players.

What is?

Certainly a dozen would be but we get the distinct feeling from the way Drayton talks that a losing first season is not on his radar.

Nor should it be.

Those who don’t set goals never reach them and the last two coaches, Rod Carey and Geoff Collins, wanted just to “play well.”

That doesn’t cut it.

In Adam Klein, Victor Stoffel and Isaac Moore, the Owls have at least the foundation of a terrific offensive line and that was communicated to the media on Thursday.

What was surprising, though, was Drayton’s assertion that the DEFENSIVE LINE–considered coming into the season as the biggest question mark–was his biggest exclamation point:

That is surprising in the sense that the returning personnel didn’t get enough pressure on the quarterback last season (only 15 sacks for 104 yards of losses) but not so because new line coach Antoine Smith led Colorado State’s defensive line to a top 10 sackmeister rate last season AND Temple’s most talented defensive lineman, Xach Gill, did not play a year ago. Now he’s not only playing but becoming a leader of the returning guys.

The best way to win in football is protecting your quarterback and putting the bad guy’s quarterback on his ass. Games are won in the trenches and that’s exactly where the Owls plan to win at least six and maybe more this season.

Temple seems to have progressed a long way in both of those areas.

How far?

Nobody knows but Drayton already has set the bar and it ain’t low. That has to be good news for every Temple football fan.

Monday: Something no one has seen in 30 years

Two ways to look at the 2022 season

UCF was 0-12 just one year before losing this exciting game to Temple in 2016. The Youtube channel PCS Highlights called the final touchdown here “the most iconic play in Temple history.”

Reasonable people can take a look at a set of facts and come away with a different conclusion.

The college football world seems to have Temple football pegged to finish last in the 11-team American Athletic Conference standings.

It won’t be long now.

There are two ways to look at it.

One, the college football world is looking at the results of the last two seasons and plugging Temple in to finish about the same way and a lot of weight in that conclusion is based on the past. Plus, that world is centered in Las Vegas where the current over/under has the Owls at 2.5 wins.

Two, a new coach and new energy surrounding the program–plus an influx of pretty good talent from the transfer portal–probably means more than the three wins the team was able to accomplish in a toxic oxygen-deprived atmosphere a year ago.

We’re looking at it the second way and, if history is any indication, a new coach with new energy can bring positive results to difficult situations right away.

You need look no further than the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania for a good example.

In 1997, Pitt had a new coach, Walt Harris, brought in because the Panthers won a total of 12 games the prior four years. All Pitt did in Harris’ first season with pretty much that same talent was win six games and earn a Liberty Bowl spot. (One of the five regular-season losses Pitt had that year was to Temple.)

Owls have been doing the right things in offseason workouts and in the community so far and there’s no reason to believe they won’t be making fans with their play on the field.

Temple, on the other hand, has won 20 games in the last four years, not 12. Plus, the transfer portal did not exist as a tool to upgrade the talent then and it does now.

You can offer your opinion that Temple can’t win at least six in Stan Drayton’s first year but you can’t argue with the fact that it has been done in the past on multiple occasions with programs that have performed worse than Temple in the immediate past, too many to mention here.

One example of this quick fix happened in the league Temple currently competes. UCF turned an 0-12 season in 2015 quickly under first-year head coach Scott Frost, winning six games in 2016–again without the benefit of a transfer portal.

Call it a new attitude, better coaches, whatever, but examples abound everywhere that things can transform pretty quickly in one year and, from what we’ve seen so far, Temple appears to be headed for a Pitt/UCF kind of transformation.

It’s just not logical that a lesser talented Rod Carey-coached Temple team can outperform a better-coached and more talented coached Temple team.

Two-point-five wins is really easy money but we’re looking at more than double that. The fact that it has been done before under more difficult circumstances means that it can be done again.

Friday: AAC Media day.

Temple fans to Mike Schmidt: Hold our beer

Mike Schmidt had a very good quote about the Philadelphia newspapers in his heyday:

“Philadelphia is the only city where you can experience the thrill of victory and the agony of reading about it the next day.”

I thought about that quote when I saw a headline in the Philadelphia Daily News the other day:

“NCAA’s chaos could benefit Temple.”

Finally, I thought, a positive piece about Temple football published on July 10.

(If that headline sounded familiar, we used those very words in this space on July 1.)

Temple Football Forever: July 1, 2022

Then I thumbed through the piece and came across this caption: “The sight of 40,000 empty seats in Lincoln Financial Field could be a deterrent when conferences like the SEC and ACC come calling for Temple’s participation.”

Taking a closer look at the photo it was clearly taken during the dark days of The Covid Rod Carey Era, surely an outlier period. Why not use a photo of Homecoming 2015 when over 35,000 Temple fans came out to see a Tulane team that could not have brought even 200 fans to Philly?

Forget the Penn State game (where at least 40,000 of the fans were cheering for Temple) or the Notre Dame game (at least an even split).

Or the 2016 Army game that drew over 35,000?

Or the 2018 Cincinnati game, which drew over 33,000? You know, the game where Cincy quarterback Desmond Ridder blamed “crowd noise” as the reason for the Bearcats’ fourth-straight defeat to Temple.

No, the Inky had to use an empty Linc to push a false narrative.

