Sunday, August 22, 2010
MAC 2010-Temple Owls
2009 Record: 9-4 (7-1)
Head Coach: Al Golden (5th season, 19-30)
Offensive Coordinator: Matt Rhule (3rd season)
Defensive Coordinator: Mark D'Onofrio (4th season)
2009 Bowl Game: Eagle Bank Bowl, lost to UCLA 30-21
Offense: Bernard Pierce is the focus of the offense. The sophomore RB ran for 1361 yards in 2009, and again will be relied on to move the attack downfield. Pierce had four games of at least 185 yards, and is a threat every time he touches the ball. He must stay healthy, though, as without him, the offense tends to bog down. Matt Brown will be his backup, and played well in the bowl. Chester Stewart will come in at QB this season, and while not being anything resembling a top flight passer, he will be expected to be able to make plays with his feet. Joe Jones and Michael Campbell both return at WR, but are not huge threats. 3 starters return on the line. Temple ranked 24th nationally in total offense, but in order to keep the train moving up the mountain, The QB/WR play is going to have to bump it up to keep the heat off of Pierce, who will be running with abig neon target on his ass all season long.
Defense: Welcome back, Adrian Robinson. Owls fans haven't seen a force like this guy since the beginning of time. Robinson racked up 13 sacks last season, and is death in the backfield. Morris Bluefield is the other end, and played well when he saw the field last season. He needs more experience and will get it this year. Muhammed Wilkeron will be back at DT, but the other spot is open. Elijah Joseph will be expected to lead the LBs in 2010, but didn't have what I would call a dominating season in 2009 (63 tackles). Tahir Whitehead is a new starter at LB this season, and has solid speed, but again, does not have a bunch of play time logged. Jalquawn Jarrett was all over the field last season, but more will be expected from their FS. Kevin Kroboth returns at SS, so teams will have a hrad time deciding who to throw away from. Marquis Liverpool will return at CB, but the other spot is open.
Special Teams: Brandon McManus is a big leg PK, and tied with Pierce for team lead with 96 points in 2009. Jeff Wathne will return at P, making special teams a solid group.
Wins: 9/3 Villanova, 10/2 @ Army, 10/16 Bowling Green, 10/23 @ Buffalo, 10/30 Akron, 11/6 @ Kent State, 11/23 @ Miami (Ohio)
Toss UP Games: 9/11 Central Michigan, 10/9 @ Northern Illinois, 11/16 Ohio
Losses: 9/18 UConn, 9/25 @ Penn State
This schedule is a bit dicey for the Owls. The games against UConn and Penn State are aobvious losses to me, but there is always a chance that they can upset UConn in Philly. There really isn't any way that the Owls would lose to Villanova again this year, is there? Overall, even after losing to Nova last year, Temple put together one of the best years in school history, and they can overcome a loss or two again.
Outlook: Being that nobody was expecting what they got out of the Owls last season, I would have to say that the outlook is very good, but with a warning. If the Owls begin to believe in themselves a little too much, the house of cards can crash at any time. Al Golden stayed, and that was a strong gain for this building power in the MAC. He won't be there much longer, as his goal is the Penn State job, and he certainly deserves a crack at it When Joe Paterno retires or dies, whichever may come first.