What the Eagles’ draft taught Temple football

The sky is blue. The earth is round. Men were actually on the moon in 1969 and the Japanese (not the Germans) attacked Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941.

Those are accepted undisputed facts among reasonable people.

This week, another accepted fact came to light that everyone I checked on agreed upon:

The Philadelphia Eagles won the NFL draft.

I watched ESPN, the NFL Network and Fox Sports, and every single one of the experts on those networks being paid handsomely to comment on it agreed unanimously. The Eagles schooled the league. I did not delve into all of the fan sites on Youtube but I saw enough.

Being in Philadelphia, the Temple football coaches must’ve seen the same thing.

It’s almost a miracle for Temple that someone this good is still in the portal. The question is: Does Temple realize it?

Delving into the why, almost all agreed it was because Eagles’ GM Howie Roseman schemed the draft by studying it and mastering a plan to make the most of it.

The lesson for Temple football is not to hire Howie Roseman to navigate the transfer portal but to employ a guy who knows how to navigate it and grab players still available in it who can help Temple.

A “Howie Roseman of the transfer portal” if you will.

Now I don’t think Temple head coach Stan Drayton is that guy. I don’t think he wants to be. I don’t think he should.

Yet I’m guessing there a “that guy” out there and if Temple finds him, Temple football gets a leg up on the competition.

The Owls need a matchmaker who can convince players in areas of need Temple has that Temple will love him and he will love them.

Put it this way.

You don’t have to be a Howie Roseman to know that former Liberty running back Dae Dae Hunter is still in the portal. The guy has an FBS resume that at least doubles that of any running back in the program, by all accounts is a good guy and can (with quarterback E.J. Warner) turn the Lincoln Financial Field scoreboard into an adding machine.

Right now, the Owls are going into the season with the worst running game in the nation last year and their only significant FBS addition (E.J. Wilson,, FIU) had HALF the numbers of Temple’s best running back, Edward Saydee, a year ago.

Those numbers don’t add up for Temple success in 2023. Howie Roseman figured the Eagles’ numbers out and came up with a winning formula.

A “Howie Roseman of Temple” would probably be the best hire the program can make now to guide the Temple football ship through these new uncharted waters.

Monday: Temple’s New Cockiest Foe


A Homecoming Formula that might work

Atari was just launched. New York City had a blackout that lasted 25 hours. Elvis Presley died.

Before the last two Homecomings, yes it had been that long (1977) since Temple hosted a winning team on Homecoming Day.

A lot of losing foes visited Temple on Homecomings before the last couple.

Two times the visiting team was Rutgers. In 2021, it was Memphis. Last year, the Scarlet Knights came in with a 3-1 record. They didn’t finish with a winning record but they escaped Philadelphia with a 16-14 win when E.J. Warner was just getting used to the speed of college football.

Before that, the Rutgers’ team that Temple beat in 1977 was the only other winning team that came to town for Temple’s Homecoming. Temple won, 24-14, that day and RU finished its season at 8-3 with the other losses coming to 10-1 Colgate (yes, Colgate) and an 11-1 Penn State team.

There are reasons for that and the scheduling philosophy not only at Temple but at “most” schools is to schedule a so-called cupcake so that all of those alumni who only come to one football game per year could depart with a feel-good win and maybe some incentive to come back for another game or two that wasn’t Homecoming.

Temple athletic director Arthur Johnson bucked that trend last year by scheduling a Big 10 team and he is apparently bucking it now.

The reasoning seems to be that since this is Temple’s biggest home crowd of every season–there are usually roughly 10,000 or so Temple fans for that game than any other home game–is that the reward is greater than the risk.

That thinking comes into play this year as well. First-year AAC member UTSA is coming to town as one of the league favorites with one of the best quarterbacks in the country, Frank Walker.

If a big crowd helps boost the Owls to a meaningful league win, all the better.

Even though the Owls lost to Rutgers last year, Temple’s reputation on the national stage was served well by that game. The stands looked pretty full and it was apparent that the Owls had the big advantage in the number of fans and the loudness of the crowd. Rutgers’ fans admitted as much.

All that was missing was the win.

IF the Owls can pull of the upset of UTSA on Oct. 7, give a large part of the credit to Johnson.

Friday: What The Eagles Draft Taught Temple

College football: A great story for 60 Minutes

Found a gem on one of the message boards the other day.

