Owls Pass Defense Needs Work Before USF

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As Temple football sits at 2-1 through three games, that’s where most fans had the team before a week 4 matchup at South Florida. It seems Owl fans are still uneasy. The unit has struggled in each of their first three games, including the most lopsided loss in the last nine seasons to Notre Dame in the opener. This past week, Temple took on the University of Massachusetts- an 0-3 team fresh out of an ugly loss against FCS school Old Dominion. To be blunt, UMass is not a good football team and Temple was only able to beat them by 8 points.

As I wrote in my previous article, there are many things contributing to the Owls lack of production. After the game against UMass, quarterback problems can be ruled out. Logan Marchi finally looked to be comfortable in the pocket passing for 248 yards and 2 touchdowns. Sure, there were some moments he would like to have back, but it’s encouraging to see his improvement, and he was never necessarily a detriment to the offense.

The Owls secondary came into this season with high expectations and have disappointed so far. Safeties Sean Chandler (left) and Delvon Randall (right) face a big test on Thursday. // Credit: USA Today

If the Owls have any hope of winning going forward, they will need to improve their pass defense. It’s been ugly for a Temple secondary laden with NFL talent so far this year. Quarterbacks have had their way with the team’s secondary. Through 3 games, these are the stats opposing QB’s have been able to put up: UMass- Andrew Ford 377 yards, 2 TD’s; Villanova- Zack Bednarczyk 382 yards, 1 TD; Notre Dame, Brian Wimbush 184 yards, 2 TD’s.

Obviously, it hasn’t been pretty. If the Owls can’t shape up ASAP they will be in for an unpleasant Week 4 against USF. The Bulls is ranked 22nd in the nation. One of the big reasons for that is their QB, Quinton Flowers.

Flowers is well-known throughout the nation as a Heisman sleeper. So far, he’s proven he deserves to be considered. Through 3 games Flowers has lead his offense to average 40 points per game. He’s thrown for 616 yards, 8 TD’s and ran for 243 yards with 2 scores.

Bleacher Report released this pre season top-10 Heisman watch article, listing Flowers at #10 on the list.

For the Owls to contain him, they will need their secondary to step up. If they can take away either his ability to run or to pass, the chance of pulling an upset drastically increases.

Hopefully the Temple football team can steal a win in Florida this Tuesday night.

Offensive Woes Need Answers Moving Forward

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Temple’s only offensive touchdown on Saturday came via a 1-yard Nick Sharga run. // Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

The Temple Owls football team earned their first win on Saturday, clawing their way to a 16-13 point victory over Villanova. For other teams this could be a positive, but not for Temple. Whenever an FCS unit takes on a recent top-25 football team, you should expect the latter to win by a large margin. Looking around the NCAA (especially so far this season) that isn’t always the case, but for Temple football fans, a bar has been set- and a lot more convincing needs to be done this season.

After 2 games, there are several problems with the Owls group. The biggest of their problems lie within the offense.

The first offensive struggle is with the run game. Ryquell Armstead is an above-average running back, but the offensive line is rendering him useless. The big guys up-front have been struggling to get an push off the line, and Armstead has gathered a mere 86 yards on 31 carries through the team’s first 2 games. That’s just 2.7 yards per carry for the returning 900-yard rusher. Just like years past, If the Owls intend on seriously contending, they will need the help of their running game.

Anther offensive struggle has been well documented since the spring game — the passing game. Logan Marchi won the Owls quarterback battle this offseason and hasn’t exactly played good, but he hasn’t been bad either.

In Marchi’s defense, as well as the offense as a whole, many have questioned the decision making in terms of play calls by new Offensive Coordinator Dave Patenaude. In addition, Marchi has yet to turn the ball over through his first two games under center (69 pass attempts).

Logan Marchi will look to take control of a productive offense this week vs. 0-3 UMass // Credit: USA Today Sports

However, he hasn’t necessarily made plays for the Owls. He’s made risky decisions that, luckily, have not come back to bite him. On top of that, he’s struggled to connect with several of his receivers. This was on full display last week when he missed a wide-open Brodrick Yancy early in the second half on Saturday. Marchi’s QBR ratings of 29.9 Week 1 and 66.6 Week 2 highlight his struggles to get on the same page as his receivers.

