Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Pre-Season Preview: Temple Owls

2009 Record: 9-4 (7-1- 2nd in MAC East Division)
2009 Bowl: EagleBank Bowl (lost to UCLA 30 to 21)
Final 2009 BCS Ranking: Not Ranked
Head Coach: Al Golden (19-30 at Temple)
Non-Conference Schedule: Villanova (9/4), UConn (9/18), at Penn State (9/25), at Army (10/2)

2009 Offensive Statistics
Scoring: 29.5 points per game (3rd in MAC)
Rushing Yards/Game: 187 (2nd in MAC)
Passing Yards/Game: 146 (12th in MAC)
Total Yards/Game: 333 (8th in MAC) 

2009 Defensive Statistics
Scoring: 22.3 points per game (4th in MAC)
Rushing Yards/Game: 107 (1st in MAC)
Passing Yards/Game: 226 (10th in MAC)
Total Yards/Game: 334 (2nd in MAC)

2009 Misc Stats
Turnover Margin: +0.31 per game (4th in MAC)
Penalties: 40 yards per game (1st in MAC)

Returning Starters
Offense: 9
Defense: 8
Kicker/Punter: 1

Top Returning Statistical Leaders
Passing: QB Vaughn Charlton, Sr (107 of 213 for 1390 yds, 10 TD, 11 INT)- Charlton is switching positions to TE
Passing: QB Chester Stewart, Jr (26 of 65 for 514 yds, 3 TD, 3 INT)
Rushing: RB Bernard Pierce, Soph (1361 yds, 5.77 ypc, 113 ypg, 16 TD)
Receiving: WR Michael Campbell, Sr (27 Rec for 419 yds, 3 TD); RB Joe Jones, Jr (28 Rec for 387 yds, 1 TD)
Tackles: DB Jaiquawn Jarrett, Sr (76)
Sacks: DL Adrian Robinson Jr, Jr (12)
Interceptions: DB Jaiquawn Jarrett, Sr and Marquise Liverpool, Sr (3)

2010 Pre-Season Rankings
Lindy's: Not Ranked
Mark Schlabach: Not Ranked
Rivals: Not Ranked
Scout: Not Ranked
Sports Illustrated: Not Ranked

Last year Al Golden guided the Temple Owls to a 9-4 record. This was their best record since they went 10-2 in 1979. The 2010 schedule poses some significant tests in the first 4 weeks with defending MAC Champion Central Michigan, UConn and Penn State. Can Temple weather the early storm and make a run for the MAC Championship? We caught up with Mike from Temple Football Forever for a preview of the 2010 season.

What are the major strengths and biggest weaknesses of the team?

Weakness is no proven Division IA quarterback, although Chris Coyer turned down a scholarship offer from Ohio State to go to Temple and took a redshirt year. Many believe that Coyer is the real deal and will eventually win the job, if not by the opener than not too long into the season. Even with no proven D1A quarterback, the team is much better at that position than it was last season because Mike Gerardi, a first-team all-state quarterback in New Jersey as a senior, has really blossomed in the system and sometimes starter Chester Stewart has improved as well. Strength is the defense and Heisman Trophy contender Bernard Pierce (RB). Coordinator Mark D'Onofrio is one of the best at what he does in the nation and he returns six first-team All-MAC defenders and nine starters.

Looking at the schedule who will be the first major test and why?

UConn or Penn State, for obvious reasons. Villanova is the opener and they are the defending 1AA champs, but they haven't seen the real Pierce, who played only six snaps against them last season. They will this year.

What team on the schedule do you fear the most?

Penn State and UConn for obvious reasons. Temple was ill-equipped to hang with UConn the last two outings, but the Owls found a way, losing a disputed 27-22 game and 12-6 in OT. Temple is much farther along in the process of building a program now than it was then.

Who is the best player on your team that nobody talks about?

Delano Green, punt returner, and Brandon McManus, placekicker. Simply the two best at what they do in the MAC, but nobody talks about them probably because they've been taken for granted.

Who is the best offensive player on the team?

Pierce. Duh. He combines world-class speed (was the Pennsylvania 100-meter dash champion as a senior in high school) with terrific open-field moves and outstanding strength inside the tackles. His numbers as a freshman were superior to Adrian Peterson, for instance.

Who is the most impactful defensive player on the team?

Adrian Robinson, defensive end. MVP of the Big 33 game three years ago in which the best from Pennsylvania beat the best from Ohio. Extremely unusual for a defensive player to get that honor, but it was deserved. MAC leader in sacks (12) and most valuable defensive player in the league as named by opposing coaches.

What player(s) needs to step up this year in order for the team to reach it's full capability?

Chris Coyer (QB).

Who is the top offensive newcomer that can make an impact this year?

Rod Streater, 6-4, 189-pound JUCO wide receiver. New Jersey state high jump champion who uses that unique ability both over the middle and in the end zone. Wowed them in the spring.

Who is the top defensive newcomer that can make an impact this year?

Aaron Hush, 6-4, 240-pound defensive end. At Piscataway (N.J.) High, was one of the state's top sackmasters as a senior. Honed his skills at Fork Union Military (Va.) last year. Could make an immediate impact opposite Robinson.

Gut feeling on the teams final record at the end of the regular season and what makes this a successful season in your eyes?

10-2. This team is much better than last year, so should do better than the 9-3 regular-season record they posted last year. I will go with the chalk and give them losses to Penn State and UConn, though I would not bet either one of those teams against this one.

Next Up: Houston Cougars

2010 Previews
Big East- Pittsburgh Panthers, West Virginia


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