Guy talked about the schism between the haves and the have-nots and said what a wonderful story the current college football saga would make for a 60 minutes segment.

Last week, I watched a story about a guy who some feel “instigated” the Jan. 6, 2021 riot at the Capitol.

Nice story but nowhere near as compelling as what is ripping apart college football at the seems and no one seems to care about it.

To me, the “big story” on Action News (err, national news) is not the unfairness of the current system for at least half the FBS schools or how the field is tilted toward the schools who already have the most at the expense of the schools who have the least.

It’s about how the PLAYERS themselves are getting screwed the most in a system that ostensibly is designed to benefit them.

Nobody talks about that side of the story.

It’s an important side. The nation needs to know. In the 2021 transfer portal, 1,074 student-athletes entered the football end of it. Only 299 received scholarships. The other 72 percent DID NOT HAVE A HOME. Those percentages have not changed much after the 2022 season.

That’s important because a lot of these kids who enter have stars in their eyes and most of them end up holding an empty bag.

It’s a message Temple head football coach Stan Drayton should be drilling into his Owls at every team meeting.

“You might think you are great but the facts are that if 10 of you enter the portal tomorrow, seven of you will be giving up a full-time scholarship and getting nothing in return. That’s not me saying it. Those are the hard, real, numbers.”

Hopefully, Drayton has already hammered that message home. The signs are there. He’s done a great job keeping this team together.

That’s a local audience.

This message really needs a national one.

To me, a Sunday night segment on 60 Minutes might reach more college athletes than any other vehicle.

The madness has to stop and there is no sign that the greedy Power 5 is going to stop it.

Maybe convincing the players themselves that they are on the short end of this Ponzi scheme will be an unexpected way to restore some sanity to the game.

Monday: Scheduling Patterns

Rising Stock for 5 Temple Owls

By now, everyone knows who the key players will be for the 2023 Temple football Owls.

The names roll off your tongue like quarterback E.J. Warner, wide receivers Dante Wright, tight ends David Martin-Robinson and Jordan Smith, and defenders like corner Jalen McMurray and hybrid DE/LB Layton Jordan.

All of those guys are poised for stardom.

From what we hear, at least five guys who weren’t previously on the radar used the spring to raise their own stock and some of the names are surprising.

Dwan Mathis, WR _ Went through growing pains as a wide receiver last year and at times looked disinterested. No more. Even the defensive coaches are noticing. New DC Everett Withers said that Mathis was the one Temple player who stood out to him the most. “I even told him that,” Withers said. “I’m proud of you.” Mathis always had athletic ability. Anyone who catches a touchdown pass (as a quarterback no less) in the Georgia spring game (as Mathis did) shows that ability. Now all he has to do is catch a couple in a real game and he could be a big factor for Temple in 2023.

Dwan Mathis has been all smiles this spring and that has to make Temple fans happy.

Landon Morris TE _ A transfer from Utah, Morris caught at 10-yard touchdown pass in the spring game from Warner. That’s a position of strength for the Owls with DMR and Smith but Morris certainly showed ability by making a defender miss and getting to the end zone.

Sam Martin, SAF _ Martin was a big-time running back in high school but switched over to defense last year. He was really the only player to show any ability on kickoff returns and might be pressed into service in that area if the Owls are reluctant to use Wright on returns. In the spring game, he intercepted Warner.

Camden Price, K _ Price grabbed the job from Rory Bell last season and has shown no signs of giving it up. In the spring game, he made all three extra points and field goals from 41, 25 and 22 yards without a miss. How sweet would it be for the former Miami Hurricane kicker to nail the game-winner against the Hurricanes at Lincoln Financial Field this year?

Dante Alton, P _ Averaged 42.5 yards on two punts and appears to be a solid replacement for fellow Australian Mackenzie Morgan.

Since the spring game, the Temple coaches have been hitting the portal and don’t put it past them that another newcomer we don’t know about now will have the kind of spring that puts them on the radar.

Friday: A Must Story that the National Media has Missed

Monday: A Scheduling Pattern Has Been Detected

Giving up the season tickets not a hard decision now

This was the team that convinced me to purchase Temple season tickets

Sitting in the press box at Giants Stadium watching Temple dismantle a good California Bears team, I made an impulsive decision.

Although I covered Temple football for Calkins Newspapers at the time (Bucks County Courier-Times, Doylestown Intelligencer and Burlington County Times), I decided to buy at least one season ticket a year (most years two) and donate them to friends who might be interested in attending a game. (I had them as a student but gave them up after graduation.)

