A couple of telling storylines in Temple football schedule

The complete AAC schedule

Hard to find a Temple football schedule in recent memory with the number of storylines this recently released one has.

We’ll just cover a couple with this post. There are many more to talk about latter.

For now, we’ll concentrate on the opener–which we hope Stan Drayton’s staff is doing.

Joe Moorhead, the Akron coach, was one of those names floated for in the search for a Temple head coach after Rod Carey was fired.

We don’t know how much interest Temple had in him or Moorhead had in Temple, but we do know this:

Moorhead has experience taking a less talented team and beating a more talented Temple team. He did so in 2013 as head coach at Fordham, which probably was the most disappointing Temple football single outcome in the last 20 years.

On the other hand, a worse Temple coach–Carey–was able to beat a better Akron team, 44-24, on the road with a worse Temple quarterback (Justin Lynch) than the one the Owls have now.

This Akron team, despite last year’s 2-10, is no slouch.

It finished strong, beating a decent Northern Illinois team, 44-12, and losing, 24-22, to a Buffalo team that made a bowl game.

Temple SHOULD win, but we’ve seen too many Temple games in the last few years where Temple hasn’t won the winnable games.

That’s just one storyline.

The next week, at Rutgers, provides another.

E.J. Warner was starting his first game as a college quarterback and looked decent. He was 19-for-32 with 215 yards, adding a touchdown and an interception.

After that game, Temple head coach Stan Drayton said:

“Back in fall camp, I knew he had the potential to be a leader and a really good quarterback.

“He studies the game, he understands the game. He came into our program already knowing our offense. I knew it would be a matter of time, I didn’t know it was going to be this soon. He really earned our trust in fall camp.”

There can be no doubt, though, that Warner improved significantly in every subsequent game and against two arguably better teams than Rutgers (really, inarguably in my mind), Houston and ECU.

Look what Warner did in both of those games:

Warner had the Owls on the precipice of a big win at Houston, grabbing a 36-35 lead with 1:22 left on a touchdown pass to Zae Baines. For the day, he had 42 completions in 59 attempts for 486 yards and three touchdowns.

Against East Carolina two weeks later, he was much better throwing for five touchdowns and 527 yards in a 49-46 loss.

Both of those games, although the outcomes Temple didn’t want, provide a glimpse into the future.

Both of those teams–Houston and ECU–would have blown the doors off of Rutgers in November.

He was a much more poised, confident, quarterback in those games than he was against Rutgers.

The fact that Warner has that year under his belt and that the great majority of the Temple team returns is a clue that the Owls can get off to a 2-0 start.

If they do, the sky’s the limit for this team.

This won’t be the team that opened the season walking on eggshells in a 30-0 loss at Duke and that is the best reason why Temple fans should be excited about the schedule just released.

Monday: Temple’s offensive concepts