The unit has several crucial games in the near future where they need their offense to click on all cylinders. It may not be this Friday against a struggling UMass team who dropped all 3 of their games so far this season, but conference play opens with a bang at South Florida the following week.

Editor’s Note, Week of 9/11: Starting this week, a recap from Tuesday football practices will be brought to you by Brian Steinmetz. Our weekly profile (Wed.) from Chris Zeigler will look at DE Sharif Finch. Temple vs. UMass game preview on Thursday, kickoff from Lincoln Financial Field is Friday night (9/15) at 7 p.m.. Follow @TU_Sportsdesk on Twitter for updates all week.

Owls Offensive Line Set For Week 2 Rebound

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Last weekend the Temple Owls took on Notre Dame. Unfortunately, the Owls were no match for the Irish as they fell to the score of 49-16.

Credit: Indiana Sports Coverage

There were many parts of the Temple football units that seemed to contribute to their loss, but the offensive line noticeably struggled. Throughout the game, the fighting Irish was able to put constant pressure on quarterback Logan Marchi. Marchi was able to avoid some of the pressure, but was still sacked 3 times for a total loss of 20 yards. This constant pressure resulted in missed opportunities for the Owls’ offense — most notably the inability to fully capitalize on Mike Jones’ interception in the 3rd quarter.

Credit: CSN Philly

The offensive line’s struggles came to a head in the rushing game. Even with a proven running back in Ryquell Armstead, they were only able to muster 85 total rushing yards. Armstead accounted for 67 of those yards on 19 attempts averaging 3.5 yards per carry. The next highest rusher was Jager Garner with a mere 19 yards. The Owls’ line struggled to get an initial push at the line of scrimmage which resulting in this lack of production. The only Temple football player who was an effective blocker was Nick Sharga. Sharga routinely made good blocks setting up running lanes for Armstead.

Credit: WBZW

Temple should fare better against Villanova. Nova scarcely beat Lehigh 38-35 this past weekend. While the Wildcats played great against the run (78 yards allowed, 2.7 ypc), the team barely blitzed. This will result in less pressure on Marchi and allow him to play within the offense. It is important to note that Nova’s defense is built to produced without constant pressure on the quarterback. Instead they play within the system, put their “No Fly Zone” defensive backs on an island and putting a massive amount of trust in their linebacking core.

Expect the Owls to fix their mistakes against Villanova this Saturday at 3:30.

 

Notre Dame Offensive Line Serve As Huge Threat To Owls

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Several NCAA analysts have Notre Dame’s OL among the top in the country. // Credit: ND Rivals

Temple football has a tall task coming up in taking on Notre Dame. Perhaps the tallest task for the team will be taking on the Fighting Irish’s offensive line.

Last season, Pro Football Focus ranked Notre Dame as the #1 preseason offensive line in the NCAA. Of that group, 4 of 5 starters are returning. Mike McGlinchey, Quenton Nelson, Sam Mustipher and Alex Bars are the lineman coming back. The open spot on the offensive line is right tackle. Tommy Kraemer, Liam Eichenberg and Robert Hainsey all are in the mix for that spot.

Lance Zierlein of NFL.com commented on Notre Dame’s impressive front.

“The strength of the team will be along the offensive line and specifically the left side with Mike McGlinchey and Quenton Nelson. Nelson might be the most effective run blocker I studied on tape this summer and McGlinchey is an ace in pass protection. Notre Dame has two quality tight ends and exciting young prospects in Equanimeous St. Brown and Josh Adams. Defensively, the Irish are a little light on talent with Jerry Tillery, Nyles Morgan and Drue Tranquill as some of the draftable talent.”

CBS, Fox, Pro Football Focus and other websites already list 6’8″ McGlinchey as a top-10 pick in next year’s draft.

To make matters worse, the Fighting Irish have one of the best up-and-coming running backs in Josh Adams. Adams totaled a career high 933 rushing yards, 5 touchdowns and averaged 6.4 yards per carry. Now with an even more experienced offensive line, expect Adams to breakout.

Temple football will struggle to penetrate this offensive line and stop Adams. This year they lost all of their starting defensive line except Michael Dogbe- even though it isn’t as bad as it sounds. On the ends will be experience in Jacob Martin and Sharif Finch, and Freddy Booth-Lloyd will likely fill in the other starting DT role. 