The 1979 team convinced me to pick them up again.

I would use them in the unlikely event that my editor didn’t want a game story that week.

That tradition continued for the next 42 years when I moved from Calkins to The Inquirer where I covered high school sports and to my semi-retirement now. There were good years, like the two in the 1980s when Paul Palmer and Bruce Arians led the Owls to winning seasons against the 10th-toughest schedule in the nation and the 1990 season when the Owls went 7-4.

Then a long run of bad years followed, including a couple of 20-game losing streaks. Through it all, I remained a season-ticket holder.

Not this year.

“Even after Hardin landed at Temple, Belichick continued to pay close attention to the coach’s methods. In 1979, when the Owls took on heavily-favored Cal in the Garden State Bowl at Giants Stadium, Belichick was in attendance. The Giants special-teams coach at the time, Belichick sat with then Giants assistant Ernie Adams, who now works alongside Belichick as the football research director for the Patriots. “The pair of young and talented football minds were completely baffled as they watched Hardin toy with Cal’s linebackers, who were taught to read the guards in front of them.” _ Phil Perry, NBC Sports

Got a call from my “season ticket representative” who said, “Mike, we just want to know if you want to keep your season tickets because we are going to release them if we don’t hear from you.”

Release them, I said.

It wasn’t a hard decision for a couple of reasons.

One, last year when I renewed I got a notice saying that if I wanted to keep my seat at the end of the row that I would have to purchase the adjoining seat.


I sat there and stared at the screen for an hour and thought I’ve been sitting at the end of a row for 41 years for the price of one ticket and didn’t want to double my investment to keep the same seat.

I clicked “yes” only because I felt that Temple did a very “un-Temple” thing of firing Rod Carey and, if the uni could make that investment, I could double my investment in the program.

No more.

Mark Bright, the MVP of the Garden Sate Bowl, was one of the best fullbacks in Temple history.

After talking to a few people this past season, I found out that I could keep an end seat if I purchased on a game-to-game basis and that’s just what I’m going to do.

I’ll still make the games. Temple will still get my money but I will no longer be paying for an empty seat.

The other reason Temple has one less (probably more) season ticket holder is that the game has changed and not for the better.

Back when I first sat in my first season ticket seat, I was following my favorite Owls for four years. On Senior Day, I made sure to be inside the stadium when they were being honored.

Now I don’t know who is with us or against us and it’s not a good feeling.

I don’t know who is going to show up on Senior Day.

I don’t even know if a single-digit Temple player will remain a Temple player.

To me, this isn’t the college football I signed up for 42 years ago.

Until some semblance of sanity is restored, ending a long season-ticket affiliation is the only form of protest I have.

I don’t think I’m the only Temple fan who feels this way. I have a suspicion that there are thousands of fans of similar teams like Temple whose only form of protest is with their wallet. I don’t blame a single one of them.

Hard for anyone who made a 42-plus-year commitment to one team to understand how others can’t make even a four-year one.

Monday: Stock Rising

College football has a communications problem

Most of us now know why the transfer portal and the Name Likeness and Image models were created.

The first reason was that since coaches could move anywhere anytime they wanted, the players should, too. The second was that if the colleges could earn money off the players, the players should be able to earn money off the colleges.

Sounds reasonable but what has been the end result?

The rich (big-time powers) become richer and the poor (Group of Five) poorer.

It’s not a sustainable model.

A little socialism could probably kill all the current ills of college football

What college football has now is a failure to communicate, as they said in the movie Cool Hand Luke.

There is no “trickle-down economics” in what is happening now. The top one percent take the top players and coaches from the bottom 99 percent and screw the 99 percent.

If it sounds to you like a business where 99 percent don’t succeed and only one percent do can continue like this forever, you failed Sam Wilson’s Economic 101 class at Temple.

Somewhere only the line somebody (maybe Congress) is going to have to address the needs of the bottom 99 percent of this business model and provide some guardrails or this whole sport drives right off the ravine and the entire vehicle explodes.

Already, we’ve seen top coaches leave places like Temple for Baylor or Memphis for FSU.

Now the players are doing the same.

Who is next to leave?

The fans.

It won’t be the fans of the rich schools. It will be the fans of the poorer ones.

