Temple Football: Hope springs eternal

Fall football is the main course, complete with the mashed potatoes, meat and all the sides like tailgating Temple fans have come to know and love.

Spring football is an acquired taste, more like an appetizer than a full meal.

Fans starving for football love both and, for Temple fans, the menu changes starting this morning when the Owls begin a month of drills at the $17 million Edberg Olson Football Complex.

People ask me why I occasionally throw in the price tag of something that started as a significant $7 million investment in 2003 and included a $10 million add-on in 2011.


The $10 million addition to the E-O under construction in 2010.

That kind of investment shows the commitment from the top on down at Temple to a winning football program from the Board of Trustees. There are not many current AAC practice facilities better than Temple’s if you include the indoor one at 15th and Montgomery. Add a $200 million commitment to building a football stadium on campus the Temple brass appears all-in on football.

What has happened since the neighbors pushed back three years ago today in a March meeting that was more madness than the NCAA tournament was troubling but the fact that the face of Temple leadership now more reflects the face of the community is a sign that those at the top understand the goals remain unchanged.

Now the football part.

Temple needs to win this year.

You and I and everyone who follows the program know that.

The $17 million (err, $217 million) question is whether the old guy has set things so far back that the new guy can’t make an impact his first year.

That won’t be answered in the next month, but some clues should give an insight into the future.

To me, the biggest key to winning in football is protecting your quarterback and putting the other guy’s quarterback on his ass and Temple did a piss-poor job in both areas last year and, if there is a No. 1 goal of this coaching staff in the next four weeks, it is fixing both.

To me, “simulated pressures” won’t get the second task done but D.J. Eliot deserves a chance to show that philosophy leads to real pressures.

Offensively, the Owls have some talent on the line and should be better able to protect the quarterback if they establish a running game first. Darvon Hubbard and Iverson Clement following an experienced line gives them the chance to do that. Under the last guy, the scheme to run the football behind guys who didn’t have the speed to break a long run was a failed philosophy.

New philosophies will be in place starting today. If there is a real Cherry and White game on April 9 with hitting and long runs, that will be a good sign that Temple TUFF is back.

Light a candle and pray those changes will be obvious once we see a real Cherry and White game for the first time since 2018.

Monday: 5 Newcomers to Watch


Temple football’s moving parts

NCAA Football: Florida at Miami

Scott Patchan was available for Temple until six days ago, when he decided to join Steve Addazio and Todd Centeio at Colorado State. At least Daz seems to have mastered the portal.

While the Temple football Owls could have replaced Don Bosco (and Temple) grad Matt Hennessy and AAC Player of the Year Quincy Roche with a couple of standouts from this year’s opponents in the portal, Rod Carey has decided to move some chess pieces he already had to replace the ones he lost.

According to OwlsDaily.com, the Temple head coach has moved tackle Adam Klein to center.  That makes right tackle, a position of strength, weaker. Since Hennessy is an NFL player, that also means center is weaker.

It also doesn’t do much for your depth chart.


Not much depth, but Owls will have the best coaching sweatshirt in the league.

Seems to me that getting Mike Maietti, another Don Bosco guy who made 33 Big 10 starters for Rutgers, would have stabilized the center position and allowed Klein to progress at right tackle, but that might be injecting too much logic into the planning.

As far as Quincy Roche’s replacement goes, Carey seems to be putting all of his eggs into the Emmanuel Walker basket. Walker played in five games for Wake Forest in a three-year career. Scott Patchan, who was still in the portal until six days ago, started 19 games for the Hurricanes and had 5.5 sacks last year. He probably would have relished the opportunity to outperform Roche in the Sept. 5 opener at Hard Rock Stadium but he, like Maietti, is water under the dam now.


Since the Owls also lost Dana Levine and Zack Mesday, who started a lot of games, they are also thin on the other side with only Arnold Ebiteke having extensive playing time at the other end.

Presumably, that’s an area where the Owls will move some defensive players around to fill depth. Hopefully, the coaching staff knows what they are doing but, in the Owls’ Daily article, Carey said reaching into the portal is still a possibility.

Let’s hope so.

Friday: Uncertainty ahead

Spring Depth Building


“If I could ever figure out a way to run an offense without an RPO, I think we could turn the Lincoln Financial Field scoreboard into an adding machine. Establish the run, play action fakes to Ray Davis and guys would be open all over the place.”

One of the things some Temple fans did to pass the time deep into the third quarter of the bowl game when the realization that going to Annapolis was a wasted trip was to thumb through the official game souvenir program ($10).

Raising my hand here and putting all of the possible backups in bold below. The caveat here is that there are always other spring names who surprise will will not be listed.


Even with the unexpected departures, the Owls are not completely screwed in the depth department.

They have their starting quarterback (Anthony Russo) back, but lost second-teamer Todd Centeio to the portal and Colorado State. Still, a number of people remarked how good Trad Beatty has looked so Centeio might not be a big loss.

On the offensive line, they have both left tackles (junior Isaac Moore and sophomore Victor Stoffel) back as well as both right guards (seniors Joe Hooper and Leon Pinto) and both right tackles (junior Adam Klein and sophomore David Nwagowugwu). The backup center (Griffin Sestili) returns as does the backup left guard junior J.D. Gomez.

That means Beatty will have to be ready and the Owls need to find a backup to Gomez and Setiili if indeed those two earn the starting jobs. Remember, Vince Picozzi–an outstanding guard who was injured in November–could return as the starting right guard or starting center, helping build depth elsewhere.


Trad Beatty (11) is one play away from being needed.

The receivers (Jadan Blue and Branden Mack) are perhaps the best ever at Temple and the depth is also outstanding (Jose Barbon and Randle Jones).

Both tight ends (David Martin-Robinson and Aaron Jarman) return.

There is a depth problem at running back as the Owls are set with starter Ray Davis but it would have been nice to pick up a portal as insurance and to take some of the load off Davis. That’s probably not happening now, so someone will have to emerge from a group that includes or is not limited to Tayvon Ruley, Kyle Dobbins and Edward Saydee.

On defense, the starters probably will be Manny walker and Nickolos Madourie (ends), and Dan Archibong and Ifeanyi Maijeh (tackles) with linebacker starters of Isaiah Graham-Mobley, William Kwenkeu and Audrey Isaacs. One of the safeties should be Cheltenham grad George Reid with the other probably being Amir Tyler. Christian Braswell, Ty Mason and Freddie Johnson return.

But depth on defense could be a problem as only Kris Banks (tackle) and Arnold Ebiketie (end) seeing significant playing time along the front wall and nobody at linebacker behind the current projected starters. Keyvone Bruton has plenty of playing time at safety and will return and also Linwood Crump Jr. returns at cornerback after an injury that kept him out of the North Carolina game.

As with most Group of Five teams, the Owls are in good shape among the first 22. Spring practice, which begins on Tuesday, will be all about building a respectable second 22.

Monday: Five Goals of Spring Practice