With praise from coach Collins throughout the off-season, Shaun Bradley will likely take the reigns as top linebacker for Temple this season. // Credit: Philly.com

The Owls also lost all 3 of their starting linebackers. Young guys like Chapelle Russell, Shaun Bradley, and William Kwenkeu will now likely be pushed into the starting lineup as leaders of the defense. As physical and gifted as the coaches have praised the linebackers to be, game experience is a huge factor. Especially in week one. At Notre Dame. 

 

SportsDesk Impact Player #2: The Quarterback(s)

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Coming in at #2 on the SportsDesk impact player list, we look at the Quarterback position. A position so important to the success of a team, it was a borderline #1 selection on our list. With Temple coming off of back to back 10-win seasons, one of the most consistent performers was current Indianapolis Colt Phillip Walker.

Consistency at the signal caller position goes a long way in terms of projections, and it may be the sole reason why the Owls aren’t being selected outright in the East by news organizations previewing the AAC. The team selected by USA Today to edge out Temple in the division: South Florida. USA Today has South Florida QB Quinton Flowers ranked #1 QB in the conference. “If Flowers isn’t the best player in the AAC this season he won’t be far off.” You can see the correlation, and also how good the Owls’ roster is to be ranked second with the current quarterback situation.

Courtesy: USA Today Sports
After being the primary backup to Phillip Walker last season, it seemed like the starting job was Marchi’s to lose. // Credit: Philly.com

Temple’s quarterback controversy has been well documented since the departure of Walker. Walker was the team’s starting QB for the past 3+ seasons and holds most Temple football records at that position. Now, the Owls need to find a new leader.

When camp started, Logan Marchi looked to be the incumbent starter. He had been Walker’s backup the previous season and received positive reviews on his leadership abilities. Obviously, when the spring game came around all eyes were on him. Sadly, Marchi struggled mightily completing just 4 of his 10 passes for 92 yards and 2 interceptions.

This opened the door for the QB’s (Frank Nutile, Anthony Russo, and Todd Centeio) to try and capture the starting spot. Since Russo and Nutile were older, and have better size than Centeio, it seemed that they would have a better chance of challenging Marchi. Oddly enough, that wasn’t true. Each quarterback was just, OK with little flashes here and there. Centeio on the other hand was impressive. He made good decisions and seemed comfortable in the pocket. On the day he racked up 110 yards and a touchdown, while completing 9 of his 13 passes.

Still, Marchi seems to have a good chance of starting come week 1. Marc Narducci of the Philly Inquirer said it best, “This job appeared in the spring to be Marchi’s to lose, and while he didn’t lose it, last year’s backup also wasn’t able to snag it.

Frank Nutile (senior) is the oldest contender for the starting job. The last two open media practices featured Nutile taking first-team reps. // Courtesy: Twitter

Earlier in the spring Coach Collins went in front of the media and claimed he wanted to name a starting QB two weeks before the season started. The game is now nine days away and there has yet to be an announcement. Geoff Collins said after practice Thursday there’s a good chance more than one quarterback will play in the season opener. “I say two will play more than the others, and a third one could come in with a special package.”

Whoever starts next week behind center will have a lot on their plate, but will also have the luxury of a proven run game to fall back on. I wouldn’t count out the possibility of seeing two starting quarterbacks to shake things up for Notre Dame. With this much time to figure things out, you would like to assume the coaching staff will trot out a sufficient starter who can do a little learning but also maintain the flow of an offense.

For #1 on this list, Ryquell Amstead is a clear choice. Read our story on his newly awarded single digit, as the halfback will wear #7 for the Owls this season.

Rose a Stand Out at USA Men’s U19 World Cup Team Training Camp

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Credit: David Maialett

Quinton Rose was a stand out early this past season. In a four game stretch from November 20th to the 25th Rose a averaged 16.5 points per game, 3.5 rebounds per game, and 2.8 assists per game. This was topped off by a huge 26 point explosion against a ranked Florida State team.

From there on out, Rose was fairly inconsistent. He was only able to eclipse 15 points in 2 of the following 25 games. On the season, Rose averaged 9.7 points per game, 3.8 rebounds per game, and 1.8 assists per game. Obviously, none of these number jump off the page at you, but they are solid none the less. His efforts were also good enough to land him a sport on the American Athletic Conference All-Rookie Team. Additionally, you got a glimpse of how great Rose could be in the future.