Fans at places like Temple and Memphis are sick to death of this cycle and cannot be expected to do things like renew season tickets. Players all over college football look around the locker room and see that some of them are making money, while others are not. If the fans of the 99 percent slowly trickle away, the one percent will also have nothing worth playing for.

We’re not just talking about the Group of Five. We’re also talking about P5 schools who have been negatively impacted and will continue to be. Pitt, for example, recruited and developed the Fred Biletnikoff award-winner as the best receiver in the nation only to see him leave for USC (where he did not become a repeat winner). Other lesser examples are out there. They will continue to multiply unless sanity is restored.

What’s the solution?

While Venezuela-style socialism doesn’t work for the economy there, it certainly would work for college football here.

Pool all of the P5 and G5 college football TV money into one pile, and give an equal 50/50 split to the schools and also to every single scholarship player. Nobody at a P5 school makes more than a G5 school and there is no jealousy in any locker room among the players.

That’s a King Solomon-style solution. Split the baby. Make everyone happy.

It would cut down on movement between the schools, and jealousy in the locker room, and give the 131st-ranked team a chance to compete with the No. 1 team.

If that’s too fair for the haves and they continue to screw the have-nots, say goodbye to the sport as we know it.

The big-time schools don’t seem to see that the light at the end of that tunnel is an oncoming train that will run over them eventually. Somebody needs to communicate to the Presidents and BOTs everywhere that is the reality.

Friday: A 42-year-run ends

Bowl or Bust for Owls is a minimum expectation

In a perfect off-season Temple football world, Stan Drayton would have convinced Carson Steele to make the jump from Ball State to the Owls and he would have given currently unemployed defensive coordinator Chuck Heater the same job at Temple.

Off and running, at least in my opinion, toward a POSSIBLE American Athletic Conference championship on Dec. 2, 2023, at Lincoln Financial Field.

I make a slight cameo in here way in the background (fortunately).

Honestly cannot have those expectations now because at least in those two areas the Owls came up short in the planning and hiring departments.

In the last six years where Heater was a sole DC, his defenses held opponents under 20 points per game. In the same six years as a sole DC, Drayton’s hire–buddy Everett Withers–allowed opposing offenses over 30 points a game.

Big difference.

Bigger difference is in the running game, though.

Instead of adding one of the 21 portal players who were 1,000-yard running backs, the Owls went for a guy from a worse team, FIU, who had half the yards of their own Edward Saydee. In case you missed it, the Owls were 131st in run-game efficiency and Saydee was their No. 1 back.

There are only 131 teams in FBS football and, after that, that’s where the FCS starts.

Not good.

Terrible, in fact.

Couldn’t be worse.


E.J. Wilson was that guy and I think Saydee will hold off that challenge and keep his job. Steele would have taken it.

Steele went to UCLA and another 1,000-yard back, Sean Tyler (Western Michigan), committed to Minnesota. Despite those being two P5 teams, I really that Temple could have convinced one to come East due to the fact that Drayton is a Running Game whisperer and the Owls really, really needed a stud running back. (UCLA and Minny didn’t have anywhere near the same need.)

Adding a Heater and a Steele would have gotten me pumped about an AAC title run for the Owls. Add both and I put money on it.

I’ve recalibrated my expectations just a little. It’s not championship or bust but bowl game or bust. If this team doesn’t win at least six games, I fear for the future of the sport at Temple.

I think one of the new AAC teams (UTSA or UAB) or even holdover Memphis or ECU are way more likely than the Owls to win the title this season.

Prove me wrong, Stan.

One of those “prove me wrong games” will come Oct. 7, when UTSA with quarterback Frank Walker is in Philly to play Temple and quarterback E.J. Warner in Homecoming Game guaranteed to sell over 30,000 tickets.

Win that game and the Owls might surprise everyone.

Still, the reason it’s bowl or bust is this.

One, you are coming off a 3-9 season that was twice as good as the prior 3-9 season from a competitive standpoint.

Two, you did a much better job keeping players than most of your league competitors.

Three, your schedule is the third-easiest one in all of FBS football.

All of those factors add up to at least six wins, hopefully, more.

If the Owls shock the world and host the AAC title game at the Linc, not getting that big-time running back or big-time DC would not have mattered.

Nothing would make me happier.

Or, really, any Owl fan.

