Walking into Tuesday morning’s practice, you could feel the high intensity flying around the field. Who else but DB Cequan Jefferson and LB Chapelle Russell were dancing to a Future song blasting from the sound system on Chudnoff field. It’s a short week for the Owls as they take on UMass this Friday night. Coming off a victory this past Saturday to rival Villanova, Temple looks to improve upon their success, while still correcting the hiccups of a fairly slow start.
This week, the No. 1 jersey will be worn by senior DE Jullian Taylor. Ventell Bryant will stay at No. 19, and Michael Dogbe is back to his No. 98 for week 3. Last season, Taylor had eight tackles in only three games before he suffered a season ending injury. This season he’s back in the defensive line rotation, and said he’s excited for the opportunity.
“It’s a dream come true, I’ve always wanted to wear a single digit number all five years. I’ve battled a lot of adversity, so just to wear it for a week, it’s the most exciting thing for me. I found out this morning in a team meeting, [Coach Collins] just announced it and I had the biggest smile on my face,”
Collins stressed to Taylor, and the rest of the team how important it is to keep their minds sharp during a short week. The team has just three full days of practice before their walkthrough, then gameday. The defense will look to continue their successful run stopping displayed against Villanova. After allowing 422 rushing yards in week 1 to Notre Dame, the front 7 bounced back in big way limiting the Wildcats to just 20 yards total on the ground.
The secondary will also look to shut down UMass’s two big receivers who so far are both top 20 in yards in Division 1 (read more in the preview Thursday). The Owls will look towards their corners Artrel Foster, Mike Jones and Derrek Thomas with the help of their new CB coach Cory Robinson to shut down the targets.
Junior RB Ryquell Armstead was limited last week against Villanova due to some minor injuries. He hopes to get back on the field this week, and is ready to break out.
“I feel good, I feel amazing to be honest. I was a little banged up after week one but I feel great now so I’m ready for this week….I’ve got to go back to the drawing board in order to correct my mistakes, watch more film to prepare myself and just trusting my offensive line.”
Geoff Collins also noted his support of the fan presence in the home opener. “That was as good of a student body and as good of a band I have been around since I’ve been coaching. The energy was great and it gave our kids energy and life to go out there and play.”
As you can expect, Collins is treating this week like he would any other week.
“UMass is as tough as any opponent we’ll face. They have a lot of formations with different personnel that we have to make sure we prepare for. Their offense is not an easy one to prepare for so we made sure we made the right adjustments,” Collins said.
The game is set to kickoff Friday at 7PM at Lincoln Financial Field. It is being broadcasted on ESPNU and you can listen on 97.5 The Fanatic. Make sure you check back in to the SportsDesk for the postgame coverage.