Apparently, so did the USA Mens U-19 Team. They recently offered Rose a spot of the World Cup Team for their training camp. The team is loaded with young talent like Marques Bolden of Duke, Hamidou Diallo of Kentucky, and highly rated incoming recruits like Bol Bol (son of Manute Bol) and Trae Young.The coach of the team will be Kentucky’s coach John Calipiri.

So, far so good. Rose has been tearing it up in practices. As of now he looks like he’s one of the stand outs of the group and many experts agree.

Other spectators have said the Rose is one of the most consistent players there thus far. With his combination of size (6’8, 190lbs) and speed Rose has a real chance of climbing in the 2018 draft.

Hopefully, Rose will return with even more refined skills and bring the Owls back to the NCAA Tournament.

 

New Owls in the NFL

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The last of three Owls was selected in the fifth round of the NFL Draft. The Indianapolis Colts Nate Hairston with the 158th pick.

Lance Zierlein of NFL.com describes the former Temple defensive back as, “Hairston shows good awareness from zone and his physical style and willingness to come tackle make him an immediate fit for primarily zone cover teams.”

Credit: USA TODAY Sports

Dion Dawkins and Haason Reddick were also selected in the first two days of the draft. Dawkins landed with the Buffalo Bills in the second round and Reddick to the Arizona Cardinals in the first.

Aside from the drafted Owls, six former Temple football players have reached a contract with NFL teams. Both tight ends Romond Deloatch and Colin Thompson agreed to terms with the New York Giants.

Running back Jahad Thomas signed with Dallas. Defensive end Praise Martin-Oguike inked a deal with Miami. Linebacker Avery Williams is heading to the Houston Texans and quarterback Phillip Walker has signed with the Indianapolis Colts.

Credit: Zimbio

Walker reportedly had an offer to stay in Philadelphia and play with the Eagles, but he elected to take his talents to the Colts. It’s still unknown if he intends to switch positions at the next level, but for the time being it appears he will enter as a quarterback.

The SportDesk’s 3 Breakout Stars On Defense

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Since, I wrote an article on the potential offensive breakout candidates, I figured why not make one for the defense? I mean, as the old saying goes “Offensive wins games, but defense wins championships.” Truer words have never been spoken about the Temple Football team. The Owls pride themselves on the defensive side of the ball and used it to propel them to their first AAC Championship in the 32016 season. So, let’s see what three players are going to break out, and help Temple compete for another ring.

Mike Jones, CB – 5’11, 187lbs

Credit: Temple News

By far the easiest selection of this list. Jones is already an established college football among the eyes of NFL scouts. Actually, he was projected to be a late draft pick if he entered the draft this year. Instead, the graduate-transfer from North Carolina Central decided to take his talents to North Philadelphia. Jones brings with him massive amount of career achievements such as All-MEAC First Team for both cornerback and return specialist on two separate occasions. As for Jones as a player he’s extremely well rounded. He attacks the run like a linebacker, flashes fluid hips in pass coverage and isn’t afraid to attack the ball when it’s in the air. In his career at North Carolina Central he amassed 114 tackles, 36 pass breakups, and 11 interceptions. Jones is going to flourish from having Geoff Collins as his coach. During his time at Florida, he helped create one of the best pass defense’s in the nation that ranked 2nd in passing yards allowed per game. Temple ranked 3rd. Jones is going to be the Owls #1 corner this fall and see his draft stock skyrocket.

2017-18 Stat Projections – 28 tackles, 8 passes defended, 3 interceptions

 

Delvon Randall, SS – 5’11, 208

Maybe this isn’t boldest selection because Randall had a good season this past year. Actually, one could go as far as saying he was one of the best defenders on the Owls. Last season he tallied 65 tackles and 4 interceptions. So, I guess you’re wondering why I picked him then, huh? Well, that’s because I think he’s just going to get better. A lot better. You got to love the way Delvon Randall plays ball. He’s a hard-hitting safety who can also drop back in coverage and flash serious ball-hawk skills. The former three-star prospect snatched the starting gig last spring and hasn’t looked back. He’s already made a big enough impact on Coach Geoff Collins to earn him an illustrious single-digit jersey number. With Hasson Reddick and other defensive starters gone Randall needs to be the a leader on Temple’s defensive and the jersey is proof he is becoming just that. Along, with my regular stat projections I’m going to make another bold statement. By the end of this season, Delvon Randall will burst onto the national scene and emerge as a top-5 safety in college football. Boom.