Monday: How to Fix College Football

Friday: A 42-year run comes to an end

Plenty of things to like at Cherry and White

Former Temple running back Marc Baxter (here with former TU LB Bobby Harrington), wins the best Temple swag award at this year’s tailgate. I asked Marc where he got the shirt and he said at the Temple bookstore and that it was a Temple ice hockey shirt. (Photos courtesy of Bobby Harrington)

Every good story needs a protagonist and antagonist and, after arriving about three hours early for the Cherry and White game, I did a lot of looking for both.

Having found none 2 1/2 hours in, I entered the Edberg-Olson Football Complex, sat down with my bag of Temple swag (everyone knows Cherry and White is the best place to get Temple stuff), looked at my watch and found out the game was a half-hour away.

That was still time to find an antagonist so I carried my Temple swag bag back to my car to put it in the trunk (I missed the train so decided to drive and parked the car on Broad Street) and used the half-hour to walk through campus.

I was hoping to find the same police presence throughout the rest of the campus that existed around the E-O (plenty of security at 10th and Diamond). Fortunately, the rest of the campus was more locked down than I’ve seen it in the last five years.

The new “Senior Leadership Team” appears to be serious about safety on campus and that’s a good sign.

Still, couldn’t find a single bad guy as Joe Greenwood’s tailgate was kicking it strong.

Walked back to the game and found my antagonist: The game itself.

Sitting there in the far end zone I realized how far the “football experience” of Cherry and White has fallen since I first started going to this game at old Temple Stadium in the 1970s.

Back then, there was one team (The Cherry) against another team (The White) and it was a real game with four quarters, the first-team offense playing against a second-team defense and a first-team defense playing against a second-team offense. Touchdowns were six points, an extra point was one, a field goal was three, and a safety was two.

You know, like a regular game. None of this new math.

Seemed fair to me.

Cherry and White was a little colder than usual and that kept the crowd in the 2,000-people range, about 2/3rds of the usual size.

Four quarters. The team that scored the most won.

Now, ostensibly for the reason of “avoiding injuries,” the game is broken up into something only slightly resembling real football.

If you can figure out who won with this criteria, you were a math major:

Touchdown = 6 points
Field Goal = 3 points
2-point Conversion = 2 points
Extra Point = 1 point
Explosive Play (Run of 12+ yards/Pass of 18+ yards) = 3 points
Two or more first downs on a drive = 1 point

Three and Out = 1 point
Sack = 2 points
Missed Field Goal = 3 points
Turnover = 3 points
4th Down Stop or 2-point Conversion Stop = 3 points
Defensive Touchdown = 6 points
TFL = 1 point
Stopped Drive = 1 point

5-yard penalty = -1 point
10-yard penalty = -2 points
15-yard penalty = -4 points

Adding all that up, the Cherry offense beat the White defense, 65-28.

I wonder if any team in college football plays a real game anymore in the spring? I doubt it.

Those concerns never existed in the 1970s and 1980s when the two greatest Temple players, Joe Klecko on defense, and Paul Palmer on offense, never missed a game as a result of spring practice participation.

Only now it’s a concern and I think it’s an overblown one. We haven’t seen a “real game” (with kickoff and punt returns) since Al Golden’s second season and that was in April of 2007, some 16 years ago.

I realized that I’ve been to this game in Mount Airy, South Philadelphia, Ambler, and three spots on Temple’s campus (I did not make the one time the game was at Cardinal O’Hara). Always a great time with great people and great food and even better music (thanks to the DJ).

Despite the “glorified practice” I came out of there thinking Temple hasn’t had this much talent in at least half a decade. Are there concerns? Certainly two come to mind: The running game doesn’t have a bonafide stud like Bernard Pierce, Jahad Thomas or Ryquell Armstead. The new defensive coordinator, Everett Withers, while a great friend of head coach Stan Drayton, doesn’t have a good record in places where his sole job was DC. From a player standpoint, the Owls have talent pretty much everywhere else.

Owls have always looked good playing against the Owls. In a few months, playing the bad guys starts. For the first time in five years, I feel sorry for the bad guys.

They are the real antagonists and that story is yet to be written.

Friday: Why it’s Bowl or Bust?

Cherry and White: Bowl Game or Bust

Temple did not top Harvard in the national rankings but at least got the photo in this MSN article on Thursday.

Mentioned to my neighbor the other day that I was headed to the Cherry and White Game at Temple University this Saturday.

“Duck and cover,” he said.

“Ha, ha,” I said.

We both grew up in the Cold War Era when that was the way to avoid getting killed in a Nuclear Strike: Duck under the grade school desk, cover your head with your arms and you were going to be OK.

