Spring (Practice) Is In the Air

mondayeve

This is what will be on the ground for the first day of spring practice

Like last year’s Temple football team for instance, the last month of weather has been a tease. Those back-to-back 77-degree days of late February have been replaced by some brutal cold since. Since last year ended OK (not great), we’ll say by Cherry and White Day it will be nice and warm.

We think.

The calendar says the Owls start spring practice tomorrow, but it won’t look that way. Spring practice is in the air. Spring, on the other hand, seems a long way away.

aramark

At least the new indoor facility is the equal to anything a P5 team has.

Either way, the Temple Owls’ football team will have to deal with the 1-3 inches on the ground or move the first practices of the “spring” a couple of blocks away to the spectacular new $50 million Aramark Star Facility at 15th and Montgomery.

That’s a call for head coach Geoff Collins to make, though.

Bruce Arians used to come to Geasey Field on spring practice days—there was no indoor facility back then—and open with “get your work done” in that Southern accent he developed while a player at Virginia Tech, even though he was from York, Pa.

Either in rain, sleet or snow, the Owls have a lot of work to do to address these questions (in no particular order):

What will Trad Beatty’s role be?

The super quarterback recruit from South Carolina obviously is a Dave Patenaude favorite but, in the entire history of Group of Five football, no true freshman starter has led his team to a G5 league championship. That factor has to be weighed in the development of Beatty and the goal of the Owls to win the 2018 AAC title, just like they did the 2016 one. In Frank Nutile, they have a bowl-winning quarterback and a guy who has the best passing stats in the nation against a rush. Juice will be awfully tough to beat out.

Who are the defensive backfield replacements?

The Owls lose three of their four starters at the key positions of cornerback and safety. The only returner is first-team AAC safety Delvon Randall. They will have to plug around the edges. The speedy Linwood Crump Jr. has the inside track on the left corner spot, while the right corner spot will probably be occupied by Rock Ya-Sin, a first-team All Big South performer who had more interceptions against Wake Forest (one) in 2016 than the whole Temple AAC championship team did.

Other than Ya-Sin, who starts immediately?

My money is on Nickolas Madourie, an incoming junior college transfer from Dakota College at Bottineau in North Dakota. Shortly after former Central Florida coach Scott Frost took the same position at the University of Nebraska earlier this month, Madourie rescinded his verbal commitment from the Knights. Madourie had 45 tackles during his recently completed sophomore season, including 17.5 sacks. If the Owls go three wides on offense, look for true freshman Sean Ryan from NYC to join Isaiah Wright and Ventell Bryant. Me, I hope they scrap the three wides, use a tight end (Kenny Yeboah) and a fullback (Rob “Nitro” Ritrovato).

We should find out the answers to those questions by April 14.

Hopefully, by then, spring will have already arrived.

Wednesday: The Greatest Cherry and White Ever

2018 Temple Recruits: History Revisited

Amir Gillis (No. 1 for Simon Gratz) is listed as an “athlete” by Temple

Though it is not cited in any history book, a pretty convincing argument on the history of the Temple football program changing can be made by Al Golden’s first recruiting class.

In it, there were 29 guys signed—four more than the usual take—and 18 of them were captains of teams that won their high school league championship games.

Five were guys who got solid offers, and not just “interest,” from Power 5 teams.

One, Adrian Robinson, was an MVP of the Big 33 football game between Pennsylvania and Maryland.

There was a thought process with Golden’s first class that would endure through five of the best recruiting years the Owls had since Bruce Arians roamed the sidelines. Golden wanted leaders and he wanted winners, so he targeted captains of championship teams. He wanted a full team, so he recruited 11 offensive guys, 11 defensive guys and a couple of specialists every year. Mix in those players with guys Power 5 schools wanted, coach up the other guys and that laid the foundation of Golden’s house of brick, not straw.

When Golden left for the Miami (Fla.) job five years later, he left a foundation of talent that won the school’s first bowl game in over 30 years.

A lot of what Golden did with his first class is being done by Geoff Collins with his second class.

Collins seems to have spread the offers over a number of positions, getting a quarterback, a linebacker a defensive end, a specialist (athlete), a running back, a corner, a couple of wide receivers and a couple of offensive linemen. The days of Steve Addazio offering scholarships to the “best player available, regardless of position” seem to be over.

Take, for instance, the story of Jaydee Pierre, a defensive end out of Dominion (Va.). Pierre is 6-0, 295 who had solid offers from Boston College, Rutgers, Maryland, Northwestern and North Carolina State. He could have taken any of those offers. He chose Temple. He could be for this class what Robinson was for Golden’s first one.

Trad Beatty, a quarterback from Columbia (S.C.) who is 6-5, 200, had offers from four Power 5 schools (along with G5’s Georgia State) but said “Temple was the one school that checked off all the boxes” in terms of academics, feel with the current players and offensive system. He will have a 6-1, 175-pound receiver in Kadas Reams, who ran a 4.37 last week in Temple’s camp. The first school to offer Beatty was Mississippi State, which did not check off as many boxes for the young man as Temple did.

Love the way this kid calls the interviewer “sir.”

There is much to like about the current 13 players he was able to sell Temple to, but it’s really encouraging one of the biggest targets said “Temple checked off all the boxes” because when Golden was recruiting, Temple did not have many boxes for perspective recruits to check.

Now Temple has plenty of boxes and, with a dozen more scholarships to give out, the smart recruits left are going to grab their box of goodies before they are all gone.

Wednesday: Perspective