The fact that Notre Dame and Penn State played four prime-time games on television from the 1980s until the present day BUT ONLY the Temple vs. Notre Dame game HAD THE HIGHEST TV RATING FOR ANY COLLEGE FOOTBALL GAME IN PHILADELPHIA regular-season history should be enough to prove that this college football TV market belongs to Temple and not a school 250 miles away.

TV ratings on all the games aren’t available but the ones that are available show a winning Temple football team does very well in the nation’s fourth-largest market. The Temple-UCF 2018 game (a 52-40 Temple loss) had a 53 percent national increase over the prior ESPN Thursday night game. Temple’s 26-25 win at UCF in 2016 did an even better number in the Philly market.

Desmond Ridder blames “crowd noise” for 2018 loss at Temple (Cincinnati Enquirer)

Very good numbers that proved a competitive exciting Temple football team consistently provides eyeballs in the nation’s fourth-largest TV market. It should not be surprising given that over 200,000 of the school’s 300,000 alumni still live in that market.

That’s really the potential television market Temple offers provided the Owls get back to the winning ways that produced a 73-54 record in the years just before Carey got here. Picking up the hometown paper presented a whole other narrative.

The agony of reading about it the next day indeed. Temple fans had to be thinking, “Schmitty, hold our beer.”

Friday: AAC Media Day

5 Individual Owl achievements that can happen

In Darvon Hubbard, the Owls have a big-time SEC recruit from Texas A&M who should, combined with a veteran offensive line, significantly upgrade the running game.

Hard to believe, Harry (Donahue, in this case) but after three years of despair, it’s not hard to see some Temple football Owls making a mark this season.

After all, all the cheering in the practices in the snow and the weightlifting at the E-O have signaled an all-for-one, one-for-all atmosphere around the $17 million Edberg-Olson Complex we haven’t seen since the first year of the Geoff Collins Era.

That team, arguably a nine-win squad, still did the university proud by winning seven games and taking home a bowl title.

Former Virginia Tech starter Quincy Patterson probably beats out former Georgia starter D’wan Mathis to give Temple the deepest 1-2 quarterback punch in the AAC this season.

Underachieving is not an option this year.

Regular achieving?

In this space, we’ve set the bar at six wins.

Hard?

Sure.

Impossible?

Definitely not.

Since the team is the sum of the individual parts, we can see five things happening on that level that lead to a team success.

Now, mind you, we’re not predicting them, but can definitely envision them:

One, Quincy Patterson becomes a first-team all-league quarterback. Sean Hennigan of Memphis, really, is his top competition but a guy who heard pass-rushing footsteps against a 3-9 Temple team certainly is vulnerable against a guy who once led Virginia Tech to a double-overtime win against North Carolina. Patterson, in my mind, has the “it” factor that both P.J. Walker and Adam DiMichele had. I hope I’m right.

Two, Isaac Moore, Adam Klein and Victor Stoffel take things personally. All three of these players were outstanding for Chris Wiesehan under Collins and the return of their coach revitalizes the Temple offensive line. Moore in particular signaled the end of the Rod Carey Error a year ago today when he was quoted in OwlsDaily.com as saying: “It’s Temple. You cannot lose here. Everyone knows that.” (That was in response to a question about a rare 1-6 season at Temple.) Wiesehan, who did not experience a losing season in his prior years at Temple, was considered by many an outstanding candidate to get the job Stan Drayton did and that’s because many current Temple players went to bat for him. Reason? He had pretty much this same talent operating on a much higher level under Geoff Collins. That would lead to the next achievement.

Three, Darvon Hubbard gains 1,000 yards and scores at least 10 touchdowns. Hubbard was a three-star Texas A&M recruit for a reason and it was because it was a state champion 100-meter guy who also maximized his carries on the high school football field in Arizona. With less than 100 carries, Hubbard had over 1,000 yards in his senior year in high school football. That’s a lot of yards per carry. If he does the same against AAC competition, the Owls more than double their run production next year. Hubbard will probably be the best transfer running back Temple has had since Montel Harris scored seven touchdowns in a single game in 2012.

Amad Anderson is definitely the best Anderson at wide receiver since Robby (celebrating with the great Temple fans here the win over Penn State) caught clutch passes at Temple in 2015.

Four, Adonicis Sanders and Amad Anderson exceed the production of Jadan Blue and Randall Jones. Sanders, who caught the game-winning touchdown pass against Duke last year, could do the same this year. Anderson was a productive starter at Purdue before coming to Temple. Their collective target? The four touchdowns and 661 yards Blue (now at Virginia Tech) and Jones combined for last year. I will bet $20 against any Temple fan at the season-ticket-holder party who wants to take me up on that.

Five, the Owls as a team get more sacks (16+) this year than they did last year (15, 105 yards in losses). North Carolina transfer Xach Gill (who didn’t play last year) is a significant upgrade inside and Layton Jordan is an improvement outside. Kentucky transfer Jerquavion Mahone (who did play last year) needs to improve on the inside and surprisingly Dyshier Clary is listed as a DE starter on the other side ahead of Darian Varner and Evan Boozer, who both have good motors. That’s pretty good DE depth.

If a team is the sum of its parts (and it is), the parts point to better production. Does that equal 2x the wins?

That’s a math question even Albert Einstein would be hard-pressed to answer but the across-the-board improvement we see in mid-July seems to support the hypothesis.

Monday: What They Are Saying …