Duck and cover indeed.

We both knew–I think even as 10-year-olds–that a nuclear bomb would blow us away even though that Formica tabletop was over our heads.

We got through that.

A former Temple head coach visited the E-O the other day and here he is with the great Nadia Harvin, in my humble opinion a true Temple treasure. Got to give the guy credit. He’s one of only three bowl-winning head coaches in Temple history (Wayne Hardin, Steve Addazio and him). Full disclosure: Geoff wasn’t thinking of me, he was thinking of official team photographer Zamani Feelings, who this photo is courtesy of … (Selfie by Geoff Collins himself)

Hopefully, I will get through this.

(If there is no post on Monday, you will know why.)

I will say that’s one of the things I’m looking for tomorrow. While I have felt safe going to the last two or three Cherry and White games, I have definitely not felt safe going home from them. The Temple University train station is only one a city block away from the game site but the police presence stopped at 11th and Berks and which was a half-block away. The kids and adults need to see a police presence in the train station itself and if they do tomorrow it will be a sign that the “senior leadership group” is serious about safety. Temple police, not city ones, should be on that platform between 5 and 7 tomorrow night.

Period, end of story.

Other than that, we were going to talk about in this space the five guys to watch until we heard one of those guys (tight end Jordan Smith) was on crutches. Smith is an explosive player as is his fellow tight end, David Martin-Robinson.

So if we were to name five guys to watch for Temple he’d be on that list, with DMR, E.J.Warner, transfer portal wide out Dante Wright, DE Layton Jordan and DB Jalen McMurray.

Rip that idea up and throw it away because who knows who was on crutches yesterday, will be on crutches tomorrow, and will be on crutches after the game.

All we know is that Cherry and White is the first step to a “Bowl Game or Bust” season.

Temple, with an inspirational head coach in Stan Drayton, a mostly intact returning team, some great portal transfers and playing against a 131st-ranked schedule, needs to set the standard for winning here.

I feel like Warner has a chance and it’s not a small chance to be the best quarterback in the country. He’s got the “it” factor we haven’t seen here since the days of P.J. Walker and Adam DiMichele.

Just win, baby.

No more excuses.

Monday: What we saw at Cherry and White

Friday: Why it’s bowl or bust

Cherry and White: It’s going to be a show

Near the two-thirds part of this interview (conducted Saturday), Stan Drayton talks about the transfer portal.

To be a fly on the wall of the Edberg-Olson Football Complex and hear what the Temple football coaches really think about the recent changes in college football would be a fascinating experience.

My guess and it’s only that is a lot of the guys who were here for the success under Al Golden, Matt Rhule and Geoff Collins are cursing the transfer portal and the NIL rules but they are living with it.

Dick Vermeil stopped by practice on Saturday and took the opportunity to hug the son of a quarterback who won the Super Bowl for him. (Photo from Temple football’s twitter page)

Others, like long-time defensive coordinator D.J. Eliot, probably had enough of the college game and left for the NFL where there is no such red tape.

Meanwhile, the show must go on and the next viewing of the Temple football Owls will be on Saturday, April 8, 3 p.m. on campus.

Head coach Stan Drayton has done what I think is a remarkable job keeping most of the team together for a run at the AAC title, if not this year, then next.

Had this been, say, the last guy there is no doubt that half the team would have left.

What do we know now about the team is that Drayton hasn’t been pleased with the tackling so far on defense but the run game has looked a lot better than we expected. Maybe one has something to do with the other.

We probably won’t know a whole lot about the Owls even after the spring game but we do know that Drayton wasn’t pleased with the quarterback room after spring ball last year and went out and acquired a former P5 starter, Virginia Tech’s Quency Patterson. The Owls are down to three scholarship quarterbacks but I guess, in a pinch, former 4* recruit Dwan Mathis can be moved over from wide receiver.

We should know by Saturday if the running game is really improved or that Drayton feels the need and gets a former P5 starter at RB, if one indeed becomes available. The Owls will enter this season knowing they have one of the best quarterbacks in the country in E.J. Warner, a guy who definitely has the “it” factor. They have guys with similar ability at wide receiver, defensive end and pass rusher so the known factor going into this season is a plus.

Meanwhile, the team itself showed significant improvement over the last dozen months and if that improvement is the same a winning season should be the minimum expectation.

Friday: 5 Cherry and White Players to Watch