2017-18 Stat Projections – 72 tackles, 12 passes defended, 6 interceptions

 

William Kwenkeu, OLB – 6’1, 205

Credit: Zimbio

William Kwenkeu is one of my favorite players on this list hands down. The dude is an athletic freak. In high school, Kwenkeu was an awesome running back. I’d go as far to say that if he stayed at running back through his college career he would be seriously challenging Owls starting running back Ryquell Armstead, but instead he’s an outside linebacker. Kwenkeu uses his speed and his nonstop motor to harass his opponents. This past season, he was a stand out on special teams and he played valuable minutes on defense. Kwenkeu finished the year with 14 tackles, 1 tackle for loss and 1 fumble recovery which came against Memphis in a crucial point in the game. During the spring game, he was all over the field chasing down running backs, quarterbacks and wide receivers. I believe that this year Kwenkeu will emerge as one of the team’s top linebackers. Who knows? In a few years time, we may be saying William Kwenku’s name in the same sentence as the likes of Tyler Matakevich and Haason Reddick.

 

2017-18 Stat Projections – 65 tackles, 10 tackles for loss, 3 sacks

Lacrosse Falls to #2 Florida, End Home Win Streak

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Temple’s Senior day didn’t exactly go as planned. The team saw their winning streak come to a screeching halt at the hands of #2 Florida. The Gators cruised past the Owls to a tune of 15-5. The game also accounted for the lady Owls first home game defeat this season in 8 tries.  

Florida opened up the game on a 9-0 run, and Temple struggled to get on the board until late in the first when Morgan Glassford found the back of the net. The Gators controlled a 9-1 lead as the teams entered the half.

 

Credit: OwlSports.com

Second ranked Florida continued to pour it on in the second half. They racked up six more goals compared the the Owls four. However, the Owls did show fight as the 4 goals all came in a too late comeback effort.

Mollie Stevens and Madi Hall chipped in three goals a piece for the Gators, while Sammi Burgess led all players with four. Temple’s high scorer for the contest was Morgan Glassford          who accounted for two of the Owls five goals.

 

An unexpected take away from the game was the play from the goalkeepers. Temple head coach Bonnie Rosen said, “We got some really nice play from our goalkeepers too so that’s always great to see. To be able to slow down some of the scoring of this potent Florida offense is always a good thing.”

Freshman goalkeeper Maryn Lowell defended eight goals in just the first half and another two in the second. Redshirt-sophomore Kelsea Hershey then took over for Lowell to only allow two goals in the final 19:26.

 

OwlSports.com

“This is a very strong Florida team, and you have to be ready to play every minute of the game in order to beat them,” said Rosen.

The lady Owls now stand at 13-3. Temple will continue to prepare for the upcoming Big East tournament with their final regular season game away against UConn. The game will take place  Saturday, April 29.

Temple Lacrosse Thumps Butler, 19-7

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Temple won in convincing fashion yesterday against Big East opponent Butler. The game was a complete blow out seeing the Owls thump the Bulldogs 19-7.  Seniors Carly Demato, Kira Gensler and Brenda McDermott surged the team forward by all chipping in a hat trick.

Besides the opening minutes of the game, Butler couldn’t stick with the lady Owls. The first half saw Temple go on an unanswered 7-0 run making the score 8-1. Before the end of the half the Bulldogs were able to add 2 more scores while the Owls added 3. This put the score 11-3 at the half.

Butler opened up the half by scoring first, but Temple was able to answer immediately with 4 straight goals. The Bulldogs tried to fight back and rallied off three straight goals, but the Owls simply had too much fire power. Temple ended the game on a 4-0 run making the final score 19-7. Although this games was a lopsided battle Butler only boasts 1 win on the season, so the victory was expected.

Once again, McDermott scored a hat trick making it five straight wins in which she has done so. Along with the other hat tricks from Gensler and Demato,  Maddie Gebert, Michelle Koscinski, Quinn Benintende Anna Frederick, Olivia Thompson and Nicole Barretta were all able to get in the scoring column.

The  lady Owls now  improve to 12-2 on the season and keep their undefeated record at home. Temple will face yet another Big East foe, Vanderbilt, on the road on Saturday, April 15. Look for the Owls to try and improve their conference record and continue on their winning streak