Coalescing A Depth Chart

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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.

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Should be starting against Villanova

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.

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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.

Above The Line

Our Lad’s Guide Takes An Early Stab At the depth chart.

If nicknames are any indication, Frank Nutile is atop the quarterback depth chart.

His new coach, Geoff Collins, gave him a sweet one by affectionately calling him “Frankie Juice” and no one knows if that affection has extended from the practice field to the film study room at the E-O.

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Probably your starting tight end.

Anthony Russo, Logan Marchi or Todd Centeio—the others competing for the job—have been given no such catchy nicknames. Yet the film room is the most important place right now because ostensibly that’s the room where both Collins and offensive coordinator Dave Patenaude are going over spring film deciding who has the lead in this four-horse race.

We will not know if Nutile or Russo or Centeio or Marchi are atop the depth chart now because, apparently, Collins does not believe in them. When asked, Collins always answers that he believes in the concept of “Above The Line.” Meaning, he said, a certain number of players are “Above The Line” that marks, in Collins’ mind whether the player is able to go out on the field and help the team in a high capacity.

Say, as a starter or full-time player.

We will probably not know until Notre Dame week what the depth chart is because that’s when Collins will be forced to release one. Game notes always include depth charts and NBC Television is probably going to want one in order to talk about Temple will some semblance of knowledge on its national broadcast on Sept. 3.

Right now, the only Owls’ depth chart on the internet is one provided by Our Lad’s Guide, an outfit based in San Diego run by former Philadelphia Eagles’ radio producer Bill Werndl. Of course, it’s a guessing game based on factors like last year’s playing time but Werndl provides some educated guesses.

He has Logan “No Nickname” Marchi beating out Nutile for the top job and Ventell Bryant, Brodrick Yancy and Keith Kirkwood as the wide receivers. My guess is that Russo eventually wins the job, maybe not by the Notre Dame game, but probably for the bulk of the season. I don’t think Yancy beats out Isaiah Wright at slot receiver and it is somewhat surprising to see Adonis Jennings listed as second team. He has nobody listed as the first- or second-team tight ends. So we will go with Chris Myarick and Kenny Yeboah as first- and second-teamers there now.

The  offensive line starters appear to be logical.

There are more than a few clerical errors. Among them, Nick Sharga, listed as the starting fullback, is noted as a “redshirt junior” when, in reality, he is a redshirt senior. Marchi is a redshirt sophomore, not a redshirt freshman.

All of the players mentioned here are presumably “Above The Line” and that’s all we need to know for now.

Meanwhile, we’re accepting nickname suggestions for Russo, Centeio and Marchi.

Wednesday: Our Defensive Depth Chart

Friday: The True Temple Legends

 

Thoughts on the Depth Chart

Temple wide receiver John Christopher (7) stiff-arms first-round NFL draft choice Byron Jones (16)

Temple wide receiver John Christopher (7) stiff-arms first-round NFL draft choice Byron Jones (16), whose world record in the broad jump could not stop this completion. Christopher earned one of the three starting WR spots.

Not very many surprises on the depth chart except for maybe the emergence of Ryquell Armstead at the running back position.

If there’s one thing the Owls have lacked since Montel Harris’ brief but meteoric appearance is straight-line speed and Armstead, who runs a 10.8 100-meter dash, certainly has that. A 10.8 would tie him as the fastest running back in Temple history. (Back when Paul Palmer played, the dashes were 100 yards.)

Armstead will not get caught from behind, let’s put it that way. He’s still behind Jahad Thomas on the depth chart. Maybe we’ll see Thomas, who got a No. 5 for toughness, lead blocking for Armstead. As they say about chicken soup and the cold, it couldn’t hurt.

Here’s the offensive depth chart:

LT 66 Dion Dawkins ……………………….(6-5, 318, Jr)
74 James McHale………………………(6-6, 300, r-Fr)
LG 75 Shahbaz Ahmed …………………..(6-3, 305, Sr)
70 Jovahn Fair…………………………..(6-3, 300, Fr)
C 79 Kyle Friend ………………………….(6-2, 305, Sr)
68 Brendan McGowan ………………(6-4, 300, r-Jr)
RG 55 Brian Carter …………………………(6-3, 309, r-So)
52 Eric Lofton …………………………..(6-5, 302, r-Sr)
67 Semaj Reed ………………………….(6-6, 305, r-So)
RT 53 Leon Johnson……………………….(6-6, 320, r-So)
77 Jaelin Robinson …………………….(6-6, 319, r-Fr)
TE 86 Colin Thompson……………………(6-4, 250, r-Jr)
80 Kip Patton ……………………………(6-4, 241, r-Fr)
WR 19 Robby Anderson …………………..(6-3, 190, r-Sr)
10 Samuel Benjamin …………………(6-0, 200, r-Jr)
17 Brandon Shippen ………………….(5-11, 191, Sr)
WR 84 Romond Deloatch …………………(6-4, 214, r-Jr)
88 Adonis Jennings ……………………6-3, 190, So)
87 Ventell Bryant ………………………(6-3, 181, r-Fr)
WR 7 John Christopher ………………….(5-11, 189, r-Sr)
15 Brodrick Yancy ……………………..(5-11, 187, So)
QB 11 P.J. Walker …………………………..(6-1, 200, Jr)
18 Frank Nutile …………………………(6-4, 219, r-Fr)
RB 5 Jahad Thomas ………………………(5-10, 180, Jr)
25 Ryquell Armstead………………….(5-11, 205, Fr)

You did not have to have the intelligence of Stephen Hawking to know it was going to be tough to break into the starting lineup on the defense, but I think Nate D. Smith is probably going to be the best pure pass rusher we’ve seen at Temple since Adrian Robinson. Speaking of Arob, great to see No. 43, Averee Robinson, break into the starting lineup.  Temple would is now doing what I thought it should do all along with him, go 5-2 and play him at nose to fully utilize the gap leverage of a three-time large school heavyweight state wrestling champion. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Tavon Young returning punts. (Even though he’s the backup, I hope he works his way into the lineup as the starting punt returner.) He could be the best punt returner at Temple since another Young, Anthony.

Here’s the Defensive Depth Chart: 

DE 35 Nate D. Smith……………………….(6-0, 236, r-Sr)
56 Sharif Finch ………………………….(6-4, 257, Jr)
DT 9 Matt Ioannidis ……………………..(6-4, 292, Sr)
99 Freddie Booth-Lloyd ……………..(6-1, 315, r-Fr)
NT 43 Averee Robinson ………………….(6-1, 285, Jr
72 Hershey Walton ……………………(6-4, 314, r-Sr))
DE 58 Haason Reddick ……………………(6-1, 225, r-Jr)
91 Jacob Martin ………………………..(6-3, 231, So)
WLB 8 Tyler Matakevich ………………….(6-1, 232, Sr)
22 Chapelle Russell……………………(6-1, 214, Fr)
MLB 41 Jarred Alwan ………………………..(6-1, 237, Jr)
90 Nick Sharga …………………………(6-2, 240, r-So)
SLB 2 Avery Williams ……………………..(5-10, 200, r-Jr)
OR 6 Stephaun Marshall ……………….(5-11, 203, r-Jr)
CB 3 Sean Chandler ……………………..(5-11, 185, So)
16 Artrel Foster ………………………..(6-0, 186, r-So)
CB 1 Tavon Young ………………………..(5-10, 180, Sr)
15 Nate Hairston……………………….(6-0, 193, r-Jr)
FS 21 Alex Wells ……………………………(6-0, 203, Sr)
13 Nate L. Smith ……………………….(6-1, 188, r-Jr)
SS 32 Will Hayes ……………………………(5-9, 192, r-Sr)
37 Boye Aromire……………………….(6-0, 206, r-Sr)

PK 29 Austin Jones ……………………….(5-10, 196, So)
95 Tyler Mayes ………………………..(6-2, 204, r-Sr)
P 43 Alex Starzyk…………………………(6-3, 213, So)
95 Tyler Mayes…………………………(6-2, 204, r-Sr)
KO 29 Austin Jones ……………………….(5-10, 196, So)
95 Tyler Mayes…………………………(6-2, 204, r-Sr)
H 20 Tom Bradway ………………………(5-10, 190, r-So)
7 John Christopher …………………(5-11, 189, r-Sr)
LS 59 Corey Lerch …………………………(5-10, 200, So)
57 Josh Lang…………………………….(6-2, 210, r-So)
PR 19 Robby Anderson…………………..(6-3, 190, r-Sr)
1 Tavon Young ………………………..(5-10, 180, Sr)
KOR 5 Jahad Thomas …………………….(5-10, 180, Jr)
88 Adonis Jennings ……………………6-3, 190, So)