It’s hard to get a bunch of guys who played for Temple over different eras to agree on one thing.
There is a big tailgate hosted by arguably the greatest (or second) best linebacker in Temple history, Steve Conjar, and the big topic of the home opener a year ago was Geoff Collins’ abstract “Above The Line” Concept.
There were about 50 ex-Owls there.
No one liked it.
These guys disagree on a lot of things from politics to fashion to music but they all agreed on one thing.
Traditional depth charts were a good thing, not a bad one.
Another ex-Temple linebacker who was good enough to play for the Philadelphia Eagles, probably put it best.
“I was a walk-on,” he said. “Seeing my name third on the depth chart did nothing but motivate me to get better. This above the line thing is garbage.”
There are 127 teams that play FBS football and 126 of them have traditional depth charts with at least a projected first and second team. Temple is the only one with an “above the line” concept. It’s an abstract thing, like The Deep State, but Collins is stubbornly sticking with it for a second-straight season.
That makes it hard for us to follow the team closely to get a handle on important things like depth, but to coalesce a depth chart is an important exercise a week before the opener.
From interviews, we can tell you this much:
On offense, Frank Nutile will be the starter at quarterback and Anthony Russo is No. 2. Ryquell Armstead will be the tailback, followed by Jager Gardner. The starting wide receivers will be Isaiah Wright and Ventell Bryant with another veteran, Brodrick Yancy, getting a lot of playing time along with camp phenom Brandon Mack (Cheltenham).
The center is Rimington Watch List candidate Matt Henessey
According to offensive line coach Chris Wiesenhan, the other starters are LT Isaac Moore, LG Jovahn Fair, RG James McHale and RT Jaelin Robinson. Vince Picozzi, a starter at guard last year from Lansdale Catholic, is banged up but should play. Moore, a true freshman, is the surprise.
On defense, the line starters look like last year’s sack leader, Quincy Roche, with Dan Archibong at the other end and Michael Dogbe, Karaomo Diaboute and Freddy Booth-Lloyd in the middle.
The linebackers look like Shaun Bradley, Chapelle Russell and Todd Jones and the safeties are Rodney Williams (a transfer from Syracuse) and Delvon Randall, a potential first-round draft choice.
Lynwood Crump Jr. has nailed down one corner spot with a single-digit guy, Rock Ya-Sin, getting the other corner. Collins said the corners and safeties are “five deep each” with three guys at each spot who could start “for a lot of teams in this league.”
If he’s right, and he sees a lot more of the Owls than we do, this could be a ridiculously good team.
One of these days, though, we and a lot of ex-Owls, would like to see a true depth chart. If we see an nuclear-type spanking of Villanova, though, we’re fine with above the line for now.
My guess is that the rest of the ex-players who hated it a year ago almost to the day would probably grudgingly agree.